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One Step Closer To War With Iran

Posted by nytexan on August 15, 2007

It appears that we are moving one step closer to a war with Iran. While Karzai and Maliki are trying to set up relations with their neighbor Iran, Bush is adding fuel to the war fire. This will be the first time this type of action will be taken against a foreign government entity.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. government is involved in intense discussions over naming all or part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group in a move that would effectively declare “open season” on the organization, a senior official told CNN.

If made, the designation would come in the form of an executive order from President George W. Bush, the State Department official said.

Such a move would allow the Treasury Department to go after the finances of the group and those who do business with it.

“It would basically declare open season on these guys,” the official said, adding that the move is being taken because of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps‘ (IRGC) support for “all the bad actors” — insurgents in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and other terrorist groups in the Middle East like Hezbollah and Hamas.

The move is “three-fourths done but the devil is in the details,” the official said. An internal decision has been made to take some action, but there is still debate on whether to designate the entire IRGC or just the elite Quds Force.

“We need to decide whether to go for the sledgehammer approach of the larger group or the laser method of just going after the Quds Force,” the official said.

Asked to comment on the reports that the Guard Corps may be named a terrorist group, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe would only say:

“It’s not appropriate for us to discuss potential future actions. We continue to urge Iran to play a constructive role in the region, and to stop providing support to terrorist organizations.”

Although most in the administration wants to go for the whole group, some want to tone it down a bit to soften the anticipated criticism from European allies, the official said.

For months, U.S. officials have contended that Iranian agents, from the Quds Force, are helping train and equip militants in Iraq and have been supplying armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators to insurgents that have been used against U.S. forces. Iran has denied these assertions.

The discussions come amid increased pressure by Congress to take tougher measures against Iran, including a possible divestment campaign. According to the official, the move by the administration could blunt any action in Congress which might tie the administration’s hands.

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Posted in Bush, Executive Orders, Iran, Karzai, Maliki, Middle East, military, Politics, President, Revolutionary Guard, War | 8 Comments »

RNC Now Seeks Shelter of Executive Privilege

Posted by nytexan on August 14, 2007

t r u t h o u t | Report: By Jason Leopold

  • The Republican National Committee said it will not abide by a subpoena and turn over documents to a Congressional committee investigating the firings of at least eight US attorneys last year because the RNC is waiting to see if the White House will assert executive privilege over RNC documents at the center of the controversy, according to an outside law firm retained by the RNC.

Are they freaking kidding me!!! So let me see if I understand how Executive Privilege works; you don’t have to work in the White House or even be a passed employee of the White House staff, you just have to have associations with the Bush gang. Well crap that’s have the country that now claim executive privilege.

  • The White House has asserted executive privilege to block senior administration officials from testifying before Congress about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors. Moreover, the White House has cited executive privilege in declining to turn over specific documents to Congress that may shed further light on the circumstances behind the attorney firings. The US attorneys believe they were fired for partisan political reasons. In some instances, the US attorneys said they were pressured by Republican lawmakers and RNC operatives to file criminal charges against Democrats at the center of public corruption probes prior to last year’s midterm election as well as individual cases of voter fraud, which the attorneys said was based on weak evidence, in order to cast a dark cloud over Democratic incumbents and swing election results toward Republican challengers.
  • Earlier this year, internal Justice Department documents related to behind-the-scenes discussions involving the US attorney firings revealed some Bush administration officials have primarily used email accounts maintained by the RNC to conduct official White House business in what appears to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act. The RNC is believed to have thousands of pages of documents from White House officials in its possession, dating back to 2005, that could answer lingering questions about the role the administration played in the decision to fire the US attorneys.
  • The latest salvo between the RNC and Congress over the documents under subpoena sets the stage for a legal showdown between the House and RNC Chairman Robert Duncan, who Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers threatened to hold in contempt if documents and internal RNC emails relating to the Congressional probe are not turned over to his committee. Neither Conyers nor a spokesman for the congressman returned calls for comment on Monday. Presumably, any further legal action would take place when Congress returns from its summer vacation next month.
  • In a letter sent on Friday to Conyers, Robert Kelner, an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, said the White House counsel’s office instructed the RNC not to “produce Category Two documents at this time.”

