Saturday, December 30, 2006

The news came as a British soldier was killed

* Indy:
"John Scarlett, who took responsibility for the error-ridden dossier that justified the war in Iraq, is knighted in today's New Year's Honours list. The award will enrage peace campaigners, who have accused the veteran spymaster of saving Tony Blair's skin over the flawed case for the invasion.

The news came as a British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra yesterday, the 127th to die since the invasion in 2003.

Sir John, the head of MI6, played a key role in the Hutton Inquiry hearings into the death of the weapons expert David Kelly, three years ago. He steadfastly defended the dossier, which contained the notorious claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. And he dismissed accusations he had bowed to pressure to "sex up" the document's conclusions."

* raimondo :
"Our complete misunderstanding of Somalia, its culture and unique politics, has led us into the trap of making decisions based on ideological constructs rather than anything related to the facts on the ground. The blundering into a local clan dispute and mistaking it for an armed attack on U.S. interests is emblematic of the problem: in the end, it seems, it’s always about us. A foreign policy founded in the spirit of hubris, and based on pretensions to "global hegemony," is inevitably blinded by a disabling narcissism.

That is what’s really frightening about U.S. foreign policy and the decision-makers who have such an adverse impact on the lives of people around the world. These guys are wandering around in the dark, utterly clueless: i.e. they’re typical government employees.

Policy is made not only with imperfect knowledge but with a complete disdain for knowledge, as such. That’s for the "reality-based community," as one White House advisor put it to Ron Suskind – those vulgar empiricists who insist that American policy must have some anchor in factual knowledge, as opposed to the neo-Trotskyite wet-dreams of various neoconservative gurus and White House speechwriters.

This anti-realist methodology is precisely what lured us into Iraq. In the case of Somalia, yet another quagmire beckons with its siren song of "fighting terrorism." How long before Ethiopia requires the presence of U.S. "advisors" – in addition to those already there – can probably be measured by the time it takes to post this piece. No doubt U.S. "emergency" aid to Ethiopia is being rushed to Zenawi even as I write, and you can bet we won’t hear much protest anywhere. Certainly not from most Democrats in Congress. Anyone who doubts that the U.S. is acting out of motives other than those that are proclaimed will immediately be smeared as an enabler if not outright supporter of "terrorism." Congress hasn’t got the gumption to cut off aid to the death squad "government" of "liberated" Iraq – and I doubt they’ll deprive murdering dictator Zenawi of his blood money as compensation for their cowardice."

* wow - how about this headline in wapo: "DNI Awards $2 Million in Hush-Hush Money"
naughty (even for page A137)!

* fisk:
"But history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.
Who encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, which was the greatest war crime he has committed for it led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? And who sold him the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds? We did. No wonder the Americans, who controlled Saddam's weird trial, forbad any mention of this, his most obscene atrocity, in the charges against him. Could he not have been handed over to the Iranians for sentencing for this massive war crime? Of course not. Because that would also expose our culpability."
* Indy:
"Saddam: The questions that will live on

So why did George Bush decide to invade Iraq? Nearly four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties later, the reasons appear both as obvious and as elusive as they were in the spring of 2003."

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