Guest Writings
 
  
7/6/06
The Washington Post’s War-mongering Scribe by Mike Whitney 
  

  “The war on terrorism many people believe is an endless war. It is not. It is a war which is winnable. …I would venture a guess that this war is winnable in five years.” Charles Krauthammer, Iraq Victory Speech to American Enterprise Institute April 2003

       “The only people in the world who still question whether or not we won in Iraq are Upper West Side liberals who aren’t quite sure that we won the Cold War either”. Krauthammer Ibid. April 2003

     Charles Krauthammer is a signatory of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (group which called for the ouster of Saddam) and the unofficial spokesman for the warmongering neoconservatives. He was a main proponent of the war in Iraq and has since led the cheerleading for the occupation.

     It’s always handy reading Krauthammer to find out what the current thinking is among administration power-brokers. His articles are a window into the emergent fantasies of the Bush brain-trust. In fact, it’s astonishing how efficiently Rumsfeld and Cheney’s sinister ideas are channeled into Krauthammer’s keyboard.

     In this week’s article, “Drying up the Jihadist Sea”, Krauthammer has taken a sudden about-face and abandoned his normally strident militarism. Instead, he devotes his entire column to promoting “amnesty” for the members of the Iraqi resistance. This abrupt change of heart would have been inconceivable just a few months ago.

      Are things really so bad in Iraq that the fire-breathing Krauthammer is ready to send up the white flag?

       On the 4th of July Bush vowed that the US “would never accept anything less than victory” to the troops at Fort Bragg North Carolina. Was the dissembler-and-chief lying, yet again?

        Apparently so.

      Krauthammer does an admirable job of dressing it up, but the bottom line is, the Bush team is tossing in the towel and calling it a day.

      According to Krauthammer, Swaggering George knows all about the amnesty plan and “is firmly behind this policy.”

       Well, now, that does change things. Can we expect to see G.W. in a flight-suit tottering behind Krauthammer with his Appomattox sword in hand?

          All the pompous victory speeches and blather about “dead-enders and terrorists” was just more empty rhetoric. The real strategy is to conceal America’s ignominious defeat while keeping a couple of well-placed bases in the Iraqi oil fields.

      Krauthammer is as capable as anyone at camouflaging the truth and bending the facts to fit his crackpot ideology. He begins his article with a paragraph-long summary of the reasons that the nation went to war: “deposing Saddam and replacing his regime with a democratic government unthreatening to the region and strategically friendly to the United States.”

       Hmmmm? That’s an interesting theory but, unfortunately, it is a lie.  

      The United States went to war with Iraq to disarm Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction (as Krauthammer is well aware). His synopsis is pure neocon revisionism.

        He adds that the “most serious misconception had nothing to do with troop levels or whether to disband an army that had already disbanded itself.”

    Wrong again. Nearly every critic of the war including Colin Powell has stated unequivocally that the lack of troops on the ground and the disbanding the Saddam’s army were major miscalculations which contributed heavily to the US’s inability to establish security and win the peace. Krauthammer is just trying to protect fellow-traveler and bungler George Armstrong Rumsfeld from additional criticism.

    Krauthammer goes on, “The melting away of the Ba’athist regime gave the Sunni resistance weaponry, discipline and organizational know-how of a high-order”

          ”Melting away”? There was no melting away. Rumsfeld energized the resistance by ordering his stooge Paul Bremer to initiate a process of de-Ba’athification. It was a disastrous decision that has resulted in the unintended deaths of 2600 American soldiers. Just yesterday the Associated Press reported that the top leaders in Saddam’s regime were running the “insurgency”. In other words, the US government now admits that the resistance is mainly controlled by members of the Ba’ath party. Krauthammer finds it too uncomfortable to admit that we’re now caving in to the very people that Bush promised to defeat.

    Then, Krauthammer makes this startling admission: “The insurgency continues, and IS NOT GOING TO BE DEFEATED MILITARILY.”

 Ouch!

     Finally, the cold light of reason has found its way into the dark corner of neoconservative denial.

     ”But”, Krauthammer adds, “that does not mean we lose. Insurgencies can be undone by co-optation.”

     Already the wheels are turning as Krauthammer and crew work out the details for a permanent presence in Iraq. But, how? “Co-optation” is a neat sounding word but what does it mean?

       It means that Bush plans to give the Ba’ath Party a place at the political table with the Shiite death squads and the Kurds who’ve been subjugated by Saddam for the last 40 years.

      It is utter madness and it will not work.

      But, beyond these major drawbacks, how is Bush going to sell “amnesty” (which many see as synonymous to surrender) to the American people?

      This isn’t a problem for the pliable Krauthammer whose set of principles would fit comfortably in a matchbox. 

