Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category

Friday nature blogging

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Lovers and dreamers and me

Lovers and dreamers and me
What’s at the end?

With this post, Deep Blade Journal ceases publication. I’ve been mulling this decision for a long time now. I can’t keep this thing going by myself any more. People I have tried to engage in writing for this blog in order to help me build it just have not been inspired. In the last several weeks, I’ve had a ton of posts in mind. Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan–all of the places where events are streaming like they’re coming out of a flame thrower–could use a great deal of anti-imperial analysis that just isn’t happening within the empire’s media systems (including in many so-called liberal blogs). But there just doesn’t seem to be enough traffic here to warrant me continuing to try to provide that analysis.

I may post HERE at times. However, one of my greatest disappointments blogging is the public reaction to THIS (also posted HERE). That reaction was a big fat nothing. I asked the hundreds of people involved in the March actions to “think this through…, and arrive at some positions and then focus and maximize our organizing power.”

Guess what? Nobody came to my posts and indicated that they had thought it through much. Then not entirely unexpectedly, the Democrats folded before the highly unpopular Bush. War funding continues, and will continue apace. This empty thud really illustrated for me how much time I have been wasting trying to hammer things out in this medium. Realize that I am not blaming others here for not responding as I had envisioned. I’m just realizing that I am not using my own time most effectively if I really want to help organize the next steps needed to end this war.

This brings us to the Horse Race that will obsess bloggers for the next 18 months running up to election 2008. I’m not going to waste my time on that either. Obviously, various factions of the ruling class dearly want to acquire the US presidency after Bush. But we must realize that working for a Democrat means accepting ruling class prerogatives. I can’t make that compromise and live with myself any more.

We can elect all of the Democrats we want. They’ll tell us, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did on March 23, that they are acting to end the war. But that is an obvious charade. The politicians are in a full-gallop retreat away from public opinion, and the common discourse is about making sure the public does not understand what is really going on. The only real choices in the field all must incant the canonical texts of those ruling class prerogatives in order to receive funding. Hence, “all options” must be “on the table” with respect to relations with Iran, for example. Certainly valid arguments exist that a Democrat winning would be “better” than a Republican. But the fundamental nature of US empire and ruling-class domination will not change.

So what are the prospects for Iraq? First, general US public opinion will remain totally irrelevant to the warmakers. The US has acquired Iraq and it will stay there until an essential component of the imperial project, the US military for example, breaks down completely. That day may be many years away. Meanwhile, the recently-escalated program of bombing the Iraqis into submission will go on, and on, and on. Well into the next administration for sure. They’re gonna keep Iraq come hell or high water because it’s an ultra-strategic imperial asset. If Democrats and Republicans have to talk Terror War to keep the public scared enough to retreat into the happier places inside their televisions and their Wal Marts then that’s what they’ll do. It seems to have worked so far.

I will try to keep adding to peacecast.us, the podcasting site that accompanies this one. I have a ton of material collected over the last few months that I have intended to post there. But apart from a few very good friends who are very, very generous people, peacecast.us is not generating enough interest that would seem to justify its existence either. But a decision on that will wait for another day.

With that, this blog is over.

Media pro-torture campaign

Friday, June 1st, 2007

“Capture one of these killers, and he’ll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away.” –Vice President Richard B. Cheney, May 26, 2007

Lately the notion that America is on the “moral high ground” no matter what it does to its “killer” enemies–who are always doing worse things–is making the rounds through wingnuttia. Glenn Greenwald dissects the phenomenon in a typically smashing post today. Here he studies how reactionary outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Professor Instapundit have picked up on the theme that weak-kneed liberal media is failing to properly position tales of “discovery” of al-Qaeda torture manuals.

GREENWALD: But now this “Al-Qaeda-does-it-too” song has become a little cause cèlèbre among our brave, pro-torture, right-wing warrior class. This “idea” — that something sinister is going on because the media reported America’s torture so extensively but is giving little coverage to Al Qaeda’s torture manuals — is now spreading rapidly among Bush followers….

