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07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

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07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

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07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

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07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

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07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

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07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

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  Iraq: A Bitter Strategic Failure
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COMMENTARY:

Iraq: A Bitter Strategic Failure

Results of the unprovoked invasion and occupation: 1) temporary oil field development contracts for EXXONMOBIL, 2) hundreds of $Billions in war profiteering for KBR, 3) a million Iraqi deaths, 4) $1Trillion public debt.

by Robert Parry
1 JuLY 2009

President Barack Obama and Iraqi leaders may try to sugarcoat the bitter pill for the United States by talking up the achievements of the six-year occupation, but the public celebrations by Iraqis marking the American pullout from Iraq’s cities tell the painful story of a U.S. strategic failure.

Essentially, the Iraqis are serenading the American withdrawal with an Arabic version of “Na-na-nah-na, na-na-nah-na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”

Yes, it’s true that 130,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, many shifted only miles to heavily fortified bases on the cities’ outskirts, but the withdrawal from the cities – which Obama promises will be followed by a pullout of all combat troops by next August – has the distinct feel of an end game.

Those scenes of joyous Iraqis also represent another blow to the grandiose neoconservative scheme that sought to use sophisticated U.S. military power to tame the Middle Eastern countries that were regarded as hostile to Israel.

The U.S. invasion in March 2003 had other motives as well – from George W. Bush’s personal animus toward dictator Saddam Hussein to making sure Iraq’s oil resources would be available to U.S. oil companies – but perhaps the principal key goal was the projection of American power deep into the Arab world, to strike at enemy states beyond Israel’s limited military reach.

Some of the neocons who helped formulate Bush’s Iraq War strategy had cut their teeth in the 1980s on Ronald Reagan’s interventions in Central America, which used a compliant Honduras as a staging area for assaults on leftist-ruled Nicaragua and against peasant insurgencies in nearby El Salvador and Guatemala.

Viewing the Central American outcome as a success – despite the horrendous death toll – some of these neocons, such as Bush’s deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, sought to apply those lessons to the Middle East, with Iraq playing the role of Honduras.

Neocon Dreams

In the neocon dreams, the invasion of Iraq would transform it into an ally of Israel and a base for pressuring regime change on other hard-line Muslim states, especially Syria and Iran.

A favorite neocon joke in 2003 was to ask whether to next hit Damascus or Tehran, with the punch-line, “Real men go to Tehran.”

Then, once President Bush had compelled regime change in Syria and Iran, the neocons hoped support would dry up for Hezbollah in Lebanon and for Hamas in the Palestinian territories, freeing Israel to dictate terms to its Arab adversaries and thus bringing a form of enforced peace to the region.

In early 2004, even as the Iraqi insurgency was already gaining strength, I encountered this scheme while talking to a leading neocon intellectual who told me that he had heard from his friends inside the Bush administration that the invasion of Syria was just around the corner.

But the violence in Iraq and the Bush administration’s inept war strategy soon made it clear that there would be no invasion of Syria – and that “real men” wouldn’t make it to Damascus or Tehran at least not anytime soon.

Of course, these realpolitik motives behind the Iraq War were rarely even hinted at publicly, but this neocon idea of the United States achieving military dominion over the Middle East was always at the center of the Bush administration’s thinking. It was in line with the imperial ambitions of the Project for the New American Century, which foresaw permanent U.S. military domination of the planet.

However, the human catastrophe unleashed by this neocon plan is hard to overstate. More than 4,300 U.S. soldiers have been killed along with estimates of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Also, more than 30,000 American troops were wounded or maimed.

And it is far from over. In the past few weeks, sectarian violence has been on the upswing, with bombs killing scores of Iraqis.

Yet, in part because of all this sacrifice, the public can expect politicians and pundits – especially those who cheered on the war – to insist the bloodshed was somehow worth it, that some good was achieved, that it was the right thing to depose and execute Saddam Hussein even if he didn’t have those weapons of mass destruction, and that Iraq is in a better place than it was.

There is also the argument that the neocons achieved some measure of success for their private goal by crippling Iraq as a nation state and thus weakening the overall strength of Israel’s Arab enemies. Yet, even that “achievement” must be balanced against the increased resentment of Israel and the United States throughout the region.

Uglier Reality

Yet, any happy talk about limited successes obscures a much uglier reality. Beyond the death and devastation, another casualty has been the delicate structure of international law, which couldn’t stop President Bush and his “coalition of the willing” from setting their sights on a weak nation and unleashing hell on its people.

