March 1, 2005

THEY EVEN MAKE THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME:

The Neo-Con's 5-Year Plan (Gary Leupp, 3/01/05, Counterpunch)

According to Gen. Wesley Clark, a senior U.S. military officer told him in the Pentagon as early as November 2001 that the administration planned, following the invasion of Iraq, to conduct campaigns throughout the Middle East and beyond. "Oh yes, sir, not only is it Afghanistan. There's a list of countries. We're not that good at fighting terrorists, so we're going after states: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Iran. There's a five-year plan."

We're in the fourth year of that plan, which proceeds apace. Afghanistan and Iraq are conquered, dotted with U.S. military bases designed to be permanent. Libya's been removed from the target list, due to some canny machinations on Col. Muammar Qadhafi's part, and Somalia's drawing less attention than Sudan. But Syria, Lebanon and Iran remain very much in the crosshairs.


Actually, we already got Somalia going and did Lebanon this week. Assad will be gone from Syria by summer so we just have to do Iran by the end of the year.

Which reminds us of a joke:

Q: How do you know the paleocon slur of calling neocons Jacobins and Trotskyites is bogus?

A: The neocons' five year plan actually worked.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2005 2:06 PM
Comments

A little bit of caution is in order. None of this is fixed yet. Napoleon looked like the wave of the future, too, for a while. But his more reactionary foes got the last laugh.

At any rate, nothing that's happened so far justifies the murder of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and 1,500 Americans. This is particularly so since neocon theology insists that democracy is a inevitable outcome. If it's inevitable, one need not bomb countries to make it happen.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 2:25 PM

Pass the Kool-aid, Derek.

Posted by: Oswald Booth Czolgosz at March 1, 2005 2:40 PM

Sure thing.

I don't want any.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 2:48 PM

Derek:

The reactionaries are right again this time.

Even if all we'd accomplished was removing Saddam it would more than justify the minimal costs. Everything else is gravy.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 2:52 PM

"Even if all we'd accomplished was removing Saddam it would more than justify the minimal costs."

No, it wouldn't. And 37,000 dead civilians is not a minimal cost, nor are 1,500 dead Americans.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 3:13 PM

Everything is relative.

Relative to how many Saddam and sanctions killed and will have killed, those 37,000 (source? how many killed by the baathists themselves?) are a small number.

Compared to almost any military conflict our military has ever undertaken, 1,500 is a small number, and still less than 3,000.

But we lost fewer men in Rwanda, that's right.

Posted by: Moe from NC at March 1, 2005 3:34 PM

"Everything is relative."

Relativist running-dog swine. :)

The 37,000 number is the low figure now being bandied about. A lancet study put the number at 100,000, but I have my doubts about that one.

Saddam was certainly vicious, but in his last years he wasn't killing nearly that many people. The number was in the lower hundreds.

You also have to add on the great amount of crime and terror and squalor the Iraqis now live in thanks to our invasion and bungled occupation, which has rendered power and water utilities and security worse even than under Saddam. Considering that Saddam would die one day, and that he was no threat to anyone but himself, I don't see the costs justified. Not by a longshot.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 3:42 PM

Moe,

Don't waste your time. Derek will happy tell you that the 3000 lost at the WTC was our own fault, not that of those lovely Islamists. After all to Derek and his soul brother, Ward Churchill, they were just little Eichmanns.

One expects that we can probably see pictures of Derek ululating during the attack, cheering as the innocents in the Towers were burning, perhaps gleefully shouting 'Death to America.'

Posted by: Bart at March 1, 2005 3:44 PM

Bart,

At first, I thought you were just a shrill little man. But now I see you're also a liar, and a truly vile and loathesome one at that.

If you ever feel like saying all this to my face, you can look me up in Houston. Unlike you, I don't mind posting under my real name.

Moe,

For the record, I do blame the Islamists directly, and I supported our retaliation in Afghanistan, though I think little of the blather about democracy. But I also hold responsible our own administration for letting them into the country in the first place and for making needless enemies before and after the attack.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 4:00 PM

"Our own adminstration"? Which one?

Most (if not all) of the hijackers had been here prior to 2001.

If peace does break out in the Middle East, will the 1400+ deaths have been worth it? Has the road to peace gone through Baghdad rather than Palestine?

Would it have been better to kill 10,000 Hutus in April 1994 than to allow 800,000+ to be slaughtered?

Wesley Clark is an embarrassment.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 1, 2005 4:15 PM

Who are our needful enemies, Derek?

