Think I'm kidding?
As Robert Dreyfuss says, "The president is trying to cobble together, brick by brick, an Iraqi government that is able and willing to do what al Maliki's can't or won't do: break the back of Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army and redouble the offensive against the Sunni-led Iraqi resistance." ("Bush v. The Two Majorities" Robert Dreyfuss; uruknet.info)
So, now Bush figures that he's doing so well against the Sunni resistance that he's ready to take on the biggest Shiite militia in Iraq?
Makes sense, doesn't it?
After all, if you're already getting clobbered why not speed it up and get it over with fast.
This is mind-boggling!
Muqtada al-Sadr is the most powerful man in the country, the de-facto sovereign of Iraq. He oversees the 60,000 man Mahdi Army which currently poses no threat to US forces. If Bush turns on him, the occupation will become virtually untenable overnight. Al Sadr's men have infiltrated every area of the state security apparatus including the police force, the Interior Ministry and the fledgling Iraqi Army. He's capable of cutting off US supply lines to Baghdad, disrupting oil production, and coordinating attacks on the Green Zone.
Fighting al-Sadr is a "no-win" situation and anyone with any sense would steer clear of it.
So, why does Bush want to rouse this sleeping giant when his hands are already full?
He doesn't like al-Sadr?
What difference does it make if Bush doesn't like him? That's just gibberish. Franklin Roosevelt didn't like Stalin, but he didn't open up a two-front war to prove his point? This type of thinking is foolish and counterproductive especially when we're already embroiled in an "unwinnable" asymmetrical conflict.
It just shows, once again, that Bush is not a person that we can take seriously.
There are also reports that Bush is fine-tuning a plan to remove Prime Minister al-Maliki and replace him with an "iron-fisted" tyrant who'll go after the death squads which have turned Baghdad into an anarchic slaughterhouse.
This is another whacky idea. Al-Maliki has no power other than his connections to the armed militias. He doesn't control US forces and he's certainly not going to attack his own power-base; that's expecting too much of him.
The US already undermined what little authority al-Maliki had by forcing him to meet with Bush in Jordan. That triggered a "walk-out" of al-Sadr loyalists, al-Maliki's main body of support. Now the Prime Minister has been reduced to a meaningless figurehead who neither controls the Defense or Interior Ministries. He has no army, no militia, and no power.
What does Bush expect him to do? Or is this just another farcical kabuki the Bush public relations team concocted to shift the blame onto someone else?
If Bush chooses to replace him; so be it. It won't make a bit of difference? (except to remove the pretense of "Democracy")
The outcome of the present conflict will not be affected by Bush's throwaway stooges who govern nothing beyond the block-walls of the Green Zone. Even the American people know that.
The rumors in the Times suggest that Bush is snuggling up to his new throat-slitting buddy who runs the Iranian-trained, death squads, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim. Al-Hakim is the slipperiest guy in all of Baghdad and oversees the most feared militia in Iraq, the Badr Brigade. You've probably seen their handiwork in the form of the mutilated young Sunnis bobbing along the Euphrates after being tortured and shot gangland-style in the back of the head.
That's our new soul-mate, al Hakim. Sounds like Bush's kind-a guy.
In fact, Bush refers to him as "His Eminence" (I kid you not) and gave him the "red carpet" treatment when he paid a visit to the White House last week.
Does Bush really think he can out maneuver this guy? You can't put-one-over on a thug like al Hakim. Guys like al-Hakim invented treachery, Bush is just a novice. He'll use Bush until all of his enemies are removed and then he'll start to work on the occupation. Anyone can see that.
Or is there someone who believes that an Iranian-backed cleric who runs a 10,000 man death squad, really wants to serve the greater regional interests of the United States of America?
As soon as the Sunni resistance and his arch-rival al-Sadr are pulverized, al-Hakim will make his move. He's probably sharpening his daggers already.
Death Squad Diplomacy
The tragic irony of the of current turmoil in Iraq is that many of the death squads, which operate out of the Interior Ministry, received financial and material aid from US intelligence agencies. In A.K. Gupta's article "Unraveling Iraq's Secret Militias" (Z Magazine) the author states:
"Not only are many of these militias linked to Iraqi politicians, but the Pentagon is arming, training, and funding them for use in counter-insurgency operations."
Gupta's story has been corroborated by numerous other sources that have provided the sordid details of US plans to invoke the "Salvador option" in Iraq, that is, use the same strategy of terrorizing the public as was used in El Salvador in the 1980s. Somewhere along the line, the plan ran amok and the "nearly autonomous" militias began carrying out massive ethnic cleansing and serial-killing operations.
