Wednesday, May 07, 2008

IRAQ WAR : FIASCO & " Support The Troops " an Empty Slogan

Anyway I recently read several books which I would recommend and lead to my following little
commentary as it were. I have discussed other issues in previous posts related to these books in particular.

The books of note include: Thomas E. Ricks enjoyable, disturbing and thought provoking FIASCO ( 2006) in which he talks about the military failure to adapt to fighting a growing insurgency in Iraq rather than a conventional war. In the end the strategy or lack thereof has created more terrorists rather than fewer. The Bush Regime and neocons showed that they did not understand the complexity of country or its peoples though they had been warned by numerous people who were in the know. when it came to Iraq and the Middle East

Tony Lagouranis FEAR UP HARSH(2007) about the widespread abuses of Iraqi civilians and detainees. Beatings, torture, sleep deprivation, stress positions , the use of dogs etc. were common-place. Thousands of Innocent Iraqi men rounded up in Gestapo style sweeps in hopes of netting a few real insurgents.

Also of note Barry M. Lando's WEB OF DECEIT(2007) about the lies which were told to the American public and the world at large to sell an unnecessary war against the Monstrous Saddam whom the Americans and other Western Powers had helped to create.

So the pro-war party and Bush groupies tell everyone that they must 'Support the Troops '. The pro-war pro-Bush true believers claim that anyone criticizing the mission in Iraq or Afghanistan are betraying the troops. What they do is conflate these two issues. If you don't support the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq they argue then you don't support the troops and therefore must be secretly or overtly in favor of the ' enemy' , the insurgents ,or terrorists who want to kill Americans and destroy America and Western Civilization.

They go further and argue anyone pointing to any serious flaws in the tactics or strategy of military forces in Iraq or Afghanistan is also a failure to support the troops and is characterized by them as an attempt to undermine their efforts.

So for example talking about the abuses of detainees by U.S. forces or other coalition forces is seen as a direct attack on the troops and the Pentagon and the American government and ' the War on Terror'.

For instance it has been argued that the incidents of detainee abuse at Abu Ghriab were or are no isolated incidents. There is reason to believe that abuses of detainees in Iraq has been widespread and has been and may still be a common practice which has been either over-looked or subtly or not so subtly encouraged by those higher up in the chain of command from the Generals to the White House. For many of us this is now old news. Detainees we are told when they arrive at various facilities in Iraq it is often obvious that they have been mistreated beaten or tied to the front hood of a Humvee as if they were wild game which leaves the individuals with severe burns. Many abusive , inhumane and humiliating techniques are still used on detainees under the care of U.S. forces. At the most extreme end of this gamut of abuse are techniques which often lead to death . This of course is a matter of murder but most of these incidents are not reported or are covered-up. When they can not be covered up the consequences are that a few low ranking soldiers are reprimanded or given a fine or a light prison sentence . But when the actions are on-going then those higher-up in the chain of command should also be harshly reprimanded or relieved of their duty and when necessary tried for their crimes and possibly imprisoned .

Since Americans are so gung-ho about the death penalty then some of these soldiers whether privates or Colonels or Generals in the cases of deaths and dereliction of duty should be made to face a firing squad. Of course if we follow this line of reasoning then those in the White House such as Cheney & Rumsfeld would have to be tried in a military court for encouraging the use of torture and other abuses of detainees and if found guilty then off to the firing squad with them. Of course I would not advocate ' firing squads ' because I am against the death penalty. But that's a personal preference. Besides there are those who might argue otherwise in these particular instances especially in a time of war.

Besides torture or simple beating the American forces have also used the illegal practice of holding hostages . This I only recently became aware of. What they do is when the soldiers in Iraq are looking for a particular person to interrogate if they can not find them they then take a family member a child or spouse into custody and let be known that when that individual Iraqi turns himself in his wife or daughter or son will be released. Sometimes they will take a whole family hostage. Yet American soldiers and public frown on this practice when the insurgents do it.

