Sunday, September 28, 2008

The SURGE, Admit the surge, Respect the surge finally can we UNDERSTAND the Surge?

by R.W. Spisak Jr.

1. The technical definition
earlier, to ride (at anchor) probably in part from Middle French sourgir to cast anchor,
land, from Catalan surgir to heave, cast anchor, from Latin surgere to rise,
spring up; from sub- up + regere to lead straight; in part from Latin surgere
intransitive verb
: to rise and fall actively : toss surging in heavy seas>
2 : to rise and move in waves or billows : swell surging>

: to slip around a windlass, capstan, or bitts —used especially of a rope

: to rise suddenly to an excessive or abnormal value surged to a record high>
5 : to move with a surge or in surges surging into his face — Harry Hervey>
surged past the other runners>

transitive verb
: to let go or slacken gradually (as a rope)
Merriam Webster ONLINE

2. Dissecting this "SURGE",
This set of tactics, that has, if you ask the masters of manipulation
in the BUSH administration, it was, like all of the
Propaganda Boasts

How did Bush describe it, originally?
[Bush defined (1/10/07) as the original goals of the troop increase: to give the Iraqi government the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas.” “A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations,” he said in announcing his Iraq plan. “So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.” But most of the “benchmarks” he then listed—taking responsibility for security in all provinces by November 2007, holding provincial elections in 2007, passing oil-revenue-sharing legislation, spending $10 billion on reconstruction and infrastructure projects— have not been met, with little impact on the question of whether
the “surge” succeeded.]

What has it accomplished? SURGE, SURGE, SURGE...
Let's look at the Results of the GAO's Analysis from 2007

September 2007 GAO report on the surge
In early September 2007, the Government Accountability Office released its report on progress in Iraq. The report stated that only three of eighteen benchmarks were met, leading the Republican leadership to try to discredit the results, and the Democratic leadership to use the report as evidence of the flaws in Bush's Iraq policy.[17]

The following are, according to USA Today, the eighteen benchmarks and the level of completion according to the GAO:

  1. Constitutional review Unmet
  2. De-Bathification reform: Unmet
  3. Oil revenue sharing: Unmet
  4. Guidelines for semi-autonomous regions: Partially met
  5. Enact electoral reform: Unmet
  6. Enact insurgent amnesty laws: Unmet
  7. Disarming illegal militias: Unmet
  8. Baghdad security: Met
  9. Establish three trained Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad: Partially met
  10. Eliminate political interference with Iraqi military commanders: Unmet
  11. Ensure that Iraqi Security Forces are even-handed: Unmet
  12. Ensure no safe-haven for outlaws, regardless of religion: Partially met
  13. Reduce sectarian violence and eliminate illegal militia: Unmet
  14. Establish joint security stations across Baghdad: Met
  15. Increase Iraqi security force independence: Unmet
  16. Ensure the rights of minority legislature political parties: Met
  17. Spend $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction: Partially met
  18. End Iraqi political undermining of Iraq security forces: Unmet[18]
4. The SURGE: It was not a raising and then, reduction of the numbers of troops.
As always is typical of the BUSH-ITES it was not what they advertised.
It was an increase in TROOPS, which has yet, to ebb.

Army plans current Iraq troop levels until 2010 MSNBC
Top officer says future planning 'is not a prediction' of how war is going

What has the increase of Troops accomplished According to Prime Minister Maliki
[In his much-discussed recent interview with Der Spiegel (7/19/08), Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was asked “which factor has contributed most to bringing calm to the situation in the country?” Al-Maliki listed several reasons, the U.S. troop increase not among them. Given that the total number of occupation troops at the height of the surge—about 183,000—was the same as the number present in November/December 2005, it is unlikely that the escalation by itself did much to fundamentally change the situation in Iraq.] FAIR.ORG

