Just where is the critical mainstream media? Are they really safeguarding our democracy? Seems to me that one of the most important stories of the week is being largely ignored by the media. That being the lies and distortions, virtual perjury being foisted upon us by the likes of Gen. George Casey, senior U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid, senior U.S. commander in the Frickin' Middle East, and Gen Dick Myers, now retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Who, by the way, just this morning had just a marvelous going away (far far away I pray) party presented by President Bush and Defense(??) Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
HOW 'BOUT THEM TROOP CUTS?
Way way back in March, then once again in July of this year, Gen. Casey predicted "fairly substantial'' reductions in U.S. troops in the spring/summer of 2006. The Pentagon, by the way, saw this as 20-30,000 troops out of the current 140,000(??). By the way? The Pentagon was also telling us that troop levels might be raised by - 20-30,000 - for support of the upcoming elections in Iraq. WHAT TROOP CUTS? The Pentagon, no question, knows how stupid and unobservant we all are! In remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Casey cast doubt on this, saying Iraq was in a period of heightened uncertainty that made it "too soon to tell" if troops can be brought home.
So what exactly has changed in six months? in three months? I don't know. Hah!
SEVEN MORE YEARS! SEVEN MORE YEARS!
Sounds like a political convention shouting for re-election...in some backward third world dictatorship. But that is the clarion call of Gen. Casey in his testimony before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee yesterday said the average 20th century counterinsurgency lasted nine years. "And there is no reason that we should believe that the insurgency in Iraq will take any less time to deal with."
Seven more years? Does he actually think that a) the American voters will permit us to fight this unwinnable war for seven more years? or b) that Iraqis will tolerate our presence on their soil for seven more years? The plain facts are NO! Plus, one small matter, we financially cannot afford it.
9/11 DEUX ON THE WAY
Gen. Dick Myers, not to be outdone, said that if the United States pulls out now from Iraq, another attack like the one on September 11, 2001, was "right around the corner." What does he know that we do not? My money is more likely on empty threats from Bush's loyal cadre of blind incompetence.
THE WAR IS GOING WELL...NO IT'S NOT...
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was incensed at Dick Myers during testimony. Time and again, we have heard about how well the war was going. McCain accurately and angrily pointed out that the war had not gone as well as the Pentagon said it would go, or had been going.
"I don't think this committee or the American public has ever heard me say that things are going very well in Iraq," said Myers. "This is a hard struggle," he added.
Gen. Casey, December 16, 2004: "My view of winning is that we are broadly on track to accomplishing our objectives..."
Gen. Casey, same day: "There is progress across Iraq every day, and every day we and our Iraqi partners are a step closer to accomplishing our objectives."
Vice President Dick Cheney, June 20, 2005 on CNN's "Larry King Live": "I think the level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint I think will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
Vice President Dick Cheney, June 24, 2005 to CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, June 26, 2005 ABC's "This Week": "The fact of the matter is that the progress (in Iraq) has been solid."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, June 26, 2005, "NBC's Meet The Press": 'Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force Iraq, are the people with the most direct knowledge of what's transpiring in Iraq, and they "feel very good about the progress that's being made." '
Gen. John Abizaid, June 23, 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee: "For those of us who have spent many months in the field, we see good progress in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We sense good progress against the extremism that once seemed so pervasive in the region."
AND ABOUT THOSE IRAQI ARMED FORCES BEING TRAINED?
They're up, they're down, they're up...No one seems to have a handle on what is going on with Iraqi troop strength or capabilities.
Gen. John Abizaid, March 1, 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee: Gen Abizaid predicted that Iraqi security forces, while not up to the task yet, will assume the lead role in fighting the insurgency by the end of the year. "They will get better and I think in 2005 will take on the majority of the tasks."
Gen. John Abizaid, September 29, 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee: "Over the past 18 months, we have built enough Iraqi capacity where we can begin talking seriously about transitioning this counterinsurgency mission to them."
Gen. John Abizaid, September 29, 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee: "Iraqi armed forces will not have an independent capability for some time."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she was discouraged by the lack of readiness by the Iraqi security force. She said that it "contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going," and that "it doesn't feel like progress when we hear today that we have only one Iraqi battalion that is fully capable." This was in response to Gen. Casey saying that there are fewer Iraqi battalions at "Level 1" readiness than there were a few months ago. In fact, our military brain trust, just those few months ago had said that there were all of three Iraqi battalions at "Level 1" readiness.
The following from Globalsecurity.org:
Iraqi Military Reconstruction: "Security Forces began to recover strength in early 2005, following the major setback in late 2004. However, by mid-2005 the overall growth in Iraqi forces had slowed, no doubt at least in part reflecting the ferocity of insurgent attacks against Iraqi Security Forces. End-strength growth from April through June was negligible, 162,000 on 04 May 2005 to 168,000 by 22 June 2005. Indeed, endstrength declined slightly in June, dropping from 169,362 on 08 June 2005.
Overall, from October 2003 through October 2004 the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces appears to have doubled, increasing from 170,000 to 346,700. The actual number of forces on hand increased from 98,700 in October 2003 to 181,200 in October 2004. The shortfall of troops increased from 72,200 to 165,500 over this period.
The US made essentially no progress in increasing the number of Iraqi forces during the year 2004, with the total number of troops on hand continuing to hover at about 200,000. The situation in January 2004 looked fairly good, with 210,400 troops on hand, versus a desired end-strength of 226,700 -- ie, about 90% fill of desired endstrength. By October 2004 things did not look so good, with 181,200 troops on hand, versus a desired end-strength of 346,700 -- slightly better than 50% of desired end-strength.
Even more striking are the changes between August 2004 and October 2004, following the troops to task analysis completed in August. Over this three month period, the objective end-strength of Iraqi forces increased from 265,900 to 346,700, while the shortfall of troops increased from 30,100 to 165,500 over this same period. In September 2004 the Police end-strength objective increased from 90,000 to 135,000, while in October 2004 the Police forces on hand dropped from 84,900 to 43,900. Reflecting both the increase in end-strength requirements, and the drastic decrease in police on hand, the percentage of Police force requirements filled dropped from 95% in August to 33% in October."
This from Global Policy Forum, March 15, 2005:
"U.S. commanders and Bush administration officials are overstating the number of Iraqi security forces on duty, providing an inaccurate picture about the training mission that is the U.S. military's exit strategy for Iraq, a government audit agency said Monday. The Pentagon in its latest figures said 142,000 Iraqis had been trained as police and soldiers. But the Government Accountability Office said those figures include tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen who had left their jobs without explanation." Read the entire story at Strength of Iraqi Military Forces Questioned
So where does it all end? The U.S. military is failing in its mission. It has too few troops in Iraq, U.S. or Iraqi, to win the war. It is not winning "hearts and minds." The American public is decidedly against the war - excluding the delusional and blind "Right." Though even support from some of Bush's longtime supporters is now waning.
What can we do? What can you do?
Fly your flags at half-mast until we end the Iraq War and our troops are home. Demand of your members of Congress that we be permitted to see video and photographs of our war dead, of the maimed American, not just Iraqi bodies, the coffins returning home. Demand that the war be brought home.