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19 May 2007

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W. Patrick Lang

2/505th PIR

An old friend of mine, Bill Harris, was S-3 of 505th PIR in the big one.

Well, you know as well as I that the casualties as statistics are in no way comparable. Neither are the scale of the combats except for a couple like Fallujah 2. But, as my dear old dad used to say, you are just as dead if you are killed on a patrol as if you had been at Gettysburg.

Its true that people have gotten remarkably soft. all this talk about this "wipe out" of a small outpost being a "kidnapping" is indicative of the zeitgeist.

The truth is that casualty sensitivty on a scale that rivals that of the Israeilis means that if Petraeus can't make a plausible case in September for having achieved increased security, then it will be "finito la musica" for this one. pl

MK

Im not so sure it is just casualty sensitivity that is the problem. I think it is the obvious corruption involved in the whole process, how its blatantly clear that this was not a "just" war but a war for the benefit of Haliburton, that has undermined this effort.

michael savoca

In response to 2/505th PIR.
You make excellent points, but,

The issue is neither the relative nor absolute loss of life nor treasure that makes this war a lost cause. I understand that there was far more awesome loss of life during our civil war, more than 51,000 men at Gettysburg alone during 3 days of fighting in July of 1863.

Quite simply what turns my stomach against this war are the lies.

Who would have been so bold as to bet that 6 years after 9-11 that the enemy who attacked us, Bin Laden and Al Al qaeda, would remain functional, and at large.

The president said we were going to get Bin Laden and al qaeda. But in fact, forces were diverted from the battlefield in Afghanistan where we had our enemy cornered, and a new war, a war of choice, was begun in Iraq and the truth of this fact is attested by General Franks, who lead our forces to Baghdad, and Senator Bob Graham who was chair of the senate armed services committee.

http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/09/08/graham/index.html?pn=3

The President said that they attacked us because we are free. But that was a lie. There are many counties where citizens are free throughout northern Europe, and they were not attacked. We were attacked because we support Israeli supremacy over Palestinians and we station U.S. forces as occupiers in Muslim Holy land of Mecca. Maybe we are right to do so, or maybe we are not. But why lie about it?

President G.W. Bush said we were there to rid Iraq of WMD but that was a lie. UN inspectors including a US Marine, Scott Ritter, and the President of the UN inspectors, Hans Blix told us, up until the day we attacked that there was no evidence of WMD in Iraq

http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/6/3508

Ahmed Abdel Hadi Chalabi was the liar in Chief that President Bush and the Office of special plans, lead by Douglas Feith, chose to” believe” above significant evidence from DOD and CIA that Saddam had no WMD. Of course Chalabi was a known liar and opportunist and under indictment for bank fraud in Jordan, but no matter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Special_Plans

On June 28th, 2005 at Fort Bragg the President said, “As the Iraqis stand up we will stand down” so that “Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies and secure its freedom." But that was a lie. Iraq wasn’t fighting an enemy. Iraq was fighting a civil war. The vast majorioty of the violence in Iraq was not due to Al Qaeda or it’s “subcontractors”…who were not there before we invaded. According to the national defense intelligence estimate most of the violence in Iraq was between Sunni and Shia.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/02/02/AR2007020200685_pf.html

President G.W. Bush didn’t want to take the side of the Shia because he feared that would strengthen Iran. The President didn’t want to take the side of the Sunnis because Al Qaeda is a Sunni organization, and the elites of the Baath party were Sunni.

It is a mess. There is nothing to win, there is no one to defeat. There is no victory to be had. It is an illusion. There are no good solutions to this problem only bad solutions and worse solutions. The more we destabilize the region the more likely that Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be drawn into a war with factions within Iraq.


We are risking the destabilization of Pakistan and President Mushariff, a friend in a Muslim country that possesses nuclear weapons. We risk inflaming the state of Indonesia, an ally, and the most populous Muslim nation in the world, and a republic at that.

It is time to get out. We are doing nothing but harm. I believe it is true that when we leave there will be a blood bath. When ever we leave, now or 5 years from now. EXCEPT, if we are willing to admit our mistakes and work to forge a deal where the neighboring counties to enter and take control…Jordan Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, with help from China and Russia, then maybe we can avoid the conflagration.