[The weakest link in Bush's plan is that it depends on the cooperation of Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. After a phone conference with the Iraqi leader, Pres. Bush said al-Maliki had promised U.S. forces would be given a free hand, and that "political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated." Such interference has in the past blighted U.S. efforts to curb the Shi'ite militias responsible for most of the sectarian killing, especially in Baghdad. ... For the "surge" plan to work, al-Maliki will have to change his ways. Ahead of Bush's speech, al-Maliki aides told journalists in Baghdad that the Prime Minister was willing to let the Americans take down the militias. But such promises have in the past proven empty. Unlike Bush, who has finally acknowledged some mistakes
in his Iraq policies
, al-Maliki has never expressed any regret over his open defense of the militias. Nor has he been able to wean himself away from his political dependence on al-Sadr. As long as al-Maliki needs al-Sadr's backing to stay in office, he is unlikely to allow U.S. forces—whatever the number—to confront the Mahdi Army.
- Time Magazine 1/07 ]

It's not a surge if the number of troops, increases do not begin to turn around.
The troop levels have not yet begun to be reduced.

[What’s more, that decrease in the level of violence that “surge” supporters point to seems to have virtually no connection to the increase in troop levels. Mideast scholar Juan Cole (Informed Comment, 7/21/08, 7/24/08) wrote that the decline occurred primarily in Al-Anbar, which saw little troop increase, and in Basra, where British forces had already largely withdrawn.
Cole argued that if the escalation contributed to decreased levels of violence, it was because it “allowed the ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis of Baghdad and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the country.”] FAIR.ORG

The troop increase has reduced American casualties but has had NO impact on the Iraqi Leadership or policy that it was ostensibly to impact.

5. The SURGE: What other tools has it used? THE BIG TOOL - Bribery,

Iraqi militia has been very happy to take arms and money to continue sectarian and ethnically cleanse neighborhoods.

[Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face. Having lost the civil war, many Sunnis were suddenly desperate to switch sides — and Gen. David Petraeus was eager to oblige. The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq — it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces. To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government. Rolling Stone 6/08]

Best friends money can buy!

[Will 'armloads' of US cash buy tribal loyalty?
The US policy of paying Sunni Arab sheikhs for their allegiance could be risky.

Since June, Mr. Hassani, who claims to be one of the princes of the legendary Shammar tribe, which numbers nearly 7 million across the Arab world, says he has received at least $100,000 in cash and numerous perks from the US military and the Iraqi government.

With his help, at least $1 million has also been distributed to other tribal sheikhs who have joined his Salahaddin Province "support council," according to US officers. Together, they have assembled an armed force of about 3,000 tribesmen dubbed the "sahwa [awakening] folks."

All of these enticements serve one goal: To rally Sunni tribes and their multitude of followers to support coalition forces.
"[The US military] threw money at [the sheiks]," says Col. David Hsu, who heads a team advising Iraq's armed forces in Salahaddin, Saddam's home province. He shows recent digital photographs he captured of smiling sheikhs holding bundles of cash as they posed with US military officers. "You are basically paying civilians to turn in terrorists. Money was an expedient way to try to get results."

US military officers on the ground say there is tremendous pressure from high above to replicate the successes of the so-called "awakening" against Al Qaeda in the western Anbar Province. The drive reached its apex in the run-up to the September testimonies to Congress by the top US military commander and diplomat in Iraq, US officers say.

"In order to turn the intent of [Lt.] Gen. [Raymond] Odierno for reconciliation into action, the coalition forces on the ground basically started recruiting leaders to try to turn other civilians against the insurgents," says Colonel Hsu, a native of Hawaii. General Odierno is the No. 2 commander of US forces in Iraq. from the Christian Science Monitor]

6. Let's not forget the Corporate Mercenaries ... oops, did I forget to say, CONTRACTORS

[House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman estimates that $4 billion in taxpayer money has so far been spent in Iraq on these armed "security" companies like Blackwater -- with tens of billions more going to other war companies like KBR and Fluor for "logistical" support. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of the House Intelligence Committee believes that up to forty cents of every dollar spent on the occupation has gone to war contractors. - TomsDispatch]

The crucial role of contractors in continuing the occupation was driven home in January when David Petraeus, the general running the President's "surge" plan in Baghdad, cited private forces as essential to winning the war. In his confirmation hearings in the Senate, he claimed that they fill a gap attributable to insufficient troop levels available to an overstretched military. Along with Bush's official troop surge, the "tens of thousands of contract security forces," Petraeus told the Senators, "give me the reason to believe that we can accomplish the mission." Indeed, Gen. Petraeus admitted that he has, at times, been guarded in Iraq not by the U.S. military, but "secured by contract security."...

