massacre of Iraqi civilians by US marines

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  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    JoRed wrote:
    ^^ Finally, they have coordinated & collaborated their version of events. They have to tie a couple of loose ends before presenting it to the gullible AmeriKan public. But who do they think they're fooling? None other but themselves.

    You are ignoring the bigger picture. If they intentionally killed Iraqi Civilians, then they are a just a few bad apples. If, as they claim, they were operating under Rules of Engagement, then are they implying that killing Iraqi Civilians is within the scope of Rules of Engagement, and quite possibly a common occurence in Iraq?

    Again, it's not the crime that is the issue...from the horses mouth we have heard they admitted to killing civilians. Why was it reported by the military that these civilians were killed by an IED? The Captain of Kilo Company claims he briefed his superiors on the events in Haditha. This implies that there was an intentional coverup on events.

    What will happen is that these Marines are going to be cast off by the Administration. They are "Bad Apples." There is no endemic problem with the conduct of US Troops in Iraq.

    The more pertinent question is how to insure something like this does't happen again.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Several Marines who were suspected of taking part in an atrocity (not Haditha) are allegedly shackled and imprisoned, while not being charged with an actual crime. I haven't found many details on this yet. If this is true, then it is an outrage. Either charge them with a crime and let them have their day in court or release them. Now US soldiers are being treated like the inmates at Guantanamo Bay.

    If anyone has more information on this topic, please post.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - The Army general investigating whether military personnel tried to cover up any part of the alleged massacre of up to two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha late last year has completed a voluminous report on the incident.

    Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell sent his report to Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking commander in
    Iraq, U.S. military officials announced Friday. No information about his findings was provided.

    Chiarelli now has a number of options and no time limit for taking action, according to Lt. Col. Michelle Martin-Hing, Multi-National Corps-Iraq spokeswoman, who described the report as "voluminous."

    She said he can approve the findings; substitute or add his own findings; send the report back for more information; and make recommendations for action by higher-ranking military authorities.

    The Haditha case centers on allegations that a small number of Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment murdered 24 Iraqi civilians — included unarmed women and children — on Nov. 19 after a roadside bomb in the town killed one of their fellow Marines.

    Bargewell has just one piece of the investigation — whether the Marines followed proper procedures in reporting about the incident to commanders, or whether anyone engaged in a cover-up. His investigation also may consider whether any criminal charges should be brought in connection with deliberate attempts to lie about the incident.

    A second probe is also under way by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service into what exactly happened that day, and whether criminal — or even murder — charges should be brought against those involved.

    Officials have been expecting Bargewell's report. Members of Congress have said they want to hold hearings into the matter and said they would like to hear first from Bargewell.

    Martin-Hing added that Chiarelli will make no public statements on the report that could interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    By Maj. Gen. John Batiste (retired)

    Salt Lake Tribune

    There is a direct link between the alleged atrocities in Haditha and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. His poor decisions and bad judgment in 2003 and 2004 are the root causes for the prolonged challenge we now face. Haditha is but a symptom of a much bigger problem.

    The secretary of defense got the war in Iraq terribly wrong, and he did not set the conditions for success. He rejected the existence of the insurgency, which was an absolute certainty, and sent America to war with insufficient resources to accomplish the mission. Remember that he alone is responsible for what happens or fails to happen in the Department of Defense. The news of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's demise is certainly good news, but we must remember the Zarqawi was but a cog in a very complex insurgency that the secretary of defense's plan allowed to take root, grow, and expand to what it is today. This is all about competency and accountability. This is all about what is good for our country.

    I am a two-time combat veteran in Iraq with many years of experience in peace enforcement operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. My only motivation in speaking out is our great country, our incredible military and their terrific families. I left the military after 31 years of service despite a promising career and promotion in order to speak out, to turn the lights on in a very dark room. I am honor bound to continue to do so. I have been a lifelong Republican.

    America went to war in Iraq with the secretary of defense's plan. He ignored the U.S. Central Command's deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates to build his plan, which did not address the hard work to crush the insurgency, secure a post-Saddam Iraq, build the peace and set Iraq up for self-reliance. He refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency.

    Bottom line, his plan allowed the insurgency to take root and grow to where it is today. Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq because of inadequate troop levels and the decision to stand down the Iraqi security forces.

    In the early days of the campaign, we needed at least 380,000 coalition forces in addition to the Iraqi security forces to impose security and prevent the insurgency. We were undermanned by a factor of at least three and could not secure the country during a very crucial period.