Relying on false intelligence and laughable legal theories, Bush justified launching what the New York Times may call an “unnecessary war” but what was in reality a “war of aggression,” what the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II deemed “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

And Bush’s “war of aggression” did unpack many of those other crimes from the “accumulated evil of the whole,” including the slaughter of civilians and extensive use of torture and sexual abuse against Iraqis who dared to resist their nation’s occupier.

While those crimes were underway, major U.S. media outlets avoided stating the obvious because any recognition that Bush waged “a war of aggression” would force other conclusions, such as the need to subject him, his senior advisers and some foreign allies (i.e. Tony Blair) to a war crimes tribunal.

The big news organizations also didn’t want to admit their own complicity in this crime since almost everyone in American journalism, who wanted to keep a comfortable seat at the Establishment’s table, either endorsed the enterprise or kept quiet.

So even today – more than five months after Bush left office – it’s still much easier to dismiss what happened as “unnecessary,” to cite the pre-war “intelligence failures,” and to criticize Bush primarily for his tactical failures in planning for an effective occupation, not committing enough troops or not having a detailed enough post-invasion plan.

Accusing him of criminality is much trickier. After all, in the view of the mainstream news media, war crimes are something that “rogue states” commit, petty tyrants from Rwanda or Yugoslavia who can then be dragged off to The Hague and put on trial.

Such humiliations are not for the former “Leader of the Free World” and his subordinates (nor for an ex-British prime minister). Instead, Bush gets to settle down with a fat pension, to be cheered at Texas Rangers baseball games, and to give paid speeches seated next to another former President, Bill Clinton.

At this point, chances of any serious accountability look slim to none. Though a vocal supporter of international law, President Obama has made it clear that he won’t tolerate any serious investigation of the Bush administration’s crimes. Obama says he wants “to look forward, not backward.”

As part of that ducking of the past, Obama also can be expected to avoid describing the war as a failure. That would only provoke Republicans and right-wing pundits to accuse him of defeatism and “apologizing for America.”

Instead, to protect the withdrawal’s political flanks, Obama will pretend that the sacrifice of American troops achieved great things in Iraq.

Deferring Truth

Under Obama’s approach, the truth of the bloody misadventure must be deferred as the 130,000 U.S. troops continue the schedule for departure, with combat troops to leave by next August and the final pullout of all troops by the end of 2011.

Still, some on the Right are already blaming Obama for this impending U.S. defeat in Iraq, even though it was Bush who accepted the “status-of-forces agreement” that set the timetable for the departure from the cities and for the final withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Bush had hoped to negotiate a SOFA that would permit an open-ended American occupation, thus locking his successor into an indefinite continuation of the war. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a series of escalating demands regarding setting a timetable for a full U.S. withdrawal.

To get any SOFA at all for allowing American troops to remain legally after the end of 2008, Bush was forced to accept a deadline for the U.S. pullout, something that he had long resisted. The irony was that Bush’s desire to use the SOFA to cement a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq had the opposite result.

Given broad Iraqi opposition to the U.S. occupation, Iraqi political factions decided to position themselves as defenders of the nation’s sovereignty, not as American puppets.

The likely outcome in Iraq now appears to be the departure of U.S. forces with Washington left with little to show for its investment in blood and treasure. As the Washington Post reported on June 30, “there is little talk among U.S. commanders and diplomats of engineering a victory in the 2½ years they expect to remain here.”

As for Iraq, it seems doomed to continue as a country plagued by sectarian divisions. The Shiite majority can be expected to firm up ties with neighboring Shiite-ruled Iran; the Sunnis will remain resentful over their reduced status; and the Kurds will insist on their autonomous region in the north.

Whether a meaningful democracy can survive long amid these tensions – and after years of horrific violence – is doubtful. More likely might be a Balkanization of the country into sectarian enclaves or the emergence of another strongman in the mold of Saddam Hussein.

For the United States, memories of its military intervention in a country halfway around the world may fade gradually into history, swallowed by the shifting sands of the ancient land of Mesopotamia, another chapter of failed imperial overreach in that region, a long and bloody saga dating back to Biblical times.

Despite the terrible price in lives, money and prestige, little may remain of Bush’s macho adventure besides the eventual recognition of a painful strategic defeat for the United States.


Robert ParryRobert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on June 29, 2009.

 

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