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 1, 2005 4:18 PM

You're right, Jim. I should have said our own government. The Clinton Administration was just as awful as the Bush Administration.

If peace "breaks out", as you put it, it means that the conditions were already there. The best that can be said is that the U.S. moved them along a bit. So, no, I don't think the 1500 American deaths and the nearly 40,000 Iraqi deaths were worth it. Sorry.

As to Rwanda, I'm not opposed to all actions. Would Rwanda be justified? Honestly, I don't know all the ins and outs, but with an international force, I would have supported a limited intervention.

Also, I'm no fan of Wesley Clark either. He was just as stupid about Kosovo as the current adminstration is with Iraq, which is now falling into Iran's orbit.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 4:21 PM

Beyond Al Qaeda, Joe. At the moment, I don't think we really have any that require military attack. China deserves a watchful eye, but she can be best contained by encouraging other Asian powers to take care of themselves.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 4:24 PM

with an international force, I would have supported a limited intervention

I don't understand this. Is the issue tactical or ethical?

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 1, 2005 4:41 PM

I didn't mention military attack, but let that go for the moment. So you're saying that, say, the U.N. bureaucracy is a friend, or if it's not that's our fault? How about the ICC? Al Jazeera? I don't see a sense in you of how thick the proxies are in all this -- you mentioned Iraq in Iran's orbit, maybe so and maybe not -- but what about, say, CNN in Iraq's? Germany in France's? Pakistan in Al Quaeda's? You see no need for any sort of initiative to knock any of these into new orbits?

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 1, 2005 4:47 PM

Derek:

No, not Saddam, we were. Sanctions were killing many times that number.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 4:50 PM

Derek, you say that Saddam would "die one day" as if that means his murderous regime would have ended. You fail to mention that he would have been succeeded by his vile sons Uday and Qusay. And if you've looked at the reports coming from the region, like the Duelfer (sp?) report, you'd see that Saddam was bribing members of the UN security council as well as many others around the world to work toward lifting the sanctions. Once the sanctions were lifted, Saddam had everything in place to start his weapons programs again. He was most definitely a danger to more than just himself.

Posted by: NKR at March 1, 2005 4:50 PM

Derek, you say that Saddam would "die one day" as if that means his murderous regime would have ended. You fail to mention that he would have been succeeded by his vile sons Uday and Qusay. And if you've looked at the reports coming from the region, like the Duelfer (sp?) report, you'd see that Saddam was bribing members of the UN security council as well as many others around the world to work toward lifting the sanctions. Once the sanctions were lifted, Saddam had everything in place to start his weapons programs again. He was most definitely a danger to more than just himself.

Posted by: at March 1, 2005 4:51 PM

Derek:

It's one ship in WWII or an hour in a Civil War battle. It's insignificant in geopolitical terms, though we'd obviously have preferred even fewer.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 4:56 PM

Mike,

I don't like applying straight absolutes to everything. In Rwanda, I don't see a huge tactical (or strategic) problem and there was a huge looming massacre. In Iraq we weren't dealing with that. Hussein was not committing mass murder at that point. He really couldn't. Nor was he interested in threatening us, quite the reverse.

In addition, we were and still are dealing with a lot of risks and gambles, and the supposed strategic gain does not match the risks. It's nowhere near it. If indeed, the region goes peacefully democratic, that attests to a natural state which didn't require our presence. If not, we're going to lose a lot more blood and treasure over there. I hope the former turns out to be the case and OJ is vindicated in his triumphalism, but I don't really expect it.

The watchwords for conservatism should be prudence and restraint. Our foreign policy has shown none of that lately, and I fear the consequences will catch up with us in the long run.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 4:57 PM

OJ,

Again, would you put a bullet in your daughter's head to attain democracy in the Middle East? That's really what you're saying when you advocate bombing Country X or Y for the sake of democracy, because it means killing civilians, not just evil dictators.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 4:59 PM

Derek:

Yes, I would, then shoot myself.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 5:01 PM

Derek;

"prudence and restraint" are the watchwords for conservatism only where a decent society exists, otherwise you're conserving evil, which is antithetical to conservatism.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 5:02 PM

There was no reason for us to continue our sanctions regime as it was. Hussein agreed to let in inspectors, and we should have declared victory and moved on from there.

To the nameless poster, Uday and Qusay didn't have the skill that their old man did, nor did they have the good will that someone like Bashar Assad did among the old guard when his pop bit it.

Joe, I have no idea what you're trying to say. Sorry. Can you reword your post, please?