    To compensate for the shortage of troops, commanders were routinely forced to manage shortages and shift coalition and Iraqi security forces from other contentious areas to counter growing threats in places like An Najaf, Tal Afar, Samarra, Ramadi, Fallujah and others.

    We were certainly successful in the short term, but the minute we completed the mission and redeployed forces back to where they came from, insurgents reoccupied the vacuum and the cycle repeated itself. In addition, forces returning to familiar territory found themselves fighting to reoccupy ground that had once been secure. I am reminded of the myth of Sisyphus.

    This is no way to fight a counter-insurgency. The secretary of defense's plan did not set our military up for success. He squandered an opportunity early on to nip the insurgency in the bud. Haditha should not be a surprise to any of us. Our Army and Marine Corps remain under-resourced and overcommitted.

    The secretary of defense's plan did not anticipate nor account for the insurgency, which was an absolute certainty and fully addressed in the U.S. Central Command's deliberate planning. Remember the Pentagon news conference in late October 2003. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose to use the word "insurgent" to describe the enemy in Iraq. The secretary of defense quickly corrected him and went out of his way to dismiss the word insurgent. Sadly, this was already seven months into the campaign and beyond the point of no return. The so-called "speed bumps on the way to Baghdad" would become our focus of main effort for years.

    The secretary of defense's decision to stand down the Iraqi military resulted in uncontrollable chaos and the dismantling of the extensive Iraqi security force infrastructure that we are still working to rebuild today. This decision gave the insurgency an unlimited supply of manpower, weapons and ammunition.

    Further, when Saddam's well-appointed military garrisons were abandoned, the Iraqi people looted them and carried away every brick, door and piece of glass. There was nothing left but concrete slabs all over Iraq. Chaos reigned.

    The work to rebuild the Iraqi army and police became that much harder, and we have yet to recover. We are now into our fourth year with continued chaos, Haditha, Abu Ghraib, 2,477 dead and 17,869 wounded Americans, and up to $9 billion spent every month. We continue to bleed our national treasure in blood and dollars. It did not need to be this way. What should have been a deliberate victory is now a protracted challenge.

    The secretary of defense does not understand the human dimension of warfare. The mission in Iraq is all about breaking the cycle of violence, building relationships and the hard work to change attitudes and give the Iraqi people alternatives to the insurgency. This requires boots on the ground in sufficient quantity to establish security, intimidate the insurgent, protect lines of communication and the oil infrastructure, train the Iraqi security forces, and control the borders. You cannot do this with precision bombs from 30,000 feet. This is tough, dangerous, and very personal work. Numbers count.

    Based upon all the above, the secretary of defense is not a competent wartime leader. He knows everything, except "how to win." He surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates who do not grasp the importance of the principles of war, the complexities of Iraq, or the human dimension of warfare.

    I wonder how many times in the last five years the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was permitted to give the president his unvarnished opinion, one on one, with no one else in the room? The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act mandates that the chairman be, among other things, the "principal military adviser to the president." How can he render advice when overshadowed by a secretary of defense who knows everything and dominates all that he touches?

    The American people deserve accountability and it is time for change. Without accountability, we cannot move forward. Move forward we must to win the war on terrorism. Our leaders are dodging their responsibilities. Our congressional oversight committees need to get engaged and start asking the tough questions. We all deserve a secretary of defense whose instinct and judgment we trust. Victory hangs in the balance.

    Maj. Gen. John Batiste (retired) commanded the Army's First Infantry Division, both in Iraq and in Kosovo. Before that, he was the senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He's now president of Klein Steel Services in Rochester, N.Y.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    By John Simpson
    BBC News, World affairs editor

    What happened in Haditha may just possibly change the future of the war in Iraq.

    The lawyer for one of the marines accused of the massacre has told the BBC that criminal charges will probably be brought soon.

    And we have found that the marines were operating under some very disturbing conditions.

    The accusation is that after a US marine lance corporal died in a roadside bombing in Haditha last November, his fellow marines went on a killing spree.

    Twenty-four people died in the attack, including seven women and three children.

    A 12-year-old girl who survived says the Americans killed them indiscriminately.

    The marines said they had came under fire from the houses where the people died.

    The lawyer representing one marine told us he believed they would face charges, but said they were following their rules of engagement.