    ”Amnesty will be an essential element in any reconciliation policy…The posturing over amnesty can only make it more difficult.”

      In other words, “Get over it”.

       Krauthammer scolds the Democrats for quibbling over something so incidental as joining forces with the “evildoers” who have been killing American servicemen for 3 years. What’s so bad about that? After all, no one in Krauthammer’s family died.

    Can we really grasp how whacky this idea is? War is not something that the neocons can casually turn off like a water faucet. It’s crazy.

     For those who think that Bush’s Iraq policy is totally adrift, Krauthammer offers these soothing words to assuage their anxiety: “Our objective in any war is not revenge but success.”

      Really? Tell that to the people in Abu Ghraib and Falluja.

    It doesn’t seem like the Bush administration has the remotest idea of what they are doing. They simply lurch from one bad idea to the next while the mountains of carnage continue to rise. 

 Krauthammer’s Ruminations at the Warmongers Lair

      It is astonishing to consider the 180-degree reversal the neocons have managed since the onset of the war in 2003. Here’s a sampling of Krauthammer’s triumphant speech at the American Enterprise Institute in April 2003 immediately following the fall of Baghdad. Its boastful tone pretty well summarizes the delusional aspirations of its author:

      “The importance of the war in Iraq is that it has demonstrated for the first time in history the capacity of one country, the United States, to destroy a totalitarian regime without destroying the country. That’s never been done in human history.”

    “We did in ..Iraq..(what) could only be called surgical preemption, in a way that had been previously unimaginable… the Ba’ath Party (was) a classic Stalinist state and it collapsed as a result of our precision, high-tech and the very novel kind of warfare.” (preemption)

   “The brilliance of the campaign on Iraq was not just the military pyrotechnics, the integration of intelligence, the use of air power, et cetera. At the root of the success of the war in Iraq was a deep understanding of the nature of Stalinist totalitarian regimes. It understood that it was a brittle form of regime, that it existed entirely on fear, repression and terror, that it has a desiccated ideology.” (Compare this statement to Krauthammer’s sudden willingness to make amends with the Ba’atist resistance)

   “We have the capacity to wage this kind of war with relatively few casualties, both among combatants on the allied side and among civilians on the other side. And that I think has had a deep impression in the region and around the world.”

  “The only people in the world who still question whether or not we won in Iraq are Upper West Side liberals who aren’t quite sure that we won the Cold War either”.

[Laughter.]

  “The fact is that in the Arab World, they understand that they have suffered the most significant, and in their eyes, humiliating defeat since the Six Day War. There are tyrants throughout the region who sit uneasily on their thrones. All of them have seen the statues toppled in Baghdad, and they know that their citizens also have seen those statues, and they know that the statues outside the windows of those who saw it in Cairo, and in Damascus, and elsewhere also can be toppled.”

   “What we have produced is a revolution in military doctrine, a revolution in national security doctrine, and also a revolution in the region and the world in understanding what the power of the United States is and what it is capable of doing.”

   “We ought to make the Syrians think that anything is possible.

We are in a position, after the shock and awe of this war, of influencing the behavior, if not the composition, of regimes in Iran, Syria and elsewhere. We ought to use that momentum. We ought to use the uncertainty in the region to try to impose changes in behavior on regimes like that in Damascus and leave them wondering and thinking.”

   “The war on terrorism many people believe is an endless war. It is not. It is a war which is winnable. …I would venture a guess that this war is winnable in five years.”
 
   “The brilliance of the campaign”… “the deep understanding of the nature of totalitarian regimes”… “a revolution in military doctrine.”
  
       Perhaps, we should keep in mind Krauthammer’s unreserved praise for the war as Bush prepares to negotiate a settlement with the resolute Ba’athist resistance. 
 
    Accountability for Journalists?
 
   Iraq is in ruins. The “cradle of civilization” has been decimated by US ordinance and a savage occupation. The primary infrastructure is devastated, clean water is scarce, the electrical-grid is severely damaged, business has been disrupted, the society is in tatters, death squads control the streets, and depleted uranium will continue to produce cancer and birth-defects into the next millennium.  These are the costs of Krauthammer’s war in real terms.
  
    Fredrick Nietzsche said, “Ideas are the explosive material that shape history.” Men, like Krauthammer, who crafted the perfidious ideology which led the country to war, are equally responsible for its appalling consequences. His bloody fingerprints are all over the 100,000 Iraqis and 2,600 American servicemen who died in this gratuitous act of aggression. It is shocking that the Washington Post hasn’t thrown Krauthammer out on the street and given his seat to a responsible adult who knows the difference between foreign policy and the malignant dreams of fantasists.

 
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