The salesmen of death

The Washington Post has been in the forefront of the media campaign to
first, get us into this disastrous and unnecessary war with Iraq,
which has caused incredible casualties on both sides, and
second, keep us there indefinitely.
Their method of selling our continued military involvement
to those Washingtonians stupid enough to believe them
is to highlight the good results that will supposedly follow,
without bothering to mention the bad results that will more surely follow.
In short, they are simple conmen.

Take, as a simple example, their 2006-03-12 editorial,
New Questions in Iraq,
in particular, the following excerpt (emphasis is added):
The two-sided war between a U.S.-backed regime and foreign and Iraqi Sunni insurgents has morphed into a multi-sided sectarian struggle in which U.S. and Iraqi government troops increasingly play the role of buffers or bystanders. This creates a new set of strategic questions that the Bush administration has hardly begun to answer: How can a civil war be stopped? And if it escalates, how should U.S. forces respond to it? The keen and candid U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, summed up the situation this way for the Los Angeles Times on Monday: "We have opened the Pandora's box, and the question is, what is the way forward?"


Congressional Democrats are demanding assurances that the drawdown of troops will go forward regardless of the circumstances in Iraq.
There may be outcomes the United States has no interest in defending, such as the creation of a Shiite ministate in southern Iraq.
But even in the worst circumstances
there will be vital U.S. security interests,
such as protecting the pro-Western Kurdish community in northern Iraq
and preventing the establishment of bases for al-Qaeda and other terrorist movements.
Even if American forces don't take sides,
a U.S. presence could limit the scale of the fighting
and prevent overt intervention by other outside powers,
such as Iran and Syria.

The fighting whose scale is desired to be limited is, presumably,
a civil war.
Of course, what is currently occuring in Iraq is precisely that,
although not on as large a scale as may occur in the future.
If that does occur,
just how will the U.S. forces “limit the scale of the fighting”?
If various Iraqi forces wish to fight each other,
there is absolutely nothing that the U.S. military can do to stop them,
other than engage in fighting itself,
killing off whoever is deemed to be the worse Iraqi group.
Of course, each Iraqi group is but part of a larger group in the Muslim world,
so our efforts will only cause
the compatriots of the Iraqis against whom we have acted
to come to their assistance, sooner or later, one way or another.
The only thing the course the WP advocates will achieve
is to make us hated all the more, by one group or another.

But to think that the American military can
“limit the scale of the fighting” by those determined to fight each other,
without escalating the fighting itself, is folly.
And the WP refuses to acknowledge this downside.
What a bunch of snake oil salesmen!

Isn’t it amazing that the Washington region has no major newspaper
which opposes the war?
How do you explain that, other than the Zionist conspiracy argument?
(I admit “Zionist conspiracy” has negative connotations,
about the person using it.
But it really is necessary, to describe the situation in America today.)
Is the WP controlled by corporations?
(To those who don’t know the answer: No, it is controlled by the Graham family.)
Big oil?
The Christian right?
George Bush?
Richard Cheney?

U.S.-Iran Relations

Why Iran Wants to Talk
Washington Post Editorial, 2006-03-18

[Here is the Washington Post’s lead editorial on 2006-03-18,
with emphasis and my comments added:]

IT'S EASY to see the potential advantage to Iran
of opening negotiations with the United States on Iraq.
The sudden announcement by Iran's national security chief Thursday
that Tehran would accept an offer of dialogue
made months ago by the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad
came as members of the U.N. Security Council were meeting
to discuss a council statement about the Iranian nuclear program.

That statement could be the first in an escalating series of steps
to force Tehran to give up the enrichment of uranium
and fully cooperate with international inspectors.
Preventing such diplomatic action has been Iran's main aim
since its illegal nuclear program was discovered in 2004;
the failure to stop the issue from reaching the Security Council
has prompted some visible handwringing and backbiting among the mullahs.

By drawing the Bush administration into talks about Iraq,
the Iranians give themselves a shot at splintering or distracting
the fragile coalition that may be forming in New York.
Already Iranian officials are speaking openly about
the possibility that any discussions would expand into
the broader security dialogue
that Tehran has long coveted with the United States.

In Iraq — where American soldiers are dying from Iranian-supplied roadside bombs and sectarian violence by Iranian-supported militias is steadily mounting — the Islamic regime has a tacit and sinister offer to make:
Back down in New York, and the carnage in Baghdad might just drop off.
Even the appearance that the Bush administration might be considering such a trade-off would worsen the situation in Iraq
[A drop-off in carnage is a worse situation?
It sounds like an improvement to me.]

and wreck a year of careful and mostly effective anti-proliferation diplomacy.

The right response to the Iranian initiative is to
limit any discussions to short-term U.S. priorities in Iraq

and to ensure that the exchange is as open as possible.
In theory, the United States and Iran share an interest
in preventing an all-out Iraqi civil war,
and thus in the establishment of a government
that could rein in both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite militias.
But Iran's other objectives in Iraq are mostly inimical
["Having the disposition or temper of an enemy; unfriendly, hostile"]:
It has promoted the creation of a Shiite ministate in southern Iraq
that would control the country's largest oil fields
and be dominated by Iran's allies;
[Why is this inimical to U.S. interests?
Why do we care who controls those oil fields,
as long as they are not hostile to U.S. interests?]
it hopes that the Sunni insurgency
will meanwhile bleed American troops and exhaust U.S. willpower
[Just how do you know that, WP editorial writer?
And even if that is the Iranian hope,
note that the desire of the WP’s editorials, expressed elsewhere,
that the U.S. stay in Iraq, apparantly indefinitely,
only plays into the Iranians’ hands.]

The U.S. goal of a broad and cohesive Iraqi government
that would fairly balance Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish interests
and be defended by a national Iraqi army
would, if achieved, check Iranian ambitions.
If Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad can advance that cause through talks with Iran, good.
But it will be worth bearing in mind that Tehran has agreed to sit down with him for entirely different reasons.

If the Iranians really have long coveted
a broader security dialogue with the United States,
why not oblige them?
Is there something wrong with talking to them?
Is negotiating with Iran a zero-sum game,
where anything Iran obtains is a loss for the United States?
I certainly don’t see it that way.
Wide-ranging talks can only lead to improved relations.

The WP’s demand to
“limit any discussions to short-term U.S. priorities in Iraq”
seems to only harm U.S. interests
(although it may be what Israel wants).