    "I don't think the facts will show they intentionally killed those civilians," Paul Hackett said. "It was in the heat of battle, in the heat of clearing the houses.

    "That is, like it or not, that is what those marines are required to do. They are required to close with the enemy, and kill the enemy."

    'Feral' conditions

    But Haditha is not the only massacre that has been alleged against the US forces.

    A US inquiry has cleared them of blame for the deaths of civilians in Ishaqi in March - yet leading figures in the Iraqi government are unhappy, and want a wider investigation.

    But what happened at Haditha seems more clear-cut.

    It is an intensely dangerous place for the Americans, and the battle-weary men of Kilo Company - the unit which included the marines accused of the massacre - had lost a lot of men there.

    And they were operating under disturbing circumstances.

    Kilo Company's headquarters were three miles north of Haditha, at a vast dam across the Euphrates. It is a big target, because it supplies power to much of southern Iraq.

    Four hundred men of the First Marine regiment were based in this decaying rabbit-warren. Conditions were so disgusting, many just moved out.

    They set up these unofficial shacks alongside it. Conditions at the dam have been described as "feral".

    Oliver Poole is one of the few reporters to have been there, shortly after the alleged massacre. He was shocked by these strange, primitive huts, which lacked even basic hygiene.

    "You walked in and the first words were 'F off', and they were ripping pieces of wood apart to feed the fire," he said. "You could see the conditions in which they lived. And they were filthy. It was disgusting."

    There seemed to him to be no real discipline.

    "The fact that the officers had let conditions deteriorate to the level in which where people living in such basic environment, that says something," he said. "Where were the officers keeping the standards that the US military keeps in the field?"

    Blame game

    The marines of Kilo Company are now back at Camp Pendleton, in California. But that question of keeping the men under proper control is essential.

    "The hardest thing is not necessarily killing someone or shooting someone; it's not killing someone or shooting someone when you're angry," said Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraqi Veterans Campaign.

    "When someone in your unit is killed or wounded it's like someone attacked your family. The responsibility then is on one of the squad leaders, platoon leaders, team leaders to hold those guys back."

    Up to now in the US, those against the war have blamed the people at the very top for what is happening in Iraq.

    But the news that three American soldiers have been charged in connection with the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq last month - and the probable charges over Haditha - may mean that Americans will now start blaming those who are actually fighting the war as well.

    Just as they did in Vietnam.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5098634.stm
  • quatrocantosquatrocantos NEOCON REBORN PExer
    Phil Brennan, NewsMax
    Monday, June 26, 2006

    New Evidence Emerges in Haditha Case

    New evidence continues to emerge that U.S. Marines did not wantonly kill Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November - and the soldiers' accounts of what happened are backed up by videotape shot by an ultralight vehicle, NewsMax has learned.

    According to media reports, last Nov. 19 members of a Marine Corps company killed some 24 innocent civilian Iraqis in Haditha, a town 140 miles northwest of Baghdad and near the Syrian border.


    In the ensuing media firestorm that broke out after the story was revealed, many news reports here and abroad compared the Haditha deaths to the infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.


    Michael Sallah, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his My Lai reporting, has said: "You would have difficulties finding a single newspaper in Germany or elsewhere in Europe which does not deal with My Lai."

    But the facts and accounts from Marines and others on the ground tell another story.

    What is not in dispute is that the Marines' engagement in Haditha began when an IED (improvised explosive device) detonated, killing a Marine from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.In the aftermath of the action two investigations were launched, one by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, who was charged with investigating how the incident was reported through the chain of command. A second investigation, headed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is looking into any possible criminal aspects of the incident.


    The Bargewell report has not been released and is still being reviewed by Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, a top U.S. commander in Iraq. But military officials told the Los Angeles Times that although it concludes there was no deliberate cover-up by senior Marine officers, the Corps failed to follow up and ask questions that the known details should have provoked them to ask.

    The NCIS investigation is still ongoing.


    In May, when Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, appeared on "Good Morning America," he accused the Marines of K Company of killing innocent civilians "in cold blood" and said that the killings had been covered up by higher officers.

    The Bargewell report has disproved that allegation, and with the NCIS investigation so far incomplete and no soldier charged with a crime, how would Murtha know?

