Iraq

He Has Nothing To Say.

To say that President Obama’s speech, marking the retirement of our last combat units from Iraq, was uninspiring… well, it was uninspiring. As usual, he’s taking credit for something that was planned back in the Bush administration. He did acknowledge former President Bush in an offhand sort of way, making it almost an insult.

We know Obama doesn’t do ad lib, so it makes you wonder about some of his writers. It’s like they are as far out of touch with the pulse of America as Obama is, maybe more so. The speech was short for Obama, but then he hasn’t much to say these days… just the same updated re-written garbage that he’s been spieling for two years.

The speech returned to his economy, and make no mistake about it, it is his economy… George Bush retired two years ago, though you wouldn’t know it to listen to some of the liberal backwash out there. There’s no amount of spin that can disguise the fact that George Bush left us with a budget deficit of 400 billion dollars plus, which was bad enough in the opinion of most conservatives.

Barack Hussein Obama has lied, cajoled, bribed and corrupted the political process with his phalanx of Marxist apparatchiks and regulators… choking the life out of American business. He has blasted his way through 1.85 trillion dollars.

If you look at it from that aspect, it’s not surprising he doesn’t have much to say.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

The Trojan Gaga

I receive from 'Foreign Policy Initiative,' and this morning I came across a particularly interesting one....

The soldier accused of downloading a huge trove of secret data from military computers in Iraq appears to have exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period. In at least one instance, according to those familiar with the inquiry, the soldier smuggled highly classified data out of his intelligence unit on a disc disguised as a music CD by Lady Gaga. – New York Times

 

Apparently Gaga transcends even her musical talents.

Yes Michael, It Is Obama’s War.

But first… Michael Steele. Those who read this column regularly will know that I have had some reservations about Michael Steele’s leadership of the RNC. These misgivings had more to do with what I perceived to be a lack of leadership qualities on his part, rather than some of the other criticisms that were cast about out there. Lately, it seems that he can’t open his mouth without putting his foot in it. His latest foray into shoe leather has produced a tempest that may not be shoved under the stoop so easily.

Michael Steele 

Afghanistan is not Barack Obama’s war. Barack Obama made it his war. Afghanistan was treated like a sideshow during the early years of the Iraq war. After initial successes there it was relegated to a backwater status and put on auto-pilot while assets were concentrated elsewhere. Not a smart thing to do with a conflict in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, against one of the most vicious enemies on the planet.

 

Barack Obama attempted to use Afghanistan as a foil against the war in Iraq, which he had often and vociferously promised his nutcake base that he would bring to an end, and have the troops marching home with flowers in their rifle barrels. Obama was unprepared (gee, what a surprise) and badly advised about the conditions on the ground there. That crowd of Marxist academics he has surrounding him could be much better employed sharpening pencils or counting paper clips… anything but making policy.

 

Obama once again deluded himself that we could somehow win the Afghanistan affair by not winning it. Hence the months of purposeful foot dragging (sounds like the gulf oil spill, doesn’t it?) in responding to his theater commander’s troop requirements which have yet to be met in full.

Michael Steele is not so much wrong in fact as in substance. Yea verily, it is Obama’s war… now. What is apparent is the lack of depth and understanding of Steele’s ill-considered statement. I’m concerned about the “leader” of the Republican National Committee being so thoughtless… thoughtless about the context of what he said and the historical context in which he said it.

 

At a stage when we, as Conservative Republicans, are demanding more and more from our representatives… I’m just not sure he’s the right guy for these times.

 

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

 

© Skip MacLure 2010

Obama Willfully Ignoring Domestic Islamo-Fascist War On America.

If the shoe fits, wear it… and Obama is wearing out shoe leather on this one. In an article I wrote on Feb.17 (America’s War on Terror…Obama’s War on America), I said that it was time to ask, “Hey Obama, who’s side are you on?”. Suffice to say, there are a lot more questions about Obama’s motivations than answers.

