Is a military
junta ruling Iraq?
Clearing House) Why is it so difficult find out who the people
are who are running Iraq? What does the Bush administration have to
hide? We read the odd story in the press about these characters but you
have to dig deep to find out much about their backgrounds. All are
hand-picked Bush appointees. All have close associations with other Bush
associates. All are right-wing, some extremely so. All are pro-Israeli.
The entire operation is being run out of the Pentagon and many of the
people picked for the various posts are military or former men or have
close connections to the military.
Virtually all those selected are, according to the International
"[T]he nucleus of the Bush administration's new Iraqi
government. One of the faraway masters, in the minds of many here,
is someone known fondly - or not so fondly, depending on one's
political orientation - as Wolfowitz of Arabia.
The reference, of course, is to Paul Wolfowitz, the
undersecretary of defense, who has dispatched some of his protégés
here to prepare key Baghdad ministries for American
Michael Mobbs, will be in charge of 11 of the 23 Iraqi
ministries. Mobbs is a former law associate of Undersecretary of defense
Douglas Feith, another right-wing ideologue with close connections to
Mobbs is effectively running the civil administration of Iraq yet he
has absolutely no qualifications for the position. No background in
governance. No background in civil administration or affairs. No
knowledge of Iraq, its people or its culture. And rather than being an
advocate of civil or human rights, his record is diametrically opposed
to rights of any kind, starting with Americans, so God knows how he’ll
deal with the Iraqis.
"A Pentagon lawyer, Mobbs has been a leading defender of the
notorious Camp Ray X. Mobbs comes with a reputation for anti-civil
rights and a serious disregard for international conventions on
human rights. Mobbs campaigned to have US citizens imprisoned
without charge and was the prime mover behind the suspension of
"He is best known for drafting the so-called Mobbs
Declaration, which states that the president has wide latitude to
detain American citizens alleged to be enemy combatants
indefinitely, without charge or counsel."
Mobbs is the lawyer who’s sole testimony resulted in the indefinite
detention of US citizen Yaser Esam Hamdi, an alleged Taliban fighter.
The court hasn’t seen any of the ‘evidence’ that resulted in Hamdi’s
indefinate detention without trial. The federal government has resisted
all attempts to have any evidence at all being brought before the court.
"The government's only evidence of Hamdi's Taliban
activities is a two-page declaration by Michael Mobbs, a senior
Pentagon official in charge of detainees.
The declaration, filed with the court, states that Hamdi received
weapons training and remained with a Taliban unit after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks in the United States. He was carrying a
Russian-made assault rifle when he was captured alongside Taliban
forces by the Northern Alliance.
Mobbs' statement wasn't enough evidence for Norfolk's U.S.
District Court Judge Robert G. Doumar, who had ordered the
government to produce Hamdi's statements, a list of his
interrogators and copies of statements by Northern Alliance forces
regarding Hamdi's capture.
[However,] [t]he government can indefinitely hold Yaser Esam
Hamdi, the American citizen and alleged Taliban fighter being
detained in the Norfolk Naval Station brig, a federal appeals court
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that enemy
combatants can be jailed during wartime without criminal charges,
regardless of whether they are American citizens.
As Bush administration officials hailed Wednesday's ruling, it
was viewed as a blow by more than 150 scholars, legal and human
rights groups, including the American Bar Association, who argued
that jailing an American citizen without filing criminal charges
violates the Constitution."
And Mobbs is one of the people who is supposedly bringing ‘democracy’
Iraq’s new rulers, a military junta?
Judging by the people who have been selected, effectively, a military
junta is or will be, running Iraq.
Walter Slocombe, a lawyer and former under-secretary of defense
during the Clinton administration and advocate of a ‘first use’
policy of nuclear weapons even against a non-nuclear power (See http://www.mkogy.hu/nato/angol99/99an6.htm).
Slocombes’ thinking on war with North Korea is also rather scary,
""The problem, says Slocombe, is "we're faced with
some pretty terrible options militarily." A preemptive strike
would almost certainly cause Kim to unleash a full-scale attack on
Seoul. The U.S. military believes it has a blueprint—called
Operational Plan 5027—for a quick victory if war broke out. Among
OPLAN 5027's dictates: Lightning air strikes to wipe out artillery
and biological- and chemical-weapons sites. One projection says
deadly accurate "counterbattery fire" could silence the
North's big guns along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) within an hour—reducing
civilian casualties far below current estimates of a million dead in
Seoul. "It is a war they have been planning to fight and win
for the past half century," says John Pike, director of
Washington-based think tank Globalsecurity.org. "It may be
unthinkable in some political circles, but it is very plausible to
the U.S. military.""
His role is to create a new Iraqi army that will be totally under the
control of the Pentagon. According to one report, he will be,
"given the assignment to examine the growing problem of how
to get under control the military forces that each of the main
opposition leaders now controls in Iraq. He is said to be working on
a plan to meld them into a national security force, a task that
would require Kurdish leaders to give up control over their
Importantly, Slocombe is one Democrat who has been recruited by the
Project for the New American Century (PNAC) along with other right-wing
Democrats intent on making the Middle East ‘safe’ for Israel.
"There is little question about the source of PNAC's
influence. When it was founded in 1997 by two prominent
neoconservatives, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, its charter,
which called for a U.S. strategy of global pre-eminence based on
military power, was signed by men who would become the most
influential hawks in the Bush administration, including Cheney,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and
International Security John Bolton, and Cheney's influential
national security adviser, I. Lewis Libby.
