Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dilemma of the three "D"s

The Pentagon is suffering from the three “D”sDefeat, Damage control, and Double-talk.

After Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary talked about the withdrawal schedule of the US military presence in Iraq, his commander in Iraq General George Casey provided some more specific figures recently. Before the poor General could even say Mother of Them All Withdrawals, his Commander-in-Chief, none other than President Bush, jumped on him and said:

"George, this is George, yeah, the president, SHUT UP on withdrawals, we Americans aren’t going to withdraw until the Iraqis are ready, yeah I know what the Secretary said, but that's what we will continue to say in public - no, not what he said, but what I am saying."

Obviously, when General Casey mentioned those exit-words, a combination of Iraqi politicians and neo-con startegists would have rang up Dubya and said, “Assalamu ... eh ... good morning, Mr President, why are you screwing us right in the back. Those words will give the insurgents comfort and greater motivation.”

So Bush had to slap General Casey down in public. Incidentally, generals don’t make exit policy statements to the media without prior clearance from Washington, unless they are mega-egoists like MacArthur.

The situation in Iraq is really sh*t for the Americans. Virtually everyday people are being killed by the dozens through insurgent activities. Many innocent civilians have been the victims. The insurgents don’t give a damn because their aim is to destabilise the Iraqi political situation, discourage collaboration with the American controlled interim government, and highlight American military helplessness.

When civilians are killed, of course those killings/attacks make the insurgents murderers. Let’s not be mistaken about that – they are murderers, but no more or less than what the American military have been. The only difference is that the insurgents cannot claim the bullsh*t of ‘collateral damage’ because that term is copyright reserved only for US military destruction, killings and murders.

Apart from the political pressure on the Iraqis to get their constitutional act together, the Pentagon has announced it’s sending the 82th Airborne to Iraq as prison wardens. As I blogged yesterday, the military don’t send their elite shock troops to look after detention centres. It would be like providing surgical scalpel to someone who wants to chop up some firework.

Behind all these American double-talking and serious damage control, have been the pending Congressional elections next year and the growing anti-war campaign, now symbolised by what Bush and his neo-cons feared most of all, a grieving mother of a soldier slain in Iraq in the person of Cindy Sheehan. Those Republican Party chickenhawks would be sweating, squirming and certainly swearing.

For example, how would the American voting public view the contrasting shooting experience of VP Dick Cheney, chief chickenhawk of all, who had only raised his gun to shoot at pheasants and other game birds at the estate of some powerful industry tycoons, against those of young soldiers in Iraq, where more than 1800 have perished. Besides, Cheney had demonstrated where his patriotic heart has been, by taking 5 deferments from the draft during the Vietnam war. Marvellous example of a man who is probably the most hawkish in Bush Administration. That’s why he’s Chief of the Chickenhawks.

Now, another double talk to shore up the Administration verbal backflip on troops withdrawal. The US Army now claims it may keep the current number of soldiers in Iraq, about 136,000 for four more years. If you read the Sydney Morning Herald article here you will see what I mean by damage control and double talk.

For example, the US Army Chief stated the number could be adjusted lower, if called for, by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers.

I have two questions:

(1) What does he mean by “if called for”? This sounds like one of those second hand car saleman’s escape clause.

(2) How the f*** does ‘slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers’ result in an adjusted lower troop figure for Iraq? The only outcome would be a soldier staying either longer or shorter, but the overall number would be the same. ‘Slowing the force rotation’ means a soldier will be on tour in Iraq longer, while ‘by shortening tours for soldiers’ in a troop rotational programme means exactly the opposite, but neither of these two opposing programmes will lower the troop figures in Iraq, publicly at least.

This is what I mean by double-talking or BBB, bullsh*ting to baffle brains.

Then, like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands by saying it’s really up to the commanders in Iraq to decide how many troops will be needed next year 'and beyond’, thus putting the onus on poor General Casey. Some unlucky bloke has to be the whipping boy, and it won’t be the Amrny Chief.

OK, here’s the crunchline. That same double talking Army Chief then gently slipped in a piece of information that I have been anticipating.

Another paratroop unit, the equally famous 101st Airborne, referred to in WWII as the Screaming Eagles, will enter the rotation. Can you recall what I blogged on the 82nd Airborne being send to Iraq, purportedly as prison wardens.

Everyone, except for Bush's harcore believers in the US Red Land, and a handful of Malaysians ;-), knows that the situation for the US military in Iraq sucks. Thanks to Bush and his neo-cons, young soldiers are dying for their lies. And so are thousands and thousands of Iraqis.

It's so bad that the US is now forced to deploy their elite troops into the quagmire, instead of the usual practice of holding airborne forces in strategic readiness for flashpoints contingencies, like an invasion or emergency intervention in troubled spots. When such elite forces have to be deployed for policing or security duties of an occupied country, the military situation is truly deep sh*t.

(1) Why is the US Deploying Paratroopers to Iraq?
(2) Americans Abandon Ship

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