But for that to happen the “decider” “commander guy” would have to admit error and you know that ain’t gonna happen.

The issue isn’t whether the war is worth one life or one thousand lives…100 billion a year or more. The issue is that this was an illegal war of choice that accomplishes nothing in the way of national defense nor defense of the Iraqi people who by reasonable counts have lost more than half a million lives…even thought Bush said 30 thousand…another lie!!!

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/10/11/iraq.deaths/

dalton jones

Comparative analyses of casualty rates is a fools game. First, this war lacks legitimacy. There is no reason for soldiers' lives to be wasted over there. Thus, every death is illegitimate. Second, modern medicine has reduced the morality rates considerably. Thank God. Third, there is a learning curve for the public. We've seen this act before. We know how it ends. We don't need another sad monument to the senselessly wasted lives lost half way across the world. The people don't lack the moral fiber to fight a just war; our leadership lacks a just war to test our moral fiber. Big difference.

James Pratt

I can understand how a serving officer would feel frustration at the public's disillusionment with the mission, belief in the mission is an essential part of obedience to the chain of command. The only fit reply is that the voters are the boss of the officer's boss.
The people have seen a long and large civil war in Iraq, not a small unpopular insurgency. They have seen censorship and propaganda in Iraq instead of freedom of speeech. They have seen allowed dissent to the Green Zone government confined to street demonstrations, while media outlets and political offices are closed, by force.
They have seen their taxes go to slipshod building projects and outright fraud. They have seen Iraqi elections dominated by the well funded agents of Iran and America.
They have seen politics in this country manipulated by
fear hype of WMD and the
big mouth with a little stick, al Qaeda.
For an update on how the Iraq War has revived the latter see Greg Owens' article in today's (May 20) Los Angeles Times.

Cold War Zoomie

2/505 PIR,

I think we would rise to the occasion if another WWII came along. Even back then with a mobilized country the government was still running all sorts of campaigns to get folks signing up and sacrificing at home for the cause. This time we were told to continue shopping and slap a yellow ribbon on whatever hunk of metal is sitting in the driveway.

We may be a bit softer today in some ways. But more importantly I don't think the majority of Americans see a cause in Iraq to sacrifice for, especially since the sillyvillian leadership hasn't asked for any and all their most pressing reasons of self-defense have proved false.

If my memory serves me right, even Korea didn't really get a lot of public support. And that was only five years after WWII ended when we supposedly weren't so "soft."

PrahaPartizan

Why should we expect any different results than the French achieved in Indo-China 1951 to 1953 when we're using the same tactics? All Petraeus's tactics are intended to do is continiue the $150 billion per year gravy train for a select group of contractors and their cronies inside government. May they all remember what happened to Anastasio Somoza after he fled Nicaragua.

blowback

Colonel

I just came across this report from the usually very reliable Patrick Cockburn that during peace negotiations, the US military tried to kill or kidnap Muqtada al-Sadr. If true, and the attempt had been successful, I suspect that the consequences would have been disasterous for Iraq and fairly lethal for the US Army. Finally, I can't imagine who's hand was behind this.

Peripherl1

As far as press "complicity" goes, it may also be that the reporters admire the soldiers and Marines they are covering and thus,at some inexplicit level,want to be supportive.

jamzo

i think casualty sensitivity will take hold
over the next few months, the media will be unable to ignore this story much longer and once they focus on it, casualties will become a compleeing part of the iraq narrative

but

npr lead with a story this morning about the a "lilly pad" base strategy for the middle east with 30,000 us troops in an enclave in iraw training iraqi forces for next decade

John B

If we had never fought in Korea I can not imagine things would be much worse than they are now and probably better (both in the US and Korea).

If we had never fought in Vietnam I can not imagine things would be much worse than they are now and probably better (both in the US and Vietnam).

No wonder I think if we pull out of Iraq things will not get much worse and could improve. Unfortunately, there is going to be a lot of killing because we have created hell on earth. I agree with the above we should attempt to get some other countries in to fill the void but the idiot prince is incapable of such thinking.

kspena

.....An Iraqi civilian who works at the base said he saw about 16 damaged helicopters, some of them set on fire by the attack. The worker spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

frimble

Willful ignorance is complicity. How much effort does it take to pick up the phone and ask? PL isn't the only export on this subject: there are 10 of thousands of men and women across the globe who are experts on military matters who are not currently working for the US military. How hard is it to find them? How many of them have blogs, names, and are in the white pages? How many of them are university faculty?