    Intelligence sources tell NewsMax the facts of the Haditha incident paint an entirely different picture from the one Murtha and others are propagating.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Murtha again, this is bigger then him:

    From the LA Times:
    ...Republican Representative John Kline of Minnesota was quoted as saying:

    There is no question that the Marines involved, those doing the shooting, they were busy in lying about it and covering it up — there is no question about it. But I am confident, as soon as the command learned there might be some truth to this, they started to pursue it vigorously. I don't have any reason now to think there was any foot dragging.[7]

    That article from Newsmax is long on claims, but short on substance. What are the details of this video? It backs up the soldier's claims? More specific please.
  • quatrocantosquatrocantos NEOCON REBORN PExer
    Herr_Starr wrote:
    Murtha again, this is bigger then him:

    From the LA Times:



    That article from Newsmax is long on claims, but short on substance. What are the details of this video? It backs up the soldier's claims? More specific please.
    The articles on LA times is more concentrated on spins rather than the actual event, reason why revenue from subscriptions and advertisement is falling.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    The articles on LA times is more concentrated on spins rather than the actual event, reason why revenue from subscriptions and advertisement is falling.

    All print newspapers face declining revenue from subscriptions due to the internet and the advent of the blogosphere.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Iraq (and Iran) has been lost in the shuffle as the goings on in Lebanon have overtaken events in other parts of the Middle East.

    An update:

    Source: Haditha evidence implicates Marines
    Investigators reportedly finish initial review in deaths of 24 civilians

    WASHINGTON - Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

    Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

    The decision on whether to press criminal charges against four Marines ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines’ parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

    The Marines initially reported after the Nov. 19, 2005 killings that 15 Iraqi civilians at Haditha had been killed by a makeshift roadside bomb and in crossfire between Marines and insurgent attackers. Based on accounts from survivors and human rights groups, Time magazine first reported in March that the killings were deliberate acts by the Marines.

    A criminal investigation was then ordered by the top Marine commander in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer.

    A parallel investigation is examining whether officers in the Marines’ chain of command tried to cover up the events. The probe, which has not been made public, faults some officers for failing to pursue obvious discrepancies in the initial reports about what happened in Haditha and for not launching an early investigation.

    Public attention on the Haditha case grew after Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a former Marine, asserted publicly on May 17 that he had learned from Marine Corps officials that innocent Iraqis had been killed “in cold blood.”

    Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation, argue in a lawsuit to be filed Wednesday in federal court that Murtha falsely accused Wuterich of murder and war crimes. The suit maintains that Pentagon officials “who have briefed or leaked information to Mr. Murtha deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information” and that the congressman subsequently “has made repeated statements .... that are defamatory” to Wuterich and his fellow Marines.

    Among the other cases of alleged deliberate killings of Iraqi civilians, eight Marines have been charged with premeditated murder and other criminal acts in connection with the killing of an Iraqi man in Hamdania on April 26. Also, five soldiers and a former soldier have been charged in the March 12 rape-slaying of a young Iraqi woman and the killings of her relatives in Mahmoudiya.

    © 2006 The Associated Press.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer 23 minutes ago

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Eight Marines were charged Thursday in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians last year during a bloody, door-to-door sweep in the town of Haditha that came after one of their comrades was killed by a roadside bomb.

    In the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the
    Iraq war, four of the Marines — all enlisted men — were charged with unpremeditated murder.

    The other four were officers who were not there during the killings but were accused of failures in investigating and reporting the deaths.

    The most serious charges were brought against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, a 26-year-old squad leader accused of murdering 12 civilians and ordering the murders of six more inside a house cleared by his squad. He was accused of telling his men to "shoot first and ask questions later," according to court papers released by his attorney.

    The highest-ranking defendant was Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, 42. He was accused of failing to obey an order or regulation, encompassing dereliction of duty.

    At a news conference to announce the charges, military officials would not say what they believe prompted the killings. But investigators have raised the possibility that the men went on a rampage in a fury over the roadside bombing that killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas of El Paso, Texas, and wounded two other Marines.

    Defense attorneys have disputed that, saying their clients were doing what they had been trained to do: responding to a perceived threat with legitimate force.

    Terrazas' father denounced the charges, saying his son was murdered by insurgents. "What they are doing to our troops ... it's just wrong," Martin Terrazas said in Texas. "I feel for their families. They are in my prayers."

    Wuterich and two comrades charged with murder could get life in prison. The military is not seeking the death penalty. The other men face shorter prison sentences.

    The Marine Corps initially reported that 15 Iraqis died in a roadside bomb blast and that Marines killed eight insurgents in an ensuing firefight. That account was widely discredited, and later reports put the number of dead Iraqis at 24.

