Friday, April 15, 2005

The War: views from inside and outside "the bubble"

Our commander in Chief retreated this week into the safest of all his bubbles and held a rally where the attendees were required by law to cheer from him. At Ft Hood Texas the president dished out his delusional world view before a captive audience. For him the War ended two years ago an was a stunning success

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This {is the} anniversary of the liberation of Baghdad. (Hoo-ah!) Coalition
forces crossed more than 350 miles of desert in 21 days, and that achievement
will be studied as the fastest armored advance in military history. (Hoo-ah!)
We protected civilian lives while destroying the Republican Guard's
Medina Division, pushing through the Karbala Gap, and, on April 9th, we
liberated the Iraqi capital. (Hoo-ah!)


This speech revealed just how increasing divorced from reality Bush has become about the war an its consequences. To hear him tell it, the was was over two years ago, and Us troops have been hanging around essentially to take a victory lap.
Meanwhile, on the ground in the "liberated Iraq" things aren't nearly as clean and tidy


Sgt. 1st Class Domingo Ruiz watched A man carrying a machine gun get out and
begin to transfer weapons into the trunk of one of the cars. "Take him down,"
Ruiz told a sniper. The sniper fired his powerful M-14 rifle and the man's head
exploded After the ambush, the Americans scooped up a piece of skull and
took it back to their base as evidence of the successful mission.

No gallant liberations and mad rushes to conquer cities here, just the deadly meat grinder of modern urban warfare:

The March 12 attack -- swift and brutally violent -- bore the hallmarks of
operations that have made Ruiz, 39, a former Brooklyn gang member, renowned
among U.S. troops in Mosul
"Our battles have been beyond ruthless," said
Ruiz, adding that he believes most Americans have little understanding of how
the conflict is being fought.
"An urban counterinsurgency is probably the
ugliest form of warfare there is," said Capt. Rob Born, 30, the C Company
commander

Over in Bushworld, however, there is no such bloody grunt work. There the Iraqi war was an unqualified success that people all over the world are celebrating:



the liberation of Baghdad, (Hoo-ah!) for millions of Iraqis and Americans,
it is a day they will never forget.
The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue
in Baghdad will be recorded, alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall, as one of
the great moments in the history of liberty.


I wonder if the average Iraqi huddling in fear outside the Green Zone feels terribily "liberated"?
And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Fall of the Berlin Wall was a staged US Army Psy-ops Corps operation so I'm pretty sure it ranks just a leetle higher on the All Time Inspiring Moments chart.


Not content with self-glorifying hyperbole, Bush then launched into historic revisionism truly worthy of George Orwell:

"

From the beginning, our goal in Iraq has been to promote Iraqi independence
-- by helping the Iraqi people establish a free country that can sustain itself,
rule itself, and defend itself,"

Okay so that's the reason we Went to war! To Liberate the Iraqis!
Okay got it.
But, uhhh, hang on a sec, I think I remember that during the war You said :


"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein's regime is our best inoculation. Destroying
once and for all his weapons of disease and death is a vaccination for the
world."-Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader Washington Post
op-ed
3/16/2003


Intelligence gathered by this and other
governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and
conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.-George Bush Address
to the Nation
March 18, 2003


Well, there is no question that we
have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,
biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the
course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.-Ari Fleisher Press
Briefing
March 21, 2003


"One of our top objectives is to find
and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites. "-Pentagon Spokeswoman
Victoria Clark, Press
Briefing
March 22, 2003


"We still need to find and secure
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction facilities and secure Iraq's borders so we
can prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction materials and senior regime
officials out of the country."-Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense Press
Conference
4/9/2003


"But make no mistake -- as I said earlier
-- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is
what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be
found."-Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary Press
Briefing
4/10/2003


For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one
issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because
it was the one reason everyone could agree on.

Paul Wolfowitz Vanity
Fair interview
May 28, 2003

Well. That's Odd, I didn't hear the words, Iraqis, Independence, Democracy or Freedom. anywhere in that list of reasons. I guess I'm just reading it incorrectly, since, after all, we've Always been at war with Iraq to Liberate it, Dear Leader Just said so....

{and don't you forget it Winston}

Of Course, speaking of flimsy justifications, no Bush Speech would be complete without a 9/11 reference:

The terrorists have made Iraq a central front in the war on terror. Because of
your service, because of your sacrifice, we are defeating them there where they
live, so we do not have to face them where we live. (Hoo-ah!) Because of you,
the people of Iraq no longer live in fear of being executed and left in mass
graves. Because of you, freedom is taking root in Iraq. Our success in Iraq will
make America safer, for us and for future generations.


Well, if we're being charitable we can concede this one is at least technically true.

But there's a bit of a Chicken and Egg problem here. The 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no connection between Iraq and terrorism before the war, so any connection afterwards must be the fault of how the invasion and occupation was handled, and that would be the fault of......

No... no that would be disloyal, can't suggest that the war has made the world far MORE dangerous can we?

The President sees the war as sweeping victories and amazing cavalry charges ( ignoring conveniently that a previous war and ten years of sanctions had rendered his opponent, militarily speaking, slightly weaker offensively than Sister Mary Luise's 7th grade field hockey team.

The Soldiers in the mud seem a much different, if all too familiar war.

Infantrymen with C Company said no soldier is more ruthlessly proficient at
fighting the insurgents than Ruiz, a son of Puerto Rican parents who grew up in
the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Ruiz's unit, the 4th Platoon, has killed at
least 15 suspected insurgents in the past two months, according to soldiers.
It is a war that Ruiz said reminds him of his youth as a member of the Coney
Island Cobras, a Brooklyn street gang. He said he applies many of the principles
he learned in the rough neighborhoods where he grew up: Bay Ridge and, later,
the projects in Caguas, Puerto Rico, where he moved with his mother as a
teenager.
"What I see here, I saw a long time ago," he said. "It's the same
patterns
."
Want to bet that Ruiz's recruiting Sergeant told him he could escape the gang life if only he signed up?. And if you live in a Gang infested area , I don't need to tell how much warm and fuzzy the local residents have for their neighborhood gang. (remember how important those hearts and minds are supposed to be?

But that's the truth of this war that Bush's bubble can't handle. Because of his inept planning and execution of the war, real soldiers are being forced to transform themselves into sociopaths to survive the ugliest combat environment imaginable:

The platoon calls itself the "Violators." Its patch depicts a leering skull
clad in a green beret, blood dripping from its mouth. Its motto is "Carpe
Noctum," or "Seize the Night.
Ruiz said one reason for the platoon's
success was his willingness to act decisively and ruthlessly. "It's important
for my soldiers to know that we're not going to hesitate to annihilate the
enemy,"
Acting swiftly, he said, "sends a message to the enemy that we're
not playing games. If you engage us, you are going to die."
Ruiz said the
decision to pick up the skull fragment and take it back to the base was a
"sarcastic" gesture to confirm the kill to the battalion. Born, who was not
present during the attack, said the soldiers picked up the fragment not as a
trophy, which is prohibited under military regulations, but to confirm "that we
had the remains of a terrorist."


Why do I think the "catastrophic successes" of this war have only just begun?

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