Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bush's gang of mad beekeepers

I published the following essay by the late Edward Teague, aka Postman Patel, in the now defunct Canadian Spectator. Re-reading the essay today, it seems well worthy of republication for the evidence it provides in support of the Trumpian thesis that "we are ruled by very, very stupid people." Although the near perfect accuracy of my old school bud in his forecast of the disastrous course and aftermath of the Bush/Blair criminal war of aggression against Iraq demonstrates remarkable prescience, it also demonstrates the sheer incompentence and moral imbecility of those responsible for that war. 
By Edward Teague, March 19, 2003* The full-scale, unilateral US invasion of Iraq is imminent. President Bush's gang and their "allies" do not realize their miscalculation: that the costs of invasion will outweigh any benefits.

The Bush gang knew what desperate straits they were in well before 9-11. The empire is in decline, and this means Americans will have to reconcile themselves to a new world in which their profligate energy guzzling and "fuck you," lifestyle becomes a thing of the past. Americans do not understand (yet) that this is an irremediable situation. They are the unwitting and unwilling witnesses to the beginning of the most dangerous period in human history.

The tactical situation, never auspicious, has deteriorated rapidly for the US. The denial of a ground front from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey has reshuffled the tactical deck, and caused sleepless nights for harried commanders from Tommy Franks at Task Force Headquarters all the way down to lonely infantry platoon grunts in the sandy desert. The ground attack has to go through the Kuwait gateway in the far south, a single front across which an unbelievable series of heavy, expensive, high-maintenance convoys will pass, many on long journeys to 18 provincial capitals, 19 military bases, 8 major oil fields, over 1,000 miles of pipeline, key terrain along the borders of minority Shia and Kurdish regions, as well as Baghdad.

Huge logistical trains must be set in motion to consolidate objectives, set up lines of communication, deliver food, medical supplies and ammunition. Ground transportation will have to be augmented with airlifts of people and equipment. This will require seizure of airheads by Special Forces and Ranger units. Meanwhile the body bags will build up.

Baghdad: Shock and Awe. Source
There will be a siege of Baghdad. But now the siege cannot begin without a lengthy invasion timeline that will depend heavily on airborne and air-mobile forces, to be dropped onto key facilities to hold them until mechanized ground reinforcements can arrive. Today, the 101st Airborne (which is actually a helicopter division) has yet to complete its deployment into the region. Sections of the 82nd Airborne (a genuine paratroop division) are still occupying Afghanistan. Although significant numbers of UK forces are well equipped and in place.

The increased dependence on airlift is complicated by weather. Extreme summer heat doesn't reach Iraq until May, but early summer sand storms have already begun. Sand is a terrible enemy, Clogging engine intakes, eyes, ears and noses, gathering in the folds of skin, it gets into food and drink, works its way into every conceivable piece of equipment, and takes a miserable toll of both men and machinery. When air operations are critical to overall mission accomplishment, and when light airmobile and airborne forces operate independently of heavier mechanized logistics, adverse weather events like sand storms matters... a lot.

Even with these debilities and setbacks, the results of the invasion are certain. Iraq will be defeated and occupied. There will be no sustained Iraqi guerrilla resistance. There will be no Stalingrad in Baghdad. US forces are, in this environment, against this foe, in the long term, invincibile. But the body bags will build up.

War gamers always win

Last September retired Marine General Paul Van Riper was selected to play the Opposing Forces (OPFOR), Commander Saddam Hussein, for a 3-week-long computer-simulated invasion of Iraq, called Operation Millennium Challenge. He defeated the entire multi-billion-dollar US electronic warfare intelligence apparatus by sending messages via motorcycle-mounted couriers to organize the preemptive destruction of sixteen US ships, using pleasure vessels. At that point, the exercise controllers repeatedly intervened and told him what to do: "move these defenders off the beach. Stop giving out commands from mosque loudspeakers. Turn on your radar so our planes can see you." Because every time Van Riper was left to his own devices, he outsmarted the overwhelming might of the US armed forces.

Does this mean the Iraqis could defeat the US during an invasion? No. It will, however, make the invasion far more expensive, slow, difficult, and deadly for — Iraqis.

