Monday, February 05, 2007

Bush's War: Escalation and Expansion

Below are a few good articles on the U.S. "strategy" of escalation in Iraq, and the prospects for expansion of the war to neighboring Iran.

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics—alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—to push for the bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?
by Craig Unger March 2007

In the weeks leading up to George W. Bush's January 10 speech on the war in Iraq, there was a brief but heady moment when it seemed that the president might finally accept the failure of his Middle East policy and try something new. Rising anti-war sentiment had swept congressional Republicans out of power. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had been tossed overboard. And the Iraq Study Group (I.S.G.), chaired by former secretary of state James Baker and former congressman Lee Hamilton, had put together a bipartisan report that offered a face-saving strategy to exit Iraq. Who better than Baker, the Bush family's longtime friend and consigliere, to talk some sense into the president?

By the time the president finished his speech from the White House library, however, all those hopes had vanished. It wasn't just that Bush was doubling down on an extravagantly costly bet by sending 21,500 more American troops to Iraq; there were also indications that he was upping the ante by an order of magnitude. The most conspicuous clue was a four-letter word that Bush uttered six times in the course of his speech: Iran.

Read on.

Israel's Bomb, Iran's Pursuit of the Bomb and U.S. War Preparations (Part One)


Four years ago today, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell played a major role in persuading a gullible, stupefied and craven American news media and public - but not a cynical world - to support the Bush administration's illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq. He did so by presenting a panoply of lies, false statements and exaggerations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda terrorists.

Four years later, as both United States and Israel prepare their populations for an illegal, immoral preventive war against Iran -- allegedly to disrupt, if not destroy, the secret nuclear weapons program that both insist (without evidence) is well under way there -- Americans might do well to avoid being duped again. Thus, they might contemplate not only the allegations against Iran, but also the sins of the United States and Israel when it comes to developing, using and brandishing their own nuclear weapons.

Read on.

Meanwhile, even as the administration prepares to escalate and expand its war, some Democrats are urging Bush to re-focus on the "forgotten war," the one being fought in Afghanistan. A Senate resolution introduced by John Kerry calls on the president to beef up "…the efforts of the United States to defeat the Taliban and terrorist networks in Afghanistan."

Cosponsored by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Chris Dodd (D-CT), the resolution warns that Taliban activity is returning full-force to the region and that continuing to place that conflict in the back seat to Iraq will cause Afghanistan to "become what it was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a haven for those who seek to harm the United States and a source of instability that threatens the security of the United States."

“While the Administration moves forward with its escalation plans for Iraq, it has failed to address deteriorating security conditions in Afghanistan.” Feingold said. “We should not be reducing our forces in Afghanistan. Instead, we should be strengthening our efforts to defeat a resurgent Taliban – the same movement that harbored and supported the terrorist elements that attacked our country on 9/11.”

Read on.

With deterioriating situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is difficult to understand exactly what Bush hopes to accomplish by expanding the war to Iran. A.K. Gupta, writing in Z Magazine, offers some useful insights however. Focusing on the plans to escalate the war in Iraq, Gupta describes the tough choice the neocons are faced with: either double down, or withdraw. Because the Bush administration still refuses to acknowledge that its dreams of reshaping the Middle East militarily are simply not feasibile, the only option they see is to escalate the conflict.

This will be bad news for the Iraqi people though, with Gupta describing the possibilities they face as either a "second civil war" or "genocide."

Bush's Iraq Strategy for 2007
A second civil war or genocide
By A.K. Gupta

After all the study groups and reports, an electoral repudiation of a failed war, months of deliberation, and hundreds of thousands dead, the Bush administration policy debate boils down to this: choosing between genocide against Sunni Arabs—a strategy known as the “80 percent solution”—or fomenting a second civil war, this one a Shia-on-Shia death match. Or perhaps both.

The new White House strategy begins with the “surge” option. To try to fend off defeat, the Bush administration has decided to send up to 30,000 more troops. The criticism of this, from the media to the military to politicians, is that Bush has not tied any military escalation to a broader political strategy (see the New York Times December 21 editorial, “Rudderless in Iraq”).

Read on.

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