Full Read

Posted in Bush, Congress, Conyers, Department of Justice, executive privilege, Judiciary Committee, Oversight, Politics, RNC | 3 Comments »

The Architect’s House Of Cards Falls Down – Not Soon Enough

Posted by bosskitty on August 13, 2007

rovebush.jpg Rove ‘more dangerous’ on the outside

Karl Rove may be leaving his roles as hard-nosed strategist and bookish policy expert in the Bush White House, but that doesn’t mean Democrats can rest easy.

“Karl outside the White House is more dangerous to Democrats than Karl inside the White House,” said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who was Al Gore’s campaign manager. Her view: He’ll have lots more free time now to dream up ways to boost President Bush’s standing, “rebrand” the GOP and conquer the 2008 electoral map.
Though Rove says he is not about to vanish from politics, the debate over the legacy of his unique dual role has begun. Some say he personifies the need to limit the power of White House political aides; others say he’s a model future presidents may want to emulate.

Rove is the epitome of intellect applied to evil goals … Rove incited Republicans into more unscrupulous behavior than they could have imagined on their own . . . He will remain the poster boy for political corruption until someone has the guts to indict him.

Posted in Bush, conspiracy, Contempt, Corruption, Deception, disinformation, DoubleSpeak, Election, Evil, Executive Branch, Hypocracy, Impeach, indictment, Inherent Contempt, intelligence, Karl Rove, Legacy, Orwellian, Politics, President, profiteers, Propaganda, Republican, RNC, Rove, The Divider, The Liar, threat, Vote, War Cost | 9 Comments »

Iraqi Sunni Cleric Urges U.S. To Abandon Maliki

Posted by nytexan on August 13, 2007

Bush will probably handel this request by ignoring it and continuing down his failed path.

  • AMMAN, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Iraq’s top Sunni cleric called on the United States on Monday to cut ties with Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, saying his “puppet” government had failed and a U.S. backed political process was at a dead end.

  • “If the Americans remain with this policy and rely on the same men who proved their failure again and again then they will leave Iraq in failure,” Sheikh Harith al-Dari told Reuters.
  • “The U.S. administration should rectify its position in Iraq and stop depending on puppets… who have proven their failure,” the leader of Iraq’s Muslim Clerics Association said in an interview in Amman.

  • Maliki’s unity government, set up to try to ease sectarian tensions and quell violence, has been in crisis since the main Sunni Arab bloc quit early this month and he wants political leaders to meet in coming days to resolve the deadlock.

  • Dari, whose association groups Iraq’s Sunni religious leaders, said Washington had brought untold suffering on Iraq’s people during its four-year-old occupation and it should now try to foster a non-partisan government.

  • The cleric, who has praised Sunni insurgent groups but denies direct links, said Washington also needed to rebuild the army on non-sectarian grounds.

  • Soon after the 2003 overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, the U.S.administration dissolved the army and security forces, sacking hundreds of thousands of soldiers and further embittering Sunnis.

  • “If the Americans think of a new type of rule that relies on wisdom and firmness alongside power to impose security ..they can pull out of Iraq with a face saver,” he said.

  • “This is better for America than dealing with a weak government… It would guarantee them a future government that respects them as friends…rather than one that is a burden and survives on American taxpayers’ money,” Dari said.

  • He said the U.S. Congress should apply more pressure for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq after the United States increased troop numbers earlier this year to try to stem sectarian violence.

  • “They are fighting a losing, futile war that has taken a lot of lives,” Dari said. “The American public should know the losers from this war are both the American and Iraqi people.”

  • Dari said he could envisage future reconciliation with America if Washington sought to learn from post-invasion blunders.

  • “It’s possible,” he said. “As they say, in politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies.”

Posted in Bush, Iraq, military, News, Nuri al-Maliki, Sheikh Harith al-Dari, Shi'a, Sunni, War | 4 Comments »

Karl Rove Resigns

Posted by nytexan on August 13, 2007

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior political adviser, will voluntarily step down from his White House post at the end of the month, senior administration officials said Monday.