The Iraqi military cannot prevail. They are weak, under-resourced, poorly led, and demoralized. What the delays mean is that the US will sustain the initiative and momentum through brutal, incessant bombing designed to destroy every soldier, every installation, every vehicle, every field kitchen and toilet facility of the Iraqi military.

The war will inflict terrifying casualties on the Iraqi armed forces, and there will be terrible physical and mental collateral damage to civilians, even if efforts are made to attenuate that damage.

I've taken Baghdad what do I do now?

What is uncertain is the aftermath. This is the variable never publicly factored into the thinking(?) of the Tony Sopranos of Dubya's gang; their deeds plant the seeds of future, furious, frightening resistance. As many as half a million Iraqi soldiers may be intentionally killed and perhaps 100,000 civilians written off to collateral damage. Think of the grief of millions after this slaughter, the conversion of that grief into rage, combine that with the internecine struggles based on historical ethnic fault lines (that the Ba'ath Party has repressed), and we begin to appreciate the explosive complexity of post-invasion Iraq.

This invasion will also ignite the well financed fires of Arab and Muslim (of all shades, hues and fealties) humiliation and anger. Either in the sands of the desert or on city streets, far from this war, the body bags will build up.

The Kurds whose time has come No one is ignorant of the claim that "Saddam gassed his own people," the Kurds's. Few have bothered to inquire into the truth of the claim. Stephen Pelletiere was the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. He was also a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000. In both roles, he had access to classified material from Washington related to the Persian Gulf. In 1991, he headed an Army investigation into Iraqi military capability. That classified report went into great detail on Halabja. Halabja is the Kurdish town on the Iran/Iraq border area, where hundreds of people were apparently poisoned in a chemical weapons attack in March 1988. Few Americans know that much. They have only the article of religious faith, "Saddam gassed his own people."

As Pelletiere and others have shown, the gassing occurred in the midst of a battle between Iraqi and Iranian armed forces. Other research has shown that the US Defense Intelligence Agency indicated it doesn't believe that it was Iraqi chemical munitions that killed and maimed the Kurdish residents of Halabja. It was Iranian. The condition of the bodies indicated cyanide-based poisoning. The Iraqis were using mustard gas in that battle. The Iranians used cyanide, the symptoms of which are distinctive, facial coloring, breath smell etc.

Image source
Over the vast area that is Kurdistan, with its insurgent armed bodies, overlaying Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and even parts of Syria, there will be a realignment of political and military forces that are as yet unpredictable. As part of the effort to generate an Iraqi opposition, the US has permitted Northern Iraqi Kurdistan to exercise a strong element of national political autonomy since the 1991 war. This is a double-edged sword for the US in its current war preparations, especially in view of the Bush gang's predisposition for pissing all over its closest allies.

Iraq's Northern border is with Turkey, which has for years favored the interests of its own Turkmens in Southern Turkish Kurdistan at the expense of the Kurds, who have waged a guerrilla war for self-determination against the Turks since the 1970s. The Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan or PKK) (Kurdish Worker's Party), Turkish Kurds fighting for an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey, was singled out on the US international terrorist organization list several years ago, in deference to fellow NATO member, Turkey. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is so popular with the Kurds that Turkey was forced to commute his death sentence, subsequent to his capture, to life imprisonment, for fear that his execution would spark an uprising. Do not be surprised if he "escapes" from his island prison. Do not be surprised if he is subsequently shot in hot pursuit.

Other Kurdish independence organizations financed and developed by a range of western interests, have alternatively allied with, and split with the PKK and each other. Turkey now claims that PKK bases are being constructed in Iran, with Iranian complicity, from which to launch strikes against Southern Turkey. Groups other than the PKK, more acceptable to the US, predominantly the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK) have been administering Northern Iraqi Kurdistan as an autonomous zone under the protective umbrella of the US no-fly zone. The Turkish government fears the influence of this section of Kurdistan in the wake of a US military action that topples Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath government, because Kurds have declared their intention of declaring an independent Kurdish state, complete with the oil fields of Erbil, Kirkuk and Mosul. The Turks find this absolutely unacceptable, and will invade to prevent this happening. Their threat to attack Kurds in Iran is less credible.