In other words, the Pentagon and US intelligence services, in their eagerness to fight this "new kind of war", created a Frankenstein which they can no longer control and which is destroying the very fabric of Iraqi society.
Again, we see the tragic blowback from reckless decision-making which has produced lethal unintended consequences.
The Bush-Rumsfeld counterinsurgency strategy has been a complete flop. It has ignited a cycle of violence which will persist for years and created the very real prospect that the Iraqi bloodstorm will cross borders and sweep through the entire region.
America's puppets throughout the Middle East are now gazing on nervously as Bush's poor judgment continues to destabilize the country and fuel the growing mayhem.
The basic problem is that Bush listens to no one. He appears to be the last man in America who still clings to the spurious notion that "victory" is achievable.
He has totally ignored the results of the midterm elections as well as the Baker report, and is steaming full-speed ahead with his own plan to increase troop levels and recapture Baghdad.
Hip Hooray! Victory is just around the corner!
Only 4% of the American people want to pursue a "stay the course" strategy, but Bush doesn't care. He's surrounded himself with militarists and neocons who only reiterate the same crackpot theory that was first put forward in a policy paper (written by neocons) for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; "A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm". The plan is nothing but a madcap prescription for transforming the entire Middle into a balkanized hodge-podge of warring factions, armed militias and Islamic extremists killing each other well into the next millennia.
The pro-Israel hawks in Bush's entourage love the idea, but the "sane" elders in the political establishment (like Baker) know that its sheer lunacy.
Who, in their "right mind", would deliberately topple regimes and destabilize an entire region believing that they would eventually come out on top of the heap.
The plan is little more than the fanciful musings of a high-school sophomore.
Still, according to an article in yesterday's New York Times, Bush is still following the same suicidal scheme. It says, "The Bush administration is working to form a coalition of Sunni Arab nations and a moderate Shiite government in Iraq, along with the US and Europe, to stand against 'Iran, Syria and the terrorists,' another senior administration official said Tuesday." (Helene Cooper, NY Times)
"Stand against Iran, Syria and the terrorists"?
This isn't the Baker plan, or the Congress' plan, or the plan the American people demanded in the midterm elections. Those have all been tossed on the scrap-heap. This is the neocon plan; "A Clean Break"; articulated almost word for word from the original document.
Bush hasn't changed a thing! He is still carrying out an agenda that runs contrary to the will of the American people as well as his father's most trusted advisors. He's following a strategy that was clearly intended to establish Israeli regional hegemony.
Baghdad, Bloody Baghdad
What does Bush hope to accomplish re-fighting the same battles over and over again?
Over 90% of the Iraqis want the US out now. 63% believe that it is acceptable to kill American soldiers.
How does he expect to change these figures and win over the "hearts and minds" of working class Iraqis?
Increasing the number of troops won't change anything. In fact, the numbers have gotten increasingly worse with every new survey.
So, what's the plan; surround the entire country with concertina wire and gun-towers and pick off anything that moves?
The Gaza-model? Is that the plan?
Gimmie a break!
They hate us. We're a Christian army in a Muslim land and we'll never be accepted. Period. Bush's father's friends knew that. That's why they were against it from the beginning. They knew that we would never establish security. They knew that we would always be "occupiers" in a hostile land.
So, why can't Bush see what everyone else sees?
650,000 Iraqis have already died in this ego-driven fiasco. 2 million people have fled the country, and over 1 million have been internally displaced. 70% unemployment, massive malnutrition, unreliable electric power, and an absolute security-vacuum from Mosul to Basra, from Baghdad to Falluja.
Enough is enough!
Martial law is not liberation. Military occupation is not "democracy".
Enter James Baker
Bush is making a big mistake if he thinks he can just brush-off Baker like the antiwar crowd. Baker speaks for a broad cross-section of establishment elites and corporate big-wigs. These are not the kind of guys who like to be ignored. My guess, is that they've seen enough of this bullsh**. If Bush goes ahead with this insanity of increasing the number of troops in Baghdad and further damaging their "beloved military", they're going to start figuring out a way to get rid of him.
The Middle East has been America's "Cash Cow" for 60 years. Baker and Co. have played a big part in carefully assembling the requisite cogs and gears that make it a smooth-running imperial machine. They have no intention of standing bye while Genralissimo Bush pours gas over the whole region and sets it on fire.
They can't let that happen and they won't let that happen.
If Bush persists, the money will start funneling into the Democratic coffers and we'll see impeachment proceedings within 3 months.
President Buffoon is about to have his last lark in the Middle East. I hope he enjoys himself.
Then, it's off to history's dustbin.