As a Commander-in-Chief, it’s readily apparent that he is waffling and tentative at best, even making allowances for his lack of executive or command experience. His apologists are quick to point to his great intellect and thoughtfulness. I haven’t noticed any great intellectual horsepower there. I have noticed an awful lot of people running interference for him while trying to convince us of his genius.

Obama’s record of ignoring, obfuscating, covering up or lying about Islamo-fascist activities in this country goes back quite a way. Obama’s connection to CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and to the Nation of Islam alone would prevent him from getting a federal security clearance. The number of connections to people with confirmed militant Islamo-fascist contacts is astounding, and in the chaos of the Obama administration’s efforts at dismantling our economy and our society have all but been forgotten.

Starting with George Bush cowardly avoiding saying what was only obvious to the rest of us after 9/11 by referring to Islam as “a religion of peace”, his government’s bi-polar war on terror, fighting an armed conflict in the middle east while simultaneously trying to convince Americans that the tens of thousands of muslims in our midst were as innocent as lambs and all solid patriots (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain), despite the fact that the very tenants of this benighted religion demands of its adherents that they wage war on the infidel, Obama has done nothing to further the war on terror and everything to retard its prosecution.


The Army's 09L or "09 Lima" program trains noncitizen, native speakers of Middle Eastern languages to be translators for the U.S. Army. In January, the Army transferred the program from Fort Jackson (seen here) to Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

He would have done nothing about Iraq, except for the fact that we were already there, and in fact opposed the troop surge which proved to be the winning strategy there. He would most certainly have done nothing about Afghanistan either, except for the fact that he had shot his mouth off about it during the campaign and was then trapped into acting on it. He then decided not to proceed by dragging his feet for several months on giving his commanders the resources they required to complete the mission.

Obama’s pro-Islamist attitude has permeated a military already rife with political correctness, especially at the command level. Such machinations resulted in the cover up of the Fort Hood shootings and the apparent cover up of the Fort Jackson poisoning investigation.

Obama has also further weakened an already overwhelmed Border Patrol Service by reducing funding and reducing the number of agents working our southern border by 150. Obama’s assault on our NASA space program is another mission-critical purposeful attack on our national security. The Chinese and Russians will be quick to militarize space. We would have no defense from such an assault except by being there. Obama has much, very much to answer for.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

 

Iraq: Case Closed

From the Top Newspaper in Baghdadi:

Thank You America – And Damn You, You Bastards By Jabr Al Jabouri Al-Bayyna Al-Jadida [Baghdad] July 1, 2009

America chose to save us from the most evil party, and the most despicable President in the universe [Saddam]. Meanwhile, the Arab powers stood firmly against the American project. They used all means to thwart them, but Allah’s will had another say in this matter. America turned the Ba’athists into the world’s laughing stock by showing them fleeing in their underwear on live television. Meanwhile, the Arab powers turned those cowards into national heroes on their satellite channels.

America gave the lives of 4,000 of its people to Iraq’s land to instill security and democracy, while the Arabs sent us their filthy mercenaries who mercilessly murdered, bombed, and slaughtered the Iraqi people.

America came bearing democracy for Iraq, while the Arabs brought us the new religion of the Wahhabis and Salafists. This religion aims to destroy Iraq and return it to the days of minority rule.

America canceled all of our debts and urged the rest of the world to do so, while the Arabs refused to do so and they even demanded payment for every Iraqi citizen living in their countries.

America allowed Shias to practice their religion while the Arabs bombed the Askari shrine. America proposed that the Iraqi President be Kurdish – so that we can prove to the world that Iraq has entered an age of freedom and respect for ethnic minorities. Yet, the Arabs have “removed Iraq from the Arab map,” pointing to the fact that the President is a non-Arab. America urged all honorable Sunnis to take part in the political process, while the Arabs issued a fatwa to kill every Sunni Iraqi who works with the government.

