Monday, June 19, 2006

'Wash Post' Obtains Shocking Memo from U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Details Increasing Danger and Hardship: The frank memo signed Khalilzad describes a thoroughly disastrous situation, eg, "Since April, the "demeanor" of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more "militia-like," and some are now "taunting" embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: "Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people." For this reason, some have asked for press instead of embassy credentials."

Ambassador Khalilzad's memo also says: "More recently, we have begun shredding documents printed out that show local staff surnames. In March, a few staff members approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate." Sounds like a mission on the brink of complete collapse....

Digby's commenters are, again, too good not to quote:

Tupharsin: You want it straight? Try this from Gwynne Dyer, the former naval officer, historian and lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (Britain's West Point)...

"It is not enough that the United States lose in Iraq. It must be seen to lose by the American public, for otherwise the project that lay behind the invasion of Iraq will soon enough be resurrected by some other administration, and not necessarily a Republican one."

Bruce Emory: Although it may give succor to the rightwing to quote these thoughts, I feel that an unequivocal failure in Iraq is the best outcome for America's future. Unless and until we see the preemptive war doctrine rejected out of hand, it can only cause greater and greater misery throughout the world. Better it fail in its maiden voyage than be arguably successful enough to attempt again.

James E. Powell: The fact that this cable is not getting massive coverage, and I mean Monica's blue dress level coverage, is revealing.

What it reveals is something understood here and on other left and center-left blogs: the corporate press/media is nothing more or less than the propaganda ministry of the Republican Party. But this is not understood by the great mass of Americans who spend little or no time acquiring information about Iraq, and who get 100% of their information from the corporate press/media.

[Bernard]: Powell is right to condemn the corporate media as a propaganda institution, but I also believe this is a common error in the left blogosphere. I dont think the media coverage would really be much different on this and other issues if the Democrats were in charge, eg if Hillary were President and Kerry/Murtha controlled the Congress. The Democrat policy of corporate imperialism is essentially the same, although they would naturally like to claim they are competent at it, unlike Bush. Media coverage will only really change when the US corporate/ruling elite finally concludes that the Iraq venture is a disastrous failure and has to be ended. Look for the signs. Is the recent Marine massacre coverage, similar to My Lai, such a sign? Withdrawal will be a particularly difficult decision to make. Unlike Vietnam, Iraq and the mideast has vast strategic significance. At present the war is only costing taxpayer's money (which is getting largely channelled to defence contractors) and soldier's blood (poverty draft cannon fodder). That could be willingly expended for some time yet in the hope the situation turns around. It is also, of course, costing Bush poll support, but that will not concern the elite as much as if the leading Democrat candidate plumbed for withdrawal before the official say-so. Hillary obviously has no intention of doing that.

[Powell continues]: I have little faith that a disastrous outcome will effect any change. It is hard to think of a more disastrous adventure than the Viet Nam War, yet the prevailing belief about that war is that it was a noble cause that was betrayed and sabotaged by weak and traitorous elements in our own country. As the last president election showed, one's opposition to the Viet Nam War is a major political liability. One's vocal support of it, even if one dodged the draft, is a political asset.

What can we expect? If history is any guide, nothing good for a long while. How many years did it take for Western Europeans to become convinced that jingoism and nationalist dreams of conquest are political diseases and that politicians who advocate wars of conquest are to be shunned? How many people had to die to drive home this simple truth?

joejoejoe: Instead of covering this remarkably stark cable from our US Amb. to Iraq Khalilzad to our Secretary of State the WaPo puts this on A4:

"Bush's Gut Feeling On Maliki Is Positive"

Enough with the Psychic Friends Network foreign policy. The highest ranking US official in Iraq, an Arabic speaking PhD holding, old-fashioned diplomat cables Foggy Bottom and calmly mentions things like 'ethnic cleansing' and 'kidnapping' and admits most US allies in Iraq don't even tell their family members where they work. And the Post buries it. Meanwhile President Bush looks into more eyes and sees more souls.

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