Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let us count the ways, in rough chronological order: 1) Fraudulent and deceptive casus belli; 2) criminal manipulation of (international and domestic) intelligence services; 3) commission of aggressive war and invasion without justifiable cause or pretext; 4) failure to stabilize or establish peace upon cessation of hostilities, and 5) further criminal embezzlement, favoritism and fraud; 6) routine violations on a systemic scale of international humanitarian law and 7) widespread, unclear rules of engagement backed by an unaccountable, byzantine chain of command; 8) wanton employment of torture and abuse toward prisoners, wrong-headed alone in the name of actionable military intelligence to rationalize it; 9) radical de-Ba’athification decrees in the early occupation period that inexorably have led to the wholesale exemption of the Sunni bloc from political representation, much less the encouragement of the Sunni resistance; 10) the ever-present lack of any meaningful exit strategy; and 11) the establishment of permanent bases* closely mapped to petroleum refineries (notably Kirkuk and the northeastern fields) and transport routes… etc etc.

Meanwhile, a soldier (one Jesse Spielman, private first-class) receives a 110-year sentence for the rape-murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl: compounding the crimes of the above, committed not by the discretion of soldiers but under their orders, missions and operations through the systemic, executive decision to invade and the subsequent, over-arching events and failures done by the military command under the direction and orchestration of civilian planners and ideologues who wear no uniform. How thus many sentences should belong saddled unto the backs of Mssrs. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Bremer and Franks? For the sake of argument, each of the above is of equal deleterious and destructive value; and each receives a relatively light punishment, say, one-fifth the imprisonment given to this one soldier. At the very least two hundred years, then, in total: for each of the five named right there, perhaps in descending order (Bremer and Franks getting the least share, Cheney-Rumsfeld the most). To be clear, this is a very modest, bare-bones fair sentence; emaciated justice, you could say, since there is no weighing of the crimes, many are omitted, and the punishment is meted out to five actors at the very top, three of whom are ex-officio.

*The Chicago Tribune first broke the story in 2004, quoting Robert Pollman, an Army brigadier general, as saying that the project “makes a lot of logical sense.” Further, in corroborating the story the Christian Science Monitor adds, “Polls find that 80 percent of Iraqis … want US armed forces to leave their nation,” on top of which our permanent occupation encampments of freedom “could stir up more opposition” (i.e. more names in the small boxes of the back pages, not to speak of the suffering and misery our policies are doing to them). Chalmers Johnson, an international relations specialist and a former Navy officer, would likely see this as of a piece with what he called “the military-petroleum complex” (USF Center for the Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim Report No. 33, March 2004) of bases ringing and radiating outward from the Caspian region and the Central Asian sphere of the former Soviet satellites — including our Mideast protectorate in the Saudi kingdom, for which the “enduring bases” in key Iraqi cities may serve as a useful (colonial) replacement.

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