Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bomb Dropping Shenanigans: "One of the great X-factors of the war is we know nothing about the bombing." (Seymour M. Hersh)

Bomb Dropping Shenanigans

"You say,

"I say,

"You say,

"I say,

"You say,

"I say,

"Let's call the whole thing off..."

We missed Osama,
In Tora-Bora,
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I got news, for ya,
Excuse me, it's horror:
Are you a moron?
Just listen to Shady!

We still gotta Mosh!
For the kids and ya lady!

Let me know, son,
We'll make the shit, fun!
Just assume we'll be winning:
Just pump ya fist-
And then-

We'll get the oil-flowing:
Without nuclear-snowing,
When it comes to buried-treasure:
Iraq is under-pressure!

We came to help Iraqi's:
So let us do the job!
Halliburton's been paid-off:
Let's get'em all laid-off!

'Cause now they breakin' records:
At makin' such a waste!
Driving round in circles:
And leaving trucks in haste!

Takin' all the papes,
Cheney's got the loot!
Soldier-suckers on the run,
Pullin'-guns so they can shoot!

Whole things been a-front:
Bush bent 'em over raw!
He's got a natural-skill:
For fucking up his jobs!

'Cause he's been blessed,
Never passed a test,
Skipped-out on the Guard:
And skimped-out on soldier's vests!

He's fucking with the law,
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Like a cartoon-

The bombs drop-

The bomb's drop-

Dead Iraqi's!

The bomb's drop-

A few more now-

The bomb's drop-

Dead Iraqi's!

Wake up!

Wake up!

I think we'd better make up!

- Black Krishna, "Bomb Dropping Shenanigans"




Annals of National Security


Where is the Iraq war headed next?

In recent weeks, there has been widespread speculation that President George W. Bush, confronted by diminishing approval ratings and dissent within his own party, will begin pulling American troops out of Iraq next year. The Administration’s best-case scenario is that the parliamentary election scheduled for December 15th will produce a coalition government that will join the Administration in calling for a withdrawal to begin in the spring. By then, the White House hopes, the new government will be capable of handling the insurgency. In a speech on November 19th, Bush repeated the latest Administration catchphrase: “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” He added, “When our commanders on the ground tell me that Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.” One sign of the political pressure on the Administration to prepare for a withdrawal came last week, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox News that the current level of American troops would not have to be maintained “for very much longer,” because the Iraqis were getting better at fighting the insurgency.

A high-level Pentagon war planner told me, however, that he has seen scant indication that the President would authorize a significant pullout of American troops if he believed that it would impede the war against the insurgency. There are several proposals currently under review by the White House and the Pentagon; the most ambitious calls for American combat forces to be reduced from a hundred and fifty-five thousand troops to fewer than eighty thousand by next fall, with all American forces officially designated “combat” to be pulled out of the area by the summer of 2008. In terms of implementation, the planner said, “the drawdown plans that I’m familiar with are condition-based, event-driven, and not in a specific time frame”—that is, they depend on the ability of a new Iraqi government to defeat the insurgency. (A Pentagon spokesman said that the Administration had not made any decisions and had “no plan to leave, only a plan to complete the mission.”)

A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what.

“We’re not planning to diminish the war,” Patrick Clawson, the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me. Clawson’s views often mirror the thinking of the men and women around Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “We just want to change the mix of the forces doing the fighting—Iraqi infantry with American support and greater use of airpower. The rule now is to commit Iraqi forces into combat only in places where they are sure to win. The pace of commitment, and withdrawal, depends on their success in the battlefield.”

He continued, “We want to draw down our forces, but the President is prepared to tough this one out. There is a very deep feeling on his part that the issue of Iraq was settled by the American people at the polling places in 2004.” The war against the insurgency “may end up being a nasty and murderous civil war in Iraq, but we and our allies would still win,” he said. “As long as the Kurds and the Shiites stay on our side, we’re set to go. There’s no sense that the world is caving in. We’re in the middle of a seven-year slog in Iraq, and eighty per cent of the Iraqis are receptive to our message.”

One Pentagon adviser told me, “There are always contingency plans, but why withdraw and take a chance? I don’t think the President will go for it”—until the insurgency is broken. “He’s not going to back off. This is bigger than domestic politics.”