One of the other abusive and some would claim counterproductive practices American forces engage in is the " sweep " when they go into a neighborhood or town and round up all the men from ages 16 to 60 and then have them incarcerated at Abu Ghraib or some other facility in Iraq. By doing so they hope to discover which ones of the detainees are actual ' insurgents '. Besides being counterproductive in the sense of winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis many of those caught up in such a sweep are innocent and often get lost in the system and may not be released for weeks months or years. Because of a lack of good leadership and the propaganda of the Bush Regime about the reasons for the war soldiers are left to believe that all Iraqis are terrorists and therefore the enemy.

But what can then be argued is that it is a gross dereliction of duty if not criminal on the part of military leaders and their civilian and political counterparts to send troops into a conflict grossly unprepared. When it came to the invasion and occupation of Iraq American troops were sent into combat in fewer numbers than they should have had as many military experts argued before the Invasion that they needed some 300,000 troops while the White House argued in favor of some 50,000 to 100,000 troops . They were also sent in without the proper training, without the proper equipment, without giving them some basic facts about a foreign culture so that they could be more sensitive to the cultural norms to prevent some simple misunderstanding which may have deadly consequences for either Iraqis or the American soldiers. For instance not enough soldiers were taught at least some rudimentary Arabic to help facilitate their role in Iraq. Those in the chain of command further failed their troops by not having given them a clear sense of their goals and over all strategy. Was the strategy simply to remove Saddam and then return home or should there have been from the beginning a more long term strategy for Iraq that is remove Saddam and to then insure that the country was stable and secure .

In part because of various initial mistakes the War has last over five years rather than the predicted couple of months or so. And now the White House along with the Presidential candidates just want to start more wars against Iran and Syria etc. Is this just the Master Magician's way of misdirection & distraction from the Quagmire that is Iraq and that according to many military experts that the U.S. military is close to breaking if not broken.

Anyway here's a bit more on John McCain and his failure once again to' Support the Troops '
Once again John McCain gets a Free-Ride. Also see Arianna Huffington at Huffinton Post May 6, 2008 What John McCain Told Me, and What it Says About How Far He's Fallen

'Making things too good for Veterans : they won't want to stay in the service"says Bush spokesperson.
Why won't John McCain support new GI Bill/ refuses to study the bill
also see:Democrats Set to Defy Bush on War Bill By Carl Hulse The New York Times Tuesday 06 May 2008
John McCain does not support troops / War is a Brand Name
Countdown - Bush, McCain, and Screwing Veterans
Keith Olbermann with Rachel Maddow of Air America

Here is an example of how in many ways the Military and the VA and the American Government Failed this soldier who was obviously suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with severe depression and Panic Disorder combined with alcohol abuse.
He had been informed in subtle ways while in the military in Iraq that if he complained too much about his mental state he would get a section 8 and get discharged with the stigma of PTSD following him for the rest of his life.

Iraq War makes veterans commit suicide
From Democracy Now/ March 30, 2008
The psychological impact of the War often goes overlooked. In this video a veterans parents talk about how emotionally scared their son was after he came home.
He did not receive the amount of psychiatric help he should have.

Many with PTSD are redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan
Mentally ILL Veterans Sent Back to War
News Center 5 / ABC

Barack Obama on Veterans and the VA
He is sponsoring a New GI BILL

When he answers the question in this video he talks about how bad the VA was in the sixties and how it has improved. But he doesn't seem fully aware of the fact that since the Bush Regime came to power they have gutted the Va or rather have not beefed it up for the hundreds of thousands of physically or psychologically damaged Iraqi and Afghanistan Vets who are being treated as badly as the Vietnam Vets were. The Vets are America's forgotten heroes . So supporting the troops is a good thing till it comes to having to expend a lot of money and resources on them .

But is Obama aware of the numbers of Veterans who are homeless . Is he aware of the numbers of Veterans committing suicide. Is he aware of the on going cover up at the VA. Is he aware of the court case being pursued against the VA.

As he becomes more accommodating to the more conservative strain of the Democratic party and the American voters will he also do little more for these desperate veterans than the other two candidates would.

Of course if McCain and Hillary keep attacking Obama in the relentless way they have maybe his chances of election will fade. This may also come true with the help of the Media who seem to favor John McCain and on a daily basis do whatever they can to sell McCain to the American people.

also see:The Firewall: Obama Wins NC primary by Michael Carmichael may 6, 2008

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