The Iraq War: was there even a decision? "Perhaps most revealing ... is what is missing--any indication whatsoever from the declassified record to date that top Bush administration officials seriously considered an alternative to war. In contrast there is an extensive record of efforts to energize military planning, revise existing contingency plans, and create a new, streamlined war plan." The National Security Archive
at George Washington University has released a set of documents from the US and British archives related to the Iraq war: Part I
, Part II
, Part III
Political scientist Russell Burgos
(who served in Iraq):
... there is indeed a kind of inevitability about the confrontation, but it was an inevitability created by domestic politics rather than 9/11. In my estimation, the origins of the "path to war" are found in the Republican Revolution of 1994; I will suggest that from 1996 to 2000, Iraq policy was not about Iraq - it was about an increasingly strident partisan attack on President Bill Clinton in which "Iraq" was not a subject of deliberate policy but was a synecdoche for "Clinton's failure."
Historian Robert Jervis
also comments. Via H-DIPLO
In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, PBS' Frontline
presented a fantastic 2- part special on the issue this past Monday and Tuesday. It is now available in it's entirety online along with interview transcripts from senior officials, a video timeline of the war, and battlefield stories from soldiers. Bush's War
Obscene anti-Bush folk song.
Direct link to very NSFW mp3. Funny? Probably depends on your politics. Another song from Eric Schwartz
, discussed previously
. This isn't Erik Schwartz the suburbanhomeboy
, matzah! rap guy, by the way.
Bush and Blair slated by Pinter
George W Bush and Tony Blair must be held to account for feeding the public "a vast tapestry of lies" about the Iraq war, writer Harold Pinter said.
[Postroad: but then, what do artists know about politics?]
A distinction between “old” and “new” wars is vital. “Old wars” are wars between states where the aim is the military capture of territory and the decisive encounter is battle between armed forces. “New wars”, in contrast, take place in the context of failing states. They are wars fought by networks of state and non-state actors, where battles are rare and violence is directed mainly against civilians, and which are characterised by a new type of political economy that combines extremist politics and criminality... I argue in this article that the United States viewed its invasion of Iraq as an updated version of “old war” that made use of new technology. The US failure to understand the reality on the ground in Iraq and the tendency to impose its own view of what war should be like is immensely dangerous and carries the risk of being self-perpetuating. It does not have to be this way. Iraq: the wrong war
- Mary Kaldor writes of what was happening in pre-invasion Iraq, what happened thereafter and what the alternatives were. Well, there is always Exit strategy: Civil war.
And on that, note this: Kurdish Officials Sanction Abductions in Kirkuk
--a city from which, I am afraid, we will hear more and more as time goes by.
from the Belgian Front.
The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop."
Delightful Moore (to those who like what he does), and a few links to backup his reasoning for those who don't.
Sleeping with the president is not a good idea.
Bush had no answers to big questions, such as 'what happens on the morning after.' The Daily Telegraph reports that documents show Prime Minister Tony Blair signed up to the U.S. policy of regime change in March 2002, a year before the conflict started... after he was warned that postwar stability would be difficult and the U.S. had few answers. Oh, no problem. This week, Bush said he is 'pleased with the progress' in Iraq.'
The Scandal's Growing Stain
Time Magazine: "Abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq shock the world and roil the Bush Administration. the inside story of what went wrong—and who's to blame"
Dear President Bush, I'm sure you'll be having a nice little tea party with your fellow war criminal, Tony Blair. Please wash the cucumber sandwiches down with a glass of blood, with my compliments.
Harold Pinter, Playwright.
Some caustic open letters in The Guardian for the big state visit.
Stumbling Into War
by James P. Rubin, From Foreign Affairs
, September/October 2003
Why did most of the world abandon Washington when it went after Saddam Hussein? The war in Iraq could never have been an easy sell, but nor should it have been such a difficult one. The Bush administration badly botched the prewar maneuvering, presenting a textbook study in how not to wage a diplomatic campaign.
GOP Warns TV Stations Not to Air Ad Alleging Bush Mislead the Nation Over Iraq
They claim that the ad itself
is dishonest, and cite the obligation of broadcast outlets to be free of misleading information. “Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.”
Despite the implicit threats, only one station has refused to run the ad, a Fox station.
Remember the outrage of the US Govt. as the Iraqi's paraded POWs before television cameras - a pretty clear-cut breach of the Geneva Convention?
It appears the US Govt. isn't so concerned about what behaviour breaches the convention, anymore.
"The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat [near Baghdad airport.] All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down."
is a powerful Flash video about the war. "Doctor Bushlove"
is darkly comic. Both are by Eric Blumrich
, and are well-crafted but quite graphic. And in the interests of fairness, Blumrich has given equal time
to his critics. [Via BuzzFlash
Operation: Cover George's butt?
As the backpeddling and fingerpointing
over "cakewalk" predictions continues, Talking Points Memo notes a recent article
in the Charlotte Observer that quotes "senior administration officials" in saying that "dissenting views [about the war plan]' were not fully or energetically communicated to the president.'" Sounds like someones taking out an insurance policy, don't it?
"Journalists" vs. The White House
- MSNBC's Tom Curry reports on the Bush administration's frustration with the war coverage. Rumsfeld: “Fortunately... the American people have a very good center of gravity and can absorb and balance what they see and hear.”
Is the currency that oil is denominated in the real reason for the Iraq War?
"The Federal Reserve's greatest nightmare is that OPEC will switch its international transactions from a dollar standard to a euro standard. Iraq actually made this switch in Nov. 2000 (when the euro was worth around 80 cents), and has actually made off like a bandit considering the dollar's steady depreciation against the euro. (Note: the dollar declined 17% against the euro in 2002.)"
War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess
There is still a good chance we can avoid war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein has never won a war, and his military forces surely foresee their own destruction. Numerous assassination attempts by them (some involving the Republican Guard) have failed. They are likely trying again, even now. Therein lies our best hope.
What if they fail again? Then invasion by the U.S. is inevitable.
An Open Letter to Congress
from the editors of The Nation. All the makings of a final plea.
Here's a transcript of the president's speech
to the UN General Assembly this morning, for those who missed it. The White House has also provided a 21 page document
[pdf link] detailing Iraq's history of defiance and disorder over the past decade.
U.S. Stops Iraq-Al Qaeda Talk
From the Washington Post. Beyond the superficial significance of administration back-tracking, in regards to intelligence there seems to be two key aspects to this story: 1) The article talks about how the CIA was unable to "validate two prominent allegations made by high-ranking administration officials," implying that Bush/Cheney/etc. have been making baseless assumptions about Iraq in their pro-war arguments, and 2) it brings into question whether we know anything at all about Iraq, anyway. What if the same can be said of Hussein's nuclear plans?
Administration Says It Can Attack Iraq without Congressional Approval
Not a new story, per se, but this Post article lays out pretty well the arguments behind the administration's case, one being simply Bush's role as commander-in-chief. It's strange how closely this issue reflects earlier attempts by the administration to avoid Congressional and/or public scrutiny (Cheney's Enron meetings, for example). Why this aversion, and why fight so hard? And I have a sneaking fear that Bush will seek Congressional approval only after invading, and he will bully votes by claiming that reps have a patriotic duty to support a president in a time of war.