America opened the world to us, while the Arabs slammed their doors in our faces. America urged the world’s countries to open embassies in Iraq. Thus far, the Arabs have not opened embassies… or even acknowledged Iraq’s new democratic regime. America is carrying the burden of removing Iraq from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, while the Arabs – led by Saudi Arabia – are doing their best to obstruct these efforts.

America urged the Gulf States to allow Iraq to return to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), while the Arabs refused to allow Iraq to join the GCC. The Americans sponsored Iraq membership in international, political, and cultural organizations, while the Arabs expelled the Iraqi Authors and Writers Union from the Arab Writers Union.

America decided to withdraw from Iraq cities and hand these cities over to the Iraq forces on June 30 in preparation for the final withdrawal from Iraq. The Arabs decided to hinder the withdrawal so that their excuse for fighting the occupier and killing the Iraq people can remain. America signed the Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, which includes all political, cultural, military, and technological fields. The Arabs issued a decision stating that Iraq is “officially occupied” because we signed the security agreement. Never mind that all these Arab countries have agreements with America. The Arabs decided that every American soldier in Iraq is an occupier that must be killed, while if an American soldier was to be in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, or Egypt he would be considered as a friendly ally that must be treated with respect. The Arabs decided to consider every Iraqi living in America to be a traitor and spy, even though Iraqi people living in America are fewer in numbers than all other Arab nationalities. The Arabs consider every Iraqi who works as a translator for the American forces to be a traitor…

This is how Arabs are, and this is just a drop in a vast ocean. All this is what the Arabs do in public. What they do behind the walls is another matter entirely.

According to American news sources, Saudi Arabia has been trying hard to convince America to return the Ba’athists to power in Iraq. However, the American Administration does not care about what Saudi Arabia thinks or wants in this country.

Today, our American friends are true to their word. They have handed over security responsibilities to the Iraq forces, and they decided to withdraw from the Iraqi cities.

I wonder when the American forces in Saudi Arabia – estimated at 80,000 troops – are going to withdraw. When are the 30,000 U.S. soldiers in Kuwait going to withdraw? When are the American bases in Qatar, Egypt, Oman, Yemen, and all other Arab countries that live off American aid going to be shut down?

The geographically close, but, in humanitarian terms, distant Arab Nation does not deserve any political, cultural and commercial ties with us. Nations that are completely different from and unrelated to us are racing to assist us.

After six years of liberation, we now know who our friend is and who our foe is. We should not give a chance to those idiots who claim that Iraq is part of the Arab Nation. These idiots should understand that Iraq is part the federal, free and democratic world.

Translated from www.albayyna-new.com/

 

h/t. Weekly Standard

 

Thomas L. Friedman: Thank You Very Much George W. Bush

In today's New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman belatedly notices major changes that have been occuring in the Middle East for at least five years:

[S]omething is going on in the Middle East today that is very new. Pull up a chair; this is going to be interesting.

What we saw in the Lebanese elections, where the pro-Western March 14 movement won a surprise victory over the pro-Iranian Hezbollah coalition, what we saw in the ferment for change exposed by the election campaign in Iran, and what we saw in the provincial elections in Iraq, where the big pro-Iranian party got trounced, is the product of four historical forces that have come together to crack open this ossified region.

First is the diffusion of technology. The Internet, blogs, YouTube and text messaging via cellphones, particularly among the young — 70 percent of Iranians are under 30 — is giving Middle Easterners cheap tools to communicate horizontally, to mobilize politically and to criticize their leaders acerbically, outside of state control. It is also enabling them to monitor vote-rigging by posting observers with cellphone cameras.

I knew something had changed when I sat down for coffee on Hamra Street in Beirut last week with my 80-year-old friend and mentor, Kemal Salibi, one of Lebanon’s greatest historians, and he told me about his Facebook group!

