“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, November 24, 2006

win win in iraq - can't you just taste the slaughter?

And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit
                thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye
                defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination


LI doesn’t have the equipment to respond to the news from Baghdad. The evil done yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, going all the way back to the invasion, the massive links in that chain forged by criminals in Washington – and the mediate links through all of the criminals, literally, on the streets of Baghdad – and the inevitable tit for tat braiding of all Iraqi blood for blood – the incredibly stupid sudden grab for Sadr in 2004, balanced and exceeded by the razing of Fallujah in 2004, while the zombie American war crowd howled, like the dead in the Odyssey, blind bats attracted to blood sacrifices, the sportifs getting hardons from the purple revolution - exhausts the pittance of my empathy and imagination, which is contained in only so much nerve and neuron, insufficient collective tissue to curse and moan, to beg God above to rain down fire and brimstone on this dangerous, disgusting country of ADD aggression. No God, though, and no matches. Not really much to that, in the end, surely? Fuckin’ pitiful. Truly a cunt prophet, LI, not even one of Nobodaddy’s emissaries, but doing my utmost to imitate, in prose, the projectile vomiting of my indignation.

So, track some blood in the house. The slaughter in Sadr City, yesterday, which the American forces, striving to achieve the bogus objective of pleasing the diseased vanity of our Rebel in Chief, were helpless to contain or prevent, is the dark cloud in the Iraq picture – but hark, a little brightness for the war gamer crowd – a pitched battle! This should make the sucklings of the War industry, all those gamer belligerents, hard:

“American soldiers fought such units in a pitched battle last week in Turki, a village 25 miles south of this Iraqi Army base in volatile Diyala Province, bordering Iran. At least 72 insurgents and two American officers were killed in more than 40 hours of fighting. American commanders said they called in 12 hours of airstrikes while soldiers shot their way through a reed-strewn network of canals in extremely close combat.”

Yes, this is the family friendly movie of combat, and what Americans do best – or at least, since they spend 500 billion per year on this kind of scenario, the only thing the American military really knows how to do.

There was a story last year (December 18, 2005) in the Boston Globe Vietnam and Victory, by Matt Steinglass about the brand new brand new thinking of the Rumsfeldian military, sniffing, in the Iraq situation, the smell of victory – and as we all know, the Bushies are all about accomplishing missions, leading to victories, leading to wearing butch clothing and an all around distribution of medals and defense contracts.

Here’s a bit of it:

