Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chain of Command excerpt

I came across this fascinating passage when reading Chain of Command by Seymour Hersh. It was also posted on the online NewYorker in 2004. But since this passage really illuminated something for me, I thought I would post it here. Okay, here is this:

SEYMOUR M. HERSH ---the New Yorker
Issue of 2004-06-28Posted 2004-06-21

"In July, 2003, two months after President Bush declared victory in Iraq, the war, far from winding down, reached a critical point. Israel, which had been among the war’s most enthusiastic supporters, began warning the Administration that the American-led occupation would face a heightened insurgency—a campaign of bombings and assassinations—later that summer. Israeli intelligence assets in Iraq were reporting that the insurgents had the support of Iranian intelligence operatives and other foreign fighters, who were crossing the unprotected border between Iran and Iraq at will. The Israelis urged the United States to seal the nine-hundred-mile-long border, at whatever cost.

The border stayed open, however. “The Administration wasn’t ignoring the Israeli intelligence about Iran,” Patrick Clawson, who is the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and has close ties to the White House, explained. “There’s no question that we took no steps last summer to close the border, but our attitude was that it was more useful for Iraqis to have contacts with ordinary Iranians coming across the border, and thousands were coming across every day—for instance, to make pilgrimages.” He added, “The questions we confronted were ‘Is the trade-off worth it? Do we want to isolate the Iraqis?’ Our answer was that as long as the Iranians were not picking up guns and shooting at us, it was worth the price.”

The warnings of increased violence proved accurate. By early August,[2003] the insurgency against the occupation had exploded, with bombings in Baghdad, at the Jordanian Embassy and the United Nations headquarters, that killed forty-two people. A former Israeli intelligence officer said that Israel’s leadership had concluded by then that the United States was unwilling to confront Iran; in terms of salvaging the situation in Iraq, he said, “it doesn’t add up. It’s over. Not militarily—the United States cannot be defeated militarily in Iraq—but politically.”

A former Administration official who had supported the war completed a discouraging tour of Iraq late last fall. He visited Tel Aviv afterward and found that the Israelis he met with were equally discouraged. As they saw it, their warnings and advice had been ignored, and the American war against the insurgency was continuing to founder. “I spent hours talking to the senior members of the Israeli political and intelligence community,” the former official recalled. “Their concern was ‘You’re not going to get it right in Iraq, and shouldn’t we be planning for the worst-case scenario and how to deal with it?’ ”

Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister, who supported the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq, took it upon himself at this point to privately warn Vice-President Dick Cheney that America had lost in Iraq; according to an American close to Barak, he said that Israel “had learned that there’s no way to win an occupation.” The only issue, Barak told Cheney, “was choosing the size of your humiliation.” Cheney did not respond to Barak’s assessment. (Cheney’s office declined to comment.)”

Very Interesting.
One can see then, that the Isrealis that had been all for the war, (they get Sadaam out of their worries) were by Sept. 2003 appalled at the way, the US was handling the war. If there is any enitity that does Mossad is one that knows the region. They are professional, and they can't afford to be wrong in their intelligence estimates.

So by then we have Barak telling Cheney, the only issue,was choosing the size of your humiliation. And my surmise is since then, as Cheney ignored Barak then, and on up til now, we have both Bush and Cheney in denial, and continuing to put off dealing with the size of the humiliation. That's whats happening right now.
Unless we are to conclude that Israeli intelligence has it wrong, and doesn't know what they were talking about now or in late 2003.

Generally, Bush seems to be hung up on a Winston Churchillian mode --stay the course, Total Victory, we must defeat the terrorists. Cheney, instead of learning anything, was pronouncing 'last throes' in June 2004, and now apparently wants a widened war, by taking on Iran.

The commonal which both share is anyone that brings adverse information to them in regard to Iraq is , 'defeatist', and they don't want to hear this. At this point, W reminds me of Hitler's stance on the Eastern front, i.e. not retreat one inch of ground.(stay the course)
It worked for the Hitler, during Dec. 1941 outside Moscow. But, it didn't work on the Eastern front the entire rest of the war! Rigidity, and the refusal to adjust to new developments. Combine this with someone who thinks he's been chosen by God to bring freedom and Democracy to the Middle East, and you can see what this recipe cooks up.

From all my study of religion, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism, I've learned that usually, or especially in the Judeo-Christian world, one uses a transmediator in approaching God. It is taught that sometimes as in the case of Job for example, God tests individuals, that claim to know his will, by letting them hear inner voices, which aren't necessarily God. A normal leader, might consult with a rabbi, and priest , or a minister, before choosing to believe they are guided by God.

So does this mean W will end up in the bunker like Nixon at some point after? (remember him and Kissinger kneeling in prayer towards the end?) Well on this it is hard to make the prediction. However, it looks like humilation is looming on down the line at some point.

The one cheery point to consider is that B& C, may end up discrediting the Republican movement, for the next 25 years, when all the laundry list of misteps reaches critical mass in the perfect storm of right wing incredulity.

Now maybe Ken Mehlman will be able to spin their way out of this, use the old stab in the back theory, or put some lipstick on the humilation, and sell it as the new, improved all -Iraqi solution. And maybe Mossad is totally wrong in their assessment. And maybe it is possible the Ewoks will come in at the final moment and save this thing.

At some point though faith-based reality will collide with reality/reality.

Thinking of the 2nd tier of the W administration, of Mehlman, Huges, Rice, Rummy, the Doug Feiths, and the Richard Perles, I am reminded of Sonnet 94 of William Shakespeare :

They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

Friday, March 10, 2006

Shakespeare The Biography - by Peter Ackroyd

Among other things I have been reading this biography of William Shakespeare. Have to read something besides heavy books about the Middle East and the Iraq war. Here is a quote from the review of this recent book over at :

" Describing himself as a Shakespeare enthusiast instead of an expert, Ackroyd focuses on the bard as an extraordinarily talented theater professional rather than rhapsodizing about the intricacies of the man's genius. He interweaves Shakespeare's life story with England's dramatic history and the fascinating world of the emerging Elizabethan theater. Apocryphal stories are identified and plausible explanations for what occurred during the missing years are offered. Shakespeare emerges as a thoroughly engaging, almost modern man, brimming with humor, eager for social advancement, and carefully tracking the popular trends in entertainment. Students who want to discover whether Shakespeare really was the author of the famous plays will find compelling evidence that only the man from Stratford could have hidden so many ingenious clues in his work. Sixteen pages of color illustrations include portraits of Shakespeare's famous contemporaries, photographs of the interiors of Elizabethan buildings, and illustrated title pages. Those daunted by the length of this book will find it a good reference source. Students looking for information on the building of the Globe, the meanings of the sonnets, the differences in the various editions and revisions of the plays, and other typical academic questions will find useful, well-organized information. A rich, vivid account." – Kathy Tewell.

What is intriguing about this biography, is that the author immerses you in all the details of Shakespeare's time period. It is a historical look which constructs his biography from period detail and inference. I find it certainly illuminates Elizabethan times and the perameters of Shakespeares life.Posted by Picasa