The evening of Lebanon’s election, I went to the Beirut home of Saad Hariri, the leader of the March 14 coalition, to interview him. In a big living room, he had a gigantic wall-size television broadcasting the results. And alongside the main TV were 16 smaller flat-screen TVs with electronic maps of Lebanon. Hariri’s own election experts were working on laptops and breaking down every vote from every religious community, village by village, and projecting them on the screens.

Well, Mr. Friedman, it's good of you to notice what's been going on in the region for several years now; it's better late than never.  Where this story gets interesting, however, is to whom Mr. Friedman (unlike Fareed Zakaria) gives credit for this monumental development:

for real politics to happen you need space. There are a million things to hate about President Bush’s costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades. “Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous,” said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. “It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were.”

When I reported from Beirut in the 1970s and 1980s, I covered coups and wars. I never once stayed up late waiting for an election result. Elections in the Arab world were a joke — literally. They used to tell this story about Syria’s president, Hafez al-Assad. After a Syrian election, an aide came in and told Assad: “Mr. President, you won 99.8 percent of the votes. It means that only two-tenths of one percent of Syrians didn’t vote for you. What more could ask for?”

Assad answered: “Their names!”

Lebanese, by contrast, just waited up all night for their election results — no one knew what they’d be.

In other words, President Bush's grand strategy for winning the global war on terror is working, albeit more slowly than anyone predicted.  Of course, as in any war, there have been setbacks along the way:

the Bush team opened a hole in the wall of Arab autocracy but did a poor job following through. In the vacuum, the parties most organized to seize power were the Islamists — Hezbollah in Lebanon; pro-Al Qaeda forces among Iraqi Sunnis, and the pro-Iranian Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Mahdi Army among Iraqi Shiites; the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Hamas in Gaza.

Fortunately, each one of these Islamist groups overplayed their hand by imposing religious lifestyles or by dragging their societies into confrontations the people didn’t want. This alienated and frightened more secular, mainstream Arabs and Muslims and has triggered an “awakening” backlash among moderates from Lebanon to Pakistan to Iran. The Times’s Robert Mackey reported that in Tehran “chants of ‘Death to America’ ” at rallies for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week were answered by chants of “Death to the Taliban — in Kabul and Tehran” at a rally for his opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi.

To those of us who were paying attention, of course, this was apparent back in 2007.  Finally, Friedman closes with a mush brained sop to his liberal readers:

along came President Barack Hussein Obama. Arab and Muslim regimes found it very useful to run against George Bush. The Bush team demonized them, and they demonized the Bush team. Autocratic regimes, like Iran’s, drew energy and legitimacy from that confrontation, and it made it very easy for them to discredit anyone associated with America. Mr. Obama’s soft power has defused a lot of that. As result, “pro-American” is not such an insult anymore.

On the other hand, maybe what's going on right now is the result of a process that was set off five years ago that we have become increasingly irrelevant to over time.  FWIW, Bush probably was too hands off in 2005 and 2006, which probably did allow the Islamists more room to make their move than we had to allow them.  At the same time, doubling down in Iraq in 2007 definately convinced the locals we were there to stay.  Now, in 2009, the process seems to have taken on a life of it's own.

 

Over the next few years, this will be interesting....

I hope this helps.

That is all.Cahnman out.

Fareed Zakaria: Had you written this two years ago, it would have made a difference....

Fareed Zakaria writes a safe too little too late article on Iraq; no single money quote:

Obama still has the power to shape a decent outcome in Iraq. In doing so, he could help change the political dynamic within the Arab world and present a new model of America's relations with a modern, Muslim, Arab country.

Not that any other President of the United Staes was talking about that 6 and 1/2 years ago (when it was tough) or anything....

(Since I'm gonna go through the article graf by graf, I'd like to pre-emptively (there's that phrase again) inform Mr. Zakaria that his opinion on the liberation of Iraq and the surge remains as irrelevant now as it was in 2003 and 2007.  The only reason I comment on his opinion now is because the drive by media gives him more coverage than he deserves.)