More significantly, there is absolutely no effective system of oversight or accountability governing contractors and their operations, nor is there any effective law -- military or civilian -- being applied to their activities. They have not been subjected to military courts martial (despite a recent Congressional attempt to place them under the Uniform Code of Military Justice), nor have they been
prosecuted in U.S. civilian courts – and, no matter what their acts in Iraq, they cannot be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. Before Paul Bremer, Bush's viceroy in Baghdad, left Iraq in 2004 he issued an edict, known as Order 17.

Amnesty International "Blood at the Crossroads" report on the proliferation of loose small arms around the world including Iraq

Thus as the American Military Occupation continues utterly dependent on a lawless expensive Mercenaries force under the current "NON-SURGING-SURGE". This expensive mercenary force remains LAWLESS and UNRESTRAINED. Seemingly free from any constraint of international law or simple human decency.


[STOPLOSS Expected to Continue through 2009 - Last year’s surge of five combat brigades into Iraq helped drive a 43-percent increase in soldiers being barred from leaving the service under stop-loss orders, and Army leaders predict the policy will remain in place at least through next year. However, they expressed optimism that the numbers will ebb as surge forces redeploy.

More than 12,230 soldiers are under stop-loss orders, compared to 8,540 in May 2007, during the surge. But the 30,000 combat troops that were part of the surge are in the process of coming home, and the Army is returning to 12-month deployments Aug. 1. Because soldiers are placed under stop-loss as members of deploying units, reducing the numbers sent to war reduces the numbers involuntarily held. - The Army Times]

The Defense department has depended on KIDNAPPING & PRESS-GANG tactics unseen since the glory-days of the British Empire, to keep under arms Americans against their will. This is completely UnAmerican, and destructive of human liberty, this is done in defense of LIBERTY?

No reductions instead an increase in Iraqis and other foreign nationals in American custody. And while some Americans might yet believe Bush Administration claims, that American forces do not torture. They remain, uncharged, and held beyond international law, with no contact or help of any kind.

[Amid all the talk about the U.S. military "surge" in Iraq, little has been said about the accompanying "surge" of Iraqi prisoners, whose numbers rose to nearly 51,000 at the end of 2007. Four years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, occupation forces are holding far more Iraqis than ever before and thousands more languish in horrendous Iraqi-run prisons. ...

U.S. forces are holding nearly all of these persons indefinitely, without an arrest warrant, without charge, and with no opportunity for those held to defend themselves in a trial. While the United States has put in place a formal review procedure that supposedly evaluates all detainees for release on a regular basis, detainees cannot attend these reviews, cannot confront evidence against them, and cannot be represented properly by an attorney. Families are only irregularly notified of the detentions, and visits are rarely possible.

These conditions are in direct violation of international human rights law, though Washington claims that such legal constraints do not apply, because the United States considers its forces to be engaged in an "international armed conflict." The human rights community, however, firmly disagrees arguing that the conflict is not international in the traditional legal sense. Furthermore, international human rights law applies at all times, in war as well as in peace.

The detention facilities are closed to human rights monitors like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the International Federation of Human Rights. Even the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, mandated by the Security Council to provide human rights reporting, is denied access by the U.S. command. Lack of such monitors greatly increases the likelihood that detainees will suffer from abuse and bad conditions, as human rights organizations have often pointed out.

Prisoners at Bucca have rioted to protest maltreatment, poor conditions and religious insults by guards. Most troubling, the military regularly confirms deaths of detainees in the facility, suggesting that excessive force is commonly used. - Foreign Policy in Focus]

SO, as they like to STRESS in the Interrogation Room... the BEAT! goes on!