“Obviously it’s big loss to us, said Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. “He is a great colleague, good friend and a brilliant mind.”

Perino said Rove “wouldn’t be going if he wasn’t sure this is the right time to be giving more time to his family.”

The president and Rove are expected to speak before boarding Marine One at the White House at 11:35 a.m. ET. Bush will head to his Crawford, Texas, ranch where he will remain for the rest of the week.

Rove, who has held a top position in the White House since Bush took office in January 2001, is to stand down on August 31.

“I just think it’s time,” Rove told the Wall Street Journal. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.”

Bush nicknamed Rove “the architect” for creating the plan that won the White House in 2000 and 2004.

Rove told the newspaper that he would leave Washington to return to Texas and that he had first suggested the idea of leaving a year ago.

Posted in Bush, Karl Rove | 6 Comments »

Bush Jealous: Malaki And Karzai Warm Up To Iran, Watch Out For Cheney

Posted by bosskitty on August 12, 2007

Bush breaks up Iran-Iraq love-in Correspondents in Washington and Tehran
US President George W. Bush yesterday told Tehran there would “be a price to pay” for meddling in Iraq and warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki against cosying up to the leaders of Iran.

Amid what Washington sees as unsettling signs of warming Baghdad-Tehran relations, Mr Bush said he was not surprised at pictures yesterday that showed cordial meetings between Mr Maliki and top Iranian leaders in Tehran, but he said he hoped the Shia leader was delivering a tough message.

“You don’t want the picture to be kind of, you know, ducking it out” when on a diplomatic mission, he said, putting up his fists like a boxer.

“If the signal is that Iran is constructive, I will have to have a heart-to-heart with my friend the Prime Minister because I do not believe they are,” Mr Bush said.
Mr Bush’s comments came just days after he disagreed sharply with Afghan President Hamid Karzai about Iran’s influence after Mr Karzai called Tehran a positive force in combating extremists in his country.
Iraq PM calls emergency summit correspondents in Baghdad | August 13, 2007
PRIME Minister Nuri al-Maliki overnight called on senior leaders in Iraq’s bitterly divided communities to hold crisis talks this week in an effort to save his fraying national unity government.
His latest attempt to bring the leaders of the warring communites under one roof came at a time when the American military declared that five more of its troops battling to bring security to war-torn Iraq had been killed.
“I have invited major political leaders to a meeting to discuss substantial matters,” Mr Maliki said in a televised speech.
“Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow could be the first meeting for these leaders to discuss the political program and important strategic problems,”   the embattled Shiite prime minister said.

The last thing King George and Lord Cheney want is for Iraq’s neighbors to kiss and make up. Watch closely while Cheney’s Blackwater/KBR/CIA goons do something to screw this neighbors night out in the Middle East. Cheney has a plan, whether Bush goes along or not. Can’t have peace breaking out before we are through destroying everything in sight. Got to make good on the promises made to our ‘war profiteers’. We must pay them for contracts never met – we only have a short time left before someone demands accountability. INCENTIVE FOR UNSCRUPULOUS BEHAVIOR is what has kept this ‘A-Bomb-A-Nation’ in office. The clock is counting down. Watch out for the UNSCRUPULOUS terrorist production coming to a city near you.

Posted in Accountability, administration, Afghanistan, Ahmadinejad, Al Qaeda, Arab Nations, “Corporate Corruption”, Baghdad, betrayal, Black Ops, Blackwater, Bush, Casualties, Cheney, Democracy In Action, emergency, Foriegn Policy, Halliburton, Holy War, Insurance, Iran, Iraq, jealousy, Karzai, KBR, King George, Lord Cheney, Maliki, Occupation Army, Oil, Orwellian, Pentagon Corruption, Private Armies, profiteers, Propaganda, resonsibility, Shadow Government, Shi'a, state of emergency, Sunni, Taliban, Tax Dollars, The Divider, The Liar, Theocracy, Troop Pullout, veterans, War Contractors, War Cost, War Crimes, WMD | Leave a Comment »

Iraqi Government Officials Involved Illegal Arms Deal

Posted by nytexan on August 12, 2007

We all know how Bush keeps saying that Iran is meddling in Iraq, Iranian weapons are being used against American soldiers in Iraq and how Cheney is marching us closer to an all out war in Iran. Consider this for a moment, what if Iranian weapons are in Iraq but they are not from the Iranian government, they are from illegal arms dealers. Its entirety possible that Bush and Cheney are playing another shell game to get America into yet another unjustified war and Iran is the battlefield.

