Topic: Call to Action
Read this ... then tell me why Lt. Watada is mistaken.
Think about this if you will, as if your child, your spouse, your beloved family member or friend were someone like our good Lt. Watada up the road facing court martial for declaring the war illegal and refusing to lead men in a criminal enterprise. Nor coming home with blood on their hands for Bush reasons. - Arthur Ruger
This is still another view of the surge. But this one is the butt-ugliest version I've seen.
Problem is, it's the one that makes the most sense of what has appeared to be absolute lunacy on the part of Bush and Cheney, given their statements today.
I'd really like to print this entire article but cannot legally do that so I'm going to write commentary on excerpts from the article. However, in the strongest terms, I suggest that you all read it. Whether you believe the author or not, your understanding and perspective of what is happening in Iraq almost moment by moment these days will be much greater.
If you link to and read the entire article and don't believe or agree, I'd suggest that one of us is in denial.
Petraeus! Is Baghdad Burning?
Posted on January 12, 2007
By Stan Goff
Editor's note: In this piece, a retired U.S. Special Forces soldier takes an oil-filtered look at Bush's "surge" plan for Iraq.
"Jodl! Is Paris burning?"
--Adolf Hitler, Aug. 25, 1944
[Excerpts & my commentary. Arthur]
... The other thing we need oil for is food ... more than people realize. In Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," he traces the U.S. food chain back to the oil fields through corn, which is now the basis of most of our other foods, then back to the oil field. It is widely known that each calorie of food consumed in the world today represents an expenditure of 10 calories of fossil energy, but Pollan's remarks while observing a cattle feed lot, where the beef-on-the-hoof was being force-fed corn produced by Cargill and Archer,Daniels Midland, are more to the point than any statistical review:
... The reason I lead into a discussion of the Bush administration's military "surge" plan for Iraq by talking about fossil fuels is that neither the government nor the media seem inclined to talk about the subject.
I've read quite a bit about peak oil and have respect for the concept. However, I was not in the mood for more peak oil when I started this article. Stan Goff has more than a peak oil on his mind here and I was not disappointed as I continued.
The Hydrocarbon Law
... The desperation of the coming escalation of criminal lunacy is based not on some fantasy but on a real and coming competition between the U.S. and basically everyone else for these energy stores, even as most honest experts agree that world production of oil has now peaked and will begin an inexorable and irreversible decline. The reason for attempting to implant permanent U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf area and install compliant governments (the real reason for the war from the very beginning) has everything to do with securing control over the region.
- The surge plan is a painfully twisted military option, but what is twisting it is not well understood. Stability in Iraq could be achieved relatively easily, even now, in conjunction with a precipitous redeployment of Anglo-American military forces. The strange attractor --strange mostly because the media never mention it--is Iraq's "first postwar draft hydrocarbon law," which would "set up a committee consisting of highly qualified experts to speed up the process of issuing tenders and signing contracts with international oil companies to develop Iraq's untapped oilfields."
This law, which is tantamount to privatization with an Anglo-American franchise in perpetuity, is the bottom line for the U.S., as evidenced by the fact that this is the one, absolute, bottom-line point of agreement between the Bush administration and the so-called Iraq Study Group.
The rhetorical scuffle between these two entities is not the what, but the how.
...When the situation is looked at in this way, we can bypass all the chatter from government and media mystigogues about regional stability for the sake of the people, democracy, terrorism, et cetera. These rhetorical smoke screens are concealing two inescapable facts: (1) The U.S. has lost the Iraq war and (2) the best retrenchment position possible now is to salvage the draft hydrocarbon law.
Okay conspiracy buffs ... it is about the oil. So how desperately determined or determinedly desperate are Bush and Cheney?
Whose oil is it?
And what could B&C do with a new embassy complex the size of Rhode Island and the 14 permanent bases in Iraq if Bush pretends that it's only a matter of more time befeore he goes along and withdraws our sons and daughters?
The Shiite leader who has most vehemently opposed this law, and the U.S. occupation, has been Muqtada al-Sadr. The press has frequently portrayed Sadr as pro-Iranian, and nothing could be further from the truth.
... Sadr has called for Iraqi unification, left the door open to Sunnis for an anti-occupation alliance, denounced the hydrocarbon law, and modeled his political and military leadership on Hezbollah.
Here is where we come to the nub of The Surge, and why it is probably the political death knell of Nouri al-Maliki. The principle aim of The Surge is to break the power of Muqtada al-Sadr.
Sadr not only has the seats in the Potemkin parliament of Iraq that put Maliki (a leader in a relatively small Shiite party, the Dawa) into power against the SCIRI (the largest parliamentary faction); he commands the ferocious loyalty of two and a half million people and has an 80,000-strong militia concentrated a stone's throw from the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad.
Baghdad has about 6 million people;
New York City has 8 million, just by way of comparison.
The population of Sadr City, the "neighborhood" under the leadership of Sadr, is approximately that of Brooklyn.
My perception of Al Sadr - given me by media - is essentially that he is nothing more than a holy man subordinate to a holier man named Al Sistani;
that he's an overly zealous and loyal Shiite lieutenant who's run amok and needs to be restrained by somebody else now that his superior has washed his hands of the whole thing.
