Mission Creep in Iraq
by Stephen Lendman
Ominous Vietnam War echoes. On November 7, a Department of Defense news release said in part:
"The commander in chief has authorized Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to deploy to Iraq up to 1,500 additional US personnel over the coming months, in a non-combat role, to expand our advise and assist mission and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces."
"Secretary Hagel made this recommendation to President Obama based on the request of the Government of Iraq, US Central Command's assessment of Iraqi units, the progress Iraqi security forces have made in the field, and in concert with the development of a coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."
"US Central Command will establish two expeditionary advise and assist operations centers, in locations outside of Baghdad and Erbil, to provide support for the Iraqis at the brigade headquarters level and above."
"These centers will be supported by an appropriate array of force protection capabilities."
Washington's so-called "advise and assist mission" is a euphemism for deploying combat-ready personnel. Mission creep. Planned well before around 1,600 US special forces arrived earlier.
On August 7, Obama lied saying deploying them and bombing Iraq had two objectives. On the one hand, rescuing thousands of trapped Yazidi civilians. On Mount Sinjar.
On the other, protecting US personnel in Erbil. Whatever so-called threat existed ebbed. Yazidis are out of harm's way. Far fewer were threatened than Obama claimed.
A third explanation followed. Saying bombing would help Iraqi forces retake Mosul damn. Protect it. Government troops and Kurdish Peshmerga control it.
A fourth objective ludicrously claimed bombing protects America from a nonexistent Islamic State (IS) threat.
Buying time for Baghdad to "build up" military strength. Combat IS without US boots on the ground.
Obama's Iraq war is Washington's third since 1991. Naked aggression each time. Ongoing again lawlessly. Another high crime on his rap sheet.
US involvement has nothing to do with reasons given. Everything to do with protecting the interests of Big Oil.
Wanting unchallenged regional control. Balkanizing Iraq into the Baghdad center, Kurdish north and Basra south.
Making the world safe for war profiteers. Benefitting their bottom line priorities.
Fear-mongering. Suppressing hard truths. Substituting Big Lies. Waging phony war on IS fighters. US proxies. Shock troops. Foot soldiers. Boots on the ground.
Armed, funded, trained and directed by US special forces and CIA operatives. In Jordan, Turkey and Georgia.
Taught dirty ways to wage war. With chemical and other banned weapons. Commit atrocities. Deployed cross-border to Syria.
Against Assad. For regime change. For installing convenient US-controlled stooge governance. Similar to Washington's regional objectives.
Waging permanent wars to achieve them. Including partnering with Israel against Palestinians. Isolating Iran. Its turn awaits.
Redrawing the Middle East. Balkanizing it. Restoring colonial rule. Plundering regional resources. Exploiting its people. Eliminating Israeli rivals.
Propaganda wars rage. Fear-mongering persists. Hyping Big Lies. Media scoundrels regurgitate them ad nauseam.
Systematically burying truth. Substituting deception for reality. Nonexistent threats make headlines.
Repetition gets most people to believe them. Mindless of reality. What's ongoing. Why.
How US geopolitical objectives harm ordinary Americans. Trillions of dollars down a black hole. For militarism.
Foreign conquest. Colonial rule. At the expense of vitally needed popular interests. Gone begging for imperial priorities.
Ravaging one country after another. For unchallenged dominance and profit. Permanent wars without end.
From one theater to another. Multiple ones. Waging direct and proxy wars. America's dark side was never darker.
Obama a convenient front man. A caricature of a leader. A con man. A "two-bit punk," according to Paul Craig Roberts.
A war criminal multiple times over. Impeaching him is a national imperative.
Imprisoning him where he belongs. For high genocidal crimes. Too egregious to ignore. Slippery slope mission creep in Iraq his latest crime.
Heading for full-scale involvement. Perhaps already covertly. Policies implemented long before announced. Big Lies, deception and coverup conceal them.
It bears repeating. Ominous Vietnam echoes are audible. The late Gabriel Kolko wrote the definitive Vietnam War history.
