David Petraeus

Petraeus Goes Bananastan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to spend $20 billion to double the size of Afghanistan's army as part of a program designed to bring the country that was once the "crown jewel" of our woebegone war on terror under control. We might be better served by simply bribing the Taliban and al Qaeda elements in Afghanistan to take a little breather. That's how General David Petraeus got the Sunni militias in Iraq to play ball with him, and that only cost us about $216 million. As peace making measures go, it's cheaper to buy guerillas than it is to make soldiers, so why not take the path of least resistance?

Of course, the cost of victory through bribery in the bananastans could get twice as expensive now that "top Bush administration officials" are looking to step up ground force forays into Pakistan. I guess the top officials finally realized that bombing Pakistani weddings with nuclear submarines isn't getting the job done.

Not to worry, though. General David Petraeus, young Mr. Bush's "main man," is about to take charge of the bananastans, and if he can't win there, nobody can.

Has Iran Stopped Nuking Its Wife?

Keystone Kondi Rice is back in the news. This time she's helping her boss make boo noise about what the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) calls Iran's "relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons."

On January 8, speaking at an AIPAC conference, Condi said that the Iranians, "continue to inch closer to a nuclear weapon." This despite the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate finding (.pdf here) that stated, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."

Condi and AIPAC and the rest of the neoconservative universe have treated the November NIE the way it treats all inconvenient facts; they've ignored it. And once again, the mainstream media, most notably the New York Times, have been their willing partner in crime.

Pavlov's Dogs of War Propaganda

It turns out that James “Spider” Marks, retired Army general and military analyst, was pushing the Bush administration’s war propaganda on CNN under the guise of objective journalism for fun and profit.

Say it ain’t so, Spider.

“Shoeless” Barry McCaffrey and “Clueless” Ken Allard were also among the ranks of retired officers who cashed in on their military experience to shill young Mr. Bush’s woebegone war on the major news networks, according to an article in last Sunday’s New York Times by David Barstow. Many of the faux analysts who spoke with Barstow were so contrite they sounded like they were trying to put their hands on a Get Out of Hell Free card. Allard was especially amusing, seeming to want us to think that it took him five years or so to figure out that he was being duped by the Pentagon, but now that he’s figured things out, boy he’s hoppin’ mad about it.

It’ s difficult to believe Allard could have been that dumb for that long, but keep in mind that he’s a former intelligence officer, and that the average intelligence officer is no more intelligent than the average fighter pilot, so he might have been.

The Proxy War with Iran, Google and Me

by Jeff Huber

Back in the good old days when global nuclear annihilation was a real and present danger and not just something Dick Cheney talked about to scare people, the United States fought its proxy wars with superpowers like the Soviet Union. Today, to hear neocon echo chamberlains tell it, our quagmire in Iraq is a proxy war with Iran, a country with an economy and a defense budget that are barely six percent of America’s.

That, my fellow citizens, is what became of your Cold War peace dividend.

I was captivated by this revolting development in the history of my country, and decided to take my trusty sidekick Google on an adventure to figure how out how and when such a Monty Python caliber phenomenon got started.

Iraq: Spin One for the Gipper


by Jeff Huber

I have to say it again: If the Bush administration put a fraction of the effort it spends on spinning its wars into winning them, it wouldn’t need to spin them.

The current clash between Iraqi Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s security forces took root last year when Sadr told his forces to take an operational pause for resupply and recuperation. That reduced violence levels enough to allow U.S. commander David Petraeus to claim his surge strategy was working even though it didn’t accomplish its intended political objectives. One might have expected a supposedly smart guy like Petraeus to leave well enough alone, but no. George Bush’s “main man” had to poke his pistol into the hornet’s nest, raiding selected elements of the Mahdi Army in Baghdad’s Sadr City and Shiite population centers in southern Iraq.

The Sadrists warned for months that they would retaliate if the harassment didn’t stop. Petraeus must have been too busy escorting John McCain and Lindsey Graham on shopping sprees in Baghdad to listen, because he kept at it, using both U.S. forces and elements of the Badr organization, one of Sadr’s rival Shiite political groups whose members dominate Iraq’s security forces.

It was not too long after Dick Cheney’s surprise visit to Baghdad on March 17 that Maliki launched his offensive against the Mahdi Army in Baghdad and in the southern city of Basra. The big media were strangely silent about the implications of the timing of the two events. Sadr’s people responded to Maliki’s push with a rocket and mortar attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Petraeus blamed the Mahdis’ retaliation on Iran, but said nothing about why he and the best-trained, best-equipped military in history were powerless to defend the Green Zone well over a year into his “successful” surge, and nobody in the press asked him about it.

Rovewell, USA

I’ve said more than once that America’s most profound strategic casualty in the woebegone war on terror has been its information environment. The recent military operation in Iraq against Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s organization once again illustrates how we have entered a post-modern Orwellian (Rovewellian) age of dissonant dystopia.

The Horse’s Mouthpiece

General Malpractice in the Bush Military

"It's one thing to attack me. It's another thing to attack somebody like General Petraeus."

-- George W. Bush, September 13, 2007

People tell me all the time to lighten up on our senior generals like David Petraeus because they have such a hard job. Well, answer me this. If the job consists of saying "yes" to the boss, who in return protects you from any and all criticism, how freaking hard can it be?