Next, emphasis on slow:

Iraq is going through a slow but crucial transformation, from war zone to new nation-state. The next set of policies that Washington and Baghdad decide upon will determine how well this turns out.

Duh.

Next:

When the surge was announced in January 2007, I was somewhat cautious about it. I believed that more troops and a proper counterinsurgency strategy would certainly improve the security situation—I had advocated more troops from the start of the occupation—but I believed that the fundamental problem in Iraq was political discord among the country's three main sects and ethnic groups. The surge, in my view, would alleviate those tensions but also postpone the need for a solution. Only a political agreement among these groups could reach one.

Insert the word might between but and also and everyone believed this; what's your freaking point?!?

Also, rephrase "Postpone the need for a solution" with "Buy Us Some Time" and the surge suddenly looks a lot better.

I was wrong in some ways. First, the surge turned out to be a more sophisticated strategy—encompassing political outreach to the Sunnis—than I had imagined. Second, the success of the surge empowered the Baghdad government, brought Sunni rebels out from hiding and thus broke the dynamic of the civil war. Sunni militants have now been identified, their biometric data have been collected and their groups are being monitored. They cannot easily go back to jihad. The Shiite ruling elites, secure in their hold on the country, have less to gain by ethnic cleansing and militia rule.

Calling the surge sophistocated; how magnanimous of you!!!  I'm glad you were wrong in some ways!

They cannot easily go back to jihad.  No kidding (I'd use a scatalogical reference were I feeling less charitable).  Credit where it's due to the admittedly flawed Nuri-al Maliki with David Petraeus and Ray Odierno getting the assists on the goal.

Jihadists biodata being held by the US Military; why didn't the drive by media tell me about that in 2007 or anything?!?

Next:

An adviser to surge commander Gen. David Petraeus told the reporter Nir Rosen that the civil war in Iraq would end when the Sunnis knew that they'd lost and the Shiites knew that they'd won. Both now seem to be true.

Petraeus' adviser told you the war would be won when the Sunni's knew they'd lost and the Shiites knew they'd won....Gee, I'm sooo glad you and everyone else in the drive by media made that sooo easy from 2003-January 20, 2009 (btw, I could find a million more links on this topic if I felt like investing the time).  At least both now seem to be true....

Next:

while a renewal of the civil war—and a return to high casualty levels—is highly unlikely

Speaking for myself, I'd say damn near impossible over highly unlikely.  They again, I'm an optimist when my country takes courageous actions overseas.

Oh, and, by the way, I'm sorry your original concerns about the Surge remain.  I had forgotten that Fareed Zakaria's personal opinion is our primary metric for judging the success of America's Iraq Policy.

Next:

American influence is not what it was a few years ago.

Duh.  Thank you Fareed Zakaira.  Had I never heard or read you say this, I might not have lived a personally satisfying life.

Next:

Today, Arab regimes paint a picture of Iraq that suggests that American-led democracy has led to chaos, collapse and, perhaps more crucially, to Shiite tyranny. This is a damning indictment because for the rest of the Arab world—which is overwhelmingly Sunni—it suggests that democracy is something to be feared. It is also a convenient lesson because it means that Arab dictators can postpone indefinitely any need to open up their own political systems. But the message does resonate: opinion polls show that large majorities view Iraq as a failure and a sham democracy.

That's right because your buddies in the drive by media didn't have anything to do with this....

(Sorry, Common Dreams was the only site that still has that story up.  That said, much like the last link I could find a million more stories on a similar there if I felt like investing more time on this).

Next:

It isn't. There is much going on in Iraq that is admirable. Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are beginning to work out their differences through negotiation, not violence. Freedom of speech abounds. A new economy is taking shape, in which entrepreneurs are creating jobs and a civil society. Elections are punishing thugs and theocrats who cannot deliver services and rewarding more-pragmatic forces. The appeal of radical Islam is waning.

Duh.

