Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Iraq War -- 2 years in

Today, the anniversary of the commencement of military actions against Iraq, is a good day to take stock of where we stand.

The Times has a relatively upbeat report, Insurgency Is Fading Fast, Top Marine in Iraq Says.

The WaPo counters with a front page story, Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military: Heavy Demands Offset Combat Experience

Another excellent Tomgram Dilip Hiro on Playing the Democracy Card surveys the situation, reminding us of U.S. historical interests in the Middle East.

Juan Cole continues the discussion about the spread of democracy in The Democracy Lie at

Andrew Bacevich in the WaPo offers an assessment of why the war has gone so badly, Nothing 'New' in This War. This quote is especially eye-popping: "George Armstrong Custer knew more about the warriors he faced in 1876 than U.S. commanders today know about their adversaries."

The issue of our military strength should concern us, especially right now with the saber-rattling in Asia:
Taiwan Leader Criticizes China
Homeland Insecurity
Published: March 17, 2005
Russian Denies War Games With China Are a Signal to Taiwan
Check out Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Coming to Terms with China for a long, detailed appraisal of the situation there.

Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan, democracy is marching slowly, Rice Calls Afghans Inspiring, but Election Is Delayed Again

Finally, and I hope you are still with me readers, as I have saved the worst for last, there comes this extraordinary report from BBC Newsnight & Harpers Magazine by Greg Palast, who more than any other single reporter dug up the truth about the 2000 presidential election. So far as I can tell the story has not been picked up by the mainstream media in this country. Read the article and watch the story at BBC Newsnight, Secret US plans for Iraq's oil:
The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.
Read the whole tangled tale, if your heart can take it.

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