Thursday, July 13, 2006

You Can Tell the War in Iraq is Winding Down

You know that when we begin to set a philosophic tone for our fighting men and women, most of the torture and abuse has already been done and we’re about to pack it in.

Columbo
There are all sorts of ways to judge the length of the war yet to come in Iraq and our commitment to it. You can
  • listen to the repetitious declarations of a trapped president
  • parse the Pentagonal statements of Donald Rumsfeld
  • pay attention to yet another strutting Senator
  • heed this or that that electile dysfunctional Representative
  • ultimately, get the Ouija Board out from under the Monopoly set in the upstairs guest bedroom.
Or, you can pick up clues from headlines about other matters and you don’t have to be Columbo to do it. A couple of items in newspapers just yesterday morning caught my eye.
TonysnowFrom CTV News and AP, we learn that the Pentagon is finally going to abide by the Geneva Convention in their prosecution of the war. Even so, White House spokesman Tony Snow insisted that all U.S. detainees have been treated humanely. Those who know this administration wonder if 'U.S. detainees' are defined as 'held' by the U.S. or 'in' the U.S. That's a huge difference, very close to the run for cover of the last president in 'define sex.'
He followed that by the mixed-message, "We want to get it right. It's not really a reversal of policy." 
There, there, Tony. Not to worry. We know you have to say that, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. When your president states, unequivocally, “We do not torture” and the photos are in the archive, it’s gotta be tough. But you’re doing okay and your hair looks great.
The Pentagon switcheroo came as Rumsfeld was either in the bathroom or busy mucking things up in Afghanistan. But, in any event, it became cast in bronze before he got back to the office. The orders include not only detainees, but battlefield operations.
Ltcolgarysolis"It's a significant change in my view because the troops on the ground in Iraq have never been sure it was a requirement" to observe the Geneva rules, said Gary D. Solis, a former Marine Corps infantry commander who is an expert on the law of war. "It sets the philosophic tone for our soldiers and Marines."
You know that when we begin to set a philosophic tone for our fighting men and women, most of the torture and abuse has already been done and we’re about to pack it in. So, that’s clue #1. We’re no longer fighting unlawful combatants and now they’re just an enemy, accorded the full international rights of an enemy.
What a strange amalgam of half-truth our government has become. What a horror that our troops carry the stench of civilian dishonor, from a lying administration to a profiteering industrial base. What an amazing thing that New York argues over the cost of a 9-11 monument and we bring our war dead home in the middle of the night to darkened airports.
HalliburtonsodaThe second head-turner is that Halliburton will no longer enjoy its single-source designation in worldwide military logistical support for everything from ice-cream cones to phantom meals and no-bid supply support. Their contract for communications, water distribution and the electric grid in Iraq will expire this fall. That’s good news for Iraqis, who may finally get some electricity for more than a couple hours a day.
Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the Inspector General’s office, hardly cracked a grin as he reported,
"This is the year of transition for Iraqi reconstruction. The U.S.-funded projects are being completed and transferred to Iraqi management and control."
Translation: The money’s running out, Congress is pissed, mid-term elections are close and it’s time to cut and run before someone looks at the books.
Last year the Army is said to have paid Halliburton $7 billion for the work they didn’t do. But this year, only $4 to $5 billion is being made available and Halliburton is damned if they will continue to not do work at such reduced levels. Besides, Cheney has cashed out his stock options and there's only so much toothpaste in the tube.
So, there’s proof #2, if anyone needs it. Mission Accomplished is in the air. Karl Rove has it scheduled for September.
When (A) the top war profiteer gets out just ahead of indictments and (B) the Bush cabal agrees to fight by the rules, you know it’s all over but the burying of the dead. The money, for the most part, has been banked and the screams of the tortured failed to turn up anything but one court embarrassment after another. As Columbo would say, pausing on his way out the door and scratching his nose, "I’ve only got one lingering question."
When a nation sub-contracts a war, as the Pentagon has this one, are the sub-contractors bound to abide by the Geneva Convention?
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