Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

01.26 The Talking Cure

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

01.29 US Senate refuses to accept humanity's role in global climate change, again

01.29 White House unveils plan to open Atlantic waters to offshore oil drilling

01.29 The Sheldon Silver Medical Connection: None Dare Call It Health Care Corruption

01.28 When you wish upon a star: nuclear fusion and the promise of a brighter tomorrow

01.28 Global warming spells disaster for tropical Andes glaciers

01.28 Beijing smog makes city ‘unliveable’, says mayor

01.27 Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, study shows

01.27 Judith Rodin's warning for the world: 'Crisis is becoming the new normal'

01.27 Know What's Killing More People in Nigeria Than Boko Haram? Lack of Drinking Water

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

01.29 Joint Chiefs Warn Against Sequestration, Again

01.27 Koch brothers set $889m budget for 2016 presidential election

01.26 Senator to Hospitals: Stop Suing Poor Patients

01.26 GOP clown car runs into ditch

01.26 A Quiet Revolution in Helping Lift the Burden of Student Debt

01.25 The Tragedy of the American Military

01.25 Six ways the US is building a people-powered economy

01.25 The Republican abortion bill shows they still believe many women lie about rape

Justice Matters

01.26 The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists' emails are under surveillance

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

01.29 How More and More U.S. Corporate Profits Escape the Corporate Income Tax

01.27 Exclusive: politicians are supporting Comcast's TWC merger with letters ghostwritten by Comcast

01.27 Free Trade Faults: Europeans Fear Wave of Litigation from US Firms

01.27 Legalized Bribery

01.27 Tax Haven USA: The Vortex-Shaped Hole in Global Financial Transparency

01.27 Tax Haven USA: The Vortex-Shaped Hole in Global Financial Transparency

01.26 Obama Wants You to Have Cheap, Fast Internet, But Many Cities Aren’t Allowed to Provide It

01.26 Obama Wants You to Have Cheap, Fast Internet, But Many Cities Aren’t Allowed to Provide It

01.26 Mitt Romney Has a Koch Problem

01.26 How Bernie Sanders, In New Role, Could Make Wall Streeters Very, Very Unhappy

01.26 Where do the wealthiest 1% live?

International

01.29 Afghans live in peril among unexploded Nato bombs that litter countryside

01.29 Germans Are In Shock As New Greek Leader Starts With A Bang

01.29 Global Cyber Defense Demand Will Exceed Capability for Years To Come

01.29 Our Overreaction to Terrorist Attacks Like Paris Is Only Making Things Worse [videos]

01.28 A New Level of Refugee Suffering

01.28 Israel ‘systematically mistreats’ Palestinian children in custody

01.28 Women Empowered by Solar Energy in Bangladesh [5:00 video]

01.28 AFRICOM Commander Wants Full Counterinsurgency Plan for Boko Haram

01.28 The Netanyahu Disaster

01.28 China’s Pearl River Delta overtakes Tokyo as world’s largest megacity

01.28 The saddest thing in the world is not poverty; it's loss of dignity

01.28 Ukraine at war: 'People feel abandoned'

01.27 Rising Anti-Semitism: Increasing Numbers of French Jews Moving to Israel

01.27 Democrats Accuse Republicans of a Benghazi Cover-Up

01.27 Netanyahu to American Jews: Get Lost

01.27 Why fragile cities hold the key to stability and development

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