“I wouldn’t put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say [things in Iraq are] going very, very well from everything you look at.”
General Peter Pace, America’s most senior military officer, March 5, 2006.
Here, recorded by Reuters, are some of the incidents that happened in Iraq the day before the idiot Pace uttered his inanities:
A mortar or rocket damaged doors and windows of a Sunni mosque in northern Mosul.
Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and two others wounded when gunmen attacked their patrol in the oil refinery city of Baiji.
Two barbers were killed in their shop by gunmen in Baiji.
Two children were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near an ancient Caliphate palace in Samarra.
Two mosque guards were killed and three wounded when gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque in western Baghdad.
Police found the body of a tribal leader in the city of Ramadi, two weeks after he was abducted.
Two cousins and the nephew of the secretary general of the Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni religious group, were killed when gunmen ambushed their car in Baghdad’s western Adl district.
Next day there were twenty people killed, including a US soldier. As I write, on March 16, reports are coming in about more US casualties. (So far this month the US military death rate in Iraq is running at only one a day.)
But from “everything you look at”, according to Pace, things in Iraq are “going very, very well”. Where is this man coming from? It must be obvious, even to a US general, that if dozens of Iraqis are being killed every day, then there is something just a little going wrong in the country that is occupied by the US military, which continues to tell lie after lie at the bidding of its political masters.
On March 16 it was reported by Associated Press that 11 people had been killed in a US air strike on a village north of Baghdad : “AP photographs showed the bodies of two men, five children and four other covered figures arriving at the hospital accompanied by grief-stricken relatives.” Clear enough? No. Not for the military who, in a sad, cruel and disgusting attempt at justification for their air strikes claimed that “only four” people were killed–including two women and a child–by their bombs which, no doubt, were of the “precision” variety. The gallant warriors then “captured the target of the raid, a man suspected of supporting al-Qaida fighters.”
In the weird and fantastic world in which Bush Washington lives, inhabited by Pentagon whiz kiddies and uniformed robots, it is perfectly acceptable to bomb a house to bits and kill some children if a magnificent victory can be claimed by capturing a suspect. Not, mind you, a man who had actually committed a crime ; not a man who had without doubt blown up a house killing US soldiers ; not a man proved without doubt to have manufactured bombs for the purpose of extinguishing Iraqi or American lives. Far from it: this man’s crime was in the eye of the beholders, and it was to have been “suspected of supporting al-Qaida fighters.” Does not the great General Pace find this just a bit bizarre? Does he approve the destruction of a house and the killing of women and children in order that a suspect can be arrested by his robots?
We can assume he does not consider it bizarre and that he certainly does not consider it evil or illegal to destroy children if by so doing his merry men can trumpet the arrest of someone suspected of “supporting” insurgents. By any definition, and in spite of the unbelievably callous military claiming that “only” one child was killed (the terrible photographs show without a shadow of doubt the bodies of several children), this was a war crime. And those who committed it will be treated as heroes by their commander-in-chief and his sleazy, lying cohorts.
It is taken for granted by vast numbers of Americans that all Iraqis fighting against the occupation or against each other or involved in any way with violence are by definition “supporters” of al-Qaida. The insurgents have to be in some manner linked with al-Qaida because it is essential to prolong and emphasize the brazen lie that in some manner Iraq was responsible for 9/11. This complete and utter fabrication cannot be believed by anyone with any analytical capability. But it is believed by millions of Americans including many hundreds of thousands of US troops. The February 2006 Le Moyne College/Zogby International Poll showed that “85% [of US troops in Iraq] said the U.S. mission is ‘to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,’ while 77% said they believe the main or a major reason for the war was ‘to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq’.”
The Bush administration and its dishonorable lackeys in uniform are helped greatly in spreading their lies by some sections of the media. Killing children in a random air strike is not regarded as a war crime by CNN, for example. Its correspondent Arwa Damon covered the matter of a few dead kids without even hinting that there had actually been a US air strike. The comment was that the murdered children were “innocent civilians caught in the middle”. Yes, they were innocent enough–and they were caught in the middle, all right : in the middle of a conspiracy of lies and hatred, emanating from the White House, whose main resident has lost touch with reality.
Here is Bush of a few days ago in a typical speech : “Since the morning of September the 11th, we have known that the war on terror would require great sacrifice — and in this war we have said farewell to some very good men and women. One of those courageous Americans was Sergeant William Scott Kinzer, Jr., who was killed last year by the terrorists while securing polling sites for the Iraqi elections.”
This is what we old psyops hands call persuasion by dislocated truth. Nothing the man said is in itself a lie. But the linking of 9/11 with Iraq and “terrorists”, and the outrageous humbug of enforced “democracy” together with the heart-tugging personalization of Sgt Kinzer’s death is simply cheap propaganda. And it’s very clever stuff, if you have a moral rating of zero.
The latest news is that US air strikes against Iraq have increased enormously, now that it is obvious the US occupation force cannot cope with the insurgents (who, of course, have no aircraft, any more than did Saddam Hussein’s military when they were overwhelmed by US air power during the illegal invasion of their country). In a tacit admission that US ground forces are being defeated by insurgents, so far this year US aircraft have bombed 18 cities. There are no official figures about this sort of thing, of course. The US voters/taxpayers are not told how many expensive bombs and rockets have obliterated women and children in their name and in the cause of democracy. But Knight Ridder, unlike CNN and other followers of the Bush/military line on Iraq, tracked the blitzkrieg numbers and had them “confirmed by American Air Force officials in the region.” The only reason the “Air Force officials” are forbidden to themselves declare the truth is that the truth is so vile.
As I write there is an unprecedented series of aerial attacks taking place near the city of Samarra, which region is full (but of course) of al-Qaida members or supporters of Elvis or whoever. There will be no admission of civilians being killed, naturally, unless undeniable evidence is produced to the contrary. But even if children die from US bombs it will, in the usual US military doom-speak, be “only” a child or two. Or “only” three. Or “only” a dozen. Who the hell cares?
According to the Chicago Tribune on March 16 the military said “Initial reports from the objective area indicate that a number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms.” Oh yes, it takes air strikes to capture military uniforms, although, mind you, “More than 1,500 Iraqi and coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation”.
So 1500 troops were involved (and forget this massaged propaganda crap about “coalition” troops–they are American, with some 400 Iraqi stooges). At most three battalions. But they were supposed to have “surrounded four villages” and I say this is utter crap.
There is no way a mere 1500 troops could possibly “surround” four villages. And the media simply reported that “A modest force of 1,500 was deployed along with 50 aircraft, and judging from US military photographs sent to the media, many were transport helicopters.”
The Reuters’ reporter looked at US military-supplied photographs of aircraft and solemnly stated that “many were transport helicopters”. Of course they were, you dolt : because that’s what the military want you to believe. That is why the cretinous General Pace gets away with stating that “I would say [things in Iraq are] going very, very well from everything you look at.”
Iraq is in bloody and terminal chaos, and its anarchic state is entirely the responsibility of Bush Washington. The US military is now a clone of what it was in Vietnam when I served there in 1970-71. The lies are the same, and the only difference is that the names have changed.
The honor of the US military has been destroyed by such as Pace and other heel-clicking, gimlet-eyed, brush-haired, square-headed, lame-brained caricatures of the military ethos. The fat-headed, pompous and incompetent General Westmoreland still has his being in his latter-day clones. The genes have come down to roost. In Iraq it is now downhill all the way, just as it was when Westy was head boy in Vietnam. The names of these generals, and that of Bush, will be reviled for decades to come, simply because they have defiled the honor of a great nation.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com