George Herbert Walker Bush and the Myth of the ‘Good’ Gulf War

Yves here. We’ve attempted to be restrained in countering the Bush hagiography, since even though there is a great deal not to like about Bush the Senior’s actions and the revisionist history about them, it still seems a bit mean-sprirted to criticize him so close to his funeral (as in the timing of the pushback can backfire).

Having said that, this is a measured yet devastating piece due to its level of factual support. Nevertheless, two more tidbits. The casus belli for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was that Kuwait was pumping more than what Iraq thought was Kuwait’s fair share out of an oil field to which both countries had access. I believe Iraq complained first to Kuwait, which didn’t change what it was doing, and then to the US, which was sympathetic.

And Bush the Senior was put up to the invasion. From the 1992 New York Times review of George Bush’s War By Jean Edward Smith:

The author writes that when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher met with Mr. Bush at the Aspen Institute in Colorado on Aug. 3, 1990, she told him, “Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly.” For Mrs. Thatcher, the Iraq-Kuwait crisis was the Falkland Islands all over again. She considered the British military adventure there her finest hour; it also helped her at home politically. Speaking of Mrs. Thatcher’s effect upon Mr. Bush, one of her senior advisers told The Guardian, “The Prime Minister performed a successful backbone transplant.

By Nora Eisenberg, whose work has appeared in the Village Voice, Tikkun, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and the Guardian UK. Originally published at Alternet

This story draws on articles about the 1991 Gulf War that the author wrote for AlterNet that drew on the writer’s extensive research for her 2008 novel, “When You Come Home” (Curbstone)– which chronicles the lives of young veterans returning home from Desert Storm.

President George Herbert Walker Bush considered the 1991 Gulf War his highest achievement, a signature moment in world history, and for nearly three decades mainstream media have agreed.  On the occasion of his death, they are sticking to the story. The New York Times obituary praised him for the “global coalition” he assembled to “eject Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, sending hundreds of thousands of troops in a triumphant military campaign.”  A Washington Post article on Bush 41’s legacy in the Middle East explains that the World War II fighter pilot “came to view Saddam as similar to Adolf Hitler, a madman who seized neighboring Kuwait and could plunge the world into conflict if he continued into Saudi Arabia.” And thus “Bush rallied together a coalition of nations” to curb the dictator’s power.  Yes, Desert Storm lasted only 43 days with only 148 U.S. fatalities in battle, a third from friendly fire.  But that’s about the only truth in the official history of the late President’s Gulf War. The evidence that has mounted over the years tells a very different story. The Gulf War of Bush the Father was as sinister and destructive as that of his son.

1. The Persian Gulf War had been in the planning for years before the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait

As legal scholar Francis Boyle has documented, soon after the 1988 termination of the 8 year Iraq-Iran War, the Pentagon began planning the destruction of Iraq. In October 1990, Colin Powell referred to a new military plan for Iraq developed the year before.

In early 1990, General Schwarzkopf told the Senate Armed Services Committee of this new military strategy in the Gulf and to protect U.S. access to and control over Gulf oil in the event of regional conflicts, and after the war, he referred to eighteen months of planning for the campaign as Commander of the U.S. Central Command. During January of 1990, massive quantities of United States weapons, equipment, and supplies were sent to Saudi Arabia in order to prepare for the war against Iraq.

2. The Bush 41 administration gave Saddam a green light to Invade Kuwait, then used it as an excuse for invading Iraq

Much debate surrounds the true content of the meeting between Saddam Hussein and Ambassador April Glaspie on July 25, 1990. But Glaspie’s own cable, released by WikiLeaks almost a decade ago and long available at the Bush Library and on the website of none other than Margaret Thatcher, paints a picture of a government with a two-faced foreign policy. Saddam complains that “certain circles” in the U.S. government were antagonistic to Iraq and Glaspie agrees, though with confidence and apparent sincerity she assures him of the “friendship” and “non-confrontational” agenda of the President and Secretary of State. In another follow-up cable four days later, Glaspie reports on her July 28 meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, in which he complains of the U.S.’s increasingly provocative actions and Glaspie herself seems increasingly frustrated. She writes that it is important not to hit Iraq with “bolts out of the blue” such as cessation of U.S. exports, which has come as a surprise even to her. In both cables, it’s now clear, Glaspie was presenting the official friendly position of the George W H Bush administration, just as behind the scenes, government hawks were preparing a war.

In her July 29 cable, Glaspie offers the State Department advice on handling the matter, including keeping a low profile and reminding colleagues as she had Saddam in the earlier meeting that “we have never taken substantive positions on inter-OPEC or Arab border disputes”— which was the matter at hand. In her earlier cable, Glaspie wrote that Saddam made clear that “if Iraq is publicly humiliated by the United States it will have no choice but to ‘respond,’ however illogical or self-destructive that would prove.” She advises the State Department not to make him lose face.

Glaspie was not the only official to express this laissez-faire position. On July 26, at a Washington press conference, State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutweiler was asked by a journalist if the U.S. had sent any diplomatic protest to Iraq for putting 30,000 troops on the border with Kuwait. “I’m entirely unaware of any such protest,” Tutweiler replied. On July 31, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs John Kelly testified to Congress that the “United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait, and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq.”

Two days later, on August 2, when Saddam’s troops entered Kuwait, he had no reason to believe that the U.S. would come to Kuwait’s defense with a half-million troops. Or that when he tried to negotiate a dignified retreat though Arab leaders, the U.S. would refuse to talk, as James Ridgeway chronicles in his January 1991 Village Voice articles.

By Sunday, August 5, Bush was in, announcing after a weekend at Camp David, “This will not stand.” On August 6, Cheney received approval from the Saudis for a large U.S. deployment.  Giddy from his invasion of Panama, he was raring to go.

3. The Bush 41 Administration dis-informed congress and the public to drum up support for an unpopular war and bribed and bamboozled other countries

If the CIA, the Pentagon, and by summer’s end the President and Secretary of State were fixed on a war with Iraq, during the fall of 1990, the American public and Congress were not. To change that, the week after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government, disguising itself as “Citizens for a Free Kuwait,” hired the global PR firm of Hill & Knowlton to win Americans’ hearts and minds.

It is important to note that Craig Fuller, a close friend of George H.W. Bush and his chief of staff when he was vice president, was in charge of Hill & Knowlton’s Washington office.  For $11.8 million, Fuller and more than 100 H&K executives across the country oversaw the selling of the war.

