Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hearts and Minds, Lungs and Livers, Lightning and Thunder

Tom Hayden:

The pact being negotiated between the US and Baghdad governments includes a direct rebuff to president-elect Barack Obama's promised policy of withdrawing American combat troops in 16-18 months. The pact instead would leave those troops in place until the end of 2011, a doubling of the timeline to which Obama pledged himself. But that's not all.

The most important things, some say, are the things left unsaid. If so, the unmentionable thing would be the police state America is leaving behind in Baghdad...

The Company likes it some Dictatorships. And Obama will do just fine if he keeps his mouth shut and does what the Pentagon says. After all, the Empire works best in the Homeland if it stays invisible.

But it has plans to keep it that way if Obama's supporters get uppity, patterned on well established protocols:

...Counterinsurgency often is framed as winning hearts and minds, not as crushing the alleged insurgents to protect the civilian population. In South Vietnam, that led to "strategic hamlets" and the Phoenix program. In Central America, it was death squads who killed priests, nuns and thousands of civilians. In both cases, American and world opinion was shocked.

In the case of Iraq, there is silence in the West.

For example, there has not been a single Congressional inquiry into the oblique revelations in Bob Woodward's latest book about secret operations launched in May 2006 to "locate, target, and kill individuals in extremist groups". The top intelligence adviser on these operations, Derek Harvey, told Woodward that the killings gave him orgasms. These were extra-judicial killings, with the Pentagon acting as judge, jury and executioner. The definition of "extremist" was stretched to include anyone named by an informant as a supporter of the Sunni insurgency, supported by an overwhelming majority of Sunnis.

During Vietnam, the Phoenix program, exposed as killing over 20,000 Vietcong suspects, was closed down after an outburst of ethical fury. In 2004, the Phoenix program's revival was recommended by Dr. David Kilkullen, described in the Washington Post as "chief adviser on counterinsurgency operations" to Gen. David Petraeus. Kilkullen advocated a "global Phoenix program" to combat global terror in a 2004 article in Small Wars Journal. He later reissued the article without the Phoenix label, having already described the Phoenix project as "unfairly maligned" and "highly effective." He also advocates applying "armed social science" against the "physical and mental vulnerabilities" of Iraqi detainees. He walks the streets of Washington today, widely accepted in the world of national security advisers. No one in that select establishment has ever criticised his writings.

Americans already pay for this sectarian repression - which even includes the diminishment of Christian seats in parliament - with $22 billion in tax dollars from 2003 through 2007 for American advisers to the Interior Ministry, police and prison guards. In 2007, there were 90 American advisers assigned to the interior ministry, which much of training of police and prison personnel is outsourced to contractors like DynCorps, according to Congressional oversight hearings.

One of the trainers has been Gen. James Steele, a veteran of the Central American counterinsurgency wars, who was with the US Civil Police Assistance Training Team when the sectarian Iraqi militias began operating under official cover. He was quoted in 2006 as "not regretting their creation..."

...The next stop is Afghanistan, where another 50,000 detainees fester under similar conditions to Iraq, and the British envoy recently recommended an "acceptable dictator." Instead of addressing the human rights crisis in that country, the envoy suggest that "we should think of preparing our public opinion" for dictatorship as the necessary outcome.

It's a needful thing, isn't it?

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