His "Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience" explains what everyone needs to know.
America's objectives, strengths, weaknesses, quest for world dominance and miscalculations. Its advisory role shifted to combat.
Initial deployments arrived in 1950. Sent to help France regain control of its former colony.
After its 1954 Dien Bien Phu defeat, Washington worked directly with Ngo Dinh Diem's government. Against North Vietnam and Viet Cong allies.
From 1955 - 1960, mission creep expanded to 1,500 military advisors. Exponential additions followed. To around 16,000 in 1963. Hundreds of thousands more under Johnson and Nixon.
Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V) and Military Assistance Command-Vietnam (MAC-V) forces shifted from advisors to open combat.
Kolko's November 2003 "Vietnam War Reconsidered" article said "nothing happening today either in regard to Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, that in principle did not also occur after 1950 under a succession of presidents - whether they were conservatives, liberals, or whatever description fits the murky and contradictory American political environment."
"Lies, distortions, cynical manipulation but also self-delusions have always been endemic to the way key foreign policies were and are articulated."
"What is called 'intelligence' is far less a solution to the problem of ignorance than an integral aspect of it."
"We can rarely believe we are being told the truth, if only because those who proclaim it often are themselves mystified by illusions. If true it is something of an atypical accident."
Earlier congressional investigations confirmed CIA failures, said Kolko. An organization "not merely malevolent but also simply incompetent on many critical matters."
Above all on Vietnam. Well-known and documented, said Kolko. Error after error was made.
To justify greater military spending. Based on information amounting to "garbage." Presidents and trusted advisors ignored reliable hard truths.
Everything that could go wrong, did. The so-called Tonkin Gulf crisis was a duplicitous pretext for mission creep on steroids. Major escalation.
Shoring up Saigon's puppet regime. "The same was true of the Pleiku incidents of early 1965," said Kolko.
"(A)n excuse for retaliation waiting for something to happen…Pleiku attacks were a convenient trigger for intended escalation."
An excuse for permanent North Vietnam bombing. Echoes of what's ongoing now in Iraq and Syria.
Myths of Southeast Asian war progress were "conscious falsehoods," said Kolko. Carefully nurtured.
Everyone in the Johnson and Nixon administrations on the same page. Spreading Big Lies.
"At no time was truth given a higher priority than political convenience or the lies both the politicians and generals propounded, Kolko explained.
"Manipulating public opinion and politics dictated how the war was justified." Especially during repeated troop deployments.
Big Lies claiming their need. Truth was systematically buried. "On many occasions the truth was grotesquely and deliberately distorted in order to make a point," said Kolko.
Vietnam was one of many examples of corrupted foreign policy. Reflecting willful deception. For imperial aims.
Policy-making "dominated by aggressive individuals or organizations, or by the interplay of bureaucratic politics, rather than by rational deliberation of national interests."
"So much for intelligence guiding policy." No evidence suggests its "options or goals are influenced or defined by information (analytically collected) as truthfully as possible…"
"Were this the case," one mess after another could have been avoided. America's intelligence community supplies lots of "worthless data."
Accurate information "becomes worthless as soon as it fails to reinforce" what policy-makers want to hear. Ideology and imperial goals drive things.
Expecting Washington to behave otherwise is believing in fantasy. "The system…is irrational," said Kolko. Evident in Vietnam. In Afghanistan and Iraw under Bush. Currently under Obama.
What's ahead remains to be seen. Tet was Washington's Vietnam denouement.
The "beginning of the end for the protracted American effort to win the Vietnam War," said Kolko. Hidden from public disclosure.
He was in Hue when war ended. In April 1975. In February, he predicted a quick end. After Washington's multi-decade involvement.
An unwinnable war. Claiming millions of Southeast Asian lives. Through targeted and indiscriminate terror-bombing.
Using millions of tons of ordnance. Concealing the worst of the horror from public view.
Ending with Washington's April 30, 1975 humiliating Saigon embassy rooftop exit.
Perhaps what Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Syrians and other US victimized people can look forward to one day.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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