    A criminal probe was launched after Time magazine reported in March, citing survivor accounts and human rights groups, that innocent people were killed.

    Lt. Gen. James Mattis, commanding general of the Marine Corps Central Command, said Thursday that the Corps' initial news release, which stated that the civilians in Haditha had been killed by an improvised explosive device, was incorrect.

    "We now know with certainty that the press release was incorrect, and that none of the civilians were killed by the IED explosion," Mattis said.

    As word spread that charges were imminent, some Iraqis said Thursday that American troops should face justice in Iraq.

    "They committed a horrible crime against innocents," Naji al-Ani, a 36-year-old laborer, said by telephone from Haditha.

    Other residents of Haditha agreed.

    "Are they terrorists or are they fighting terrorism?" said Jamal al-Obaidi, a 40-year-old teacher. "The trial is not fair because it is taking place in America. Executing them is the minimum penalty."

    Besides Wuterich, Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz, 24, was accused of the unpremeditated murders of five people and making a false statement. Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, 22, of Carbondale, Pa., was charged with the unpremeditated murder of three Iraqis. Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum, 25, of Edmund, Okla., was accused of the unpremeditated murders of two Iraqis, negligent homicide of four Iraqis and assault.

    The other officers charged were 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, 25, Capt. Lucas McConnell, 31, and Capt. Randy Stone, 34, a military attorney.

    The men are not being locked up for now because they are unlikely to flee and are not a danger to themselves or others, said Col. Stewart Navarre, a Corps spokesman.

    In Meriden, Conn., Frank Wuterich's father, Dave, said his son was out Christmas shopping. The father said family members believe his son's version of events.

    "He says they followed the rules of engagement," Dave Wuterich said. "They were taking small arms fire. They did what they had to do."

    Marines Charged in Iraqi Deaths
  • PendragonPendragon Member PExer
    These kids will go to jail. they deserve to go to jail for life. at least there is justice. in Pinas soldiers get away with rape and murder in the south.
  • HeyjoeHeyjoe Member PExer
    Pendragon wrote: »
    These kids will go to jail. they deserve to go to jail for life. at least there is justice. in Pinas soldiers get away with rape and murder in the south.

    I am glad that they will probably get justice.
  • j42002j42002 Member PExer
    Bush Demands His Own Impeachment
    by Jeffrey Steinberg taken from "EIR"

    President George Bush's infantile and defiant response to the Dec. 6 release of the Iraq Study Group report was tantamount to a demand for his own impeachment, along with that of Vice President **** Cheney. Now, the new Democratic majority 110th Congress has a clear mandate, from a wide segment of the U.S. political institutions, spanning the leading factions in both the Republican and Democratic parties, to dispense with the Bush-Cheney regime, before another new disaster unfolds. Topping the list of such looming disasters—beyond the all-but-unavoidable crash of the global financial system—is a military strike against Iran, by either the United States or Israel. The use of nuclear weapons in such a strike is not to be ruled out, according to well-informed U.S. military experts.

    As EIR already reported, just days before the final session of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker III and former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), Vice President Cheney flew off to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attempt to forge a "Sunni bulwark" against Shi'ite Iran, built upon a U.S. and NATO military alliance with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states plus Egypt and Jordan. Such an anti-Iran politico-military alliance would also, de facto, include Israel—an Israel, capable under present leadership, of launching a "breakaway ally" air strike against Iran.

    As EIR reported in a now famous memorandum "Behind Cheney's Trip to Riyadh," Cheney's action was tantamount to a declaration of intent to launch preemptive war against Iran. If carried out, such a strike would spark a Sunni versus Shi'ite war within the Muslim world that would rapidly spread into a global Hundred Years' War. While such an asymmetric conflict would be firmly against U.S. vital interests, an Anglo-American faction that steers the Vice President's every sneering move, would celebrate the chaos, seeing it as the means by which to destroy the United States and end the Westphalian system of sovereign nation-states altogether. In today's parlance, this is called "globalization."

    Backing Cheney's actions, President Bush preemptively rejected the most pressing recommendation of the Baker-Hamilton report: the opening of diplomatic talks with Iran and Syria, with no preconditions. Speaking in Riga, Latvia at the end of November at the NATO summit, the President rejected outright the idea of negotiating with Tehran or Damascus, and also rejected the idea of troop withdrawal from Iraq. "Victory is the only exit strategy," Bush had fulminated.