Chomsky may be on the opposite end of the political spectrum from our host here - but it would be foolish to simply ignore his analysis of media behavior, particularly after the last ten years, as much as Chomsky would be mistaken to ignore experts on military matters from different political viewpoints.

johnf

>Finally, I can't imagine who's hand was behind this.

Dick Cheney? Shurely not. Dead-eyed Dick always gets his man.

ked

"journalists" are predisposed by management policy to call upon contracted experts. how does bathwater mix w/ koolaid?

Michael Murry

Take heart, fellow Crimestoppers. As George Orwell said in two of his famous examples of fantastic mixed metaphors: "The fascist octopus has sung it swan song," and "The jackboot has been flung into the melting pot." Well, not quite yet, perhaps, but real soon now (in only a couple of more "critical next six month" Friedman Units) the tipping point will surely turn the corner and begin connecting the dots on the ink-stained flypaper dominoes in the tunnel at the end of the light.

No one can talk as irrelevantly and stupidly as our government and military do -- with the generous and complicit assistance of concentrated corporate media -- by mistake or accident. That kind of sustained subversion of language as a critical thinking tool can only happen on purpose. I prefer to call our contemporary Orwellian Newspeak "Manufactured Mendacity" and "Managed Mystification," since these terms seem to me more accurately reflective of the general propaganda issues involved. (See the excellent PBS Frontline program "The Persuaders" for explanation of how all the "lizard language" works -- by the awful, focus-grouped word-magicians themselves.)

As Alfred Korzybki said long before Phillip K. Dick paraphrased his essential insight: "We are a symbol using class of life, and those who rule the symbols rule us." Or, as my brother the high school English and history teacher tells his students: "You can either actively interpret linguistic symbols or passively submit to their subliminal stimulation." Or, as I learned to say during six years of penurious indentured servitude in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club (i.e, the U.S. Navy): "We will either learn for our own purposes or other people will train us for theirs."

I never succeeded in training the Vietnamese to fight and die for the obscure (even to me) purposes of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger; and I do not believe that other American servicemen today will prove any more successful in training the Iraqis and Afghans to fight and die for the even more opaque -- if not desperately incoherent -- purposes of Sheriff Dick Cheney and Deputy Dubya Bush. When the purposes of trainer and trainee do not converge, nothing but sullen, coerced indoctination -- at best -- can occur. Until America withdraws its military forces (overt and "clansdestine") from the territories and airspaces of Iraq and Afghanistan, no American will ever walk the streets of those countries alone and unmenaced by the ungrateful recipients of our unsolicited "training."

olo

I vote for complicit.
After years of the same crap media coverage, ignorance is off the table.
murdoch must go to Nuremburg with the rest of bushco.

b

Hersh interviewed on CNN about Fatah al-Islam:

Where are they getting the money and where are they getting the arms?

SEYMOUR HERSH: The key player is the Saudis. What I was writing about was sort of a private agreement that was made between the White House, we're talking about Richard -- Dick -- Cheney and Elliott Abrams, one of the key aides in the White House, with Bandar. And the idea was to get support, covert support from the Saudis, to support various hard-line jihadists, Sunni groups, particularly in Lebanon, who would be seen in case of an actual confrontation with Hezbollah -- the Shia group in the southern Lebanon would be seen as an asset, as simple as that.

GORANI: The Senora government, in order to counter the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon would be covertly according to your reporting funding groups like Fatah al-Islam that they're having issues with right now?

HERSH: Unintended consequences once again, yes.
...

Connecticut Man1

I believe that the reporters are a bit of both. Call it "cognizant ignorance"... Can't bite the hand that feeds them all of these junk stories in a bush world.

Biff Spaceman

Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program that involved at least 479 journalists in what was basically a psy-ops program.
Jack Welch is said to have wondered what was the use in owning GE subsidiary NBC if you couldn't use it to advance the interests of its corporate family members?

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