Greenwald sarcastically questions the mentality of the “Epic, Existence-Threatening, Unprecedentedly-Dangerous” Islamophobic war where torture supporters are “resorting to the third-grader mentality that ‘Al Qaeda does it, too.’”

So far, the American public largely has been willing to accept “techniques such as hypothermia and waterboarding (for which some Gestapo defendants were convicted and sentenced to death at a 1948 war crimes trial).” It’s a truly disheartening situation. From Cheney on down, America has lost sight of what is supposed to make us different than the Gestapo, or al Qaeda for that matter. Instead, the wingnut justification that because they may not observe the Geneva Conventions, we don’t have to either seems to carry the day.

Hersh on Lebanon massacre

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Seymour Hersh wrote about tacit US support through the Lebanon government for al-Qaida-connected Fatha el Islam in a stunning February New Yorker piece

CNN Hersh interview video on the “attempt by the Lebanese government to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam, that it formerly supported”

Hersh issued an update today on CNN International giving the context of recent events, reported by Raw Story (w/transcript) HERE.

Republican debate: codpiece contest

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

God bless Ron Paul

Patriotic link to Republican debate story:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272719,00.html

Even John McCain, the Arizona senator and frontrunner in South Carolina, said he was impressed by Giuliani’s performance at the debate. Giuliani won the strongest applause of Tuesday night’s first-in-the-South Republican primary debate at the University of South Carolina when he took exception to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s suggestion that the United States’ interventionist policy invited the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I thought Mayor Giuliani’s intercession there was appropriate and frankly very, very excellent. I really appreciated it because we should never believe that we brought on this conflict. This is an evil force that is trying to destroy everything we stand for,” McCain said.

One of the highlights of the debate came when Paul said the United States has been bombing Iraq for 10 years and doesn’t understand how the Middle East operates.

“Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting,” Paul said in explaining his opposition to going to war in Iraq.

“They are delighted that we’re over there because Usama bin Laden has said, ‘I’m glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time they’ve killed 3,400 of our men and I don’t think it was necessary,” he continued.

Lord almighty, they’re debating what happens on the TV series “24″ as if it’s real! Ominous Romney out-Rudies Giuliani here, calling for a “double Guantanamo”:

Nightmarish Vision

The candidates also were asked to respond to a hypothetical scenario — homicide bombings at three shopping centers near major U.S. cities. With hundreds dead and thousands injured, a fourth attack is averted when the attackers are captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay to be questioned. U.S. intelligence believes another, larger attack is planned and could come at any time. How aggressively should the detainees be interrogated about the where the next attack might be?

First to answer was McCain, a former POW in Vietnam who opposes the use of torture.

“We could never gain as much we would gain from that torture as we lose in world opinion. We do not torture people,” he said. “It’s not about the terrorists, it’s about us. It’s about what kind of country we are. And a fact: The more physical pain you inflict on someone, the more they’re going to tell you what they think you want to know.”

“In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know that there’s going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. Shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of,” Giuliani said, adding that that could include waterboarding. “I’ve seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this, and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or anyplace else.”

“You said the person is going to be in Guantanamo. I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them in Guantanamo where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo,” Romney said.

“Let me just say, this would take a one-minute conversation with the secretary of defense,” Hunter said. “I would call him up or call him in, I would say to SecDef, in terms of getting information that would save American lives even if it involves very high-pressure techniques, one sentence: ‘Get the information.’”

“First of all, let me say that I would go to the U.N., but it would be to state an opinion and to take advantage of our rights under international law, not to go ask for permission,” Gilmore added.

Heaven help America. I think Digby has it just about right:

John McCain is the only adult on that stage and that scares the living hell out of me considering that he’s half nuts too. Wow.

I think Rudy won it. These people don’t care if he’s wearing a teddy under his suit and sleeping with the family schnauzer as long as he promises to spill as much blood as possible.

Indifferent to their fate

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Blair says, “I did what I thought was right”

If he thinks that now, two-thirds million killings and the creation of four million refugees in Iraq during the Bush/Blair war reveals that Mr. Blair’s moral failure is utterly contemptible and he has zero insight into the rot of his own condition.