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 5:07 PM

"Hussein agreed" Ah, a Ba'athist dupe.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 5:10 PM

OJ,

Using your standard, we should go out and pay everyone's bills to keep them bankruptcy. Life is full of pain. That's a consequence of Original Sin. You don't try to make the world perfect through some utopian scheme. People need to learn and develop on their own.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 5:10 PM

Well, OJ, I'm glad I'm not your kid.

And, yes, I'm sure the feeling is mutual :)

A Ba'athist dupe? He let the inspectors in and gave them free rein. That's a documented fact. Nor did he have any reason not to. There were no WMD's.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 5:13 PM

"blather about democracy"

I'm with you Derek on that, but I prefer to consider it (our invasion of Iraq) a major league wake up call for all the countries in the Middle East that they will in the future consider our concerns regarding terrorism, nuff said.

Posted by: h-man at March 1, 2005 5:14 PM

Derek:

We dpo cancel everyone's debts in bankruptcy and let them start over.

He could buy them from North Korea.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 5:16 PM

Not at all -- I asked who you thought our enemies might be and you answered, in effect, there are no countries we need to attack right now. You did mention AQ so you've got at least some awareness of non-state-actors. My question was: in your mind, are all of our real enemies states, or are there some that are organizations like AQ or Al Jazeera? How about, say, classes of people, such as the sort that staff the UN, or the major networks, or the NGOs? Could they be enemies, and if so, are they "needless", as you say? And what about alliances among them, formal or informal? I can think of at least one alliance that has elements from all three, namely the Oil-for-Food cartel. Should we simply take it as given that we can't do anything about these, or should we think about taking the initiative back from them? Sometimes the only prudent thing left to do is to figure out who your enemies really are, and find their weakest point, and hit it as hard as you can. I'm not convinced that the current administration has found the best way to do that but at least I know they're thinking in those terms. What about you -- do you want to win, or just not lose?

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 1, 2005 5:40 PM

I don't see why we need to attack Al Jazeerah, or the UN or other NGO's. Somethings are best ignored or deported, as in the case of the UN.

As far as the Oil-for-Food scandal, it's pretty par for the course with the UN. Really, I'm more worried about $9 billion of our tax dollars that went missing after the invasion.

"What about you -- do you want to win, or just not lose?"

What do you mean by winning? Do I want to force every country to be democratic? Not really, no. I wouldn't consider that much of a victory, really, given the costs. If we go about the world forcing democracy on them, very often we have to station troops there for a very, very long time, and we wind up making enemies that way. We also do long-term harm to them. Look at Europe. Have they benefited from our subsidizing their defense? They couldn't even handle the Serbs. In the end, this behavior leads to us changing and losing our own freedoms here. All that expenditure costs money, and those resources spent on weapons are resources that cannot be spent on domestic needs. We also have to invent new bureaucracies to protect us from the myriad of new enemies we make, like the awfully named Department of Homeland Security.

We have to think about these things with a much longer view. We have to remember that all sorts of bad unintended consequences happen, and if we're stretched out from Tokyo to Timbuktu, we're not going to be in nearly as good a shape to handle it. We are not an infinite power, and we'd better look at conserving what we have instead of expending it on crusades with dubious returns.

Posted by: Derek Copold at March 1, 2005 6:10 PM

Derek:

You've no choice in the matter. They're going to be democratic. The only questiuon is the pace and how much damage they do in the meantime.

Posted by: oj at March 1, 2005 6:29 PM

We'd better look at conserving what we have instead of expending it on crusades with dubious returns

Which is a pretty straightforward statement of the paleocon creed, and I don't begrudge you the feeling. But what if "conserving what we have" turns out to be the "crusade with dubious returns"? We live in a world that can neither be ignored nor deported.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 1, 2005 6:51 PM

"murder of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians"

I will ignore the miss use of the legal term murder. And once again call on anyone to support those numers. The Lancet "study" was political blatherskeit. dividing it by 3 doesn't make it better.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 2, 2005 2:43 AM

I take OJ's remark that he would murder his own daughter to achieve democracy -- democracy -- in the Middle East to be just the sort of morbid absurdity that ideology drives men to.

The discourse on this blog is diminished by the contemptible slanders of the pseudonymous Bart.

Posted by: Paul Cella at March 2, 2005 7:46 AM

Paul:

What are we to think of people who are sop monstrously selfish and nativist that they don't think the freedom of millions worth one American?

Posted by: oj at March 2, 2005 8:02 AM
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