Sunday, January 09, 2005

When All Else Fails ... Try the Final Solution, Iraqi Style

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.  How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
- Julius Caesar

"If the public knew the truth, the war would end tomorrow. But they don't know and they can't know."
- Former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, to Manchester Guardian editor C.P. Scott, 1914

Not one person from the White House was arrested or even indicted during the Season of Joy that is the American holiday experience, but it had the feel of an uneasy stand-off and no one commenting on the national political scene thinks it will last very much longer.

The new Congress will be in session soon, and the tide of accusations and outrage is bound to pick up strength. Perhaps a few heads will roll by President's Day. With any luck there will be a few video clips on cable televsion of beaten down senior administration officials being led into courtrooms by panic-striken attorneys carrying boxes of affidavits and projection devices for the pie charts and intelligence photos. The billable hours will reach staggering heights in the Beltway, not likely seen since the days of Ronald Reagan, and the failed despots of our time will be shuffled along the streets of Capitol Hill like heretics being dragged to the the village square during the Spanish Inquisition. Odds in Vegas say it will feel like one of those Serpico police scandals that creep up in places like New York City. Some will flee for places like Nassau and live out their lives as foreigners where the bank secrecy laws only rival the beachfront view, while others commit suicide before surrendering to suddenly dismayed authorities. The reality of the situation is that we do not wash our laundry when the cat is let out of the bag - it just gets dirtier on slow ride down to the abyss.

The new political year is going to be a bumpy ride, so fasten your seatbelts. Even Newt Gingrich - Radical Racist Cleric Jerry Fallwell's Mini Me - has begun to wiggle his jowls again and he is now hinting at a presidential run in 2008. His intentions were picked up by the Associated Press over the weekend, and Newt the Impaler is taking steps with a new version of Mein Kampf - a revisionist attempt at dusting off The Contract with America - known in semi-nonfiction circles as Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, in which Newt criticizes the preznut's policies on Iraq with a tour of early campaign states, underscoring how the Rethug party is already showing fractures from the Neo-con crusade, specifically amongst its moderate and secular conservative constituencies.

"It never hurts to maximize opportunities. That's the American tradition," Gingrich said. "If I can influence the reporters and political activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, they will influence the candidates."

I wasn't exactly surprised ... or moved. The extended empire is certainly standing on shifting ground at the moment, but not everybody is worried: Allawi's circle of doom and the crowd from Halliburton, among other companies, that keeps shuffling in and out of the Big House at skyrocketing salaries are not very concerned about this shift in tone ... just not yet, anyways.

But the eerie silence surrounding Dubya these days is mostly due to history - three times in the last 36 years the Grand Old Party has served up a preznut who was so dangerously criminal and so publicly despised that each had to be removed from the office for extremely dark reasons. And two of these creeps were elected to second terms by wide majorities, showing just how fragile the power politics business can be in Amerikkka. Nixon rolled up a landslide 1972, and Reagan took 49 states in 1984. The average voter adored them, but they were as twisted as a corkscrew, and even their closest allies jumped ship and finally condemned them as ruined and gutless wonders. Daddy Bush, the only one of the three to miss the mark on Election Day, was an even sadder case entirely. He scratched and clawed his way into the Oval Office by race baiting a largely vague electorate - winning more by default, it seemed, then, over a freakish cartoon named Michael Dukakis who was hated more in his own home state than he was in Alabama and Mississippi combined. Bush 41 was hated too, and he took a merciless beating from William Jefferson Clinton in 1992, rejected by the voters as out of touch and viewed as a wimpish prank who picked a hammer fight with an ant known as Saddam Hussein.

I could be convinced to include Gerald Ford in the mix as number four, but he was really dragged into office - as a last resort - by a criminal preznut with the sole intention of covering up the tracks and keeping Richard Nixon out of the federal prison system. One of Ford's first official acts was to issue the pardon for Tricky Dick, and soon enough karma paid a visit in the names of Squeaky Fromme and then Sarah Jane Moore - both of whom couldn't shoot straight - right about the time that Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, Patty Hearst was finally captured and Jimmy Hoffa was last seen at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

There are times in life when you wish your suspicions were incorrect: 1.> that your Mob associates would want to kill you for knowing all the secret arrangements with the union pension fund, 2.> that your significant other was really cheating on you for a very long time, 3.> that your best friend was the deranged serial killer that the cops were searching for all along, 4.> that your business partner didn't really empty your bank account and leave you with the sole option of claiming bankruptcy, and 5.> that your government is being run by a tyrannical circle of Nazis hellbent on destroying your country and unleashing SS-style execution squads.

