Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

08.27 The Con Artistry of Charter Schools

08.24 How the US Helped ISIS Grow Into a Monster

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

08.28 If Not D.A.R.E., Then What?

08.28 Big power out, solar in: UBS urges investors to join renewables revolution

08.28 London to get hybrid buses that could charge wirelessly

08.28 Climate change mitigation a business opportunity for UK firms, Davey says

08.27 How Doctors See the Syrian Civil War

08.27 Obama Seeking Global Climate Accord in Lieu of a Treaty

08.27 Global warming is already here and could be irreversible, UN panel says

08.27 New coal power stations threat to EU’s emissions target

08.26 Hearings planned after call for nuke-plant closure

08.26 The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health

News Media

08.26 Why Rand Paul Is a Press Management Wizard

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

08.28 The Extreme Partisanship of John Roberts's Supreme Court

US Politics, Policy & Culture

08.28 'We're Like Animals To Them': An American City's Daily Racism

08.26 Cutting the Corporate Tax Would Make Other Problems Grow

08.26 Bullets and Ballots

08.25 Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up

08.25 The Effects of Chicago's Violence on Children: Best #Cityreads of the Week

08.24 Wilson supporters 'won't live in fear'

High Crimes?

08.24 Gaza highrises flattened by Israel

Economics, Crony Capitalism

08.26 Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-stakes Chess Match for Argentina

08.26 Tax Dodge Used by Bain Escapes Scrutiny on Inversions

08.26 Amazon at odds with Germany over strong union tradition

08.25 ROBOTS ABLE TO PICK PEPPERS, TEST SOIL, AND PRUNE PLANTS AIM TO REPLACE FARM WORKERS

08.25 Burger King the Latest to Jump on the Corporate Tax Inversion Bandwagon

08.25 The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information [14:22 video]

08.25 How the web lost its way – and its founding principles

International

08.28 Ukraine Sees Russian Invasion as Rebel Assaults Intensify

08.28 The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It

08.28 Dueling Jihadists: Is the Islamic State Beating Al-Qaida?

08.28 Forgotten in Iraq: Besieged City Faces Destruction by the Islamic State

08.28 Factory and Lab: Israel's War Business

08.27 U.S. Mobilizes Allies to Widen Assault on ISIS Militants

08.27 Pentagon: Isis has global aspirations

08.26 Cutting the Corporate Tax Would Make Other Problems Grow

08.26 The Problem With Bombing ISIS

08.26 UAE and Egypt behind bombing raids against Libyan militias, say US officials

08.26 Friends of Israel

08.25 France thrown into political turmoil after government dissolved

08.25 Libyan capital under Islamist control after Tripoli airport seized

08.25 US: no ransom paid for journalist freed in Syria

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Surge Protectors: Obama Embraces Bush-McCain Spin on Iraq
Newspaper logo

OBAMA EMBRACES NEOCON LOGIC: ILLEGAL ‘PREEMPTIVE’ WARS FOLLOWED BY NEVER-ENDING MILITARY OCCUPATIONS IS “THE BEST WAY” TO CATCH WIDELY-SCATTERED CRIMINALS

Surge Protectors: Obama Embraces Bush-McCain Spin on Iraq

by Chris Floyd
Friday, 05 September 2008
Obama continues to purge himself of any of that weak-sister "anti-war" taint that got attached to him in the early days of his campaign -- which was, of course, responsible for his phenomenal rise in the first place.

Barack Obama has now declared -- on Fox News, no less -- that George W. Bush's escalation of the flagrant war crime in Iraq has "succeeded beyond our wildest dreams." He also proclaimed his "absolute" belief in the "War on Terror," and pledged, once again, "never to take a military option off the table" (not even the nuclear option) against the "major threat" of Iran.

In short, he continued his relentless campaign to purge himself of any of that weak-sister "anti-war" taint that got attached to him in the early days of his campaign -- which was, of course, responsible for his phenomenal rise in the first place. He rode that wave to national prominence -- trading on the desperate hopes of millions of Americans that the ungodly criminal nightmare in Iraq might finally end -- but it was obvious long ago that he was never going to dance with the ones that brung him. Once it was clear that he might really make it all the way to the top of the greasy pole, he began a dogged campaign to prove to our ruling elite that he would be a "safe pair of hands" for the imperial enterprise.

We've seen this in, among other things, the shameful FISA vote, the bellicose threats to launch incursions into Pakistan (a policy which the Bush Administration is already implementing, with the usual deadly results for civilians), the ritual and repeated assertions of his willingness to attack Iran, and the foolhardy promise to shepherd Georgia's entry into NATO -- a mirror-image of Dick Cheney's stance, and a policy guaranteed to ratchet up tensions with Russia and quite possibly spark not only a new Cold War but a hot war of horrendous proportions if Georgia pulls its future NATO treaty partners into another conflict with Moscow.

But it is Obama's surrender on the Iraq War front -- or rather, the anti-Iraq War front -- that is most striking, and most disheartening. On the very night that John McCain was putting the "success" of the surge at the center of his campaign, Obama was openly, cravenly laying down one of his chief weapons at the feet of Bill O'Reilly. Obama's cheerleading for the surge -- "beyond our wildest dreams!" -- surpassed anything that McCain himself has claimed for the escalation.

Obama also emphasized the obscene and morally depraved position that has become the Democrat's standard line on Iraq: that the lazy, no-good Iraqis "still haven't taken responsibility" for running "their own country." The arrogance and inhumanity of this position is staggering, almost indescribable. The United States of America invaded Iraq, destroyed its society, slaughtered its citizens, drove millions from their homes, occupied the country and made itself the ultimate master and arbiter of the conquered land -- but still the Iraqis are condemned for "not taking responsibility for their own country."