    On Dec. 6, the Iraq Study Group released its final report, The Way Forward—A New Approach. The 96-page document presented 79 recommendations, which, taken as a whole, represent a call for a comprehensive change in U.S. foreign policy towards Southwest Asia, a change completely consistent with the earlier proposal by Lyndon LaRouche, "The LaRouche Doctrine for Southwest Asia," which was first published in April 2004.

    While LaRouche, addressing a group of diplomats hours after the Baker-Hamilton document's release, expressed some misgivings about missing elements in the study document—including the failure to note the onrushing collapse of the international financial system—he nevertheless heralded the report as an institutional demand for a major shift in U.S. policy. And in a correspondence the next day, he wrote that "the Baker-Hamilton Commission's report has defined a new global strategy. It is not finished work, but it defines certain essential strategic parameters within which reasonable alternatives to failed currently operating policies, or lack of policies, can emerge. This Commission's report will reverberate throughout North America and Europe, where both the immediate situation in the Southwest Asia region and the strains of a failed policy on the financial situation of governments are already painful.... The Baker-Hamilton report, taken in context, defines a new global situation for purposes of policy-shaping. The effect will be, I believe, dramatic and early."

    Did Bush Hit the Bottle?
    Less than 24 hours after the release of the Baker-Hamilton report, President Bush repudiated the idea of direct talks with Iran or Syria, repeating his tired mantra about how "Iran and Syria know what they have to do." Bush was appearing before White House reporters with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The President's flippant rejection of the strategic vision of the Baker-Hamilton document did not take the commission members at all by surprise.

    In an extraordinarily frank exchange with reporters the day before Bush's remarks, two senior statesmen who were members of the Iraq Study Group ridiculed the President's dismissal of the study. It is not a stretch to say that their comments constituted an implicit call for his removal from office. Asked how Bush had responded to the Dec. 5 presentation by the Baker-Hamilton group of their final report, Lawrence Eagleburger, a former U.S. Secretary of State under the President's father, George H.W. Bush, said, "His reaction was, 'Where's my drink?' He was a little loaded. It was early in the morning too, you know." Considering that the President's 24-year bout of alcoholism is both well known and a highly sensitive topic around the First Family, Eagleburger's comments could hardly have been more provocative.

    Asked what questions the President has posed to the group, Eagleburger added, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions." Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), another prestigious Republican on the panel, added his own denunciation of what he called "100 percenters," those who "refuse to compromise." "A 100 percenter," he explained, "is a person you don't want to be around. They have gas, ulcers, heartburn, and B.O."

    Inside the Commission
    Sources close to several of the commission members have reported to EIR that the Iraq Study Group was well aware of the fact that the President would reject their blueprint for a policy overhaul. A month before the final session of the ISG, the group had met for over three hours with the President. According to the sources, they came out of that session with a resolve to force a public policy debate, and hopefully put enough pressure on the White House to force a course correction.

    The final report, in fact, surprised many experts, with its broad scope and blunt language. For example, in addition to the controvercial calls for direct negotiations with Iran and Syria, and the urgent need to solve the Israel-Palestine dispute—on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Baker-Hamilton document directly rejected the Bush Administration's Sunni versus Shi'ite conflict schemes, albeit in the most diplomatic of language. The report said that the Bush Administration's "GCC plus two" approach was too narrow (!), and would not solve the Iraq dilemma.

    The membership of the Baker-Hamilton commission represented a cross-section of the U.S. institutions. Virtually every member had served in the Executive Branch and/or in senior posts in Congress, and had had direct experience dealing with Presidents. When such a prestigious group of senior figures delivers such a harsh, unanimous critique of an administration's policy in a vital part of the world, there are consequences for refusal to respond.

    Sources tell EIR that the White House will attempt to stall, perhaps into early Spring 2007, before issuing a clear rejection of the report. A review of the Administration's drawn-out rejection of the findings of the 9/11 Commission should make it clear that no such stall-and-appeal tactics can be accepted—with Iraq already in the throes of ethnic cleansing, and civil wars about to erupt in Palestine and Lebanon, stoked by Anglo-American covert operations and arms trafficking.

    There is only one answer to the Bush-Cheney rejection of the Iraq Study Group: Impeachment. With the institutional backing of the Baker-Hamilton effort, the 110th Congress cannot waste a moment. Bruising oversight hearings must begin the moment the new Congress is sworn in.

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