Next:

This was not Barack Obama's war. But it might well turn out to be his greatest legacy to the Arab world. Ambassador Ryan Crocker ended his distinguished stint in Iraq with these fitting words: "In the end, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we came."

Fareed, when we win this war, it will be George W. Bush's legacy to the Arab World.  Barack Obama will get the credit that Mariano Rivera gets when he comes into the game with Yankees up by 17,000 runs because he needs some work.

I end this post with the full text of my e-mail to Fareed Zakaria about this article:

In other words, what you're saying is that now that George W. Bush is out of office, it's OK for the drive-by media to say nice things about America's policy there.

How we leave being more important than how we got in has been true since day 1; the only thing that's changed since then is the American President's last name and the weather.

Some of us had the courage of our convictions to stick with Iraq when it was unpopular.

Generations from now, George W. Bush will be remembered as the American Hero he truly is while insignificant intellectual poseurs such as yourself will fade into the irrelevance you deserve.

To paraphrase Davy Crockett: You can go to hell; I'll stay in Texas.

Adam Cahn Austin, TX

P.S. "War of Choice" my ass.

I hope this helps.

That is all.

Cahnman out.

41, 43, and Who Cleans Up Who's Messes

If there's one thing that annoys me about the Bush family, it's the myth that George H. Dubya cleaned up George Dubya's messes.  The reality is the exact opposite.  George Dubya cleaned up several of his father's (and America's) messes and he doesn't (at least yet) get credit for it.

Consider the following realities:

1. Afghanistan and 9/11 -- In 1991, when George H. Dubya was president, Ronald Reagan belatedly won the Cold War.  Where Reagan courageously supported the Afghan mujahideen when it was unpopular in this country, George H. Dubya was in charge when the decision was made that the United States no longer had any "interest" in Afghanistan.  George H. Dubya. was the President that allowed Afghanistan to collapse to the degree that the Taliban who hosted Usama came to power.

(And yes, lefty's, I'm placing the primary blame on Usama's rise on a REPUBLICAN President)

While George H. Dubya's Afghanistan decision was understandable given the realities of the time, it doesn't change the fact that the 1991 descent of Afghanistan into chaos was George H. Dubya's fault.

That said, in 2001, George H. Dubya's son George Dubya was confronted with a major decision.  Following the worst attack in our nation's history, George Dubya had to clean up his father's screw up in Afghanistan.  Thank God George Dubya learned from the biggest mistake of his father's presidency.

2. Saddam Hussein -- Removing Saddam from power was, easily, the greatest accomplishment of 43's Presidency.  The fact that we even question 43 over his courageous decision to remove Saddam from power proves how divorced from reality this nation has become.

In 1991, George H. Dubya had the opportunity to remove Saddam Huessein from power.  Instead of accepting the short term pain suggested by his Secretary of Defense, Geoge H. Dubya chose the long term pain advocated by his Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Cheifs.  History will note that George H. Dubya had the opportunity to save his son from the toughest decision of the Son's Presidency.

3. Eastern Europe -- In 1991 George H. Dubya made the worst speech of his Presidency.  While Reagan's policies continued to work, George H Dubya seemed content to "manage the situation" rather than driving the final stake through the heart of the evil empire.

Against that Background, it's amazing anyone anyone in Europe trusted the second President Bush after the First.  Considering the opportunities his father missed, the cooperation George Dubya got from Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltics, Slovakia, and Hungary were diplomatic triumphs from our alleged "diplomacy challenged" 43rd President.

The Presidency isn't a popularity contest, it's a courage contest.

I hope this helps.

Cahnman out.

Hero Petraeus admits it

General David Petraeus, CentCom commander and (soon to be former) military hero of the American right, made an admission today on The Fox News Channel:

Question: So is sending this signal that we're not going to use these kind of techniques anymore, what kind of impact does this have on people who do us harm in the field that you operate in? 

