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Saturday, December 09, 2006


The Iraq study group, the massacre in Ishaqi, and the sham "exit strategy"

I return frequently to one theme - that the American "exit strategy" is a sham because the U.S. is never going to turn over planes or heavy artillery to the Iraqis, lest they be used against the American forces, yet it is precisely those things which provide any measure of "success" the U.S. is having against the resistance.

Yesterday's massacre in Ishaqi is a case in point - 17 civilians killed. The U.S. military euphemises the situation by claiming "ground forces with air support killed 20 suspected al Qaeda militants." But it isn't the "who" that's the only euphemism - it's the "how." Because here's the relevant fact, with emphasis added: "the bodies of 17 civilians, including six women and five children, were found in the rubble of two homes." "Found in the rubble." Does that sound like it was "ground forces with air support"? More like air power with ground support. Most likely ground forces located the target, and kept them from leaving the houses while air strikes were called in. Of course they didn't want to do the fighting themselves, that would involve risking their own lives for a "cause" they don't believe in.

And where does the Iraq Study Group report fit into all this? Read it (PDF link). After "withdrawal", here's what they propose (emphasis added):

Another mission of the U.S. military would be to assist Iraqi deployed brigades with intelligence, transportation, air support, and logistics support, as well as providing some key equipment.
There's that air "support" again. That's the real goal, which has been predictable for a long time - reduce American casualties, without lessening (and probably even increasing) the number of Iraqi casualties one bit, and counting on that lessening American opposition to the continuing, and perpetual, occupation of Iraq.

Out now! All out!

Update: When I speculated above about the actual course of events in Ishaqi, I hadn't read this Washington Post article, which confirms what I predicted:

Acting on intelligence reports, ground forces were searching buildings in a village near Tharthar Lake in Salahuddin province when insurgents fired machine guns at them. The troops fired back, killing two suspects, the military said in a statement. Under attack, the troops called for an airstrike, which killed 18 more suspects, the military said.
Of course, that "18 more suspects" is nonsense. As so many times in the past, all the military knew when they called in those airstrikes is that there was at least one person inside the building with a weapon. They had no idea whatsoever who else might be in that building, how many there were, or whether they were there voluntarily or being held captive. Nor did they care.

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