Words have meaning or maybe they don’t


Iraqis seem to have a better appreciation for the English language than American policy makers, so when it’s said ‘the two countries have agreed that timetables should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battle-scarred country’, all that’s left for the Iraqis is to set a date.  Not so say the Americans.  Look at the hedging and dodging:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States and Iraq have agreed to a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battle-scarred country.

Appearing with her Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari (HOH’-shayr zuh-BAH’-ree), Rice acknowledged at their joint news conference Thursday that the two parties have not yet finalized the deal. She said it close [sic] at hand, however.

Rice called her talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “very good and fruitful” and said an agreement is near that would “solidify the significant gains” in security in Iraq over the last year.

Meanwhile the Iraqi prime minister is on record saying there is a fixed date.

The US has agreed to withdraw all troops from Iraq by 2011, Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, said yesterday…”There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date, which is the end of 2011, to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil,” said Mr Maliki yesterday, speaking at a gathering of tribal leaders in the heavily fortified Green Zone.

The US has hung its acceptance of any agreement on the word “aspirational” which has now appeared in several stories which talk about the agreement.  What the Iraqis don’t understand is that “aspirational” means conditions which have to be negotiated, such as immunity for American troops or mercenaries from prosecution for crimes committed in Iraq, the number of military bases and their location allowed in Iraq, etc before any agreement can be cemented.  That reality is something the Iraqis probably hadn’t counted on.  Surprise! The Bush administration has never really wanted to be tied down to a date for withdrawing troops because they don’t want to leave for years to come.  Being an occupier means they can “negotiate” this point much more from a position of strength.  After all, what’s Iraq going to do, kick the US out?

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Onward Christian soldiers!


Some don’t want to say it but the invasion of Iraq is about getting back at Islam and Muslims for their transgression of not accepting Christian ideology which we’ve managed to cloak in terms like “democracy” and “freedom”, etc. That’s not to say ours is not a “Christian” nation, but it’s also a “Jewish”, “Islamic”, “Buddhist” and “pagan” nation as well because our beloved Constitution says government is not a tool for religion, although it can allow for the safe and unfettered expression of any and all religion. However, the Bush administration and some inside the military don’t necessarily see it that way and instead allowed their representation of goverment to be an expression of Christian intent. That’ll get you in a lot of hot water constitutionally, and so it has with General Petraeus, leader of American forces in Iraq, who has “endorsed” a book entitled, Under Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel . Christian evangelism has been going on in the US military for sometime, but collectively it’s been demoralizing to those not Christian and is against military policy. A very diligent group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has been keeping an eye on this phenomenon for some time and much of what they discovered can be seen here. I hope to write more about what they’ve found in the months ahead. In the meantime that group, MRFF is calling for the immediate dismissal of General Petraeus because of his endorsement and nothing less than that should happen, the offense he committed is just that serious!

They’re at it again!


Neocons are very good at challenging national masculinity with such phrases as ‘bring ’em on’ or others which imply if we aren’t with their program we’re cowards.  Of course such language has to be answered in the collective affirmative in the neocon call for war.  This technique they have of denigrating the national will is a corruption of the civil discourse when it’s accompanied with the lack of perspective and reality that should come with war and the devastation it brings.  Hence, the public is actively denied seeing the images of dead bodies, ours or Iraqis/Afghanis, and instead we are treated with expressions like precision strikes, collateral damage, post traumatic stress, etc all designed to dampen the impact of killing and death. I don’t understand why we fall for it, but we do, so it’s no surprise  that the neocons are doing it again.  Check out how facts and history don’t matter to this guy who wants the US to confront Russia for its sin of invading Georgia and then hits the American mentality in the gut by saying

Europeans and Americans, including very senior officials in the Bush administration, blame the West for pushing Russia too hard on too many issues.

Blaming America is simply not acceptable to the average American, otherwise how could we justify our invasion and occupation of Iraq.  But neocons always work in a cabal, in tandem, never alone, so Kagan’s is not the only voice beating the drums for war. Neocons are persistent and I don’t necessarily think that’s a good trait, by the way, especially when used for their call to falsely defined wars, like Iraq and now Russia. So the mere fact they are making the claims seen in the link above means it will be a constant theme which they will go to for as long as it takes.  We saw that with PNAC and their appeal to invading Iraq even back during the Clinton terms when Iraq was but a blip on the national conscious, but which has now become our Waterloo.

Unless we recognize the language and psychology used by the neocons, they will always be able to push our buttons for their own narrowly defined interests.  I suggest the first question we should ask when their drums start beating is ‘which relative are they willing to sacrifice on the battlefield to fight their war’.