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28 March 2007

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JfM

Spot on, Pat…spot on. One must truly wonder why General McCaffery’s apparent epiphany comes so late. Yeah, he is smart and certainly well-spoken. But his is also rather breathtakingly arrogant maintaining his wrong conviction way over its expiration date. However his conversion is not without public cost, for much of the public’s acceptance for too long of this despicable adventure was sustained by his and other identified ‘military expert’s’ assurances that all was improving and would simply take continued sacrifice and more time to bear fruit. He lent his sizable warrior reputation to bolstering the Administration’s insipid struggle for public tolerance. McCaffery and other similar men of iron sustained Bush’s anemic effort for too long. His is not just the mundane change of opinion by a twenty-something, attractive, self anointed regional expert cum journalist cum TVchat-meister. No, he has a deeper culpability of being identified forever with the wrong side because of his former (now squandered ) credibility. Frankly, I don’t get a damn what he has to say hereafter.

VietnamVet

Colonel,
When General McCaffery flips, punditry has changed. When Congress flips, the world has changed. Congressional Republicans allowed the 2008 Iraq pull out date legislation to pass, no filibuster. They have cut the cord. The President is flopping in the wind, venom dripping from his lips, as he vetoes the Iraq War funding bill. The USA is going to withdraw out of Iraq. He is a Loser.

With the bursting of the housing bubble and with the defeat in Iraq certain, the real question is can the USA afford to allow the incompetent leadership to last for two more years? Hold on to your seats.

piersy

Sad though that he had to retire before his Damascene road moment.

It would be encouraging to see serving top brass hold their real views and concern for their men ahead of career concerns.

lina

I don't think McCaffrey has been in complete denial like most of the retired military cheering section for this ridiculous war. (He's been in modified, middle earth denial.) See his op-ed in the Post last Dec:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/12/AR2006121201392.html

But somebody should get a clue that wrecking a country and leaving people without electricity, water, medical services and all the other civil society stuff they had before, is not conducive to standing up a democratic government. Maybe they could spend an hour or two on that at West Point. HELLO.

Stan Henning

Have you noticed now that, when you first see a doctor, they take all your vital signs and then ask if you feel depressed? I feel like answering yes, because the first thing that comes to mind when I hear this is my dismay at what has been done to my country by the incredible level of ignorance, incompetence and downright negligence permeating our civil and military leadership. Sure, politicians who take office come with a lot of flaky baggage, but are not those in our established government institutions supposed to provide a sanity check on spaced out clowns in wonderland? I know, those who do will likely be fired. But then, shouldn't our schools focus more seriously on our sociopolitical system and the issues and ideals we seek to uphold as good citizens beyond merely voting and then being left to, or merely choosing to, grit our teeth and wring our hands in utter despair?

zanzibar

Finally, McCaffery recognizes the reality.

What was priceless was Wolf Blitzer's show on CNN yesterday. He had McCain stating that the "surge" was working well and there are areas in Baghdad safe enough for a walk and that Gen. Petraeus rides around in an unarmed humvee. Wolf followed that with CNN correspondent Michael Ware in Iraq who reported that McCain's statement was absurd and that no westerner can walk around unmolested. And that Gen Petraeus has multiple layers of armored protection from helicopters to drones and surrounded by heavily armed vehicles.

Just shows how out of touch or intentionally misleading our "leaders" are!! The only good news is that at least some in the corporate media are doing some fact checking and calling bullshit now after all the cheerleading they have done over the past 4 years.

W. Patrick Lang

All

In the same vein, Kira Phillips' interview with Admiral Fallon a couple of days ago was discouraging. She used to seem a big "war person" herself but reality has apparently mugged her.

Fallon was doing well until he told her that there is not civil war in Iraq just a few nasty people. She responded by asking him why, if that were so, that she hears mortar rounds bursting in the Green Zone every morning as well as the thunder of car bombs around the city. He said that were a few little things like that, but that in general things are looking good.

