Thursday, June 26, 2003

A few odds and ends on Iraq and Iran:

  1. The idea that the reconstruction of Iraq could be financed by mortgaging the future oil revenue stream has not gone away. A group called the 'Coalition for Employment Through Exports' (where do they get these names, and what could that possibly mean?), whose members include Halliburton and Bechtel, is lobbying to use oil revenues as security to borrow money from commercial banks for projects in Iraq. The American Export-Import Bank, an organization used and abused by Cheney when he ran Halliburton, is also considering the issue. The obvious worry is that continued unrest in Iraq may drive the American carpetbaggers out before they have a chance to leech out all the money they can from the Iraqi people. They thus want to mortgage the future of the Iraqi people so they will be in a position to take the money and run. With the money available immediately before the oil starts to flow, they can work on their contracts now, hoping to have billed as much as possible before they are forced to leave. They can probably arrange to be paid even if their contracts aren't fulfilled as long as the reason they had to leave was the danger of remaining in Iraq.

  2. The Judith Miller watch continues. In Iraq, she was embedded in an army unit which was supposed to be looking for weapons of mass destruction. More than a half-dozen military officers accused her of acting as a liason between the Army unit and none other than Ahmed Chalabi. She forced the unit to go to Chalabi's headquarters to pick up the son-in-law of Saddam, and apparently somehow coerced the unit into interrogating the son-in-law, although they were not trained to do so, and sat in on the interrogation. On officer, referring to Miller, said:

    . . . this woman came in with a plan. She was leading them. . . . She ended up almost hijacking the mission."

    Another officer said:

    "It's impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better."

    Another officer said:

    "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat."

    There are a number of cases where the unit was pushed around by Miller, and pushed in areas that directly benefitted Chalabi and the Chalabi-centric propaganda line which Miller consistently follows. Between threatening to appeal to Rumsfeld or Feith, and manipulating the unit into Chalabi-friendly directions, it is completely transparent that Miller was acting for the neo-con/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Chalabi propaganda war, and had so much power that she was able to force a military unit into making decisions against the best interests of that unit. Bush's next excuse for not finding weapons of mass destruction should be that the unit sent to find them was so controlled by Miller for Chalabi's purposes that it didn't have time to find the weapons. Jayson Blair was sacrificed to keep this kind of thing from being revealed.

  3. A guy who has managed to keep a surprisingly low profile for much of the time, especially considering all the mischief he has been up to, is Michael Ledeen. Even amongst the neo-cons, Ledeen stands out as the lowest of the low. He is so utterly rotten he manages to make devils like Perle look positively benign in comparison, and his current evil is fomenting the attack on Iran. Ledeen was a big, big player in Iran-Contra, and managed to be a major contact to the Iranians and at the same time the main liaison between the Reagan Administration and the Israelis who were the sole beneficiaries of Iran-Contra. His beef with Iran unabashedly relates to the alleged Iranian threat to Israel, and has nothing to do with true American interests. Ledeen has taken the clearly wrong position in every issue he has advocated over his whole life, and the fact he still has such influence shows the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Bush Administration.