And if Al Sadr is such a small timer, why is there a Brooklyn-sized "neighborhood" named Sadr City?
I think we misunderstand and make assumptions based on information failure at the hands of media.
What's with Al Sadr and Maliki?
... the Maliki government--or any other government that relies on U.S. military protection to survive for a week -- commands the loyalty of only a fraction of the armed actors in Iraq, and it positions itself tactically against most other armed actors.
The armed forces being trained for that "government" are themselves loyal to factions with agendas, and these forces are filled with opportunists and infiltrators.
... In light of those realities there is no possibility of one faction gaining the acquiescence of the whole Iraqi population and the various armed expressions of populations.
The Bush surge plan is designed to eliminate Maliki's Shiite opposition inside Baghdad, i.e., Sadr and his Mahdi Army.
What is magical about 21,500 soldiers and a surge of that specific size?
...While the U.S. gross troop numbers are about 130,000 (with around 25,000 mercenaries as an augmentative force), the actual number of combat troops is about 70,000. Before we can begin to subdivide these forces for any possible operation to slaughter and raze Sadr City, we have to account for basic operations and force protection at nine major permanent U.S. bases across Iraq, at least five large contingency bases, and an unknown number of smaller forward operating bases. Camp Anaconda in Balad alone has at least 25,000 troops.
...The Surge would inject fewer troops than are required to maintain one "camp." If the entire surge figure of 21,400 troops is compared with the number of hostile residents in Sadr City, the ratio is about 112 hostiles for every American.
This can mean only one thing: airstrikes, followed by a ruthless house-to-house slaughter.
Sadr City is targeted to be the next Fallujah.
For those who are susceptible to the personification of war, that is, the reduction of whole populations to a single leader--as in, "we are going to take out Saddam"
--I will remind readers that Sadr City is half men and half women, with 40 percent of the population under 14 years of age.
A million children.
Sadr City is approximately 33 million square feet. That is a population density of one child per 33 square feet--less than a 6-foot-by-6-foot room.
The very smallest lethality radius from so-called precision weapons delivered by aircraft is about 20 meters.
Even the humble infantry grenade launcher fires an M406, characterized this way in the manual:
The HE [high-explosive] round has an olive drab aluminum skirt with a steel projectile attached, gold markings, and a yellow tip. It arms between 14 and 27 meters, produces a ground burst that causes casualties within a 130-meter radius, and has a kill radius of 5 meters.
Do the math.
In Fallujah, a mass evacuation was organized before the general assault on the city. The mandatory mass evacuation went through checkpoints in the American cordon sanitaire.
While women and children and very old people were allowed out, all "military-aged males" were turned back into the city, which, once the assault started, became a free-fire zone, and those men were dealt with like the Jews of Warsaw.
Thousands of people refused to evacuate for a variety of reasons. They were subsequently caught up in the general slaughter. This is the likely operational template for Sadr City.
Think about this if you will, as if your child, your spouse, your beloved family member or friend were someone like our good Lt. Watada up the road facing court martial for declaring the war illegal and refusing to lead men in a criminal enterprise.
The Other Math
There is another calculation associated with these kinds of "surge" operations: the aftermath.
Muqtada al-Sadr has been effectively demonized in the U.S., but he is wildly popular and influential in Iraq, especially in southeastern Iraq, which has heretofore shown the least resistance to the Anglo-American occupation.
In an attack on Sadr City, according to powerful rumors, Kurdish peshmerga troops will be used to do some of the fighting, an insane political gambit.
If the Americans proceed with what appears to be a cruel and mindless plan (surely emanating from Dick Cheney's lair) there will be a possibility of igniting the Mother of All Tactical Nightmares for the U.S.: a general armed Shiite uprising in the southeast.
Maliki, of course, knows this, and has objected strenuously--only to be blown off like a gnat by the Bush administration and its fresh coterie of compliant generals.
Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, author of yet another U.S. military manual on counterinsurgency (none of which has ever worked--ever), is the designated paladin for this disgraceful enterprise; he's getting his fourth star for this, making him a real general.
"Petraeus is being given a losing hand," notes former Gen. Barry McCaffrey.
"I say that reluctantly. The war is unmistakably going in the wrong direction. The only good news in all this is that Petraeus is so incredibly intelligent and creative.... I'm sure he'll say to himself,
`I'm not going to be the last soldier off the roof of the embassy in the Green Zone.' "
Stan Goff is a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces. During an active-duty career that spanned 1970 to 1996, he served with the elite Delta Force and Rangers, and in Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Somalia and Haiti.
He is a veteran of the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama and also taught military science at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Goff is the author of the books "Hideous Dream--A Soldier's Memoir of the U.S. Invasion of Haiti," "Full Spectrum Disorder--The Military in the New American Century" and "Sex & War."
It's a lengthy article at Truthdig.com but it's my firm opinion that one cannot come to any reasonable estimacion of what is going on in Iraq and why Bushco is so obstinate about a surge without including Goff's article in the mix.
Meanwhile, Link to
Cross-posted to DailyKos