Sunday, February 18, 2007

Not Bound by the Non-Binding Irresolute Congress

So Congress spends a week or more debating whether or not to have a debate about the mass slaughter going on in Iraq. Then they vote for a non-binding resolution. This prompted the ridicule of John Yoo, one of the Bush regime's key torture and "unitary executive" (read: unfettered executive) architects, in a piece he co-wrote with Lynn Chu, on February 12, 2007 in the New York Times. They point out that the Democrats in Congress could, if they really wanted to and really meant it, stop the war by withdrawing the funding.

They go on to say:

"Most also understand that that [sic] leaving Iraq to a sectarian power struggle would break our word and lead to slaughter. A failed state in Iraq would breed more terrorism, not less, by becoming a haven for more radical training camps.

"Most in Congress, in fact, are not eager to replay Vietnam. The United States has had far fewer casualties in this conflict. Our national security interests here are high. If we falter now, it would be read as a 'defeat' and embolden more terrorist attacks on us. Once again the world would begin to doubt American strength. This would undermine our ability to conduct credible diplomacy, while electrifying Islamists to further jihad."

There is so much wrong with the above that the very idea of trying to untangle each falsehood is imposing. Probably the most important problem with it is its outrageous American chauvinism. From their perspective, the lives of the hundreds of thousands, possibly as high as a million since our 2003 invasion, of Iraqis - who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 - are cheap compared to US national security interests - read: US imperialist interests. They go on to claim that if we leave Iraq we'll create a sectarian power struggle. I suppose the slaughter going on now between the US and Iraqis and between different factions in Iraq, Sunni v. Shia, isn't already happening and wasn't caused by our very invasion. And the state in Iraq isn't a "failed state" yet even though they are unable to rule, the police forces are themselves riddled with sectarian militia, and the US must stay to prevent the very scenario that is already being played out before our eyes everyday. "Strength" here means launching a war on a people who weren't threatening us before this invasion.

The only really accurate elements here are their recognition that US (imperialist) interests here are high, that Congress as a whole also doesn't want a repeat of Vietnam and that withdrawal would be seen as a defeat. So to avoid a defeat we must go on slaughtering and torturing Iraqis. Sounds right to me. Good going. What role models you are, Lynn and John, for other Asian-Americans! What people for others to aspire to!

In a directly related matter, see this piece in the February 15, 2007 issue of the NYT. The 20k plus troops being sent as part of Bush's so-called surge are going to be going there without body armor until at least summer. These are the very body armor units designed to protect them against the IED's that Bush claims is being supplied by Iran to be used against American soldiers. So we need to send in more American troops sans body armor so that more can die from IED's? Bush certainly takes seriously his slogan about supporting the troops.

Here's part of the NYT article:

"How do you explain to the thousands of American troops now being poured into Baghdad that they will have to wait until the summer for the protective armor that could easily mean the difference between life and death?

"It’s bad enough that these soldiers are being asked to risk their lives without President Bush demanding that Iraq’s leaders take any political risks that might give the military mission at least an outside chance of success. But according to an article in The Washington Post this week, at least some of the troops will be sent out in Humvees not yet equipped with FRAG Kit 5 armor. That’s an advanced version designed to reduce deaths from roadside bombs, which now account for about 70 percent of United States casualties in Iraq.

"The more flexible materials used in the FRAG Kit 5 make it particularly helpful in containing the damage done by the especially deadly weapon the Bush administration is now most concerned about: those explosively formed penetrators that Washington accuses Iran of supplying to Shiite militias for use against American troops."

And they say that Americans have no sense of irony!

To those people who continue to say that we must follow the lead of the Democratic Party and that this is our only "realistic" hope for change: how do you like them apples now? Seems to me there's some old saw about rotten apples that might apply here. For those of us who, by contrast, find torture and slaughter utterly abhorrent, being bound (and tied) by such notions surpasseth the absurd.

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