9. Surge... the COSTS

Oh, did we notice there was some, collateral damage... but the military learned at least one lesson from Viet Nam, they don't count collateral damage. And it seems they don't want America's delicate sensibilities (RAMBO/CLINT EASTWOOD/TARENTINO not withstanding) no pictures of coffins or dead American soldiers.

Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is
approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.
- Project Censored]

Fiscal Example #1
Here is one striking example. One of these firms, made up of a pair of ex-Army officers and bottom-rank Republicans, Scott Custer and Mike Battles. Battles had run for Congress in Rhode Island and had been a Fox News commentator, points out the Rolling Stone article.

The men threw together a security company in the hopes of grabbing a profitable contract to assure civilian security at the Baghdad airport.

Their bid looked "like something that you and I would write over a bottle of vodka, complete with all the spelling and syntax errors and annexes to be filled in later," said Col. Richard Ballard, then the inspector general of the Army. “The two simply presented it the next day and then got awarded about a $15 million contract."

“They were also given scads of money to buy expensive X-ray equipment and set up an advanced canine bomb-sniffing system, but they never bought the equipment. […] According to testimony by officials and former employees, the partners also charged the government millions by making out phony invoices to shell companies they controlled.” Digital Journal

Fiscal Example #2

Running a WAR, off the BOOKS??? - If its off the Books, fiscal republicans... does it have less fiscal impact? And breaking the Army, abusing the troops, and equipment, under-funding the veterans medical care.

Making room for the Iranians and Iraqis to improve their relations. Bribing the Mahdhi's Army to stop shooting our troops - That's what the surge is really about. And it's not a surge if the troops levels stay up.

Liberties Example #3 - Surge in warfare on our Constitutional Liberties

[As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits.
There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry. - Chris Floyd -
Monster Mash in a dead Republic]

The crime of planning to protest? What about the Constitutional Guarantee of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances? There is no right of the government to collect computers and cameras
to prevent protestors from planning a protest. Thinking is NOT A CRIME!

REPRESSION Example #4 - State of the Art-Murder & Repression

The harsh repression surrounding the “surge” has drawn far less U.S. press attention. The grim reality, however, is that an increasingly desperate American military has stepped up its indiscriminate killing and jailing of Iraqis, especially “military-age males” or MAMS.

A conservative counterinsurgency expert recently sent me a video, spliced together by the U.S. military in Iraq. It showed night-vision aerial surveillance of suspected “terrorists” as they moved about at night with what was described as a truck-mounted anti-aircraft gun, the muzzle still warm from firing.

The tiny figures of the “terrorists” walked into a forested area where they were mowed down by miniguns from an AC-130. Their truck also was blown to bits. Consortium News]

Congressional Cost Estimates from 2007 Example #5

[What can you get for a trillion bucks? Or make that $1.6 trillion, if you take the cost of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars as tallied by the majority staff of JEC - Even assuming a considerable drawdown in troop levels, total economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (with the vast majority of costs a result of in the war Iraq) would amount to $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017). Joint Economic Committee]

Long Term IRAQ Prospects Example #6

[Summary: The Bush administration's new strategy in Iraq has helped reduce violence. But the surge is not linked to any sustainable plan for building a viable Iraqi state and may even have made such an outcome less likely -- by stoking the revanchist fantasies of Sunni tribes and pitting them against the central government. The recent short-term gains have thus come at the expense of the long-term goal of a stable, unitary Iraq.
Foreign Affairs]

The Surge, will ultimately make a permanent solution even more difficult it has been designed by it's proponents as a short term election cycle program to "present the illusion" of a solution, until after the election cycle is completed.

10. The SURGE - Summary

The Surge,

Is not a successful battle, it's not the turning point of the war, its not really a surge at all. It's simply an escalation, dependent on bribery and mercenaries, and torture.

The Surge,
Supplemented by an irresponsible Off the BOOKS Near $ 10 Billion dollar per month investment by a broken economy and staffed by a dragooned, stop-lossed, broken military.

The Surge,
A temporary measure to prop up the Maliki house of cards.

The Surge,
Where wads of cash have been applied to sop up the blood, till after the election.

