Bush has been using the training of the Iraqi forces as justification for our continued occupation. But they were divided into militias from the start. The Sunni's immediately labeled them death squads. Indeed, reprisals against those in their population and against others elsewhere in Iraq who were actively opposed to the elections and the new authority, were carried out by Iraq's new, U.S. sponsored military forces before, throughout, and after the first election.
The U.S. backed reprisals were staged mostly in the Sunni communities. Now, months after the discovery of several secret prisons in Iraq where there was torture and abuse of detainees by Iraqi forces aligned with the new central authority, the Bush administration seems to finally be drawing the line. Are they really?
It's amazing that the Bush regime is just now learning of the militias that they have supported and encouraged, with our troops often muckraking right alongside of them. US Maj Gen Joseph Peterson, who is in charge of training the Iraqi police, told the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 16 that US forces had had found the first evidence of death squads within the interior ministry. The rest of the world knew about the death squads for months, and, so the Bush regime should have known as well. Intelligence Director Negroponte had his henchman James Steele train a unit of about 5000 troops called the 'Special Police Commandos'. He did the same type of thing during El Salvador's civil war, unleashing his U.S. sponsored death squads to do our dirty work while our leaders pretended to have clean hands. The citizens of Iraq, whose lives are turned upside down, know better. We are the merchants of these militia's misdeeds. The blame our occupation more than they blame each other.
"The fundamental problem in Iraq is one of sectarianism and ethnic conflict," Ambassador to Iraq Khalilzad said at a news conference Feb.19 . . . This polarization along ethnic and sectarian lines affects every aspect of what's going on. The various communities need to come together in a national compact and that can be achieved first through the establishment of a national unity government," he said.
Wonderful. After a couple of elections held already there, which were widely celebrated throughout the republican administration and by every conservative member of Congress as an affirmation of our own democratic principles right there in Iraq, there was no effort or intention by these cheerleaders to actually afford the new authority any of the independence and self-determination which is supposed to be inherent in a democracy.
The Iraqi leadership should make a visit to Saddam's jail cell before Bush has him executed and ask him about his regime's experience as a puppet of the U.S. government. He couldn't govern a country which was aligned against him so he resorted to torture and intimidation with his military. This new regime in Iraq, backed by our military, has had similar problems in uniting the country around their new central authority. They too, have resorted to torture and intimidation.
I don't think we should spend much time wondering if Bush will address reports like the one yesterday that has senior Iraqi officials confirming for the first time that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries. But, we already knew that. we know every thing before it starts with this bunch. It takes repeating over and over like the country has Alzheimers disease until something sticks. The paragraph that will be missing from Bush's speeches is the rundown of 'who and how' these units were trained and equipped. That's what I'd like to hear from the president. Come clean, Mr. Bush. Take responsibility so that we can bring our troops home.
The pretense of democracy that Bush brought to Iraq is nothing but a lottery with a dwindling jackpot - a trillion to one shot at a democratic nation emerging from our foreign invasion and occupation. Iraq policy is being driven by the Pentagon. Notice the way Bush always says the decisions are being made by the commanders on the ground? They get their orders from the OSD. Rumsfeld has his own new intelligence branch, his own special ops force, and the blanket authorization to wage whatever military meddling he can manage, without the congressional oversight that comes from regular appropriations. The money that funds his private army comes from classified appropriations which never get a public hearing.
The choice Bush offers for Iraqis is not freedom, democracy, or any of the other jingoisms he uses in his speeches to justify his barbaristic power grab. The choice today for Iraqis, offered up by their supreme dictator at the height of unrest after the bombing in Samarra, is between "chaos or unity".
You're either with us or against us. Your country or your life. "Bring it on"
Inviting attacks is just what Bush is doing as he keeps our soldiers mired in the Iraqi muck, defending his junta, playing army. It's odd to those of us who see the daily violence and chaos in Iraq to see Bush bragging on Iraq. However, manipulating and exploiting the disaster in Iraq is second nature now to this president whose most relevant importance is his ability to commit our soldiers to fight and die in his manufactured wars.
Three days, three speeches on Iraq from Bush . . . piling on enough military meddling to keep us yoked to repairing the damage there and elsewhere for countless generations to come.