This reminds me of the trip that Mit Romney's father made to Vietnam during the war. He returned to say that all was going well and then, when he sobered up (from too much sugar probably) said that he had been brain washed or snow jobbed or some such.

Look for Fallon to recant after a bit. pl

Will

This man is highly intelligent and skilled=/ It took him all this time to figure out the god-awful mess that US policy has made of Iraq and the Middle East

does not equal sign
This guy is no General Odum or Zinni. Souonds like a slow learner to me.

john in the boro

We may not be witnessing the reality of Bush’s policies mugging true believers and other assorted riders. We may be witnessing the reality of political expediency mugging some of them—the smarter ones at least. After all, who wants to be the last pundit to shill for Bush? Certainly, McCaffery joins a growing body of “I used to support the war” advocates who now manifest the reality of that mugging. These folks have about two years to cleanse their reputations. A finger down the throat is not sufficient.

Sandy

Thank you, Colonel. Amen!

PSD

re McCaffery--I can't help but think of the expression "too little, too late," especially for the 3,000+ Americans who have sacrificed their lives, not to mention the 1000s and 1000s of Iraqis.

I guess his "getting religion" is better late than never tho'.

Burgette Mobley

Stan
I know exactly what you mean. Last night I watched a DVD called "Terrorstorm" and while I knew all of what was brought up, Northwoods, USS Liberty, Gladio and all the rest of it, I hadn't really thought about them for a while---it's just too depressing. But the thing that caught my attention was the part about Orwell's double think. The idea that you really know something but won't admit to that knowledge because it is just too awful to fully comprehend and if you admit to the truth you feel compelled to do something but in the end you are left wringing your hands and fretting. Not an effective way to spend your time. You feel helpless and sometimes hopeless.

Lina
I think they've got a clue already. I think that's why so many people won't allow themselves to even contemplate leaving Iraq. What is very likely going to follow is not a good thing to have on your conscience. I have been against this "little adventure" in nation building from the start, argued against every chance I got and I feel guilty about whats been done and whats going to happen when we leave.

Got A Watch

A late conversion forced by hard reality. Too bad this hasn't penetrated the dim recesses of the White House.

Meanshile, events in the ME continue to spin out of control:

This was apparently on Bloomberg's paid feed today:
"Saudi King Abdullah Says Iraq Occupation Illegal
2007-03-28 08:00 (New York)
By Tarek Al-Issawi and Glen Carey

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S.-led occupation of Iraq is ``illegal'' and the Arab states ``are more divided now'' than ever, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz al-Saud said today.

``In the beloved Iraq, there is blood-letting among brothers amid foreign occupation that is illegal and sectarian violence that threatens to lead to a civil war,'' Abdullah said during the opening session of the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh.

``We are farther away from unity today than we were when the Arab League was formed'' in 1945, Abdullah said.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up diplomatic efforts to contain the deteriorating security situation in neighboring Iraq and prevent the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslim Iraqis from extending into the kingdom."

And on the Iran file:

"Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border
27/ 03/ 2007

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. "

Or how about this one, apparently posted on Yahoo Forum, can't be verified:

"Operation Bite - April 6 Sneak Attack By US Forces On Iran Planned - Russian Military Sources Warn, General Ivashov Calls For Emergency Session Of UN Security Council To Ward Off Looming US Aggression By Webster G. Tarpley
3-25-7

WASHINGTON DC -- The long awaited US military attack on Iran is now on track for the first week of April, specifically for 4 AM on April 6, the Good Friday opening of Easter weekend, writes the well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov in the Moscow weekly "Argumenty Nedeli." Uglanov cites Russian military experts close to the Russian General Staff for his account.

The attack is slated to last for twelve hours, according to Uglanov, lasting from 4 AM until 4 PM local time. Friday is a holiday in Iran. In the course of the attack, code named Operation Bite, about 20 targets are marked for bombing; the list includes uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories.