Patrick Cockburn sums up Blair pretty well today:

For four years he has nailed British colours to a failed US policy over which Britain has no significant influence. He has advertised a humiliating British dependency on Washington without gaining any advantages.

As for Iraqis, despite all his rhetoric about rescuing them from Saddam, he has been surprisingly indifferent to their fate.

Yeow! Media engagement

Monday, April 30th, 2007

CBS’s Mark Knoller takes on Moyers’s “Buying the War” and gets pummeled in return

We have not yet seen Bill Moyer’s devastating documentary on the cooperation of mainstream media with the Bush Administration in developing public consent for the Iraq invasion because our PBS station here in Maine had its annual auction last week. NOTE TO MAINE READERS: It will air THIS WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, at 9pm on channels 10 & 13.

Still I want to point out that there is a very interesting mainstream media response to the Moyers piece from CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller. Knoller attempted to criticize the Moyers piece HERE, on the basis of how Moyers treated an important March 6, 2003 Bush press conference. Knoller wrote last week,

He shows only a single, brief example of a question – deep in the news conference – in which a reporter asked Mr. Bush to reflect on how he was guided by his faith at that difficult time. Admittedly, it was a softball.

But Moyers did not cite any of the other much more pointed questions put to the President that evening in the East Room.

Now, I took quite an interest in this, having posted recently about that very press conference on its 4th anniversary. Before citing the dozens of times the president was allowed to give his stock answer at this crucial pre-war event, “If he [Saddam Hussein] doesn’t disarm, we’ll disarm him,” I wrote,

The president’s gibberish–”I hope we don’t have to go to war, but if we go to war,” and “I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully,” and “We hope we don’t go to war; but if we should, we will present a supplemental [budget].”–should have been transparent at that point. For the most part, the sheepish press corps was more interested in Mr. Bush’s “faith.”

It is also striking how almost nobody in the room seemed at all interested in the president’s long-term plan for Iraq, and what the costs of a lengthy occupation might be. Only that question about Vietnam even raised the issue about going down a long, destructive path. Of course if the attack had been presented as leading to a lengthy occupation possibly costing thousands of American lives, which at the time even this administration certainly could have expected, support for it would have been much lower.

Needless to say, I do not think much of Knoller’s point about “pointed questions.” Now, there is a whole lot of attack on Knoller in the public comment section for his piece, which I thank CBS for even having. I posted twice in there. The first (now down on page 15) as follows:

If these WH Press Corps questions on March 6, 2003 were so probing, how is it that President Bush was able to give exactly the same answer every time? (eg., “If he doesn’t disarm, we’ll disarm him.”) It was like the WHPC served him, cooperatively, these “doubts” that made a whole lot of the world’s citizens rightfully very angry just so he could bat them away with his stock answer.

I remember almost punching the TV that night, you guys came off so weak.

It is also striking how almost nobody in the room seemed at all interested in the president’s long-term plan for Iraq, and what the costs of a lengthy occupation might be. Only that question about Vietnam even raised the issue about going down a long, destructive path. Of course if the attack had been presented as leading to a lengthy occupation possibly costing thousands of American lives, which at the time even this administration certainly could have expected, domestic support for it would have been much closer to the level in the rest of the world–LOW.
Posted by owl0426 at 07:17 PM : Apr 26, 2007

Yesterday, I noted that Knoller had posted an update, obviously stunned by the content of the hundreds of comments he received. He threw down a challenge for commenters to put themselves into the reporters’ position on March 6, 2003 and to come up with a “finely-crafted question…that both serves the public interest and will get a meaningful response.”

Here’s what I wrote,

I respect Mark Knoller’s challenge here. But I also think one additional, overriding criterion for the questions beyond “serves the public interest” and “meaningful response” needs to be added: “will not harm the correspondent’s access or attract unwanted flak from the White House or bosses”.

Here is something that could have be asked, but probably would have run afoul of that third, unspoken criterion:

In the March 3 issue of Newsweek, John Barry reports that “Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein’s inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them.”

