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          March 19/06   Turns out that "large," in the air assault dispatch (*below) meant a lot more helicopters, but did not mean a major assault.  Guess you can't believe everything you read, or see: especially when it's Defense Dept. film.

          March 16/06

      U.S., Iraqi Forces Launch Largest Air Raid Since 2003 --   March 16 (Bloomberg News) -- "The U.S. military and Iraqi forces launched the largest air assault in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion in a bid to root out insurgents hiding around Samarra."

       Meanwhile, White House briefer Scott McClellan said today that the decision for the ops was made by the military commanders, not the Pres.       


    No doubt McClellan had to stipulate that the president was briefed (after the fact?) to quash suspicions that the air assault might have been coordinated with any new policy directions, real or fantasized, Bush might be issuing for public consumption.  But are we actually to believe that Bush didn't put his stamp of approval on this shock and awe beforehand? C'mon!



       In one of his recent speeches to sell the war in Iraq, Bush urged the polarized Iraqis to pull together and form a unity government, no doubt anxious to achieve enough movement on the Iraqi's part to at least create a semblance of progress;  and then Bush at last giving up the kind of glossing over that will no longer raise his sinking polls, he confessed the current reality of Iraq to a think-tank in Washington:    


"I wish I could tell you that the violence is waning and that the road ahead will be smooth. It will not. There will be more tough fighting and more days of struggle, and we will see more images of chaos and carnage in the days and months to come."   While knowing full well of the impending air assault to come.



       But I suppose this new tell-it-like-it-is approach for Bush is also an attempt to identify himself with another war-time leader, the great Winston Churchill; the difference between then and now, though, was that the entire world, and especially Britain, was on the verge of an apocalypse.  Sixty-million people eventually died worldwide.   Britain would suffer the most incredible bombing of its cities and was threatened with an invasion; unlike Bush's war in Iraq which he, using deception, chose to commit us to, to the tune of thousands of American casualties.   I  excerpted a paragraph from Churchill's "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" speech to the people of Britain, below, for comparison. It takes only one minute to read it, folks:



 "We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."


      The difference between these men becomes apparent, doesn't it.  And the difference between what was so necessary and what was not.

       And think about what we've come to:

        Photo 18 This man, guilty or innocent, tortured and beaten to death at Abu Ghraib.  Click the image and go to salon.com which has now published all the images.  Click the Chapter numbers upper right. Look at the pictures.  Don't turn away.  Where is our great nation heading?




       Now in addition to this new air assault, is the President shaking a stick at Iran! merely to divert us from his failures?  Threatening Iran with what?  Invasion? How could that be on the table? Does the administration want a war with Iran? Are there elements of insanity and fantasy at work? What has the American voter put into office?  Supposedly we were to be drawing down troops from Iraq, when in fact a U.S. commander has asked for more--700 of them heading north to pitch in.  Not to mention, Gen. John Abizaid, overseer of Iraqi ops, told a House subcommittee the U.S. might want to maintain a long term military presence to neutralize violence and protect the flow of oil.  How do the troops feel about that?  Not too good according to the latest Soldier poll.


 Ahmadinejad, the new firebrand heading Iran, believes that his insisting on restarting his nuclear program, has given the administration another unwanted headache to deal with.  The reason this guy's feeling his oats of course, being that Bush/Cheney and their pack of unilateral and preemptive hawks, created this monstrous debacle in Iraq and sucked the energy out of them for little else beyond their war.  Or is Ahmadinejad wrong? Are there war-game plans in the works? It's all mirrors, folks.  What is real?

       If we had stayed out of Iraq and remained on the ground in Afghanistan with most of our U.S. manpower, our European allies would have been more than willing to pitch in to help with the burden of that conflict;  and the Taliban wouldn't be re-growing like the Afghanistan poppies which are supplying 90% of the world's heroin.  And we would have had the time and the will to negotiate with Iran.



 The U.S. has had no diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis, and the Bush administration has wasted more than five years in office,  not developing a workable policy with that country.  The administration's fantasy was: creating  democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq would make it easy to invade Iran.  Some Policy!  Everything by force.  But meanwhile, Iran, wanting to divert us away from its nuclear ambitions, has made a move on its own, is willing to engage in narrow talks with us, the Great Satan, regarding Iraq--not nuclear programs--ostensibly to help Iraq ward off a civil war.  Ironic if Iran were the solution, and not the administration.  Eh? Well, maybe not.

        Anyway, the latest word: the White house staff people are exhausted by five years of this mess, and outsider friends are suggesting a switch to new blood, which would be refreshing, I'm certain.  But don't hold your breath, folks, since someone new might tell the President he has to change direction, and he won't want to hear that.  He speaks sanctions and diplomacy, but I believe he really wants to invade Iran.  Another war for another "Mission Accomplished" to reclaim past glories.



Considering that Rumsfeld, Bush, ambassadors, the Joint Chiefs, the officers on the ground, are all contradicting each other publicly and privately, anyone even slightly objective who is connected to the administration, must feel he has  stepped through the Looking Glass into wonderland.  Me too.

P.S.  They did get some new blood in the W.H., after all-- a pastry chef.


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