They organized public rallies, provided pro-war speakers, lobbied politicians, developed and distributed information kits and news releases, including scores of video news releases shown by stations and networks as if they were bona fide journalism and not paid-for propaganda.

H&K’s research arm, the Wirthlin Group, conducted daily polls to identify the messages and language that would resonate most with Americans. In the 1992 Emmy award-winning Canadian Broadcasting Corp. documentary “To Sell a War,” a Wirthlin executive explained that their research had determined the most emotionally moving message to be “Saddam Hussein was a madman who had committed atrocities even against his own people and had tremendous power to do further damage, and he needed to be stopped.”

To fit the bill, H&K concocted stories, including one told by a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah, to another H&K concoction, the House Human Rights Caucus looking to pass as a congressional committee. According to the caucus, Nayirah’s full name would remain secret in order to deter the Iraqis from punishing her family in occupied Kuwait. The girl wept as she testified before the caucus, apparently still shaken by the atrocity she witnessed as a volunteer in a Kuwait City hospital, where Iraqi soldiers charged into the hospital room with babies in incubators and tossed the “babies on the cold floor to die.”

During the three months between Nayirah’s testimony and the start of the war, the story of babies tossed from their incubators stunned Americans. Bush told the story, and television anchors and talk-show hosts recycled it for days. It was read into the congressional record as fact and discussed at the U.N. General Assembly.

The fact that Nayirah was a Kuwaiti royal and the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and that she had never volunteered in any hospital, it was too late. The war had already begun.

Another likely concoction was top-secret satellite images that the Pentagon claimed to have of 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks on the Kuwait-Saudi border, visible proof that Saddam would be advancing soon on Saudi Arabia. Yet the St. Petersburg Times acquired two commercial Russian satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, that showed no Iraqi troops near the Saudi border, and the scientific experts whom the Times hired could identify nothing but sand at the supposed location of the advancing army.

But the St. Petersburg Times story evaporated, and the Pentagon’s story stuck. When Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on Sept. 11, 1990, he reported that developments in the Gulf were “as significant as they were tragic”: Iraqi troops and tanks had moved to the south “to threaten Saudi Arabia.”

Under U.S. pressure, United Nations Security Council adopted unprecedented resolutions allowing nations to use “all means necessary” for their enforcement. The U.S. won Security Council votes by forgiving huge loans, recognizing dictatorships diplomatically, agreeing to sell arms, and more. Boyle identifies specific violations and subversions of the U.N. Charter in these activities, most importantly the mandate to negotiate peaceful resolutions to international disputes. And, according to Boyle, in its decision to go to war and in its conduct of the war itself, the U.S. perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime against Peace. As James Baker has often admitted, winning allies for the first Gulf War in 1991 involved “cajoling, extracting, threatening and occasionally buying votes.”

4. The 1991 Gulf War’s stated goal of ejecting Iraqi troops from Kuwait quickly revealed itself as an all-out effort to destroy Iraq

The war’s stated intention was to remove Iraq’s presence from Kuwait. But quickly, that intention changed to destroying Iraq. The air and missile attack of Iraq continued for 42 days, dropping more bombs in that brief period than bombs in all wars in history combined. Iraqi aircraft and anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire offered no resistance. The aerial and missile bombardment in a matter of hours destroyed most military communications and over the course of the next few weeks attacked Iraqi soldiers who were unable to secure food, water, and equipment due to this breakdown. Some 100,000 Iraqi soldiers died, according to General Schwarzkopf, most of whom were incapable of fighting.

Mosques, homes, schools, hospitals markets, commercial and business districts, factories, office buildings, vehicles on highways, bridges, and roads were common targets. Though estimates of civilian deaths during the war range from 25,000 to over 100,000, all count children at above 50% of the immediate casualties. And after 6 weeks, the most sophisticated of Arab states was in ruins.

By most accounts, at least one hundred thousand people died soon after the war from dehydration, dysentery, malnutrition, starvation, and illnesses, from contaminated water, starvation, and exposure to impure water, hunger, cold, and shock. In the period between the end of Desert Storm and the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the degraded environment and sanctions led to the death of an estimated million more, half of them children. Medicines, food, baby formula—these were among the essentials kept from the Iraqi people in the initial and ensuing stages of the war against Iraq. And they were among the essentials that sanctions under both Bush Presidents and Clinton kept from the Iraqi people, constituting Nuremberg Crimes Against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide under international and U.S. law, according to legal scholars.

5. Under Bush 41, a system of censorship hid the true nature of the war and its aftermath from the public

In the lead-up to war, U.S. media organizations, with rare exceptions, had begun to back away from investigative reporting and journalistic scrutiny. Once the war began, government censorship combined with this self-censorship produced a media blackout. The restrictions on the press were tighter than during any earlier American war. Journalists could not travel except in pools with military escorts, and even then most sites were off-limits. Department of Defense guidelines stated that stories would not be judged for “potential to express criticism or cause embarrassment,” but journalists weren’t taking any chances. When news anchors weren’t hosting retired generals and pundits, or screening eerie green images of the coordinates of the day’s targets, they were praising the military on a job well done.

Pentagon censors had to clear all war dispatches, photos and footage before they could be released. Two months after the war ended, the editors of 15 news outlets protested to Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney about the Pentagon’s control. But the damage had been done.

6. Bush 41’s Gulf War accelerated Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s jihad

Al Qaeda was founded in 1988, but the 1991 Gulf War fueled sprung it into action. Bin laden, whose billionaire construction family was closely tied to the royal family, was furious that the the royal family welcomed U.S. troops into the country, sullying the holiest Muslim sites with their presence. Once the war started, his outrage grew that the royal family was allowing the US to stage its brutal attacks on Iraqi soldiers and civilians.  His public criticism of the royal family led to his expulsion in 1991.  In his exile in Sudan, with the hundreds of millions of dollars he brought with him, he built his organization, and planned jihad.

Al Qaeda’s first bomb attack occurred in December 1992 at the Gold Mihor hotel in Aden, where two people were killed. Two months later they made their first attack on the World Trade Center, detonating a 500kg bomb that killed six and injured thousands.

Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa, often quoted in the media, declares that “killing Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it.”  Less quoted is the part of the sentence that references the 1991 Iraq War–” in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.”

