Monday, January 17


Excerpts from "The Coming Wars" by Seymour Hersh:

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bush’s reëlection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of America’s support for his decision to go to war. It has reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing.

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

These people are so simple-minded it's unbelievable. George W. Bush wants to go down in history as having defeated TERRORISM????? What an idiot! How do you defeat a TACTIC? Terrorism has been part of the strategy of ruling classes, insurgents and "freedom fighters" for as long as the world has existed. It's not going to be "defeated" by BushCo. But let's be charitable. Perhaps they mean "we won the war on Al Qaeda." Nope, that doesn't make sense either, since we haven't been putting a tenth of the effort into that crusade that we have on "transforming" the Middle East.

Terrorism, according to Merriam Webster, is the systematic use of terror, especially for the purpose of coercion. By that definition I'd say the United States under George W. Bush has become the world's most prolific terrorist group in the world. When will the Repugs get into their pointy heads that Iraq WAS A SOVEREIGN NATION WHEN WE INVADED. No-one ever suggested that the Iraqi people were a party to any threats against the United States. This was not Germany or Japan; the Iraqis didn't select Saddam. A direct hit on Saddam, if we truly thought he was a threat to Americans, might have been justified, as was Reagan's attack upon Muammar Qaddafi. But "shock and awe" and the destruction of the entire nation, including the killing of more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, can be called nothing short of terrorism, actions taken to coerce the Iraqi people into surrendering their sovereignty to the U.S. and their souls to Bush-Cheney.

The real war BushCo is fighting is the "war to transform the Middle East," a supremely arrogant and ill-conceived strategy to remake an entire region "in our own image" -- or rather, in Bush's image.

Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term. In interviews with past and present intelligence and military officials, I was told that the agenda had been determined before the Presidential election, and much of it would be Rumsfeld’s responsibility. The war on terrorism would be expanded, and effectively placed under the Pentagon’s control. The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

It's called the Project for a New American Century, guys. The "War on Terrorism" is a convenient smokescreen.

The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books—free from legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A. ...In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. “Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.”
The civilian leadership in the Pentagon has argued that no diplomatic progress on the Iranian nuclear threat will take place unless there is a credible threat of military action. “The neocons say negotiations are a bad deal,” a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) told me. “And the only thing the Iranians understand is pressure. And that they also need to be whacked.”
The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation o intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, an perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destro as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me.
The hawks in the Administration believe that it will soon become clear that the Europeans’ negotiated approach cannot succeed, and that at that time the Administration will act. “We’re not dealing with a set of National Security Council option papers here,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “They’ve already passed that wicket. It’s not if we’re going to do anything against Iran. They’re doing it.”

Saw Hersh on CNN this morning, and he said bluntly that it's going to happen. George W. Bush wants to attack Iran, and he's going to do it. That's all. "This president will do what he wants to do."

“The idea that an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would produce a popular uprising is extremely illinformed,” said Flynt Leverett, a Middle East scholar who worked on the National Security Council in the Bush Administration. “You have to understand that the nuclear ambition in Iran is supported across the political spectrum, and Iranians will perceive attacks on these sites as attacks on their ambitions to be a major regional player and a modern nation that’s technologically sophisticated.” Leverett, who is now a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at the Brookings Institution, warned that an American attack, if it takes place, “will produce an Iranian backlash against the United States and a rallying around the regime.”

Omigod, it sounds just like Iraq, both pre-invasion and post-Desert Storm, when we encouraged Iraqis to revolt against Saddam (and then did nothing to support them, leaving them hanging out to dry -- I mean die). BushCo likes magic bullets; they believe the U.S. fires one, and the people rise up and do the rest of the work of regime change. What bozo at this point in time believes we have any significant popular support within Iran?
Rumsfeld and two of his key deputies, Stephen Cambone, the Under-secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, will be part of the chain of command for the new commando operations. Relevant members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have been briefed on the Defense Department’s expanded role in covert affairs, a Pentagon adviser assured me, but he did not know how extensive the briefings had been.

Cambone, Rumsfeld's sycophant and first-ever undersecretary of defense for intelligence (this despite the fact that he'd no experience in intelligence whatsover), of whom one Army general said "if he had one round left in his revolver, he would take out Steve Cambone." And Gen. Jerry Boykin, Muslim-hater and unsuccessful Osama-hunter. Two guys without the necessary diplomatic skills, intelligence, and geopolitical savvy, whose track records qualify them for suck-up but not for essential intelligence operations.
Some operations will likely take place in nations in which there is an American diplomatic mission, with an Ambassador and a C.I.A. station chief, the Pentagon consultant said. The Ambassador and the station chief would not necessarily have a need to know, under the Pentagon’s current interpretation of its reporting requirement.

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls “action teams” in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. “Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?” the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. “We founded them and we financed them,” he said. “The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.”
“It’s a finesse to give power to Rumsfeld—giving him the right to act swiftly, decisively, and lethally,” the first Pentagon adviser told me. “It’s a global free-fire zone.”
“Rummy’s plan was to get a compromise in the [intelligence-reform] bill in which the Pentagon keeps its marbles and the C.I.A. loses theirs,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Then all the pieces of the puzzle fall in place. He gets authority for covert action that is not attributable, the ability to directly task national-intelligence assets”—including the many intelligence satellites that constantly orbit the world.

“Rumsfeld will no longer have to refer anything through the government’s intelligence wringer,” the former official went on. “The intelligence system was designed to put competing agencies in competition. What’s missing will be the dynamic tension that insures everyone’s priorities—in the C.I.A., the D.O.D., the F.B.I., and even the Department of Homeland Security—are discussed. The most insidious implication of the new system is that Rumsfeld no longer has to tell people what he’s doing so they can ask, ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What are your priorities?’ Now he can keep all of the mattress mice out of it.”

And that's really one of BushCo's goals -- to remove any semblance of checks and balances so they can operate in total secrecy and safety from accountability.


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