Gen. Petraeus: Well, actually what I would ask is, "Does that not take away from our enemies a tool which again have beaten us around the head and shoulders in the court of public opinion?" When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions we rightly have been criticized, so as we move forward I think it's important to again live our values, to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those. 

He hasn't just come out recently in support of closing Guantanamo and against torture, he has now admitted on Fox News that USA has violated Geneva Conventions.

Bush's Belief In Biblical Prophesy Led Him To War: Reports Now Verified By Chirac

 

There have been previous reports that George Bush believed that God  chose him to be President and advised him to go to war in Iraq. In the past couple of weeks there have been reports that Donald Rumsfeld used Biblical imagery to influence Bush:

Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon prepared a top-secret briefing for George W. Bush. This document, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, was a daily digest of critical military intelligence so classified that it circulated among only a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president; Rumsfeld himself often delivered it, by hand, to the White House. The briefing’s cover sheet generally featured triumphant, color images from the previous days’ war efforts: On this particular morning, it showed the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down in Firdos Square, a grateful Iraqi child kissing an American soldier, and jubilant crowds thronging the streets of newly liberated Baghdad. And above these images, and just below the headline secretary of defense, was a quote that may have raised some eyebrows. It came from the Bible, from the book of Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31, a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” On April 7, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose, under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable. Several others in the Pentagon disagreed. At least one Muslim analyst in the building had been greatly offended; others privately worried that if these covers were leaked during a war conducted in an Islamic nation, the fallout—as one Pentagon staffer would later say—“would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.”

But the Pentagon’s top officials were apparently unconcerned about the effect such a disclosure might have on the conduct of the war or on Bush’s public standing. When colleagues complained to Shaffer that including a religious message with an intelligence briefing seemed inappropriate, Shaffer politely informed them that the practice would continue, because “my seniors”—JCS chairman Richard Myers, Rumsfeld, and the commander in chief himself—appreciated the cover pages.

As even at least one analyst at the Pentagon realized, the use of such language would have even worsened the belief in the Muslim world that the Bush administration was conducting a religious crusade against Islam. Rumsfeld felt it was more important to appeal to the mind set of George Bush:

The Scripture-adorned cover sheets illustrate one specific complaint I heard again and again: that Rumsfeld’s tactics—such as playing a religious angle with the president—often ran counter to sound decision-making and could, occasionally, compromise the administration’s best interests. In the case of the sheets, publicly flaunting his own religious views was not at all the SecDef’s style—“Rumsfeld was old-fashioned that way,” Shaffer acknowledged when I contacted him about the briefings—but it was decidedly Bush’s style, and Rumsfeld likely saw the Scriptures as a way of making a personal connection with a president who frequently quoted the Bible. No matter that, if leaked, the images would reinforce impressions that the administration was embarking on a religious war and could escalate tensions with the Muslim world. The sheets were not Rumsfeld’s direct invention—and he could thus distance himself from them, should that prove necessary.

So Rumsfeld thought he could impress his simple-minded boss by quoting the Bible. (The above article contains many other examples of problems with Rumsfeld.)

Just a few days ago Counterpunch reported that a new book by Jacques Chirac confirms previous reports that Bush used Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq:

In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated.

In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog are forces of the Apocalypse who are prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped. The Book of Revelation took up the Old Testament prophesy:

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle … and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac:

“This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”.

The article goes on to say that this has been confirmed in a book by Chirac:

The story has now been confirmed by Chirac himself in a new book, published in France in March, by journalist Jean Claude Maurice. Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs”.

In the same year he spoke to Chirac, Bush had reportedly said to the Palestinian foreign minister that he was on “a mission from God” in launching the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and was receiving commands from the Lord.

There can be little doubt now that President Bush’s reason for launching the war in Iraq was, for him, fundamentally religious. He was driven by his belief that the attack on Saddam’s Iraq was the fulfilment of a Biblical prophesy in which he had been chosen to serve as the instrument of the Lord.

 

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