You and Secretary Powell both have cited Kamel as a credible source. Does this not undermine totally your present case that Iraq must now be “disarmed”?

Posted by owl0426 at 01:27 AM : Apr 30, 2007

If the press corps had pressed on this, they might have pumped the Barry story up to the level it deserved, and brought the rest of the then-voluminous available information contrary to Bush’s case for war out into the light. As it turns out, Barry was 100% correct. There was no threat in Iraq that had to be “disarmed,” as the UNMOVIC mission without a doubt eventually would have been able to certify. Iraq had in fact not lied in its declaration under UN Security Council Resolution 1441. The US invasion was pure and simple a war of aggression–a taking of Iraq.

While they did serve up a few, mild, non-detailed critiques of the WMD case chielfly so Bush could slap them down, the sheep in the press corps failed to press Bush on his stock answer, and failed to vigorously pursue any stories about how the president’s “views were challenged or disputed by others.”

The world could have been spared the utter disaster that is now Iraq if members of this elite press corps had taken their jobs seriously.

Where is Sidney Freedman when you need him?

Saturday, April 21st, 2007
Reaper
“Reaper” drone aircraft

National Pentagon Radio does Reaper promo

It must be nice for the US Air Force to have for its public relations campaigns a listener-supported national radio outlet and a staff of fawning reporters to do its work. That’s the role Mary Louise Kelly of NPR took on Friday for the Air Force as she reported on the latest version of its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a killing machine known as the “Reaper.”

The old version, called “Predator” was used to assassinate people who insufferable NPR host Robert Siegel called “suspected terrorists” in his introduction. The Reaper is a “bigger, stronger version” Siegel reports with a relatively cheerful inflection, almost a chortle. Hey, wow, “twice as fast as the Predator, and can carry far more ordnance — 14 Hellfire missiles as opposed to two.”

Shouldn’t the tenor of all this talk about sending Reapers to kill while controlled from a lab half a world away at least be grimly appropriate? Not on NPR, where the copy flows like brochures at an armaments industry trade show.

I won’t dwell on the details of the remote killing machine and its ambitious delivery schedule talked up by Kelly. But here is something that really struck me near the end of the five-minute audio brochure. At that point Kelly quotes as follows one Major John Chesser, a bomber pilot obviously very anxious to drop bombs:

Chesser also sees a distinct advantage to flying by remote control–instead of long tours of duty overseas, he points out, “You get to go home and eat dinner with your wife.”

I was reminded immediately of the episode of the TV series MASH where psychiatrist Sidney Freedman writes a letter to Sigmund Freud. In one scene, Sidney observes how the staff at the 4077th deals with a bomber pilot who had bragged of his easy days at the office dropping bombs on Korea from 20,000 feet, followed by comfortable meals at home. He then saw how the surgeons operated on a badly wounded eight-year-old Korean girl. Hawkeye and Col. Potter explained,

Col. Potter: Someone dropped a bomb on her building from an airplane.
Bomber Pilot: Who did it?
Hawkeye: He just dropped it. He didn’t autograph it.
Bomber Pilot: Was it one of theirs or one of ours?
Hawkeye: What difference does it make?
Bomber Pilot: A lot. It makes a lot of difference.
Col. Potter: Not to her.

Beyond the question of whether or not it is “the moral high ground” (quote from a military guy, also in Kelly’s report) to be assassinating even “suspected terrorists” with diabolical remote-controlled machines, it is inevitable that the 500-lb bombs and hellfire missiles exploded on top of residences will kill a lot more innocents than “suspects.” Unfortunately, Major Chesser and colleagues probably never will see for themselves that aspect of their work. Someone should send these Air Force men a DVD of that MASH episode. It should be viewed at NPR as well.

Too much 9/11 conspiracy for the conspiracy nuts

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Split in the 9/11 “truth movement”

I hadn’t been there in a while, so I was pretty amazed to find THIS. It’s a point-by-point response from Jim Fetzer to a letter written by BYU physicist Steven E. Jones. Jones apparently has found the direction of ultra-conspiracist Fetzer too whacky even for him and has parted company with the 9/11 “scholars for truth.”

