"There was no attempt at deconfliction at all," he added, using the military term for avoidance of duplicate effort. -- Wash Post
A sea, a sea of bad news this morning, spanning the globe, from the odious Tom DeLay in D.C. -- a man who, unlike many a democratic presidential candidate, has no trouble telling Bush to screw off when he feels like it -- Bush wanted him to make some limp-wristed liberal gesture like giving a tax break to (gasp) the poor, so DeLay obliged by embedding it in an impossible tax break for those poor who make 150 thou a year -- to our non-battle, in non-hostile Iraq, which just killed, according to the Times, 100 Iraqis in battles somewhere around Kirkuk, to another non-battle with Iraqi forces that attacked a tank column, in which 27 Iraqis were killed. Or maybe they were non-Iraqis in the first battle. Of course, given our super embedded media, we really don't know much about what is happening with these things -- the miltary has decided to pull the plug on info, until they've licked it into whatever shape they want the press to spoon it out to the rest of us as, and the press is content to do its patriotic duty. In their story on these events, the NYT published a figure of 40 American casualties since the Bush declaration of non-hostility. It is amazing how the newspapers can't seem to make a count of such a seemingly simple thing. Nor is there any investigation of the rather suspicious 'accident' figures.
Let's be clear, as our beloved Defense Secretary might put it. The War is entering a second phase. Is this phase going to be peaceful? No. Is this phase going to lead to a pattern resembling the retaliatory cycle between Palestinians and Israelis. Yes. Yes but. This isn't an inevitability. J-Lo Bremer has been in alarming commandante mode the past two weeks. He has, for instance, decided to ban writing that conveys an "anti-american" tone, or a "pro-Ba'athist" tone. He has put back the moment in which Iraqis will rule their own country into the middle distance, from whence it appears likely to be the "light at the end of the tunnel", to quote a beloved cliche from our last big war. Meanwhile, there are persistant and worrisome patterns in the tone from the Bush team that originally planned the invasion. George Ward, who works at the comically named U.S. Peace institute -- an appendage of the Pentagon, mainly, which war planned 'post-hostile' Iraq -- pens an op ed piece in the NYT today that, along with assuring us that everything is hunky-dory in our temporary colony, advances this proposition: "The long-term goals in Iraq now are public security, a transition to a representative system of government and the creation of a free-market economy." Where, one wants to know, does that last little item come from? And what does it mean? If it means what LI thinks it means -- privatizing Iraqi oil, and distributing it to American oil companies -- than the team is clearly whacked. No blood for oil was an anti-war slogan that was, admittedly, exaggerated. But if the George Wards of the administration are truly pursuing the goal of "creating a free-market economy" -- as if it is our business to create any such thing in Iraq -- then the slogan will be verified, and definitely the verification will be in blood.
Where, in the friendly scenario outlined by Ward, is the takeover, as quickly as possible, of Iraq by Iraqis? LI thought, and thinks, that for all the D.C. chestbeating about America being an empire, the American people won't bear a colony -- especially as it serves nobody's interest, and drinks American blood. The vampiric drip drip of casualties is the worrisome noise in the background. The press has the idea that Bush's triumphalism has entered every heart, and that we are all overjoyed by the guy. I don't think so. I think that nobody but a circle of policy makers around Rumsfeld is going to be happy about a war to install 'free enterprise' in Iraq.