Morning Report 2/17/05 How to Win Fiends and Influence People


Shocker on Capitol Hill: We’re creating enemies? Do tell.

Splish-splash, we’re taking a bath: Americans (above) luxuriate at a Hussein palace commandeered by Jerry Bremer as U.S. headquarters, causing Iraqis (below) to throw their hands up in exasperation. (DOD photos)

IN A SCENE that could have come straight from a 21st century remake of Duck Soup, CIA Director Porter Goss and military nabobs told Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is fueling a growing insurgency and creating fresh enemies throughout an increasingly resentful and angry Arab world.

No shit. Too bad the Democrats didn’t think of that argument before the 2004 election. As I noted in August, right after George W. Bush appointed Goss, “Do we have more reason to be nervous since we inflamed the Middle East with our invasion of Iraq? You won’t hear [Tom] Ridge say that.”

Now, after the election, the Bush regime is saying what millions of others have been saying all along.

Would that growing resentment and anger have anything to do with the fact that we’re bombing Iraq into rubble and holding its people at gunpoint while we’re splashing around in Saddam Hussein‘s swimming pools?

Yes, Iraq is tough work. Naked pyramids aren’t built in a day. It takes a religious devotion, like that expressed by Marine Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Brandl as he got ready to pulverize Fallujah just after the November election:

“The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He lives in Fallujah. And we’re going to destroy him.”

Thank God we have Porter Goss to help us in this time of crisis. You may recall that on the morning of 9/11, Goss (at the time the House member in charge of CIA “oversight”) was having breakfast in D.C. with hijacker Mohammed Atta‘s bagman.

Yesterday, Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee:

“Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists.

“These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries.”

A “pool of contacts”? I seem to recall that we called off our hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, ordering our soldiers to dive into Iraq instead. And now we’re drowning in a sea of anger? What a surprise.

No one painted a grimmer picture yesterday than did Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby. Dana Priest and Josh White of the Washington Post laid it out:

Jacoby said the Iraq insurgency has grown “in size and complexity over the past year” and is now mounting an average of 60 attacks per day, up from 25 last year. Attacks on Iraq’s election day last month reached 300, he said, double the previous one-day high of 150, even though transportation was virtually locked down.

The admiral also revealed to the senators something that has been common knowledge since even before the unjustified March 2003 invasion:

“Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment. Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world.”

The arrogant Bush regime has refused to acknowledge that basic fact until now, even though others have been saying it for years.

Of course, the word “Israel” wasn’t mentioned, even though at least a measure of peace in the Middle East can’t be achieved until the Israeli-Palestinian death dance is halted—the current hype about a breakthrough is nothing but p.r., by the way.

Regarding Iraq, as I noted in September, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni recalled the absurdity of the pre-invasion hype in early 2003 that somehow our ouster of Saddam Hussein, fervently sought by the right-wing Israeli government, would help stabilize the Middle East:

The idea that we will walk in and be met with open arms. The idea that we will have people that will glom on to democracy overnight. The idea that strategically we will reform, reshape, and change the Middle East by this action—we’ve changed it all right.

Zinni’s one of the most trenchant observers of the Iraq debacle—he knew Saddam had to be dealt with, but he said publicly before the invasion that an invasion would be unjustified and that the intelligence didn’t back it up. In an October 2002 speech that Salon‘s Eric Boehlert did a marvelous job with, as I’ve previously noted, Zinni took issue with the Bush regime’s hawks, who have always downplayed the importance of Arab sentiment:

“I’m not sure which planet they live on, because it isn’t the one I travel.”