“SUPPORTERS OF the American invasion and occupation of Iraq have often argued that it has little in common with the Vietnam War. But judging by President Bush's new "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," unveiled Nov. 30 and promoted in a series of recent speeches, the administration itself may have started to see some parallels. The document envisions a three-pronged security strategy for fighting the Iraqi insurgency: "Clear, Hold, and Build." It is no accident that this phrase evokes the "clear and hold" counterinsurgency strategy pursued by the American military in the final years of the Vietnam War. For months, as the Washington Post's David Ignatius and The New Republic's Lawrence Kaplan have reported, influential military strategists inside and outside the Pentagon have been pushing to resurrect "clear and hold" in Iraq, claiming that the US effort to suppress the Viet Cong was actually a success.
The argument that "clear and hold" vanquished the Viet Cong is made most forcefully in "A Better War," the 1999 book by Vietnam veteran and former Army strategy analyst Lewis Sorley. The book focuses on General Creighton Abrams, who replaced General William Westmoreland as supreme commander in Vietnam in 1968 and moved from Westmoreland's discredited strategy of seeking out and killing enemy soldiers ("search and destroy") to one of controlling and defending patches of territory and population ("clear and hold"). In Sorley's telling, this new approach, combined with the severe losses the Viet Cong suffered during the 1968 Tet Offensive, virtually wiped out the insurgency. By late 1970, Sorley writes, "the war was won." Sorley's book has reportedly been widely read this year by US military strategists, including the commander of US forces in Iraq, General John Abizaid. Its influence can also be seen in a key article in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs by military analyst Andrew Krepinevich Jr., himself a Vietnam War historian, which called for adopting a "clear and hold" approach. But the idea that the strategy that beat the Viet Cong could work in Iraq elides a fundamental question: Did "clear and hold" actually beat the Viet Cong? For most historians of the war, not to mention for those who fought on the winning side, the answer is no. And the lessons for Iraq are far from clear. . . . "The Sorley analysis is wrong," writes David Elliott, author of the exhaustive and widely lauded "The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930-75." "For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would think [clear and hold] was a success in Vietnam," writes William Turley, author of "The Second Indochina War, 1954-1975." "Lewis Sorley is completely wrong," concurred retired General Le Ngoc Hien in a recent interview. As deputy chief of staff for operations in the North Vietnamese Army, Hien was responsible for compiling the overall military strategies for both the army and the Viet Cong. The argument is not about whether the Viet Cong suffered severe losses between 1968 and 1972; everyone acknowledges that it did. Hien agrees with Sorley that "major mistakes" were made in planning the Tet Offensive, including expecting pro-Communist uprisings by the urban populations in cities the Viet Cong seized (they never happened), and trying to hold on to the cities against overwhelming US and South Vietnamese counterattacks. More importantly, in 1969 and '70, the Viet Cong lost control over huge swathes of countryside and population. The Viet Cong, Hien acknowledges, found it impossible to locally recruit new guerrillas to replace those decimated in '68; tens of thousands of regular soldiers had to be sent down from the North to fill out Viet Cong units.
The debate, then, is over the reasons for the Viet Cong's reversals-and their significance. Sorley claims the tide was turned by Abrams's use of smaller American units working in close concert with South Vietnamese Army and Civil Guard troops at the village level, and by the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development (CORDS) program, which targeted economic aid to government- controlled villages in a campaign to win the locals' "hearts and minds." Elliott disagrees. He thinks Viet Cong setbacks resulted from a much simpler and more brutal tactic: The US and the South Vietnamese Army emptied Communist-controlled areas of people. "Only the 'clear' part [of 'clear and hold'] was a success," according to Elliott. In terms of controlling the population, the key was "indiscriminate bombing and artillery shelling which led to rural depopulation." Elliott's book is largely based on 400 interviews with Viet Cong defectors, some of which Elliott himself collected as a Rand Corporation researcher in South Vietnam during the war. Interviewees speak of villages hit by 300 or more mortar shells a day, of tiny hamlets with dozens of civilians killed by artillery and bombs. In one six-month operation in 1969, the US 9th Division came up with a body count of over 10,000 "enemy" dead, but only 751 weapons, suggesting huge civilian casualties.
"People hated the Americans," Elliott quotes one defector saying-a far cry from "winning hearts and minds." In sum, where Sorley paints a picture of in-depth village-level deployments between cooperating American and Vietnamese units, combined with economic aid, building villagers' loyalty and sense of security, Elliott and Hien paint a picture of indiscriminate firepower driving villagers off of their land, creating an atomized and demoralized, but controllable, population. This, presumably, is not the new strategy the US envisions winning hearts and minds in Iraq. . . .
A second critique of Sorley's thesis goes to the significance of the Viet Cong's reversals. According to Hien, the aim of the Tet Offensive was only partly to seize the South's cities; it was also intended to break the will of the American political leadership to continue the war. In this, it succeeded. Hien calls Tet "a victory with heavy casualties." It may have been a sacrifice from which the Viet Cong never entirely recovered, but it was a sacrifice which helped drive the US from the field, ultimately enabling the North to win the war. "The American historians want to isolate a short period of history and claim a victory," Hien remarks. "But at the end of the war, which side achieved its strategic and political aims?" Hien is right that some American analysts are eager to "claim a victory" in Vietnam. Sorley doesn't just argue that "clear and hold" beat the Viet Cong. He goes on to argue that the Vietnamization program in general was a success, and that by the time the last US troops left in 1973, the South Vietnamese Army was capable of defending the country.”

Is this cool or what? The Bush administration not only gets the U.S. into a losing war, but then goes through past losing wars in order to stock up on more losing strategies. And, as we can see – as we will see, although nobody is really going to see the hundreds of dead per day in America, since at heart the country has no heart – the Bushies have managed to lose Iraq in more than one way – they are burning a hole in America’s position in the Middle East for the next decade.

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