Finally, Yeah, Senator my wife has a bracelet too, and a cute little anklet, and my dog has a necklace. So now, that we've covered the jewelry issue, let's talk about the reality of the grab-bag of MISSTEPS, MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, MISADVENTURES, and MISJUDGMENTS that are the REALITY of the BLOODY, DANGEROUS, CURRENT AMERICAN TACTIC, Misnamed... the surge.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

DEMOCRATS SPEAK-UP for Senator Obama

by RW Spisak Jr.

At the West Palm Beach Democratic Party rally, Democrats gathered to discuss the Election effort ahead, and Bush Administration Criminality. Since the meeting was limited to two hours, only the highlights of Bush Administration Crimes could be discussed. Here are a few examples of each, from the three areas discussed.

National - Violation of his oath of office, "to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic."
[Partisan/Religious Litmus tests for Justice Department positions.]
[Signing Statements that usurp Legislative and Judicial Authority
further destroying the balance of powers designed for our Government.]

Constitutional - 1st Amendment Free Speech & Freedom of Assembly
[Free Speech Zones.]
4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures
[Tapping the entire Internet searching for Personal Information]
[Seizing computers, and pamphlets of activists participating in dissent, and detaining journalists who report on dissent]

International - Geneva Convention Violations, [Secret Prisons, Extraordinary Renditions (State Kidnapping)Ghost Prisoners (held beyond Red Cross or Red Crescent), Policies of Torture.]
Indiscriminate use of weapons of Mass Destruction
[Shock & Awe Warfare, Cluster Bombs, Depleted Uranium Warheads]

Committed, caring democrats presented a wish-list of suggestions for presentation to the Obama campaign. We collected comments for about 30 minutes and these are the Primary Points.

* Democrats need to speak with an emotional message, not just factual points,
some people can't digest factual points but emotional appeals often have greater reach and impact
* Support was requested for the Department of Peace, an important Kucinich campaign issue
* Why hasn't a new Energy Policy been addressed more aggressively - it will help domestically,
it will have a profound impact on national security, it will lead to economic improvements and additional employment opportunities.
* There should be more discussion of the Bush Crimes, and Constitutional abuses
* Senator Biden should have a higher profile
* The FCC needs new leadership - the issues of Net Neutrality and Comcast's "Net-Metering"
as well as the ongoing implosion of Old-Media ownership require a new approach
* Discussions of Gov. Palin's endorsement and/or support of the Alaskan Independence Movement
* Gov. Palin's claim of a record of opposition "the old boy network" must be tested against
A. Her support and fundraising for the indicted Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens
B. Her cronyism approach to staffing her mayoral and governor offices.

There was additional discussion, over whether some of these topics should wait, until after the election or should they be part of the campaign, for the next 50 days.

Many raised questions about where could they find responses to the lies being spread
by many on the republican side. The website RESPOND TO THE LIES
was suggested as a great place to find the information necessary to refute the seeming endless stream of outright lies and half truths-summoned by the Rove-ite wing of the Republican party.

There were discussions of recent election problems, and the Florida Legislature's most recent attempt to disenfranchise Floridian minority voters with it's ""no match no vote law".

"Secretary of State Kurt Browning sent notice to the state's 67 supervisors of elections on Friday that the 2006 law, which has been on hold for the last year pending court rulings, would take effect again Sept. 8.

The result is that voters whose identification doesn't match with state files on Election Day will be given a provisional ballot and two days to prove their identity for their ballot to count.

Voting rights activists, who had unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the law, blasted the decision, saying it allows the state to rely on what they consider error-prone databases in the month before voter registration ends on Oct. 6.

``This 11th-hour decision is an ill-advised move to apply a policy the state has never enforced in its current form, at a time when registration activity is at its highest, said Alvaro Fernandez of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, a plaintiff in the case along with the NAACP and the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition."

During a discussion of the progress Florida has finally made on Rights Restoration, (ACLU has an active Rights Restoration Campaign in Florida) it was pointed out that while Florida has increased the rates of processing it has cut funding to inform those whose, rights have been restored.

The Palm Beach democrats are energized and ready to make the most of these fifty+ days till we can call Senator Obama, president elect.