It has been uncovered that Iraqi officials have been engaged in purchasing Russian and Chinese weapons from Italian arms dealers. What if the Iranian arms found their way into Iraq through illegal arms dealers? If you go along with the Bush Cheney logic of Iran weapons equals meddling and war is ahead; then weapons from Russia and China being sold by Italy should mean war ahead for all. Flawed logic don’t you think?

Here’s another interesting point from the article; U.S. weapons are being smuggled into neighboring Turkey and Iran and creating problems, probably the 190,000 plus weapons the U.S. can’t account for. I think the Bush/Cheney private army is at work here. Interesting how the American MSM always misses the story.

Excepts from Huffington Post:

PERUGIA, Italy — In a hidden corner of Rome’s busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler’s checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.

Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a months long trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.

As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.

For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command _ a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.

The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.

Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq’s police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army’s AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.

In the documents, Razzi describes it as “strange” that the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such weapons via the black market.

Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns “to the Iraqi Interior Ministry,” adding that “this deal is approved by America and Iraq.”

The go-between _ the Al-Handal General Trading Co. in Dubai _ apparently had communicated with Bettinotti earlier about buying night visors and had been told MIR could also procure weapons.

“We are in a hurry with this deal,” an impatient Waleed Noori al-Handal, Jordan-based general manager of the Iraqi firm, wrote the Italians on Nov. 13 in one of the e-mails seen by AP.

He added, in apparent allusion to the shipment’s clandestine nature, “You mustn’t worry if it’s a problem to import these goods directly into Iraq. We can bring the product to another country and then transfer it to Iraq.”

By December, the Italians, having found a Bulgarian broker, were offering Russian-made goods: 50,000 AKM rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM machine guns.

Reached at his office in Amman, Jordan, Waleed Noori al-Handal denied the family firm had done anything wrong in the Italian arms case.

“We don’t have anything to hide,” he told the AP.

Citing the names of “friends” in top U.S. military ranks in Iraq, al-Handal said his company has fulfilled scores of supply and service contracts for the U.S. occupation. Asked why he claimed U.S. approval for the abortive Italian weapons purchase, he said he had a document from the U.S. Army “that says, ‘We allow al-Thuraya Group to do all kinds of business.'”

In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn’t discuss the AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, acknowledged it had sought the weapons through al-Handal.

Full read

Posted in Arms Trade, Bush, Cheney, illegal arms, Iran, Iraq, Italian, Italy, Mafia, Middle East, military, National, News, Russian, Waleed Noori al-Handal, War | 2 Comments »

While Middle East Anticipates Bush Free World, White House Launches Propaganda Storm

Posted by bosskitty on August 12, 2007

Middle East already planning for Bush’s departure

Bush, Congress could collide on Iran By Matt Stearns | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Taking military action against Iran could put President Bush on a collision course with Congress, leading Democrats and a Republican lawmaker cautioned Friday following Bush’s threat of unspecified consequences for alleged Iranian meddling in Iraq.

Iraq pullout could create chaos By Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — U.S. troops could withdraw from Iraq within months, but if Iraq’s government remains politically deadlocked, it probably would collapse and the nation would descend into chaos … the U.S. Army concluded earlier this month.