The first reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant, where Russian engineers are working, is supposed to be spared from destruction. The US attack plan reportedly calls for the Iranian air defense system to be degraded, for numerous Iranian warships to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, and the for the most important headquarters of the Iranian armed forces to be wiped out.

The attacks will be mounted from a number of bases, including the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Diego Garcia is currently home to B-52 bombers equipped with standoff missiles. Also participating in the air strikes will be US naval aviation from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, as well as from those of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Additional cruise missiles will be fired from submarines in the Indian Ocean and off the coast of the Arabian peninsula. The goal is allegedly to set back Iran's nuclear program by several years, writes Uglanov, whose article was re-issued by RIA-Novosti in various languages, but apparently not English, several days ago. The story is the top item on numerous Italian and German blogs, but so far appears to have been ignored by US websites.

Observers comment that this dispatch represents a high-level orchestrated leak from the Kremlin, in effect a war warning, which draws on the formidable resources of the Russian intelligence services, and which deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness by pro-peace forces around the world.

Asked by RIA-Novosti to comment on the Uglanov report, retired Colonel General Leonid Ivashov confirmed its essential features in a March 21 interview: "I have no doubt that there will be an operation, or more precisely a violent action against Iran." Ivashov, who has reportedly served at various times as an informal advisor to Putin, is currently the Vice President of the Moscow Academy for Geopolitical Sciences. "

Add the calls from clueless hawks who want to stifle Seymour Hersh for "giving away the plan to the enemy".

Dark clouds are gathering.

F-One

To add to Got A Watch comment, I saw this morning in Washington Post the Saudi King had turned down a invitation from the White House to a gala in the King's honor. Also, Jordan's King has turned down a state visit scheduled in September.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/27/AR2007032701761_pf.html

The Middle East appears to be sending a message to the White House, question is, will they ever get clue?

Will

In the same vein as Got a Watch.

Jim Hoagland in the WashPost reports that Saudi Rex Abdullah has cancelled a tete a tete with Dumbya for April 17. I can't believe that the Arab Summit is still rehashing the "Right of Return."

They should simply adopt the Taba Agreement or the Geneva Initiative that the PLO and the Israelis had previously agreed to. You can't repeatedly replow old ground and expect to get somewhere. Interestingly, there is an Iranian observor at the Summit.

I"d like to see a right of the return for the Maronite Xtian villagers in the Chouf in Mount Lebanon. Then I"d like to see a War Crime Tribunal for GiGi and Jumblatt for ethnic cleansing.

India Times reports that UAE wants no part of Operation BITE. No thank you say the Sheiks to any operation against our Persian "brothers."

NOVOSTI

zanzibar

Got A Watch,

If the Russian intelligence is accurate and there is an attack on Iran there will be a shitstorm in the world. No excuse including the arrest of British sailors and marines by Iran would be acceptable to the majority in the world.

I wonder how the Dems presidential candidates like Hillary, Obama and Edwards will respond. After all they were paying homage at the AIPAC shrine recently calling for all options on the table. This could very well split the Democratic party and maybe an astute domestic political strategy by the Decider and Rove. They don't like the way Congress is exercising oversight and an international crisis is just what their doctor ordered.

Will

interesting tidbit
reprising the thread- the constituency that counts- the military electorate

"Conservative ideologues and business lobbyists, meanwhile, were appalled to see their domestic agendas upstaged by the Frankenstein monster of Iraq. [20] Even that ‘wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party’ (as columnist Rosa Brooks has called it), the military electorate, has begun to bolt the stable: Military Times polls show the percentage of soldiers identifying as Republicans declining from 60 per cent in 2004 to 46 per cent in late 2006. Only slightly more than one-third of GI's currently approve of Bush’s handling of the war."

