Column No. 129 By  Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - November 16, 2006

What’s Happening on Iraq?

As I said in an article on Iraq published on BuzzFlash last month (“So Whassup on Iraq, Jim?” 10/24/06): “the Georgite Iraq policy is in a spin and the Georgites are spinning it as fast as their spinning wheels can carry them.”  Before the election, first there was Repub. Sen. John Warner’s warning that “things weren’t going so well.” Then there was the National Intelligence Estimate from Bush’s own intelligence agencies that, among other things, the US occupation was creating more terrorists than it was killing (which report the totally isolated Bush treated as if it came from another planet).  Then negative stuff “leaked” from certain US generals on the ground.  Then there were the “leaks” from the Baker Commission.

These straws in the wind all indicated that a major overhaul of Administration policy on Iraq was underway, no matter what the figurehead President said during the election campaign. Then after telling the world on the Sunday before the election that Rumsfeld would be in the job until Jan. 20, 2009, on the Wednesday after it Rumsfeld goes and is replaced by Robert Gates, who just happens to be a member of the Baker Commission.  (He’s got some bad Reagan/Bush I Iran hostages and Iran-Contra stuff in his baggage, but that is not why he was picked for this job.)   Whether Bush himself was fully aware of it or not (and he likely did find out for sure on Nov. 13, when the Baker group met with him), the planning to get US forces out of Iraq has been well underway for some time.  But why, and why now?

First and foremost it is because the principal original goals of the invasion, postulated by some, some time ago, have been achieved. Those goals were postulated, for example, by an anonymous friend of mine just after the Iraq invasion in the spring of 2003. I retailed them in a column of mine posted on The Political Junkies.net in the spring of 2004, "You Know Me Al: The Iraq War --- So What was it About, Anyway?" Those goals are the securing of full, independent access to the enormous oil reserves that are thought to lie under Iraqi Kurdistan (yes, the trifurcation of the country will take place, either overtly or covertly), and the completion of a string of permanent US military bases in the Western Iraqi desert.  Second, given what the Dems did with the war issue this time around, there are the political considerations for the Republicans going into the 2008 election.  They would like very much to have this political albatross off their collective necks by then.

Do you think that Jim Baker is talking the path he is taking because he is a nice guy, or a man of principle, or a recent convert to positive internationalism?  Why no.  Jim Baker is a major power broker and the public face of the sector of the US power elite that put George W. Bush in power in the first place --- the extractive and military/aerospace industries and their allies. He was the front man for the Bush Theft in Florida in 2000.  These folks called the shots then and they are calling the shots now. Because their principal goals have been achieved, they are going to figure out a way to get the U.S. out of Iraq as neatly, and as quickly, as possible, with the least possible damage, not to the Iraqis, but to the Republican Party.

They will try to blame the “loss” (when it is really a win for them) on the “stabbed-us-in-the-back” Democrats.  But they have got their oil and they have got their bases and they want to try to get the issue off the main page for the 2008 election.  And they coincidentally have a Democratic Congress (or at least a Democratic House depending upon what Lieberman does when push comes to shove around organizing the Senate) which will make it easier for them to achieve that end on the ground, at the same time their front men in the Privatized Ministry of Propaganda will be blaming the Democratic “cowards” and Republican “turn-coats.”

Gates is hand-picked by Baker to manage the job.  And if Cheney doesn’t get out of the way, he will be gotten out of the way, as I first noted in that BuzzFlash column of Oct. 24, 2006.  Maybe even Bush too, if he doesn’t.  Want a really far-out scenario, as I postulated back then? Bush goes into a sanitarium for undisclosed "problems," and does not re-emerge until he is safely ensconced on his new ranch in Paraguay. Cheney succeeds to the Presidency long enough to appoint Baker to the Vice-Presidency, then resigns for "reasons of health." Baker succeeds to the Presidency and appoints Colin Powell as Vice-President. Both pledge unconditionally to seek no Republican nomination for national office in 2008.

A true Center-Right government is established with the center-Right Democrats of Emanuel-Schumer-Clinton in control of Congress. A center-right government is then elected in 2008, with either McCain, Clinton, or Obama as president. And the country goes back to providing a very good living for the power elite, without the trouble of engaging in endless and very expensive foreign wars.  They may even kiss off Big Pharma and the “health” insurance industry and enact some kind of fairly retrograde national health insurance plan because so many other powers in the economy desperately need it done for cost-containment.  Stay tuned.

Why No Grand Theft Election

I and many others, like Greg Palast and Mike Whitney, firmly predicted that that Rovian Grand Theft Election would be operating at full throttle this time around, and they would do it again, just as they did in 2000 and 2004.  There were indeed scattered instances of voter suppression, both before and during the election, as well as scattered instances (in Florida in particular) of computer tampering.  However, it is quite clear that the computer-tampering operation was shut down nationally. I think that that decision was taken at the highest level.   That it could be shows just how sophisticated the Rovian Grand Theft Election Machine is.  They were able to turn off the switch or switches on very short notice.  And who did that?  Rove, Bush, Cheney?  None of the above, in my view.  The decision was made by the current most powerful single person in America: once again, Jim Baker, representing that powerful element of the power elite he does indeed represent.  And once again, why did they do this?

As noted above, their Iraq goals have been achieved and it is time to get out.  Moderate centrism worked electorally for the Democrats.  Despite opposition from the center-right of the Democratic Party represented by Rahm Emanuel, Howard Dean’s “50 State Solution”  is well on its way to becoming a reality.  With its 6-year electoral dependence on the Christian Right which, if it doesn’t get its way completely picks up its balls (if it has any) and goes home, fizzling out at the polls. All of a sudden the Republican Party that seemed to be on its way to becoming a permanent majority may well be on its way to becoming a permanent minority, and a regional (Southern) one at that.  Instead of Rove’s “Republican Permanent Majority” forever, it may well have lasted only these six years (not even as long as the 12 that their role-model Hitler’s “1000-year Reich” lasted).

Next, in a country with even the only the moderately free press ours has, the blogging nation, lots of lawyers, and a highly decentralized voting system, a massive nation-wide cheat machine can last only just so long before it is exposed.  Finally, Constitutional democracy works very well for the well-to-do in this country, thank you very much.  While some of them obviously like the idea, many, at this time at least, don’t want it replaced by fascism.  It’s not needed now and it wouldn't be good for the economy among other things.  They have gotten a close look at just how much the Christian Right would be interfering with our personal lives, using the force of the criminal law to do so, were it really to be in control through fascism, and they don’t like that at all. That is not to say that the threat is not still there and that liberals and progressives do not have to work very hard to put the fascist beast back into its cage.  But for now at least, a major portion of the power elite has decided to give American democracy as we have known it some breathing room.