7.Bush 41’s Gulf War violated international military law

Seymour Hersh’s 2000 New Yorker article “Overwhelming Force” exposed the Highway of Death, the corral and massacre of retreating Iraqi soldiers Two days after the UN and Soviet brokered ceasefire and the day before peace talks were to begin, Hersh tells us, two-star General Barry McCaffrey overrode his division commander and ordered his 24th Division to engage in an all-out attack on a retreating Republican Guard tank division on their way back to Baghdad. As Hersh describes it: “Apache attack helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles, and artillery units from the 24th Division pummeled the five-mile-long Iraqi column for hours, destroying some seven hundred Iraqi tanks, armored cars, and trucks, and killing not only Iraqi soldiers but civilians and children as well.” There were no U.S. casualties on what came to be called the Highway of Death. Lieutenant General Ronald Griffith, commander of 1st Armored Division of VII Corps, told Hersh that the Iraqi tanks were facing backwards, atop a trailer truck taking them to Baghdad. “It was just a bunch of tanks in a train, and he made it a battle,” Hersh reports Griffith saying, but McCaffrey “made it a battle when it was never one. That’s the thing that bothered me the most.”

8. Bush 41’s Gulf War sickened approximately a third of US veterans

In 2008, a congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee (RAC) made up of prestigious scientists confirmed what veterans and their families have long asserted: That “without a doubt,” Gulf War illness, as it’s come to be called, is a profound, multi-system physical illness “caused” by brain-damaging chemicals to which troops were exposed by the Department of Defense. The RAC report identified three specific neurotoxins as certain culprits: anti-nerve gas pills that troops were forced to take (or risk court martial), insecticides and repellents that drenched troops’ tents, clothing, and gear, and nerve gases including sarin (the killer chemical in the Tokyo subway attack) emitted into the air when U.S. forces dismantled and demolished a vast munitions storage facility in Khamisiyah. The skin, stomach, minds, hearts, lungs and every other organ of hundreds of thousands of American veterans of Desert Storm (and Desert Shield, the operation preparing for war) were not psychological, as the government had insisted for almost 20 years. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, disabling neuropathies, heart attacks, difficulty breathing, walking standing—all these, we now know, were caused by neurotoxins including experimental anti nerve gas pills soldiers had to take or risk court martial, insecticides and pesticides that the military administered recklessly, sarin and other gases released into the air when we bombed an Iraq military storage  facility at Khamysia, with a growing body of evidence regarding the role of depleted uranium.

 In 2012 the VA shredded the blue-ribbon RAC team and continues to drag its feet on research and treatments.

9. Several notorious massacres since Bush 41’s Gulf War have been committed by Gulf War Veterans, some whose brains have been severely damaged from exposure to toxic chemicals and/or trauma

Consider the case of John Allen Muhammad, (formerly John Allen Williams) –who came to be known as the Beltway Sniper, who murdered   In her 2009 memoir, Scared Silent, Mildred Muhammad, the later of his two ex-wives, writes that her husband went to the 1991 Gulf War a “happy,” “focused, and “intelligent” man, who returned home “depressed,” “totally confused,” and “violent,” making her fear for her life. In their briefs, Muhammad’s appeals lawyers stressed that his “severe mental illness” never came up at trial, where he was allowed to represent himself despite obvious mental incompetence. (Till the end, he maintained his innocence, claiming that at the time of the killing spree he was in Germany for dental work.) In seeking clemency and a stay of execution, Muhammad’s lawyers presented psychiatric reports diagnosing schizophrenia and brain scans documenting profound malformations consistent with psychotic disease. Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor Virginia Governor Tim Kaine were impressed. According to Governor Kaine, “crimes that are this horrible, you just can’t understand….”

But mental disorders from depression to mood swings, thought disorders, violent outbursts, and delusions are not uncommon among Gulf War veterans in addition to physical symptoms such as rashes, vertigo, respiratory and gastrointestinal problem, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS, and brain tumors. According to Dr. William E. Baumzweiger, a California psychiatrist with expertise in psychiatric ailments of Gulf War veterans, “a small but significant number of Gulf War veterans become homicidal” seemingly “out of nowhere.” Indeed, as early as 1994, University of Texas epidemiologist Dr. Robert Haley, the preeminent researcher of Gulf War disease, had demonstrated that the brain scans of veterans with Gulf War illness were distinctly abnormal.

Muhammad’s lawyers pointed to childhood beatings as a cause of his psychiatric disease and brain malformation, claiming that Gulf War syndrome exacerbated these conditions. But they didn’t mention that Mohammad had no history of mental illness before the war–and that during the war he was stationed in Khamisiyah.

It probably wouldn’t have helped. In 2002, another Gulf War veteran, Louis Jones Jr. was executed for the 1995 rape and murder of a young female soldier, Pvt. Tracie Joy McBride. Like Sergeant Muhammad, Sergeant Jones was an exemplary soldier decorated in the war; but also like Muhammad, he returned from Desert Storm depressed, disoriented, and increasingly anti-social and bizarre. Like Muhammad, his defense was inadequate–but his appeals lawyer displayed MRIs and other scans of his abnormal brain, arguing that it was evidence of the brain damage from toxins he and other veterans with Gulf War disease were exposed to in-country. Supporting the petition for clemency was the written testimony of Dr. Haley that “there is now a compelling involuntary link between Mr. Jones’ neurotoxic war injury and his inexplicable crime.” Like Muhammad, Jones was stationed in Khamisiyah during the demolition, which poisoned thousands of troops and then thousands more as sarin plumes traveled far and wide, a fact the government hid for close to a decade.

And then there’s the case of Timothy McVeigh. We have no scans of his brain, but we have ample reports of his mental state before and after Desert Storm, and evidence that the war changed him profoundly. In their biography, American Terrorist, Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck paint a vivid picture of McVeigh’s days in the ground war. The enthusiastic young marksman, at first, happily followed orders and shot an Iraqi soldier manning a machine gun over a mile away. When a bloody mist replaced the soldier’s head in his viewfinder, McVeigh was disturbed and discharged the rest of his round into empty desert sand. Later, after Saddam had agreed to a UN and Soviet brokered ceasefire, McVeigh was further shocked and shaken by orders to kill defeated Iraqi soldiers traveling home on the highway from Kuwait to Iraq (come to be known as the “Highway of Death” for the thousands that U.S. Forces corralled and massacred on the night of Feb 26, 1991). He watched the road in horror as dogs chewed on human limbs, and as human bodies without arms or legs tried to crawl away.