Kurdish nationalists have long experience with betrayals and alliances of convenience, and have first hand experience of American perfidy. After an invasion, they will defend themselves from Turkish incursions. They will not lose the autonomy they have gained over the last eleven years in Northern Iraq. This not only puts them at odds with US ally Turkey, it may also put them at odds with the US itself, even with US wishes that they participate in indigenous actions against Iraqi forces. A complication of post-invasion Iraq will likely be the demand that US commanders disarm the Kurds.

Northern Iraq could easily become contested, terrain involving partisan warfare between Turks, Kurds of three factions, the Iranians, and the US, with Syrians based groups also throwing in their three pennorth. This would amount to the devolution of Northern Iraq, a key strategic region, into another Afghanistan or Somalia. It is already straining relationships between Turkey and the United States, NATO allies, even as the NATO alliance itself comes under severe strain, with a Euro-American trade war as a backdrop.

The Bush Junta acts like a mad bee keeper, it no longer leaves the hive stable, smoking it into a stupor to harvest the honey, but sets about swatting all the bees and taking the honey by brute force.

The US$ cost of the war

Cruise missiles at 400 per day, that is 400 times $1.3 million in self-destructing technology. 30 days of this is $15.6 billion for Cruise missiles alone. This is great news for Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin and the Carlyle Group, but bad news for public schools. US teachers, are now wearing buttons "money for education not war." This is a reflection of the deepening consciousness of the American people. But they have yet to grasp the depth of the crisis that drives the war. Nor does it measure how every missile's impact increases the rage of the Southwestern Asian masses and the justifiable anxieties of Africa and East Asia.

The real bet that Bush & Co. are making in this war is that they can secure oil at $15 a barrel, reassert dollar hegemony, enhance America's ability to wage economic war on China and Europe, and inaugurate rising markets and soaring corporate profits. This will not happen.

The US$ cost of war, plus the insane Bush Federal tax cuts for the rich (equaled almost exactly by increases in State taxes), will deepen the US domestic economic malaise. The coming social crisis in the US will explode against a backdrop of heightened public expectations. The hyperbole employed to justify this war, against rapidly strengthening resistance and a corresponding loss of credibility outside the indoctrinated and gullible United States, resulted in the perpetual "war on terror," apparently with no domestic economic sacrifice. Mountains of personal and institutional debt in the US, deflation, trade deficits, industrial overcapacity, rising unemployment, domestic insecurity, all these factors will be worsened by the Bush policy initiatives (all being followed in the UK). Bush will go down in flames, along with, Tony Blair and strutting Francophile, Jose Maria Aznar. It will be a long time indeed before anyone aligns themselves with the US as an ally. As the last elections in South Korea and Germany, candidates will find that election victory depends on how independent one can prove oneself of the United States.

The human cost of war Measured not in US$, but in body bags 

Counting the cost... eventually

The course is charted, arrogant use of the military is all the US ruling class has to maintain its dominance. After Iraq, asymmetric warfare, "terrorism," will be directed at Americans, American institutions, American targets, and American allies. When the rest of the world recognizes how thinly spread the US military is, thinly spread physically, and economically, because it is not a sustainable institution in its current incarnation, rebellions will occur. Indeed they have already started. The response of the weakening US will be to lash out, often with unforeseeable consequences, just as the consequences of this impending invasion are unforeseeable, and unknown.

Sturm and Drang

Military might is a sign of strength, but the US military is not invincible worldwide. America's use of force as both first and last resort is a sign of profound systemic weakness. Its employment today will destabilize the world, and cause us to stumble into a Third World War: The War of Unintended Consequences.

ISIS in Iraq
There is a long struggle ahead, and it will become more terrible as it proceeds. But just as those before us fought slavery, apartheid, fascism, communism and colonialism, we can take up our historical task with confidence and determination, and assert our humanity against the gang of mad beekeepers. Just remember as Dubya and the gang keeps reminding us, "America is the world's oldest Democracy," even though for over 100 years it managed to sustain a slave class.