Here is an excerpt:

Jones: This is to inform you that I (along with chemist Kevin Ryan and many others) have withdrawn from association with Jim Fetzer (JF) and “his” version of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, and to provide reasons for this action.

1. On the Scholars web site he manages (www.st911.org), Jim Fetzer casts aspersions on my research regarding the use of thermates at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 — which is fine as long as he provides serious technical objections, which he has not done. At the same time, JF is promoting on the web site notions that energy-beams from WTC 7 or from space knocked the Towers down.

Here you will find Jim’s assertion that energy beams directed from WTC 7, or from space, may be the “fascinating” explanation for what caused the Twin Towers to collapse. He also here discusses “falling grand pianos.” My sincere efforts to correct his evident errors/misinformation have been twisted and distorted until I want no more to do with such “tar-baby” discussions.

Fetzer’s response: I have become convinced that the extent of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the fact that the bathtub survived functionally intact, and the existence of “toasted” vehicles as much as a half mile to a mile-and-a-half away is, in my opinion, very unlikely to be explainable on the basis of termite/thermate, even in combination with other explosives. If we want to get serious about what happened in New York, we have to consider a broader range of alternative explanations. That is not “casting aspersions”; on the contrary, that is what science is all about. If we do not consider all of the possible alternatives, we may never discover what happened because we omitted the true hypothesis on a priori or political or psychological grounds that were independent of logic and evidence. Science can be messy, complex, and controversial. Welcome to the search for truth! If thermate/thermate can provide a more adequate explanation than the alternatives, then he will have been proven to have been right; but you can’t do that without considering the alternatives!

Energy beams from space? Yeah, that’s messy science all right. I don’t think I need to say much more about this.

Wolfowitz of mass destruction

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Wolfie's hair careThe smart ones did lie

With Wolfie in the news for corruption behind the anti-corruption veneer at his World Bank post, the ever engaging and insightful Jonathan Schwarz has up a fine post about whether or not “members of the Bush administration were lying about Iraq’s non-existent WMD.”

Because, as Schwarz puts it, “the smarter ones were lying, while the stupider ones believed what they said,” it turns out Wolfie is a great source on this matter. According to Jonathan Schwarz,

I’m pretty sure Wolfowitz’s pre-war view was this: Iraq may or may not have WMD. But due to Iraq’s oil wealth, they will eventually be able to build them, and–also due to their oil wealth–we’ll never have much leverage on them short of invasion. So it’s better to do it now.

Depending on the crowd you run with, that’s a halfway defensible argument. Certainly it’s far more persuasive than the Bush administration’s sledgehammer propaganda line. However, it’s also much more difficult to use to whip up war fever, at least if you believe Americans are a bunch of half-witted ten year-olds who need you to protect them.

So I suspect Wolfowitz decided just to go along with the propaganda–some deception of Americans was required to make necessary things happen. Moreover, he likely realized many of his superiors and co-workers were idiots who really believed all the crap they were saying, and it would be extremely impolitic and counterproductive to contradict them.

Schwarz has good evidence to back this up. Of course, in Deep Blade Journal, I have blogged about Wolfie’s obsession with forming NSC-68-like-Cold-War guiding principles for the Clash Against Islamo-fascism, because, as Wolfie put it in his 2004 tribute to the late Cold Warrior Paul Nitze, “the ideology of terrorist fanaticism is even more dangerous” than the Soviet threat. See HERE and HERE, and also HERE for more on Wolfie’s squirm over the “accuracy” of WMD claims.

The war you're not reading about

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

The Iraq SituationUN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): 4 million displaced Iraqis since 2003

The title of this post is the same as that of an oped published Sunday in the Washington Post (reprinted today in the Bangor Daily News) carrying the byline of the Republican presidential candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain. Along with McCain’s properly much-ridiculed April Fools walk through a Baghdad market backed by a powerful militia, his oped would be extremely silly except for the fact that the war McCain so dearly supports is causing death, injury, and displacement for millions of innocent Iraqis.