In his famous 60 Minutes interview ten years later, McVeigh would tell Ed Bradley that the killing changed him. He found himself thinking, “I’m in this person`s country. What right did I have to come over to his country and kill him? …How did he ever transgress against me?” He went over thinking, “Not only is Saddam evil, all Iraqis are evil.” But quickly it was “an entirely different ballgame… face to face…you realize they`re just people like you.” He told Bradley that the government modeled brutal violence. In a 1998 prison essay he objected to the United States’ continuing campaign against Iraq: It was the U.S. that had “set the standard” for “stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction.”

McVeigh’s experience in the Gulf War surely altered his thinking. But did it also alter his brain? What toxins might have entered his body on the highway where U.S. forces had just dropped cluster bombs and 500-ton bombs of napalm and depleted uranium, incinerating thousands vehicles and the people inside. He told Ed Bradley that when he came back “something didn`t feel right in me, but. I couldn`t say what it was.” Psychological trauma alone, neuroscientists now tell us, affects not only psyches but brains. Sophisticated neuroimaging shows the brains of those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to be abnormal in areas regulating memory retrieval and inhibition (hippocampus), fearfulness and focus (pre-frontal cortex), and emotionality and lability (amygdala). The hippocampus of Alzheimer’s sufferers is also shrunken and the amygdala of bipolar sufferers have enhanced activation similar to those with PTSD.

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The current trend in international war crimes and crimes against humanity is to consign crimes committed by individuals to national courts, and to apply international justice to those at the highest levels of government who make the decisions implemented on the ground. George HW Bush is now beyond the reach of international law to be tried for the crimes of Desert Storm and its sequels. But the evidence is ample and mounting for history to judge

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44 comments

  1. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    The reference to Thatcher makes for a good laugh. The hawk refused to serve in WW2, unlike the Queen who drove a lorry in the army, preferring to serve in her father’s corner shop in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

    In the Commons in the 1980s, she once accused Labour MP Tony Benn of cowardice and appeasement, either unaware of or ignoring his WW2 service in the Royal Air Force and his elder brother’s death in the war. Benn had too much class, perhaps unfortunately in this instance, to point this out and alert the public to the hypocrisy and venality of Thatcher.

    Reply
    1. RBHoughton

      It would give me a feeling of inner warmth and satisfaction if UK would stop burning Guy Fawkes in effigy every 5th November and substitute Mrs T

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    Oh yeah – the Highway of Death. The first images showed that it had already been “sanitized” as in there were no bodies to be seen but only cars and trucks. There were pictures taken before the cleanup but Ameriacns were not allowed to see them. I am thinking of the infamous foto (https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/the-war-photo-no-one-would-publish/375762/) which American media refused to publish at the time (In fact, I have seen a video clip in a French documentary that exists only in a shortened version as seen in the west). During the Vietnam War such an image would probably have been published but back then there was a very rich ecology of tens of thousands of TV stations, newspapers and radio stations covering that war. By the time of the First Gulf War much of them had already been consolidated into more pliable media empires.
    Personally I would be loath to write off Timothy McVeigh’s troubles to toxins as suggested by that article as that could be just a way to write off the reasons for his murderous attack without going into his motivations. Remember, this was a guy with an IQ rated at 126. It was no coincidence that the Oklahoma bombing was on the anniversary of the burning to death of 76 men, women and children at the Waco siege. Without putting on a tin-foil hat or attempting to go into the rabbit warren of McVeigh’s thoughts, it may be that he saw how his government was slaughtering ordinary Iraqis and using him as an instrument in doing so. Seeing that very same government massacring fellow Americans without consequence was just too much and he decided to strike back, hence using the anniversary date to underline his statement. An explanation like that does not need toxins to account for it. Not that I am pardoning the sob but I think that such people should be understood than just being written off as somehow damaged by toxins or biochemical effects of PTSD.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      About 5 years after the war, I was in a friend’s collectible store, and a veteran came in wanting to sell some chintzy medal that GI Joes were given by the Kuwaiti government after festivities, and it was worth about bupkis, so my friend said sorry, not interested.

      The veteran asked if he’d be interested in photos, and he said ‘maybe’?

      So he went out to his car and brought in 50 or so photos he’d taken of the road of death-in which he was involved in, and once seen could never be unseen in my mind, skeletons gripping the steering wheel of burned out vehicles and carnage carnage carnage everywhere, each photo seemingly more gruesome than the last.

      Reply
    2. Norb

      This is a very important point. Chris Hedges continually makes the argument in his public talks that the only hope of improving the current social situation is to reintegrate the losers of neoliberalism back into society, not demonizing them or continue to ignore or downplay their concerns.

      Timothy McVeigh was an early precursor representing the broken political system in America. Namely, there is no functioning political party representing the will of anti-imperialism. There is no meaningful public debate working out the myriad details needed to reconcile the conflicting interests of various regions and groups.

      So what is left? Despair drowned in drugs and alcohol, suicide, or desperate acts of defiance perpetrated against random targets. All the while, the majority trundles along, hoping things will miraculously improve.

      It is interesting to actually read the viewpoint of people and groups currently under attack by followers of American Imperialism. Their stated views most often bear no resemblance to their portrayal in MSM.

      If common citizens could be honest with themselves, they would agree with many dissenters, not cheering on the sociopaths current running the show.

      Here lies the weakness in the current structure, and the opportunity to bring about meaningful change.

      Free yourself from lies- and form meaningful communities.

      Very tall order when under constant attack.

      Reply
    3. todde

      Gore Vidal spent some time trying to debunk the “Tim McVeigh was crazy” narrative.

      I used to work for a defense contractor. Every tank destroyed in the war had a picture of it posted on the ‘Hallway of Death”.

      Some still had the incinerated corpses inside them.

      Reply
      1. rob

        good video.
        throw that in with the architects and engineers for 9/11 truth that was aired on public tv in an hour long format in 2012 on colorado tv about the explosions that actually brought down the three towers in ny on 9/11….
        And even for all those nay sayers out there,,, someone has to try and answer which version is the real conspiracy theory. The official ones who don’t align with the evidence, or the ones where the evidence says don’t trust the powers that be.

        Reply
  3. Donald

    “The air and missile attack of Iraq continued for 42 days, dropping more bombs in that brief period than bombs in all wars in history combined.”

    Absolute nonsense.

    Reply
    1. Donald

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War_air_campaign

      The air war was very destructive— they deliberately attacked civilian infrastructure including water treatment facilities. But 88,000 tons of bombs is not greater than the 7 million tons dropped in Southeast Asia, for instance. How could anyone believe the claim that we dropped more in 42 days than all bombs dropped in all previous wars?

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      1. JTMcPhee

        I wonder if anyone has calculated whether that 88,000 tons of bombs and other munitions unloaded on Iraq in 42 days might in fact be actually more than in any period of the same length in any of the other “Wars” the Empire has engaged in?

        Might be a close case — the Great Empire did a job on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia by unloading a whole lot of “dumb bombs” from B-52s with the “big belly “ modification that let them carry a max load of high explosives. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Arc_Light

        Lots of mission creep there, and I did get to be close enough, several times, to feel the concussions from those “bus driver” bombing runs in 1967-68, and to hear my fellow GIs cheering and jeering, hoping that a bunch of “slants” and “dinks” got macerated in the “bomb pattern” that if you looked at the actual results, did not seem to have the expected effect. Other than giving B-52 crews air time, and transferring wealth to the MIC. And making us groundlings think that “something was being done to win the war.”

        Let’s hope the gravamen of the link is not demolished by the impeachment offered.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Oh, and I forgot about the “not one brick atop another” bombing of the entire Korean Peninsula in that “police action” or whatever it was, 1950-53, one of several demonstrations that maybe short of using nuclear weapons, “air power” does not “win wars,” whatever one chooses those words to mean. Here’s a nice recitatif on the subject: https://theintercept.com/2017/05/03/why-do-north-koreans-hate-us-one-reason-they-remember-the-korean-war/

          Not that the great mass of humans can even start to keep track of all the reasons to hate and fear the “elites” who prey on them, keep them at each others’ throats to defer losing their own heads, and so diligently ladle the Bernays sauce over the whole thing to maybe what, keep us from self-judgment that we mopes “go along with” and often cheeerlead for all this murder. As to the Great WW II, remember our “elites” were playing both “sides,” as with Prescott Bush who, it should be remembered, “allegedly” conspired with other US business leaders and military officers to make a coup to get rid of Roosevelt and those pesky “democratic fripperies” that restrained nascent neoliberalism: “The Business Plot” is an interesting set of events — one of the “thousands of cuts” that another commenter here refers to, the constant sallies by the Few to bring down the manacles on the rest of us: http://kenhirsch.net/prescottbush.html

          Reply
    2. W

      I also wish this article cited its claims more. I know Wikipedia can be heavily slanted, but it also claims 2-3k Iraqi soldier deaths, a sourced claim. It’d help a lot if I could just see the author’s sources.

      Reply
  4. Darius

    In the latest Intercepted podcast, Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon describes how Bush 41’s bombing and subsequent sanctions destroyed the infrastructure of modern life in Iraq, including a highly functioning healthcare system.

    Reply
  5. pjay

    Thank you for posting this. I admit that I am not as magnanimous toward the hagiographic drivel this week. But that is because of past exposure to information like this. Thanks for helping pass it on.

    Reply
  6. rob

    George herbert walker bush was a fiend. in a long row of fiends.
    where to begin?
    In relation to saddam hussein, the guy the cia was friends with and supported since the early seventies while he committed atrocities against his people. the former cia director bush, who was at other posts also over the long history of diabolical relations with the iraqi gov’t. before the leadup of the infamous picture of donald rumsfeld shaking hands with saddam after delivering weapons of mass destruction and a lot of money in 1984, when the us was arming and informing both sides of the iraqi iranian war /conflict /rivalry. .
    Also as an aside, iraq had thrown out the american ambassador in 1962, because the americans were unhappy in the iraqi leaders(quassim) assertion that kuwait was rightfully theirs. There was a charge de’ affair in control of the embassy for a while.Same guy actually who was the assistant ambassador in tehran in 1953, whose job it was the weekend we overthrew mossadeq . The iranian democratically elected leader,to pretend we didn’t know anything about it. Even thought kim roosevelt was running the whole operation from the basement of the us embassy. The american ambassador conveniently left that weekend, to create plausible deniability.
    In the iran contra scandal where jamal khashoggi’s uncle adnan khashoggi was the middle man for the americans selling weapons to the iranians to be used against the iraqi’s, and the money to go to the cia for funding its illegal activities in nicaragua, honduras,el salvadore,etc.
    After all bush was the vp for reagan who helped the “october surprise” in 1980 when reagan’s team made a deal with the iranian hostage takers not to let the hostages go until after the election was over for reagan. which was a different october surprise when than when the reagan team stole the democratic talking points for the election debate to sound like they knew what they were talking about. also a bush thing, though.
    how about ollie north and his gang in the iran contra show where the cia was bringing in hundreds of tons of cocaine into the us, supplying gangs like the bloods and the crips and fueling the crack epidemic of the eighties and nineties, where the other hand of the republican machine was legislating the drug war policy of mandatory minimums, and of crack being treated as a scourge used to imprision black people with charges 500 times as severe as all the white kids who were doing coke and freebasing it at the time. Again making money to fund the shennanigans in central america. the things that led to the death squads , that created groups like ms-13, and destroyed nations with their police states, while letting the drug war be the money maker for all these narco cartels and kingpins. The migrants these days are still fleeing from this destabilization bush has caused.
    Or what about the savings and loan scandal?
    A great book on that was “the mafia, the cia, and george bush” 1992 by pete brewton
    he was a houston reporter who initially broke the story of schemes involving banks being bought abd sold for pennies on the dollar and looted from inside. there was even one felon/mobster who got out of jail and within weeks bought a S&L for$ 77,000, loaned himself all the banks funds and skipped town….. a seeming payoff for not blowing the whistle while in jail on other cia related mob connections. This was the era of the BCCI bank scandals. All of which the bush clan was intimately involved. remember, two of hw bushes sons, niel and jeb were owners of respective S&L’s at the time.
    This book has in it way pre 9-11 connections between the bin laden family and bush family.
    When george w bush (43) was skipping out on air national gaurd service with a life long friend during the vietnam war; jim bath. it was only the beginning. later jim bath would become the bin laden family american representative working for osama’s older brother, salem bin laden. way before the days of the carlyle group when the bin laden family was owner in the many defense industries that were making money by fighting against al queada/ bin laden.
    I also want to throw in the telling case of neil bushs divorce , wherein an angry soon to be ex wife listed in the divorce papers the 5.5 billion dollars niel had stashed in hong kong and surrounding tax shelters under various holding groups, assets in china. Which remember, george h w bush was the american ambassador that nixon sent over there in ?’74, to begin making inroads to the chinese economy. By 1988, both ghw bush(41) and his brother jonathan bush, who was the head of the chinese-american chamber of commerce, were commencing deals and getting flack for meetings days after the tienamin ?massacre. If one bush son was hiding that much wealth, we can assume all the others have no less.
    Lets also throw in some sins of the father. Prescott bush the senator who at the time of WWII, was running the Union banking corporation , which was owned by the thyssen family(now you see thyssen/krupp elevator all over. but in the day. the krupp family 1547-1967 were extremely rich and powerful arms manufacturers.in germany. The union banking corporation was confiscated by the alien property custodian in 1942, because it was owned by a german industrialist. That was when presscot stopped running it, after it was busted. My guess as to the son(g h w bush), being in the military and actually fighting the germans, is that in those days anyone with their eye on politics NEEDED to show a patriotic military record. Nowadays, people don’t really care people like trump and obama and gw bush and clinton didn’t have any military experience, but back then; they did. That is my guess. Because so many of the bush AND the walker family connections were doing business with the nazi’s before,during, and after the war… it isn’t like they have a problem with nazi’s.
    After all the dulles bros, and the others in the bush orbit gave the important nazi’s their walking papers after the war, and even brought a lot of them here. Operation paperclip was one among many.65 of the 72 convicted at nuremburg were set free, by john j mccloy in 1949. by the 50’s and 60’s, the patents held by those huge german chemical and industrial concerns were transferred, and many are alive and well today.
    To be dishing dirt on the walkers, we go back to the first world war, and the creation of the bolshevics, and lenins soviet union. With the bushes involved along with the kochs, in the rise /industrialization of the soviet union pre-1941….
    But dammm.. these are just some of the tips of the ice bergs…. how fiendish can one family be?

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    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I joined the Republican Party in 1987 so I could vote in the Republican primary against Bush. That meant favoring U.S. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, also an unsavory choice but he seemed cleaner than Bush. Bush, the former head of the CIA, and Reagan’s VP was mysteriously invisible, completely absent from ties to the CIA’s Iran Contra affairs and supposedly as clueless about what was going on as Reagan claimed to be. I always believed Bush was at the center of that treasonous mess. That a scary guy like Bush became POTUS left me stunned.

      Reply
      1. rob

        yeah and when people think bush 41 was better than trump, they forget that he pardoned caspar weinberger and , i think, 6 others who were convicted for iran contra crimes, before they could testify against him.
        Bush seems to have answered long ago that a president can pardon his way out of any criminal case against himself. and all those that believe in justice and the american way can just take a flying leap, and piss off.
        Trump is just an errand boy compared to the fiend that was george herbert walker bush.

        Reply
  7. Off The Street

    Side effect of that Gulf War :(

    CNN got a jump-start and in the bargain we got Wolf Blitzer (Howitzer Battlefield, LOL) dispensing his wisdom. Journalism seemed a little more respectable before then. Now viewers and readers have to work harder to find out the truth. Are reporters like Seymour Hersh, Sharyl Attkisson and others a dying breed?

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  8. Carolinian

    Perhaps the worst result of Gulf War 1 was the deathblow it gave to the “Vietnam syndrome” that had restrained the country’s direct military interventions in the years following America’s Southeast Asia debacle. This result has often been cited as one of Bush’s motives. Therefore Gulf 1 brought on Gulf 2 and our current almost two decades of constant war.

    And even more contemptibly many at the time thought Bush’s aggressive foreign policy was designed to overcome his personal political image as an indecisive preppy. After the invasion of Panama protestors held up signs saying: “OK, you’re not a wimp.”

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  9. orange cats

    It’s true that mentioning the warmongering and criminal activity of the recently deceased is considered bad form, although it’s fine for his victims and their families to listen to stories about Pappy’s funny socks and what a good family man he was. Disgusting.

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  10. EoH

    On the Thatcher quote, Mrs. Thatcher confused the Argentinians with Hitler’s Germans. The Falklands victory was her recompense for all the perceived humiliations from having to stop lording it over all former imperial natives, somewhat in the manner that GHWB’s victory in the first Gulf War was regarded as an antidote for the American loss in Vietnamese. (Never mind the body count on the other side.)

    Her conduct of that war, and such scandals as the sinking of the General Belgrano, do not improve her record. But the war did give her the domestic political power, which victories often do, to destroy her enemies: the unions, generally, and the miners union, in particular, which put the Labour Party on life support.

    Thatcher did so arguably through illegal means, but without adverse consequence. In her mind, that victory put her on par with Churchill. At least it gave the world Tony Blair, which is still recovering from him.

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  11. RUKidding

    I can still remember my RWNJ family members crying real tears about all of those incubator babies (or whatever they were) that the evil Kuwaiti’s had stone cold murdered. There was evidence, after all, so we “had no choice” but to go in there and stone cold murder more Kuwaiti’s… and then the Iraqi’s.

    I don’t own a tv, and when I go to the gym I studiously avert my eyes from the chyrons. It’s weeks like these that I’m ever more grateful not to have to be exposed to the unending hagiography. Good riddance to bad rubbish, say I.

    One could go on and on and on about the evils wrought by GWH Bush. The only difference between him and his doofus drunk son and the current occupant of the White House (focusing, for the moment, on GOP Presidents) is that GWH Bush was able to mostly maintain a very thin VENEER of what passes for civility. The end.

    Much as I loathe and detest Trump, at least we all know exactly who he is. No veneers there, that’s for sure.

    Ugh.

    Reply
      1. RUKidding

        My gym is cheap and close to where I live. It sorta/kinda functions like a “Cheers” Bar in that many of the gym rats are my pals and we chit chat with one another and encourage each other in our quests to maintain good health, etc. It’s a social experience, iow.

        The TVs are silent, thankfully. You can only hear them via headphones, praise be. So averting my eyes is quite simple and no big deal.

        My only minor complaint is that on Sunday morning they play Christiany “rock” muzak. ICK. But I can mostly tune it out. Not the fault of the workers there, and they claim they don’t know who implemented this dubious policy. I have been too lazy to lodge a complaint. Oh well.

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  12. Jason Boxman

    They even had propaganda for kids. This happened when I was in elementary school and our kids newspaper had child friendly headline articles about the first Gulf War. I guess these were ostensibly so young children could learn to read or whatever.

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  13. dcblogger

    THANK YOU for running this. I have been wanting to write something like this for a long time, but this is 100 times better than I could ever have done. Readers, please join me in circulating this widely, the first Gulf war was NOT a success, it was a disaster that set the stage for so many succeeding disasters.