Democracy NOW!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Seymour Hersh on Where the Iraq War is Headed Next

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We speak with investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker magazine about his new article, "Up in the Air: Where is the Iraq War Headed Next?" Hersh discusses the ongoing debate in Washington over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, how President Bush is "impervious to political pressure" in his Iraq policy, the capability of the U.S. Army to sustain two or three more years of combat in Iraq and how a reduction of U.S. troops would be replaced by American airpower - which could lead to even more Iraqi fatalities. [includes rush transcript] The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq continues to be a central issue in Washington. Earlier this month, Democratic Congressman John Murtha sparked an intense debate on Capitol Hill after he introduced a bill calling for an immediate withdrawal of US forces. In response, the Republican leadership moved to silence Murtha's criticism by introducing a bill that was worded in a manner designed to split the Democratic Party. The Republican bill proposed "the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." It was rejected 403 to 3.

Last week, Kurdish and Sunni leaders in Iraq issued a joint communiqué calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S troops. It marked the first time Iraq's political factions collectively called for a withdrawal timetable.

In the latest news, chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita said US forces are likely to be reduced to about 140,000 by the December 15th parliamentary elections and that deeper cuts are possible. The administration has repeatedly said it will consider pulling out troops once enough Iraqi forces have been trained to deal with the insurgency.

DiRita said President Bush is scheduled to give a speech Wednesday where he is expected highlight the progress US forces have made in turning over security to Iraqis.

In a new article in the New Yorker, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh writes "a key element of the drawdown plans not mentioned in the President's public statement is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower." He goes on to write: "while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what."

* Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New Yorker. His latest article is titled "Up in the Air: Where is the Iraq War Headed Next?"


[Ed note: about 9 minits in it goes blooey, sorry about that, speaking truth to power means sometimes power speaks back...]


* Hersh, Seymour M. (foreword) (2005) in Scott Ritter: Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein (Hardcover), Nation Books, ISBN 1560258527
* Hersh, Seymour M. (2004). Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060195916.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1998). The Dark Side of Camelot (Reprint). Back Bay Books. ISBN 0316360678.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1998). Against All Enemies: Gulf War Syndrome: The War Between America's Ailing Veterans and Their Government. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345427483.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1991). The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy. Random House. ISBN 0394570065.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1986). The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It. Random House. ISBN 0394542614.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1983). The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671447602. Excerpts from The Price of Power hosted by Third World Traveler
* "Huge CIA Operation Reported in US against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents During Nixon Years" by Seymour Hersh, New York Times, December 22 1974 — Hersh's article detailing CIA covert operations which eventually led to the formation of the Church Committee.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1972). Cover-up: the Army's secret investigation of the massacre at My Lai 4. Random House. ISBN 0394474600.
* Hersh, Seymour M. (1970). My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath. Random House. ISBN 0394437373.


* "Lunch with the Chairman" — Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?, The New Yorker, March 17 2003
* "The Stovepipe" — How conflicts between the Bush Administration and the intelligence community marred the reporting on Iraq’s weapons. The New Yorker, October 27 2003
* "Torture at Abu Ghraib", The New Yorker, May 10 2004 issue (posted April 30)
* "Chain of Command", The New Yorker, May 17 2004 issue (posted May 9)
* "The Gray Zone", The New Yorker, May 24 2004 issue (posted May 15)
* "The Coming Wars" — What the Pentagon can now do in secret, The New Yorker, January 24 2005 and the response by the Department of Defense
* "Watergate Days", The New Yorker, June 13 2005
* "Get Out the Vote" — Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq's Elections?, The New Yorker, July 25 2005
* "Up in the Air", The New Yorker, November 28, 2005

Profiles, Interviews and Talks

* "Seymour Hersh" profile by David Rubien., Januray 18 2000
* "The Avenger: Sy Hersh, Then and Now" profile by Scott Sherman. Columbia Review of Journalism, April 2003

* CNN interview with Richard Perle (transcript) CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, aired March 9 2003
* "Richard Perle Libel Watch — The Finale" He wimps out and doesn't sue Sy Hersh, by Jack Shafer. Slate, March 18 2003

* Hersh on torture at Abu Ghraib on the Charlie Rose Show May 3, 2004 (RealAudio)
* Hersh on Abu Ghraib on the Charlie Rose Show May 17, 2004 (RealAudio)
* Interview with Seymour Hersh, Democracy Now! September 14 2004

* Seymour Hersh: California First Amendment Coalition Annual Assembly at UC Berkeley October 8 2004. webcast (RealVideo)
* "The Chain of Command: From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" Keynote Address for the Illinois Initiative for Media Policy Research Conference, "Can Freedom of the Press Survive Media Consolidation?" University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 10 2005 webcast (RealVideo)
* Seymour Hersh: Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, UC Berkeley, October 27 2005. webcast (RealVideo), audio (mp3)



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