Mike Davis

Clifford Kiracofe

Got a Watch: Per Iran, for those interested the original Russian article noted is at:
http://www.argumenti.ru/publications/3084

Novosti reporting on US Iran policy seems to vary between the English language selections and the French language selections.
French at:
http://fr.rian.ru/trend/attaque_Iran/
English at:
http://en.rian.ru/trend/strike/

The French language selections include the reporting on the AN article on 19 March and an interesting comment by General Ivashov on 21 March. Ivashov says the reason the US will strike Iran is because the Israel Lobby-AIPAC wants it to. ["Nous en avons tiré la conclusion que cette opération aurait bien lieu. Autrement dit, la communauté israélienne des Etats-Unis et la direction israélienne - représentée à cette conférence par la ministre des Affaires étrangères de l'Etat hébreu - ont formulé la directive d'attaquer l'Iran", a noté l'expert.]


MarcLord

Operation Bite, huh? I've been keeping tabs on the location of the USS Reagan, currently in Pusan. I figured it would need to be involved, but maybe it doesn't have to be, in a more limited decapitate-and-cripple attack.

So, back to the basics; our undefined goals, our invisible enemies. Smoke and mirrors. Iraq is first, Iran is next. The Cold War was so fun, we decided not to end it.

Russia and China will defend in depth, and let the US perform its final grinding over-extension into Iran. Then they will attack on exposed financial flanks. They'll probably own the US before this is done.

zanzibar

The Wall Street view of the situation with Iran:

Oil could hit $100

Will

the third carrier

le Generale Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (R91)

you just don't know about the French. It's a wonder the Israelis didn't bomb Syria. It comes out now that Chirac (along w/ Dumbya) was burning up the phone to Olmeret urging just that during the Summer or 2006. Still taking it personal about his friend Harriri.

Recently Olmeret testified before the Winograd Commission of Inquiry that he had planned the Summer War in March of 2006 if an abduction ocurred. So he had four months to prepare for the war or alternatively safeguard his troops from abduction. On the other hand, Nasrallah said he wouldn't have done the deed if it would have resulted in a full scale war.
prepared for war for four months

Clifford Kiracofe

Meanwhile, kinky Condi is out and about in the region. Says Rami Khouri, "It's hard to decide if this is a comedy or a horror show.

"The most galling thing about Rice's and Washington's approach is its fundamental dishonesty. The Bush administration spent its first six years avoiding any serious engagement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, or decisively siding with the Israelis on most key contested points, like refugees, security or settlements. Now, with little time left in her incumbency, President Bush on the ropes, his administration in tatters, America's army in trouble in Iraq, Washington's credibility shattered in the region and around the world, and the Middle East slipping into greater strife and dislocation, we are asked to believe that she will dedicate her remaining time in office to securing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Does she take us in the Arab world for idiots or robots? Or simply another generation of hapless Arabs with no options, and so must go along docilely with every American-Israeli initiative -- no matter how insulting, insincere or desperate it can be? This one smacks of all three."
http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=1222

Delusional military officers? Neocons favor the Alcibiades type. Delusional politicians? Neocons favor the Thrasymachus type. Take the Neocon author of the "Surge" plan, Frederick Kagan of AEI. His Neocon father, Donald Kagan, Yale professor is a specialist in Greek history and, naturally, the Peloponnesian War.

Matthew

Will: The Saudis are "rehashing" the Right to Return because some agreement, even if symbolic, on that issue will be reached when Final Status is decided. It is not so important that the Disapera return to Palestine; it is the acknowledgement that it was their home and that they really did live there. A symbolic return accomplishes that. One suspects that Israel would never agree to more than a few thousands returning Palestinians, many quite old. However, the healing effect of even such a small number is significant.

chimneyswift

I'm always fascinated by the content and timing of the reprorts from the Russian Intelligence, er, press services.

Peter Principle

Col Lang: "It took him all this time to figure out the god-awful mess that US policy has made of Iraq and the Middle East?"

I don't think so. The more interesting question is why is he changing his tune now? Petraeus envy?

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