"Thus, among the signers who have never before been
associated with PNAC, are Robert Asmus, a former deputy secretary of
state for Europe; Ivo Daalder, a prominent member of Clinton's
National Security Council staff; Robert Gelbard, a former U.S.
ambassador to Chile and Indonesia; Martin Indyk, Clinton's
ambassador to Israel; Dennis Ross, his chief adviser on
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations; Walter Slocombe, Clinton's top
policy official at the Pentagon; and, most important, James
Steinberg, Clinton's deputy national security adviser who now heads
foreign policy studies at the influential Brookings
Ironically, while Clinton’s chief security advisor, Slocombe,
"ruled out imposing a new government in Baghdad by military
force, and said stability of the region is one of the
administration's prime goal. "A regime change cannot be done by
imposing a new regime by military force from outside, even assuming
that would be possible," he said.
"You can produce a lot of trouble. You can produce a lot of
dead people, but you can't produce a success unless it's properly
prepared and done very carefully and done very hardheadedly and
realistically without any romanticism or any wishful thinking,"
My, how times have changed.
Robert Reilly, former boss of the Voice of America is to be head
of the ministry of information and is also one of Wolfowitz’s chosen
"They are thought to be particularly fervent about trying to
remake Iraq as a beacon of democracy and a country with a tilt
toward Israel. Reilly is working with Iraqi exiles to create radio
broadcasts for use in the post-Saddam Iraq."
During the invasion Reilly was head of the propaganda war directed at
the Iraqi population and armed forces and,
"Reilly is closely involved with an American administration
plan to establish a media network in the Middle East. A $62m (£40m)
satellite TV station is scheduled to begin at the end of the year.
He is a very close friend and business partner of Ahmed Chalabi."
Here is Reilly on a Voice of America broadcast telling us his
opinions on the Gulf, Iraq and Iran,
"Security and stability in the Persian Gulf remain vital
national interests of the United States. Yet Iran and Iraq continue
to engage in activities that threaten the region. The Iranian
government is the principal state of international terrorism. Iran
continues to try to destroy the Middle East peace process. And Iran
has intensified its efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass
destruction, including nuclear weapons."
(Jan 11, 1996)
And I think Reilly’s views on free speech are instructive and point
to what kind of media ‘freedom’ Iraqis can expect under Reilly,
"Not many Americans have heard of Spozhmai Maiwandi, but
many Afghanis have. A native of the Central Asian nation, she ran
the Pashto service of the Voice of America for over a decade. VOA is
the paid broadcast arm of the U.S. government, but Ms. Maiwandi is a
journalist, and she aired more than just American propaganda. She
reported the news, and, in a broadcast shortly after September 11,
included the remarks of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. That raised
hackles in the Bush administration, and she quickly became a target.
Soon, under Bush-appointed director Robert Reilly, VOA turned on
Ms. Maiwandi. First she found insulting notes slipped under her door
by anonymous coworkers, she said, producing a note that simply read:
"This is no longer your office. Move your big [expletive
removed] out of here."
Then she was fired from the Pashto service, although in an
Orwellian twist Reilly claims he gave her a promotion. "You are
being given a temporary promotion," VOA's department of human
resources wrote to Ms. Maiwandi. "This action is not a
reassignment from your current position. Your position of record
remains Chief of the Pashto Service," the note added, even
though she would no longer run the service."
Other appointees include,
Lewis Lucke, is heading up ‘reconstruction’ and who according
to Forbes magazine is,
"A humble Austin, Texas, globetrotter named Lewis Lucke.
Garner may have gotten all the press as he pressed flesh with U.S.
troops, but it's Lucke's job to turn on the lights. His bed at the
palace was a cot he had brought with him from Kuwait. "We were
camping, in essence," says the 52-year-old.
And now he's supervising Bechtel Group as it starts to
dredge Umm Qasr, Iraq's only seaport, to ready it for matériel to
rebuild the country. Lucke is the coordinator for reconstruction,
managing a $2.5 billion project that some expect will inevitably
balloon to $30 billion, if not $100 billion. As the ranking man on
the ground for the U.S. Agency for International Development
(AID), his hands are also closest to the purse strings, since his
State Department branch is funding and contracting out much of the
Experts from the region including Palestinian-American author Said
Aburish and Saudi analyst Mai Yamani are not too confident about the men
chosen to run Iraq,
"Aburish and other analysts and diplomats say the U.S.
government lacks the expertise and cultural awareness to run a
multi-ethnic, multi-religious country battered by three devastating
wars in 20 years and 12 years of sanctions.
"The more this move looks as if it serves U.S. interests the
more it will be distrusted in the region," said Saudi analyst
Mai Yamani. "It will reinforce the idea that they are occupiers
Larry Di Rita, who is deputy for policy and a former Navy man and
was head of Foreign Policy and Defense Studies at the Heritage
There you have it. Any pretense the US government may have projected
about ‘nation building’ and other well-worn propaganda phrases have
gone. What we have is a quasi-military clique who will attempt to ‘reconstruct’
Iraq in their own image. One that conforms to the US model of ‘democracy’
but which will in reality, create an environment conducive to the
interests of big business and US global and strategic aims.
Copyright © 2003 William Bowles. All rights reserved. You have the
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