Number five visited us today in the form of "The Salvador Option," a counter-insurgency method that revisits a still-secret strategy from the Reagan administration’s covert war against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in Central America during the 1980s. Faced with losing the "hearts and minds" of the Savadoran people, the U.S. government both funded and supported "nationalist" forces which ultimately involved the use of "death squads" trained to assassinate rebel leaders and sympathizers in the Central American country. Quite obviously, the insurgency was eventually pacified, and the policy is still considered a wide-scale success in conservative think tanks, even though there was a number of innocent civilians killed and it ultimately led to a crippling investigation into the now infamous Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages rumble that made Oliver North a folk hero in the red states and a fashionable target to conspiracy theorists. Lesser known at the time - and among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then - is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

The fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told Newsweek. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government—the Defense department or CIA—would take responsibility for such an operation. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon has aggressively sought to build up its own intelligence-gathering and clandestine capability with an operation run by Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone. But since the Abu Ghraib interrogations scandal, some military officials are ultra-wary of any operations that could run afoul of the ethics codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That, they argue, is the reason why such covert operations have always been run by the CIA and authorized by a special presidential finding.

Ah, yes, more death squads when you run out of ideas. Until outlawed in mid 1970's, the Central Intelligence Agency was directly involved in assassination attempts against Castro of Cuba and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. The CIA had also encouraged plots resulting in the assassination of Dominican Republic President Trujillo, South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963 and Chilean Rene Schneider in 1973. The most elaborate clandestine operation was Operation Phoenix - a counter-terror program - conducted during latter part of Vietnam War.

From 1965 to 1968 alone, U.S. and South Vietnamese intelligence services maintained an active list of VietCong cadre marked for assassination and the Phoenix Program for 1969 called for "neutralizing" upwards of 1,800 suspected insurgents a month, with about one third targeted for arrest having been summarily killed. Security committees were established in each of South Vietnam's provincial interrogation centers to determine fate of these Viet Cong suspects, where they were held outside of normal judicial controls. Green Berets and Navy SEALs were among the most common recruits for the Phoenix Program, and Green Beret detachment B-57 provided administrative cover for other intelligence units on the ground. One was Project Cherry, tasked to assassinate Cambodian officials suspected of collaborating with the North Vietnamese and the KGB; another was Project Oak, which was targeted against South Vietnamese suspected collaborators. They were controlled by the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities, which worked with the CIA outside of General Abrams control in South Vietnam. By 1975, Counterspy Magazine - having published 32 issues from 1973 to 1984 - describes the Phoenix Program as "the most indiscriminate and massive program of political murder since the Nazi death camps of World War Two."

The time has finally arrived, now, to see just how smart - or stupid - Dubya really is, and the colorful palette of directions he could take from here on out are many and suprisingly wide.

If he returns from Crawford after his latest and lengthy stay in his mocked-up dude ranch before Inauguration Day, he would be dumber than a rat on whiskey. If he brings himself to White House and attempts to hide in the Oval Office without firing Donald "Redrum" Rumsfeld before he takes the Oath of Office and claims he has no knowledge of The Salvador Option, he would be stupid. And if he returns with arms flailing and his facial ticks resplendent for a Press Conference with the same kind of madness that he used on the Press after his latest victory in Ohio - declaring that he still has political capital and he intends to use it - he would erode all public support and would be considered insane.

That's about all he has left, and the gameplan is grim. The preznut is staring down at rock and a hard place, and so are the rest of his death-squad aficionados in the Pentagon ... Redrum included. But Dubya is the only one who could leave the circus tent without getting crap on his shoes.

Dick Cheney can't avoid the inevitable, much less run or hide. He will be fortunate to get away with anything, but the future looks like a bit of time in federal prison with an orange jumpsuit doing pushups on some grimy blacktop jailyard every morning with freaks like Douglas Feith, Wolfowitz, Stephen Cambone and the clearly batshit Redrum. They will all be in 22-hour-a-day lockdown together, and they will take down many others before all is said and done. Attorney General-in-waiting Alberto Gonzales and the brain-damaged Condi Rice are already the prime scapegoats, and at least two dozen more people within the administration will be brought down with puzzling convictions ranging from obstruction of justice to outright wire fraud to performing sodomy on plastic G.I. Joe figurines, and will be left to beg for a faith-based charity from which they can do their hours of community service. Even Pat Robertson will take a dunk in the prison lunchroom, despite his desperate pleads to the contrary. They are all greed-sucking beasts, guilty as sin itself.

The "Bush Dynasty" will be seen in the historical record only by a curious footnote - like The Great Society and The War to End All Wars, and the disgusting highway collision with a WalMart tractor trailer awaiting Alberto Gonzales once he is finally released from the pen.

The meat is trimmed and the fat is in the fire, Sparky. One wrong move and the whole thing comes tumbling down.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home