Viewpoint: Darkness descending in Iraq

The outcome of Nov. 2 aside, the outlook for better times is bleak. Iraq is lost. That burden is upon the presidency. Just how soon the loss will be admitted is the question. The American military does not know how to fight a guerrilla war, and more than one observer has noted that.

Late in the campaign, the bombshell about the looted munitions cache, at Al Qaqaa outside Baghdad, exploded. There was a series of ludicrous “explanations” and allegations from the Bush camp, trying to pin it all on Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass).

But the nearly 400 tons of explosives that are missing are only a tiny bit of what is out there and what—in unknown amounts—is in the hands of Iraqi militants and terrorists in the desert nation.

According to David Morris, a former Marine officer, an estimated 600,000 tons of high-density explosives are scattered across Iraq. Morris, who was an “embedded” reporter with a Marine infantry battalion last May, toured one of Saddam Hussein’s weapons storehouses in western Iraq, which he described as “a vast, murky labyrinth of bunkers, tunnels and sandpits that contain a staggering menagerie of exotic bombs, bullets, shells, mines, missiles and torpedoes.”

Morris said there are 103 such sites in this particular sector of Iraq, holding about 100,000 of those 600,000 tons of explosives. According to Morris, only 64 of these sites have been inspected and about 12,000 tons of ordnance destroyed. (

These munitions are said to be of Chilean, West German, Soviet, U.S., Czech, Yugoslav and South African origin. They were, in many cases, exposed to the elements and the wild dogs who roam there. These materials are useful in the manufacture of nuclear weapons and car bombs.

This situation is symptomatic of this administration’s lack of planning and disconnect from the realities of Iraq. We simply haven’t enough troops to guard all these munitions dumps and keep them secured.

The amount of explosives missing–and we don’t know in total how much is gone–is enough to kill and maim several thousand more Americans. Just further evidence of the delusional madness of the Bush cabal about Mideast conquest.

Even as we wait to see what the next chapter of this story will be, White House insiders are saying plans are being drawn to unleash a military strike on Iran and its Islamic leadership—and oddly, Iran actually endorsed Bush for president.

The neocons reportedly want to hit the nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf and other key nuclear installations throughout the country, including those at Natanz in central Iran and Isfahan. The bombing of these installations is said to be the task of the Israeli air force while the U.S. reportedly will attack mosques in Tehran, Qom and Isfahan. (according to Wayne Madsen).

Madsen, an investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C., said the Iran attack plan was drafted after an internal White House poll indicated that if such an attack were launched before the election, Bush would have a landslide victory. It did not come because we don’t have the means.

We have already killed an estimated 100,000-plus Iraqi civilians in this misguided misadventure, and there certainly will be more. There also will be many more Americans killed in this grab for Iraq’s oil and for greater hegemony in the Mideast.

That estimate of Iraqi deaths was compiled by a study team from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. “We were shocked at the magnitude, but we’re quite sure that the estimate of 100,000 is a conservative estimate,” said Dr. Gilbert Burnham of the study team. (International Herald Tribune)

However,, as of Nov. 2, estimates civilian casualties at 14,219 minimum to 16,352 maximum. Dr. Burnham said his total does not include deaths in Fallujah because of the intense violence in that city.

“The fact that more than half of the deaths caused by the occupation forces were women and children is a cause for concern,” the study authors wrote. Scott Lipscomb, an associate professor at Northwestern University, said: “I am emotionally shocked, but I have no trouble in believing that this many people have been killed. We’ve always maintained that the actual count must be much higher,” he said.

That does not deter the administration’s determination to hang onto the oil and to control all aspects of Iraq’s national life.

Before the invasion, in 2003, a 101-page State Department document turned up. It fell into the hands of investigative reporter Greg Palast who reports for BBC radio and TV.

The plan it outlines is part of a larger program called “The Iraq Strategy.” The secret plan, according to Palast, specifies a complete rewrite of Iraq’s policies, laws and regulations. It also calls for low taxes on American big business and quick sales of Iraq’s banks and infrastructure—“all state enterprises” to foreign operators.

Starting on page 73, the report makes it very clear that Iraq would be required to sell its “oil and supporting industries” to U.S. oil companies. As Palast put it: “The plan makes it clear that—even if we didn’t go in for the oil—we certainly won’t leave without it.”

The plan, Palast reported, was drafted by U.S. corporate lobbyists under the guidance of Grover Norquist, Republican operative and leader of the right-wing lobbyist army in the capital. Planning also included Falah Aljibury, an Iraqi, who said the Bush administration began eyeing Iraq’s oil within weeks of Bush’s inauguration.

Only one thing was in the way of carrying out all of this—the Iraqi people. At the time, an insider working on the plan said: “They have [Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz coming out saying it’s going to be a democratic country…but we’re going to do something that 99 percent of the people of Iraq wouldn’t vote for.” (

Neither would 99 percent of the American people if they knew the facts about what is being done in Iraq and why.

Now this miserable, misbegotten war is spiralling into a black hole…moving closer and closer to civil war as the resistance spreads across the country. There may be very little time before rival Sunni and Shia factions unite against their U.S. occupiers. When that happens, the real bloodbath will begin.

We have grabbed the python, and he will not let go.

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