I feel disinformation raining down on my head. I feel another ‘marketing ploy’ to confuse important issues, again. BushCo wants to beat Musharraf at the ‘State of Emergency’ game! Watch out Iran … Darth Cheney has his eye on you …

Cheney’s Secret Escalation Plan? By Dan Froomkin Special to washingtonpost.com
At yesterday’s press conference, President Bush announced that he had put Iran on notice. “One of the main reasons that I asked [U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan] Crocker to meet with Iranians inside Iraq, was to send the message that there will be consequences for people transporting, delivering EFPs, highly sophisticated IEDs [improvised explosive devices] that kill Americans in Iraq.”
Describing Iran as “a very troubling nation right now,” largely because of its nuclear program, Bush warned its leaders that “when we catch you playing a non-constructive role [in Iraq] there will be a price to pay.”
So what price is Bush prepared to exact? Is this saber-rattling a harbinger of war? And perhaps most to the point: What is Vice President Cheney up to?
…..Cheney has long been said to be looking for some way to maneuver Bush into having no choice but to launch a full-scale attack against Iran. Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush’s tack towards Condoleezza Rice’s diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.     “This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an ‘end run strategy’ around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument. . . .  “According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the ‘right decision’ when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President’s hands.'”    Isn’t that called TREASON?

Anger follows fear! Fear that the hijackers of this country are getting closer to taking a fatal step toward the Armageddon they so desperately want. Anger that I must sit here and watch worthless caucuses decide who our leader will not be. Yes, Iraq will need a babysitter. No, we do not have to threaten Iran with ‘mass destruction’ to pour water on the fire we set. As soon as America can demonstrate that religion of oil (the new Christianity) is not the solution, the middle east may be more negotiable. The last thing Americans should endorse is sending Christian Missionaries … shades of the Catholic Missionaries annihilating the natives of the New World who did not convert quick enough. When someone invades your country and shouts that you must renounce the faith of your fathers and embrace Jesus as their Savior, all hell will break loose! This is what Jihadists see. This is what they are called to die for, even thought politics and economics is still the bottom line. The convert or die mentality is the spark for an Armageddon conflagration! I am very angry at Bush for stirring up Christian Dominionists in this country to endorse a theocratic national agenda. Our soldiers are not evangelists! Keep religion out of politics! If the truth hurts, get out before you start a civil war in this country. We know you are watching and listening to our anger … bring it on!

Posted in Armageddon, Bush, Casualties, Cheney, Christianity, civil war, conspiracy, Contempt, Corruption, cover up, destruction, dictatorship, Dillusion, Dominionists, DoubleSpeak, Evangelist, Evil, Foriegn Policy, Iraq, Propaganda, resonsibility, Soldiers, state of emergency, Tax Dollars, terrorists, The Divider, The Liar, threat, Troop Pullout, veterans, War Contractors, War Cost, War Crimes, War on Terror, Waste | Leave a Comment »

Bush And Mush Linked At The Hip, Face Similar Fates

Posted by bosskitty on August 12, 2007

Rice ‘sways Musharraf on emergency’
LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped persuade Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf to hold off declaring a state of emergency, high level Pakistani government sources said Thursday. Musharraf was said to be considering the move, which would bolster military rule and suspend democratic freedoms, amid security concerns that pose the biggest threat to army chief’s rule since he seized power in a coup in 1999. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Despite Musharraf’s apparent climbdown, senior U.S. military officials remain deeply concerned that the state of emergency remained a viable option for Pakistan’s leader, according to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Scared the US, huh, Bush was not ready to pull the inevitable terror debacle to declare his own ‘state emergency’. For Bush and Musharraf, the timing must be right. So, we must keep a close eye on Musharraf , he is our weather vane for the storm Bush has planned for us.

Musharraf’s State of Emergency By Ahmed Rashid, Washington Post
LAHORE, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf was on the verge of imposing a state of emergency in Pakistan last week before being stopped by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and civilian advisers. It is clear to all in this extremely tense country that power is rapidly flowing away from Musharraf, even as he desperately tries to find a way out of an impossible political impasse.
Bhutto wants to restore democracy
Independent Online, South Africa – Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has reiterated his opposition to the return of two exiled former prime ministers before parliamentary elections … in remarks broadcast on Sunday, ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto highlighted her party’s opposition to Pakistan having military leadership.
Timing of Bhutto return in dispute Sydney Morning Herald, Claudia Parsons
BENAZIR BHUTTO, the former prime minister and leader of Pakistan’s largest opposition party, said she hoped to return home by mid-October for elections in which she may ally with the President, Pervez Musharraf.
“I would like to go back to Pakistan sooner rather than later, but General Musharraf still is opposed to my return to Pakistan,” Bhutto said in New York on Saturday. “He’s prepared for my return to Pakistan but the timing of it is under dispute between the two of us.”
Musharraf wants exiled leaders to stay away Staff Reporter, Dawn, Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Aug 11: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Saturday said the return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to the country before the general election would disturb the political atmosphere, adding that they would be well-advised not to insist on coming home.

mushricecart.jpg

bushmush3.jpg

Bhutto, fly in the ointment?