Not a single Iraqi attacked America. Not one. America's action has killed more than a million Iraqis. But it is the Iraqis who are now "responsible."

Not only has Obama validated McCain's position on the surge, but his and the Democrats' stance on the Iraqis' "responsibility" also completely buys into the Bush Faction's lie that the "government" of Iraq -- installed at the point of foreign guns, with a "constitution" based upon the arbitrary directives of an occupying power -- is somehow legitimate. This stance too validates the "success" of the entire war: "Hey, they've got a legitimate government there now, so they need to take responsibility for their own country."

This bears repeating: the Democrats' position on Iraq fully accepts -- and even celebrates -- the Bush Administration's fundamental claims for the war. The war has established a legitimate, democratic government in Iraq, Bush and the Democrats both say. The "surge" has succeeded "beyond our wildest dreams" in "securing" Iraq, Bush and the Democrats both say. When "conditions on the ground" are right, America should withdraw its "combat troops" from Iraq, leaving behind an unspecified number of troops for training Iraqi security forces, conducting counterterrorism operations and providing security for other American personnel and reconstruction projects, Bush and the Democrats both say.

Where then is the actual difference -- the evidence for genuine "change" -- between these two positions? While the Democrats will occasionally assert that instigating the war was a "mistake" -- because we should have been fighting more wars elsewhere -- they steadfastly refuse to denounce it as an illegitimate and criminal action. And, as we have seen, they agree almost entirely with Bush on the results that the war has produced. The rhetoric is different, of course, and each side denounces the other in the usual partisan bickering -- but the fundamental agreement is undeniable.

And now Obama has made it explicit: a success "beyond our wildest dreams."

II.

But let's put the disturbing implications of Obama's stance aside for a moment, and deal with the facts of his statement. Is the surge really a "success"?

Well, yes, it is. The "surge" -- which in addition to an influx of troops included the ruthless ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, the walled ghettoization of vast swathes of the city, and the arming and funding of violent sectarian militias across the land -- certainly succeeded in extending the duration of the murder, suffering and chaos engendered by America's armed and belligerent presence in Iraq.

So it is indeed a great "success" ...  in the same way that, say, Albert Speer's miraculous efforts to keep the Nazi war machine going from 1943 to 1945 -- resulting in the deaths of millions of people, including the worst ravages of the Holocaust -- was a "success."

This is what Obama is celebrating when he lauds the "wild" success of the "surge": the extension and entrenchment of war he ostensibly opposes.

But is the surge a "success" on its own public terms, in the way that it is portrayed almost universally now in the media: a bold campaign that has brought peace and security to Iraq? Of course not. As Juan Cole points out below, the "surge" (and several other major factors unrelated to the U.S troop escalation, not least of which is Iran's intervention to tamp down Shiite insurgency and bolster the allies it shares with Bush in the Baghdad government) merely reduced the amount of violence in Iraq from that of an unspeakable hell on earth to the level of some of the very worst sectarian conflicts of the last century. As Cole noted a few days ago (see original for links):

AP reports that Baghdad is still very dangerous despite lowered death tolls from political violence:

"Small scale bombings and shootings persist in the capital — each a reminder that the war is not over and that Baghdad remains a place where no trip is routine and residents are still guided by precautions. Most won't drive at night. Many try to avoid heavily clogged streets, remembering that suicide bombers and other attackers intent on killing large numbers of civilians favor traffic jams or congested areas . . . [in August] at least 360 civilians were killed and more than 470 wounded in violence throughout the country, according to an Associated Press count."

That would be 4,320 civilians killed in political violence every year if the level stayed that low. (I take it this number excludes killed 'insurgents' and Iraqi security forces, so that actual number of war-related deaths would be much higher annually.)

It is estimated that 75,000 persons have died in the civil war in Sri Lanka since 1982, or 2800 a year.

Iraq is higher, just with regard to civilian casualties.

The Kashmir conflict is estimated to have killed 70,000 persons since 1988, or about 3500 a year.

Iraq is higher.

In the Lebanon Civil War of 1975-1990, it is estimated that at least 100,000 persons were killed, 75,000 civilians and 25,000 military.

If we extrapolated out Iraq's August death rate for civilians over 15 years, that would be 64,000 or not far from the toll in Lebanon's war.

Let me repeat: The level of violence at this moment in Iraq is similar to what prevailed on average during one of the 20th century's worst ethnic civil wars! It is still higher than the casualty rates in Sri Lanka and Kashmir, two of the worst ongoing conflicts in the world.

Only in an Orwellian society could our press declare the relative decline in monthly death tolls in Iraq to constitute "calm" in an absolute sense.

And that is if the August levels are taken as the baseline and if the numbers continue to be that low. If we averaged deaths during the previous 12 months, the baseline would be much higher.

The current Iraq Civil War is one of the world's most deadly continuing conflicts, worse than Sri Lanka and Kashmir and on a par with the 15-year long Lebanon Civil War!

This is the "success" that exceeds all dreams, according to the Democratic candidate for President of the United States -- the voice, you'll recall, of hope and change.

But there is no hope in Obama's stance on Iraq today, which does not differ in any fundamental way from that of George W. Bush or John McCain. And given the Democrats' agreement on every front with Republican positions -- on Iraq, Iran, Russia, the War on Terror, authoritarianism, offshore drilling, etc., etc., etc. -- there will be no change come November either.


photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on September 6, 2008.

 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland