Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hoagland Going Wobbly On Iraq

One of the Washington Post's most senior international types -- Jim Hoagland -- who was Ahmad Chalabi's chief ally in the punditocracy, is close to throwing in the towel in Iraq.

Change is news, and the important news from the second trial of Saddam Hussein is this: The U.S. government is helping expose the ex-dictator's genocidal assault on Kurdish tribesmen instead of helping hide it.

Welcome the change. But do not rush past the original malfeasance: U.S. officials were directly involved two decades ago in covering up and minimizing the horrifying details that were finally spread on the legal record in a Baghdad courtroom last week. In a long history of U.S. involvement in Iraq stained by official mistakes, betrayals and misunderstandings, the initial coverup of Hussein's Anfal campaign is among its darkest moments.

I visited Baghdad in May 1987, a month after Iraqi troops began using poison gas and burning Kurdish villages in a systematic program of ethnic slaughter and cleansing. The U.S. Embassy quickly learned of the devastation through a trip to northern Iraq by an assistant military attache. But he denied to me what I had learned elsewhere: that he had reported to Washington the beginning of the operation code-named Anfal. His report was promptly stamped secret....

The onslaught resulted in the destruction of 2,000 villages, the deaths of at least 50,000 Kurds and the forced resettlement of hundreds of thousands of others. The Reagan-Bush administration remained silent as it helped the Iraqis fight the Iranians; Washington even made sure Iraq was invited to a prestigious international conference on chemical weapons in 1988....

It is also important to recognize that without the U.S. invasion, these trials would never have occurred. But that in turn underscores a bitter reality that the Bush administration must now confront:

Military intervention can be justified when it changes things for the better. It does not have to be perfect. But conducting a military occupation that has lost the ability to change the situation for the better for those being occupied is unwise and ultimately untenable. It is also immoral. U.S. involvement in Iraq is again perilously close to being just that.

Invading a sovereign country absent an imminent threat was immoral.

Not to mention -- stupid.

Everything we have seen since then has flowed naturally from the initial mistake.

Too bad it has taken until now for Hoagland to articulate the facts of the matter.


Blogger Meatball One said...

For some incalcitrants, late is almost as good as sooner. But boys like Hoagland shall remain unforgiven for not being soon enough. Naïveté can never be a defence in this war where the writing was on the table long before the get go.

C'ya in hell Hoagland. Last stretch repenters don't get to sip heavenly margaritas. They just get the leniency of complimentary aluminum slippers and sun block lotion.

8/27/2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Quite right.

I have a feeling that Hoagland lost enthusiasm when the CPA bypassed Chalabi. Over the last month or two, everyone in Washington has been turning against the war (some, only privately). Hoagland must be figuring that he had better get with the program.

8/27/2006 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the last month or two, everyone in Washington has been turning against the war

That's an interesting comment --- I wonder what it portends... Let's extricate ourselves from this unholy mess so we've got some free-time to screw up elsewhere??

As for Hoagland... a day late and a dollar short on his pronouncements...


8/27/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


It is still too early to tell whether the newly minted skeptics on the war have finally come to their senses based upon the facts at hand, or whether they are changing their tune for political expediency in light of the upcoming midterm elections.

They are fools in either case not to have seen how wrong it was to go to war from the getgo.

8/27/2006 4:01 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Dena wrote: "Let's extricate ourselves from this unholy mess so we've got some free-time to screw up elsewhere??"

That's what Im thinking. Though this doesnt apply to all recent renouncers, it does apply to the Admin to the extent they start overtures to pull troops out of the relative immediacy of harm's way, namely: Troops will be repositoned to firewall against Iranian leakage when we hit them. We will see movements into areas closer to the Iranian border. The excuse for troop movements will be that of protecting them from the mess Iraqus are making of our gift de democracy et liberté to them. Again, imhmo*

* in my humble meatballian opinion

8/27/2006 8:17 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


You may be right.

Our troops had better be out of Dodge City (Shiite Iraq) if we attack Iran.

They can kill two birds with one stone by sending them next door.

8/27/2006 8:29 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Yepp, and so can we. Take ourtroops outta Dodge, get out the caoutchouc at Nellis, erase the map's border between Iran and Iraq and bomb the strangelove outta em all. Yippy Ay Confluence

Phil Collins put it best when he sang "Two Shiites, living in just one theater de bomb."

PS forgive my comments of late...Im just stream of crooked mind hip shooting.

8/28/2006 7:54 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


The plan seems to be for us to erase all the borders between every other country and then it will be down to "Us" versus "Them".

It will make targeting so much easier.

8/28/2006 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever see the earth from space? There are no borders. Borders are a false construct created for what? Taxation I guess... Borders only benefit the Bushes, Cheney's etc. of this world and IMHDO they should be erradicated.

And, Eff, this Us vrs Them idea? What if you divided the world into America and not-America... as you know it wouldn't work... Soon, even in America some people in Oregon or Vermont would have ideas that were not-American and then they'd have to be obliterated...
Soon there would be a little outpost in Washington and a little outpost in Crawford TX that was America.... Fear of the unknown Other -- is that what this is?


IMHDO - In My Humble Denaisian Opinion

8/28/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


You are right that strict borders were originated in Europe for the purposes of taxation back in the Holy Roman Empire days. It caught on big time.

Worry not about any free-thinkers in Oregon or Vermont being harmed. The new "Us" vs. "Them" paradigm simply extends the current program of allowing them to survive. Provided that they make themselves useful to the owners of the means of production.

And continue to pay their taxes, of course.

Needless to say, they will continue to be ignored by the policymakers.

"Us" vs. "Them" is nothing more than a convenient framework for Americans to understand the world, and our indispensible role in keeping everyone else in their place.

Madison Avenue will love it.

8/28/2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

The plan seems to be for us to erase all the borders between every other country and then it will be down to "Us" versus "Them".

It will make targeting so much easier.


8/28/2006 7:06 PM  

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