Posted in Bhutto, Bush, Cheney, cover up, Cowboys and Indians, crimes, Crooks, dictatorship, Disaster, disinformation, DoubleSpeak, Election, Excuses, executive privilege, Fear, Holy War, Hypocracy, Islamabad, Islamic Jihad, Lal Masjid, Legacy, Musharraf | Leave a Comment »

Soldiers Are Collapsing Where They Stand

Posted by nytexan on August 11, 2007

The truth about the health and well being of our troops never seems to get covered by the main stream media. However, the truth about the U.S. troops seems to smack the British media right in the face.

While Bush will stand up there and continue to lie to us and Petraeus will present a bogus report in September, our soldiers are collapsing where they stand. All is not well in the real world of the Iraq war. As you read the article you will see that the soldiers are not allowed to tell the media what’s really going on. Shocking that Bush would be deceiving the American public.

Here’s alittle tidbit that’s at the end of the article “America’s ‘war tsar’ has called for the nation’s political leaders to consider bringing back the draft to help a military exhausted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

falluja10c.jpg

Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis.

Lieutenant Clay Hanna looks sick and white. Like his colleagues he does not seem to sleep. Hanna says he catches up by napping on a cot between operations in the command centre, amid the noise of radio. He is up at 6am and tries to go to sleep by 2am or 3am. But there are operations to go on, planning to be done and after-action reports that need to be written. And war interposes its own deadly agenda that requires his attention and wakes him up.

When he emerges from his naps there is something old and paper-thin about his skin, something sketchy about his movements as the days go by.

The Americans he commands, like the other men at Sullivan – a combat outpost in Zafraniya, south east Baghdad – hit their cots when they get in from operations. But even when they wake up there is something tired and groggy about them. They are on duty for five days at a time and off for two days. When they get back to the forward operating base, they do their laundry and sleep and count the days until they will get home. It is an exhaustion that accumulates over the patrols and the rotations, over the multiple deployments, until it all joins up, wiping out any memory of leave or time at home. Until life is nothing but Iraq.

Hanna and his men are not alone in being tired most of the time. A whole army is exhausted and worn out. You see the young soldiers washed up like driftwood at Baghdad’s international airport, waiting to go on leave or returning to their units, sleeping on their body armour on floors and in the dust.

Where once the war in Iraq was defined in conversations with these men by untenable ideas – bringing democracy or defeating al-Qaeda – these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of expressing the idea of being weary. It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq. ‘The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,’ says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the ‘surge’ in Baghdad began.

They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: ‘We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out. So that their families know back home. But it’s like we’ve become no more than numbers now.’

The first soldier starts in again. ‘My husband was injured here. He hit an improvised explosive device. He already had a spinal injury. The blast shook out the plates. He’s home now and has serious issues adapting. But I’m not allowed to go back home to see him. If I wanted to see him I’d have to take leave time (two weeks). And the army counts it.’

A week later, in the northern city of Mosul, an officer talks privately. ‘We’re plodding through this,’ he says after another patrol and another ambush in the city centre. ‘I don’t know how much more plodding we’ve got left in us.’

When the soldiers talk like this there is resignation. There is a corrosive anger, too, that bubbles out, like the words pouring unbidden from a chaplain’s assistant who has come to bless a patrol. ‘Why don’t you tell the truth? Why don’t you journalists write that this army is exhausted?’

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Afghanistan, Bush, Health, Iraq, mental health, military, News, Petraeus, Politics, Soldiers, veterans, War, War Czar | 6 Comments »