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  14. rjs

    to my memory, April Gillespie told Saddam Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was his thing to deal with, not our problem, thus giving him the green light to invade…however, at the same time, George’s young son, Neil Bush, was making headlines over here for losing millions of dollars of depositor’s money in nighttime poker games in the back offices of Silverado Saving and Loan in Denver…so i’ve always felt that Bush double-crossed Saddam and started the Iraq war over that Kuwait invasion to take the news heat off his kid, which is why i’m always unnerved when the Russiagate stories start going after Trump’s offspring…

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  15. Jesse Parrish

    Yves,

    Death is not an exoneration, for either a President or anyone else, nor do I support The Gulf War as a ‘good’: I think the long term consequences were by and large disastrous. These were due to post-War decision-making above all else, I think, and one could as fairly argue that more aggressive intervention may have prevented them as not intervening at all. Omitted here, but significant, was that there was no requirement for regime change after Iraq’s capitulation. The primary rationale for leaving alive the Baath regime was the same as our earlier support of it: to have a majority Shia country serve as a counterweight against Iran. I would bet, though I have no citations, that the Saudis felt the same way.

    Throat clearing aide, onto Nora’s article.

    1) The Defense Department routinely develops contingency plans for almost every scenario you can possibly imagine. Having procedures and command structure in place to fulfill possible orders is simply a part of the job. Historically, these have even included false flag operations with US casualties. To achieve any significance, these have to be elevated from ‘existing’ to ‘actively sought as an administrative priority’. The second category includes Operation Iraqi Freedom. Early planning r.e. The Gulf War only partially qualifies, but it does so for strategic reasons. These have less to do with the United States ‘controlling’ Middle Eastern oil as it does with preventing Russia or China from controlling Middle Eastern oil. That’s more or less the record of US armament of allies in the Middle East over the last 60 years. By the time of Schwarzkopf’s hearing, Iraq had a largely Soviet-supplied army that was the 4th largest in the world in absolute terms. And for background, remember that the Iraqi Baath Party was explicitly fascist and expansionist, something we did not mind so long as those ambitions were directed against Iran. After Iran pushed them out, Iraq wasn’t finished.

    2) Chomsky makes a similar point, and fairly. Saddam evidently believed that we would let him get away with it. I would add a few qualifications. Nora notes our refusal to discuss a ‘dignified retreat though Arab Leaders.’ What Arab leaders were on board with these talks? Surely not the Saudis nor their constellation of allied states. Further, what would a ‘dignified retreat’ entail? That the Iraqi Army would have however many months of occupation to install their own effective governance? The best outcome of such a process would be the satellizing of Kuwait rather than its annexation. If you believe this would not have lead to an alternating series of Saudi/Iraqi-backed coups in Kuwait, or something equally unpleasant, I’m unsure as to why.

    3) H&K had an accurate message. They sold it because they were paid, but they could not have sold it as a wholecloth fabrication. I will take Nora’s word for granted concerning Nayirah. Similarly, the British manufactured atrocity stories about the Germans in Belgium during the First World War, with snarling pointy-helmed huns standing over ravaged nuns a feature. Manufactured? Certainly. But the Baathists were fascists, and their atrocities were real. To point out that one of them may have been manufactured is kinda cheap. This was a fascist annexation of a neighboring country. There’s a reason the H&K message sold well.

    4&7) The Bush Administration chose to preserve the Saddam Regime for the reasons mentioned above. Claims that the scope of the war had mushroomed to the “destruction of Iraq” could as well be described as the “containment of Iraq,” which much more accurately accords with all subsequent policy for the next 12 years. I’m not entirely sure how to proceed here, since Nora’s point appears to be that not all armaments were directed toward Iraqi assets which were currently firing at us. If the goal of the war was the expulsion of the Iraqis from Kuwait without doing anything to seriously damage the capacity of Iraq to make war, then she can claim an expanding scope. She appears to be arguing that armies at war should not be in the business of destroying each other or their respective infrastructure whenever they can. For the “highway of Death,” this was an army of an enemy combatant currently engaged in war against us: would they not turn around those tanks on better strategic turf, if they could?

    Again, this was a fascist army which previously had been the 4th largest in the world and was in its own right a severe threat to any neighboring country. We destroyed it. A country can rebuild an army very quickly if you do not also damage infrastructure it may use to rebuild it. We destroyed that too. Every general since W.T. Sherman has recognized that you cannot defeat a country merely by forcing its army into retreat. This method succeeded: Iraq was unable to engage in any substantial aggression from then until its overthrow.

    The great moral failure was in the handling of the subsequent sanctions regime, which killed far more than both of the wars combined. The previous attitude I mentioned works whenever you do not then continue to punish the civilian population, a la Versailles. That was a policy choice, largely Clinton’s, which guaranteed that the country would remain a basket case until someone intervened.

    (To my knowledge, it is not a violation of international law to attack a retreating army which has not surrendered. Nora can cite otherwise.)

    6) The motivation of Bin Laden was not a predictable consequence. If you want to find possible motivations for Jihadists by reading their stuff, you will find any presence of foreigners on any fraction of land which they deem to be a part of a restored caliphate amongst them. You cannot appease these people. We could listen to real grievances, but these are the cosmic ones. The US presence neither asked nor achieved anything to diminish the authority of Islamic Law in Mecca. It does not matter to these people. Rather famously, Bin Laden removed himself to Afghanistan decades earlier for a similar project in service of a drug mafia.

    8/9) First, depleted Uranium. You have to show that the depleted Uranium employed results in a severe increase in exposure to radiation. Persons in aircraft at commercial altitudes routinely experience radiation levels several times background levels: If you cannot show that a veteran working around depleted Uranium armor or munitions in Iraq endured significantly higher, then you cannot attribute it to the Uranium. This argument should apply far more greatly to the tank crews who worked in these vehicles and trained with these munitions for several years apart from a relatively trivial several weeks of war. I’d bet The Army would have noticed if a quarter+ of their tank crews became incapacitated for years prior to the war.

    That’s this argument out. Full Stop. We didn’t suddenly mass-nuke our troops in Iraq with equipment they had been training with for years.

    For the rest of the “Gulf War Syndrome” classifier: look at the symptoms. Inconsistent reports of chronic fatigue, muscle pain, and indigestion. What can this have to do with exposure to Sarin? I think a serious dose of Sarin would have more pronounced symptoms elsewhere.

