Monday, June 13, 2005
The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun
"It reminded me of a boxing match in which one of the boxers is told not to move while the other is allowed to punch and only stop when he is convinced that he has weakened his opponent to the point where he is defeated before the fight begins."
—former UN Assistant Secretary General Hans Von Sponeck, of the bombings of Iraq before, technically, war had begun.
. . .
During his time in Iraq, Von Sponeck began documenting each of the airstrikes, showing "regular attacks on civilian installations including food warehouses, residences, mosques, roads and people."
. . .
It's now official, in my mind, that Bush should be impeached. It's no longer simply a matter of the War violating the Constitution, since Congress never actually declared war but rather decided to transfer their Constitutional powers to the executive branch; or of the war violating International Law, and hence constituting a clear act of Aggression, the most severe war crime. It's now a matter of lying to Congress and to the American people and to the world, in order deliberately to commit said Aggression. (Which many of us have been saying all along, but now it's pretty much confirmed.)
While it's true that (suprisingly) the media has actually given some attention to the "Downing Street Memo" — more than I had expected, anyway — the question must be asked: how is it that Bush was able to launch the war in secret?
Actually, it has been known for some time (at least a year) that this massive bombing took place, launched in August 2002, even before Congress had given Bush the power to declare war on whomever his little heart desired. It is dealt with at length and in great specificity in Dilip Hiro's book "Secrets and Lies: Operation 'Iraqi Freedom' And The Collapse Of American Power In The Middle East":
"While ostensibly on vacation at his ranch, Bush had working sessions with Cheney and Rumsfeld. After one such session, Rumsfeld secretly ordered the Pentagon to mount Operation "Southern Focus," unveiling an air campaign against Iraq in the south as an unannounced prelude to an invasion by its ground forces some six months later. It was easy to withhold this fact because, assisted by Britain, the Pentagon had maintained no-fly zones in the south of Iraq since August 1992 and in the north since October 1991 by conducting ongoing air patrols over the regions, whereby U.S.-U.K. warplanes targeted those Iraqi defense facilities that tried to hit them. Under Operation "Southern Focus," the Pentagon widened its targets to include Iraqi command and control centers and the fiber-optic links between Baghdad and Basra and between Baghdad and Nasiriya carrying military communications. As the cables were buried
SECRETS AND LIES 45
and impossible to locate, the Pentagon focused on locating aboveground cable-repeater stations used to boost the weakening signals after a certain distance by using spy satellites, U-2 photo reconnaissance planes and drones, and targeting them with precision-guided weapons (PGWs). As a result, during the next four months the U.S.—U.K. aircraft would strike Iraqi targets forty-eight times, an eightfold increase over the first four months of 2002.62
Overall, the only unsettled element in the war plan was the exact date of invasion. That in turn depended on two factors, one fixed— weather in the Iraqi desert, where temperatures reach one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in early April; and the other variable—the Pentagon's progress in procuring high-tech weapons."
. . . . . . .
So if you hear any right wing nuts claiming that this is just another case of the "liberal media" going after Bush for no reason, set them straight; just as with the Abu Ghraib scandal, they absense of WMDs in Iraq (which might have been noted instantly when the war began and none were used), Guantanamo, etc. etc., they have been anything but overzealous in reporting these things — if anything, it seems like they wait until they absolutely have to cover it because people are finding out about it anyway so they have no real choice. In short, if I knew about "Operation Southern Focus," you can rest assured than many journalists knew about it, yet were deafeningly silent.