MI-6 "retracted" Iraq intelligence -- now, how about "retracting" the troops, just as we did in Vietnam, running like hell and pretending we won

I don't know if we should have gone into Iraq or if we should have sent more troops or if the net improvement (cost of lives and resources vs increased likelihood of peace and safety and stability) is positive or negative.

Given that we DO KNOW that little if any information we've received from the administration is true, and that they are willing to dig their heels in and scream like old ladies getting mugged for their welfare checks when anyone tries to get some facts, we're not likely to have any real answers to our questions any time in the near future.

But judging from what we see happening, it's not good.

We see our military being betrayed daily by the administration with needless callups and reductions in benefits. We saw the humiliating spectacle of Catspaw Bremer turning over the keys to our handpicked stooge under cover of night, afraid to do it publicly as announced because of complete lack of trust in our ability to protect the new democracy from its people. (To be more precise -- the lack of trust in our ability to protect Mr. Bremer.)

We see the administration backing out of Iraq, retracting itself while reinstalling the Baath Party it was so desperately important to overthrow, moonwalking like a cat that's just figured out how much fur it was going to lose to that feral monster whose yard it just wandered into, backing up with a "who me?" look as if it was never even THINKING about getting into a fight anyway.

The only people not able to cover their asses are the people in uniform on the ground, still willing to cleave to THEIR duty even though it's obvious to all of them that the emperor is not only naked, but seriously deranged. And no one in a position of authority seems willing to try to prevent unnecessary loss of lives and limbs among that population, not if it interferes with them trying to prevent the necessary, appropriate, and likely loss of jobs among this group of rich kids playing at governance.

They're blaming the liberals already, but it's the right-wing kids who are playing with each other in this theocratic version of Day Care who are backing away and leaving Iraq in chaos, more violent and more dangerous than before they sent in death by the carload in our name. The only liberals responsible were the ones in Congress who were too afraid of facing the hysterical fear of their contributors with a standup vote against this sociopathic foreign policy. (There were exceptions -- Congresswoman Barbara Lee alone in the first vote, and along with a few others in the next votes.) Like kids whose mothers are calling them home, but telling them to pick up their toys first, those boys are already just throwing them in the closet, piling them up, even though they'll all tumble out first time anyone opens up the door, but then they can walk away saying, "See, Mommy? The room is all clean." (Unfortunately for them, there are some members of the international press in there.)

Like Vietnam, we've put in troops where no one can prove that a threat to us existed other than in some theory. Like Vietnam, we've put troops in a place where there's no way to see the difference between those who want to kill you and those who don't -- not until it's too late; no way to help an apparently injured or sick person for fear of explosives attached. We've put troops in a shooting gallery where the only targets that stand out are the ones in uniforms. Like Vietnam, the only people being protected are the war profiteers and mercenaries. And like Vietnam, the wankers in the big chairs are going to wait until after the election to tell us the bad news.

(And I remember clearly how we all voted for LBJ and defeated Barry Goldwater because he was "going to send in the Marines, bomb Hanoi, and mine Haiphong Harbor. Which, of course, LBJ proceeded to do immediately after the election, even though he knew, as we've recently learned, he knew that we didn't have a snowball's chance in Long Binh to win the thing.)

They act as if they have really big balls, these guys up there strutting and fretting around. They just don't have the courage -- none of them -- to stand up and admit a mistake. And unless they do, there is not going to be any way to correct it.

As I said -- I don't know what was right or wrong about this entire debacle, not even if it's true, as more than a few people say, that Osama ben Ladn attacked the WTC in 1993 and the US Cole later, and finally, the WTC and the Pentagon on that fateful day called 9-11 because GHW Bush convinced the terrified Faisals to let him violate Araby's Holy Land with a military base. That when Ben Ladn, returned home to ask for support to go north and remove the vile irreligious Saddam Hussein from power and discovered American military were there, he, basically, told his dad to shove it, that now they -- the Saudi ruling class -- were ALSO his enemies for having committed this hideous sacrilege. Maybe it happened that way, maybe not.

But what we can see happening right now, even through the cloudy filter of restricted press access, is that the "Arab Assets" we relied on ate our lunch, made stuff up in a "give me some money and then let's you and him fight" deal.

A friend who spent a great deal of time in the Middle East once told me: "You think that old saw about how Jews are sharp businessmen is true? Try dealing with an Arab. You'll walk away thinking you got a good deal, even if you paid a bit more than you'd intended, and it isn't until later you realize he convinced you to also throw in your pants, your watch, and the title to your car." Apparently he was right, at least about some Arabs.

Maybe they were dumb or maybe they were patriotic, but those people were willing when asked to go over there in the line of fire because they believed their Commander-in-Chief actually knew what he was doing, that it would protect home and family and it was important. Is anyone up there at the top of this administration now man or woman enough to stand up and admit we got took, and care about how many more Americans and members of the coalition, such as it is, will be the last ones to die for a mistake? And do something about it?


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