    Or maybe it was the anti-nerve gas pills. Whatever. There are no clear epidemiological links, partly because that’s hard to establish, and secondly because of the nature of the symptoms and their classification.

    Nora wants to partially blame these symptoms on the destruction of munition facilities near the Saudi border, citing a Washington Spectator article that we were “lying” about the presence of chemical weapons on the border with Saudi Arabia, in that they were there and we said they weren’t, even as we – oddly – made our troops prepare for gas attacks. So the 4th largest army in the world annexed Kuwait, stockpiled chemical munitions facilities on the border with Saudi Arabia – after using them in Iran – and claimed it wanted to negotiate an ‘honorable retreat’ with unnamed Arab leaders….

    Gosh. So what exactly were we supposed to do again?

    Reply
    1. 1 Kings

      Can you use the word fascist and phrase 4th largest again six or seven more times? It brings back such warm memoriy-washing feelings of 1990-91…

      You did forget to mention the Kuwait girl and her magnificent story telling ability. Oh, and we overthrew Iran’s government to keep the Rusdians amd Chinese out? Is that what the British told you while you sailed the Caspian sea?

      Your ‘gosh reference is probably the best tell. And calling what the troops suffered after leaving that he ll ‘inconsistent reports of chronic fatigue’ is just disgusting, even for a PR flack.

      Reply
      1. Jesse Parrish

        Hey fella. I use those words because they’re correct. “Big aggressive fascist army” is a problem.

        I granted the girl. Read more carefully.

        We were also opposed to ‘nationalist’ governments. Preserving BP was one motivation for the overthrow of Mossadeq.
        Basically, I can’t list every detail of US history in the Middle East here. I stand by my original characterization.

        Who’s supposed to be paying me? Where do I sign up?

        And yes. They are inconsistent. That’s not a dismissal, but a fact, a fact which restricts whay kind of causal stories we can tell about these symptoms.

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        1. 1 kings

          Thanks partner, or is it pilgrim?

          Does all medicine affect people in the same way? Do all chemicals as well? Aren’t all by definition ‘inconsistent’?
          The US Govt spent first post war years, middle, up to the final ‘admission’ that nothing was amiss. Deny, deny, deny, cover, cover, etc. Then admit long after the fact, maybe something going on. But we’re not responsible. See our lawyers, and bring the big checkbook.

          And I assume you use ‘big aggressive fascist army’ in the classic ironic sense, or are you using modern style? ie completely not aware of the joke.. Big aggressive, um fascist army invading other countries..Hmm, where have I seen that before…? Somewhere in south-east Asia.. The P Canal region.. Iraq 2… Afganistan… Our assassination squads..excuse me, Seal Team ‘soul taking’ events.

          Sin of omission is standard procedure today, but not once stating that Sadaam was our guy, as was Noreiga, as were all past, present and future dictators we support. Then getting GHBush to claim the ‘era of dictator’ is over. Classic. That’s a great two-for. Set em up and knock em down.

          And there’s a reason the PR spin sold well? Again, see old-fashion’y irony above.

          Reply
          1. Jesse Parrish

            Does all medicine affect people in the same way? Do all chemicals as well? Aren’t all by definition ‘inconsistent’?

            Radiation poisoning has reliably present symptoms absent in these veterans. Radiation poisoning does not have *perfectly* consistent symptoms, but the epidemiology of a mass-exposure has been well understood for 50+ years, and this isn’t one. Usually if you are trying to trace the cause of a syndrome to something particular, you need a well-defined range of outcomes with boundaries – even probabilistic ones – before you start trying to identify a particular source.

            Say you have a cough and fatigue and you google it and scroll through the possible causes on WebMD. You will see colds, flu, bacterial pneumonias, tuberculosis, cancers, HIV complications, Beryliosis, heavy metal toxicity, and a host of obscure genetic conditions as possible causes. In most of these cases, the cough – or the fatigue, or both – may not be present when the named illness is. There are Bayesian probabilities attached to each of these: the background probability of the condition, and the probability of the constellation of symptoms given the condition. Then you have to factor in other knowledge. If for example you already know that the depleted Uranium employed during the War was not an especially potent source of radiation…

            I’m no fancy big city lawyer, but put up evidence. Until you pop out some kind of coherent explanation, these vague hand-wavey motions are meaningless.

            And I assume you use ‘big aggressive fascist army’ in the classic ironic sense, or are you using modern style?

            I use it in the straightforward, literal sense of that thing being a big aggressive facist army which was literally fascist and literally aggressive. No cute bullshit.

            Sin of omission is standard procedure today, but not once stating that Sadaam was our guy..

            I did mention that we liked him so long as he was attacking Iran. Didn’t I? I read the autobiography of a soldier who worked as one of those ‘advisors’ as a child. I remember in particular his assistance to the Iraqis in retreat in rigging houses with booby traps.

            I think you think I’m trying to sell something here which I’m not. I’m not Norman Podhoretz.

            Big aggressive, um fascist army invading other countries..Hmm, where have I seen that before…? Somewhere in south-east Asia.. The P Canal region.. Iraq 2… Afganistan… Our assassination squads..excuse me, Seal Team ‘soul taking’ events.

            The United States is not always the good guy, but don’t call us fascists. We’re not. Self-interested, often criminal in international terms and so on. But we aren’t fascists. I hate the second Iraq War. I think the war in Afghanistan will end up with Afghanistan about where we left it. I think the war in Vietnam was a straightforward atrocity. But not everything bad is fascist, and you have to treat different bads differently.

            What you do, on your first response, is to make straightforward factual errors about what I say and not, then expand the scope. You repeated this on the second round. I’m not holding my breath for round three.

            Reply
  16. VietnamVet

    George H.W. Bush who portrayed himself as a realist actually cemented the restoration of the robber baron aristocracy and commenced the for-profit Forever Wars that are now in their 28th year. The Washington Post pointed out today, for the first time in my recollection that his son, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were all born within weeks of each other in the summer of 1946. That is the year that the American Empire started. The first generation Bush Administration invaded Panama, overthrew and replaced the government. The second generation of western empire leaders are so incompetent they’ve been unable to do that again. There won’t be an Empire left for the third generation of losers (like Beto O’Rourke) if they are able to run for President in the aftermath of the trade wars with China, Iran and Russia.

    Reply
    1. Dave Trowbridge

      The American Empire started with the Spanish-American War. Intervention after intervention followed. But I’ll admit that it really got roaring after WWII.

      Reply

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