I won’t take on McCain’s “cautious optimism” point-by-point. Instead I’ll challenge his complete omission of any sense that he understands the full devastating depth and breadth of the total destruction of the foundations of Iraqi society that the war has brought. And, let me say I just cringe at the deep colonial mentality revealed by the “counterinsurgency approach” that McCain argues “for” — “separating the reconcilable population from the irreconcilable.”

If taken to its logical end, the language used here by McCain shows that he believes the part of the Iraqi population who continue to display their opposition to US control of their country is disposable. To me, McCain’s use of “irreconcilable” suggests that in the end his recommended approach would involve applying force in a manner tantamount to genocide. To McCain, “separating” means ridding Iraq of those who never will accept American domination, a clear majority in every study of Iraqi public opinion.

©Reuters/Ali Jasim, CourtesyUnfortunately, McCain is correct in one unintended sense. Many Americans who find themselves reading war cheerleading by the likes of the senator are not reading about how terrible the actual war is.

Just today, for example, the International Committee of the Red Cross released a report that describes an Iraq where, “The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable. Their lives and dignity are continuously under threat.” The American media barely has covered this release. It’s a slight footnote in a few news stories and I have seen no mention yet on television.

The report, called “Civilians Without Protection,” (unlike the situation for Senator McCain in the Baghdad market) describes the “ever worsening humanitarian crisis” where “Thousands of Iraqis continue to be forced out of their homes owing to military operations, general poor security and the destruction of houses. And the outlook is bleak, particularly in Baghdad and other areas with mixed communities, where the situation is likely to worsen.”

It’s all so depressing. American public opinion generally has turned against McCain and the war, but there still is woeful ignorance about what is actually happening to the Iraqis as a direct result of the American invasion. We don’t see the most important reporting on the situation.

Patrick Cockburn of the UK Independent, author of The Occupation, a riveting book on Iraq, is an essential antidote to the poison of McCain. His dispatches are not published in American newspapers, but the Internet is an easy way to get them. Here are just a few recent doses of reality filed by Cockburn around the 4th anniversary of the invasion:

  • March 19, 2007: Almost Every Aspect of Iraqi Life has Gotten Worse in the Last Four Years

Tony Blair and George Bush still occasionally imply that the picture of Iraq as a war-torn hell is an exaggeration by the media. They suggest, though not as forcibly as they did a couple of years ago, that parts of the country are relatively peaceful. Nothing could be more untrue.

In reality, the violence is grossly understated. The Baker-Hamilton report by senior Republicans and Democrats, led by James Baker, took a single day last summer, when the US army reported 93 acts of violence in Iraq, and asked American intelligence to re-examine the evidence. They found the real figure was 1,100–the US military had deliberately understated the violence by factor of over 10….

  • March 20, 2007: Four Years After the Invasion: Iraq is a Vast, Blood-Drenched Human Disaster

Four years after the US and British troops invaded Iraq the country is drenched in blood and its people full of fear. Iraqis often have a look of half-suppressed panic in their eyes as they tell how violent death had touched them and their families again and again….

  • April 10, 2007: The Beacon of the US “Success” The Myth of Tal Afar

Embedded American journalists scurried to this poor and depressing Turkoman city between Mosul and the Syrian border to report on the good news. President Bush even singled it out for optimistic comment in March 2006. “Tal Afar shows that, when Iraqis can count on a basic level of safety and security, they can live together peacefully,” he said. “The people of Tal Afar have shown why spreading liberty and democracy is at the heart of our strategy to defeat the terrorists.”

It was always a myth. On March 27, a gigantic truck bomb exploded in a Shia market area in Tal Afar. It was the deadliest single bomb out of the many that have been detonated by Sunni insurgents. The Interior Ministry said that 152 people were killed and 347 wounded in the explosion….

It was always absurd to treat Tal Afar as a possible textbook case of how the US might successfully expedite a counter-insurgency policy.

For more on Tal Afar, see Deep Blade Journal HERE. This SEARCH produces a large catalog of Patrick Cockburn dispatches from Iraq. Cockburn’s book, “The Occupation,” is a highly recommended read.