Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Ivan Eland: Having a Bad Day, Wolfie?

Having a Bad Day, Wolfie?


By Ivan Eland*

After a rocket attack on the Rashid hotel in Baghdad landed only one floor away from a clearly shaken Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremer, the American viceroy for Iraq, stated the obvious—that the U.S. occupation forces had had a bad day. Both the Bush administration and the American people better get ready for many more.

Although the U.S. military maintains that Secretary Wolfowitz was not the target of the attack, that spin is doubtful. Officials base that conclusion on indications that the attack was planned some months ahead of time and that Wolfowitz’s visit had not been announced. But, of course, the attackers could have staked out the hotel, where many occupation VIPs and visiting luminaries hang their hats, and waited in the weeds for high profile prey to arrive. Wolfowitz, the architect of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, would have been a lucrative target. Another indication that the attackers might have known about Wolfowitz’s visit was the discovery of a roadside bomb on the secretary’s planned motorcade route.

That spin by the U.S. military would not have been the first attempt to “spin” away bad news. Recently, the military admitted that a Blackhawk helicopter crashed, injuring its crew. But in an attempt to blunt the adverse initial impact of the news of the crash, the military claimed uncertainty about whether or not the helicopter was brought down by hostile enemy fire. No matter that the military knew, at the time, that Iraqi guerrillas had been firing potent weapons at the Blackhawk. Similarly, when asked about a recent Iraqi guerrilla attack that injured 13 service personnel, instead of admitting that the incident occurred, the military initially said that it was under investigation.

The American occupation authority would have every reason to deny that Wolfowitz had been targeted. The occupation authority realizes that if he had been, the Iraqi opposition forces must have had some very good intelligence on the authority’s planned activities. In addition, both the Iraqis and the world would likely conclude that the vaunted U.S. military could not even ensure the safety of an important civilian boss at one of the most protected sites in Iraq. Iraqis might reach the reasonable conclusion that if the U.S. military has trouble protecting such an important VIP, it cannot protect them either. That insecurity might cause many Iraqis to quit cooperating with the American occupation.

Whether or not Wolfowitz was specifically targeted, the overall situation in Iraq is not getting any better for the Bush administration—as the subsequent spate of coordinated suicide bombings shows. The administration insists that the American press is not focusing on the “good news” in Iraq—for example, that the schools have reopened and the streets are cleaner. Of course, the administration is assuming that most of the American press and people ever really cared about the Iraqis. Sadly, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has always been mainly “about us.” Many Americans delighted in seeing U.S. servicemen drape old glory, however briefly for the photo opportunity, over the statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad. And for most of the war and its aftermath, the American press has concentrated on U.S. military casualties—what American viewers, listeners and readers are most interested in—and ignored those of the Iraqis. As in Vietnam—where the United States won every battle (the good news of that war) but high U.S. body counts eventually caused the American public to demand a withdrawal—the drip, drip, drip of bad news can kill the joy of a good foreign adventure.

And the trouble has just begun. Data shows that the attacks in Iraq are becoming more frequent, sophisticated and deadly. But the United States has not been successful in getting foreign nations to help out by sending their troops. And throwing more U.S. forces into the incipient quagmire would belie administration claims of improved security and, with an election coming up, could very well be political suicide. Thus, the administration seems to see an escalation of violence to root out the attackers as its only choice. Although keeping overall troop levels constant in Iraq, the military is rushing more forces to the most unstable Sunni Triangle area. The plan is to draw out the guerrillas and kill them. But to do so would kill many more Iraqi civilians. Increased civilian deaths could very well be the last straw for many Iraqis. Already, polls indicate that less than 15 percent of Iraqis regard U.S. forces as liberators, as opposed to 43 percent six months ago. The numbers are unlikely to go back up.

Even if Paul Bremer’s latest spin that the bad days in Iraq will be outnumbered by good days comes true, enough bad days—that is, spectacular attacks on prominent sites or large numbers of occupation personnel—could sink the Bush administration’s Iraqi excursion.

****** ENDS *******

- * Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in Oakland, CA., and author of the book, Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World. For further articles and studies, see the War on Terrorism and OnPower.org.

Here is Dr. Eland's bio:
http://www.independent.org/tii/tii_info/bios/ieland.html
Here also is information on the Center on Peace & Liberty:
http://www.independent.org/tii/tii_info/centerpeaceliberty.html

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news