Israel blocks another UN fact-finding mission in Beit Hanoun | Bush's State Department not interested in pursuing the issue either

ei: Israel blocks another UN fact-finding mission:

Israel has shut down another internationally mandated investigation of its military actions. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his high-level fact-finding mission, authorized by the UN's Human Rights Council, have been refused entry by Israel for so long that they have been forced to call off the visit. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mark Regev disingenuously claimed that Israel had not denied entry, but simply not yet reached a decision. The families of the 19 Palestinian civilians slain at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on 8 November 2006 will apparently not see even an approximation of justice at this time.

Tutu and Professor Christine Chinkin noted in an 11 December 2006 statement:

...We find the lack of co-operation by the Israeli Government very distressing, as well as its failure to allow the Mission timely passage to Israel. This is a time in our history that neither allows for indifference to the plight of those suffering, nor a refusal to search for a solution to the present crisis in the region.

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack in his 9 November 2006 press conference made clear the United States is unprepared to push Israel on its investigation:

Well, look, we or nobody else can do an investigation. Israel is a democracy and as such it will look into these matters and determine what exactly happened. They have done that in the past. We, as well as others, when there have been terrible accidents around the world because of military actions, have investigated these things. If there were mistakes that were made that contravene regulations, we have held our own people to account and I expect that that is the same type of approach that the Israeli Government would take. That is the way democracies work.


[I]t's not up to the United States or anybody else to investigate this matter on the Israeli side. We have full faith that they will investigate it. They take this very seriously. They have-I think they understand exactly what happened and they are taking it seriously.

In other words, Israeli impunity seems certain to continue.

With American assurances such as those proffered by McCormack, there is little reason to doubt that Israeli officials thought they would be able to keep the international community out of any investigation. After all, in 2002 Israel successfully placed one impediment after another in front of the team of UN professionals that was supposed to investigate Israel's military actions in Jenin. Eventually, an impotent UN was unable to carry out an investigation of suspected war crimes. In regard to Jenin, Peter Bouckaert, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, declared in a 3 June 2002 press release:

The abuses we documented in Jenin are extremely serious, and in some cases appear to be war crimes. Criminal investigations are needed to ascertain individual responsibility for the most serious violations. Such investigations are first and foremost the duty of the Israeli government, but the international community needs to ensure that meaningful accountability occurs.

The international community never did hold Israel accountable. On 8 November more innocent Palestinian civilians paid a terrible cost for the ongoing failures of the international community.


James Baker evaded Iraq sanctions to collect a quick $30,000,000 cut | Member emeritus of the Bush Crime Family used Israelis to avoid US sanctions

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News:
Baker hired Nir Gouaz, president of Caesar Global Securities in Israel, to collect a debt from the Hussein regime in 1998.

Baker is a senior partner at the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts, which made some $30 million in fees from the deal that the Israeli businessman mediated.

Gouaz said the Iraqi regime owed some $1.65 billion to the Korean Hyundai Engineering firm for a series of construction projects on which it defaulted in the wake of the Gulf War. U.S. legal sanctions on Iraq did not apply to Israelis, hence Baker’s request that Gouaz mediate the deal. The Bank of Jordan was also involved in the transactions.

Palestinians have become targets in Iraq's chaos

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 12/21/2006 | Palestinians have become targets in Iraq's chaos:

For half an hour last week, mortar rounds rained down on Baghdad's largest Palestinian enclave. Neither Iraqi police at a station nearby nor U.S. troops at a base adjacent to the neighborhood responded.

At the end of the attack, the Palestinians counted their losses: six dead and 29 injured, including a repairman next to the compound's generator, two neighborhood boys with their heads and stomachs split open in the billiards hall, and the bean-seller beside his pushcart who screamed 'Save me!' before he died.

Most heartbreaking, survivors said, were the corpses of 14-year-old Noura Mohamed, who was decapitated while standing in her garden, and 13-year-old A'isha Ahmed, who was hit by the last mortar of the evening as she stood on a balcony to check on her brother and father as they helped the wounded.

It was the bloodiest assault so far in what has become a long stream of attacks on Palestinians, whose community has been here since the establishment of Israel in 1948 but who've never been granted Iraqi citizenship.

The United Nations refugee agency condemned the barrage, which it blamed on Shiite Muslim militiamen of the Mahdi Army, and blasted U.S. and Iraqi troops for failing to protect the Palestinians.

Iraqi officials shrugged off the incident, saying everyone in Iraq is a target and that Palestinians should approach the Iraqi interior ministry - which is widely infiltrated by Shiite militias - instead of complaining to aid agencies.


Bush Crime Family editing opinion pieces critical of impending invasion into Iran | Daddy Bush Felon Eliot Abrams involved in the cover-up

The Washington Note:

Informed Comment has more on this.

UPDATE: The piece the crime family is trying to edit can be found here in its full version. The New York Times printed an edited version on 12/22. Here is an explanation of the deleted portions, also from the 12/22 New York Times.

These comments from a letter written by Flynt Leverett, 'a former government official who worked at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and on the National Security Council staff of the George W. Bush administration, is now a senior fellow and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative at the New America Foundation':

Mr. Pollack also supports the administration's reluctance to engage with Iran, in contrast to my consistent and sharp criticism of that position. It would seem that, if one is expounding views congenial to the White House, it does not intervene in prepublication censorship, but, if one is a critic, White House officials will use fraudulent charges of revealing classified information to keep critical views from being heard. My understanding is that the White House staffers who have injected themselves into this process are working for Elliott Abrams and Megan O'Sullivan, both politically appointed deputies to President Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley.

Their conduct in this matter is despicable and un-American in the profoundest sense of that term. I am also deeply disappointed that former colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency have proven so supine in the face of tawdry political pressure. Intelligence officers are supposed to act better than that.

For more on this felon now inside the Bush Crime Family, see the following links:

Track his criminal past with Reagan, and the Bush's here
Most recently:

Abrams' involvement in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict is unclear. According to an unnamed U.S. government consultant “with close ties to Israel” interviewed by Seymour Hersh, Israel had put together bombing plans long before Hezbollah kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, which set off the conflict. As they developed their plans early this summer, according to the consultant, Israeli officials went to Washington “to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear … Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk [where Abrams is ensconced] of the National Security Council” (New Yorker, August 21, 2006).

Eliot Abrams: From Iran-Contra to Bush's Democracy Czar

Iran-Contra Figure to Lead Democracy Efforts Abroad

Back in Political Forefrunt: Iran-Contra Figure Plays Key Role in Mideast

And this beauty from March 2003, regarding the aftermath of Iraq

"We recognize that military action in Iraq, if necessary, will have adverse humanitarian consequences," Abrams said at a news conference Monday. "We have been planning over the last several months, across all relevant agencies, to limit any such consequences and provide relief quickly."

Abrams said the U.S. military plan was "carefully tailored" to limit the displacement of Iraqi civilians and damage to the country's infrastructure in hopes of minimizing the humanitarian crisis.

Further evidence that the world hates the US 'because we can buy houses here' and because 'they hate freedom' | A piece from North Korea

The Few, the Proud: Marine Charged in Killings of 24 Iraqi Civilians | Wuterich, the animal, orders others to "shoot first and ask questions later"

Squad Leader Charged in Killings of 24 Iraqi Civilians - New York Times:

A Marine Corps squad leader was charged Thursday with 13 counts of murder in the killings of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year, his attorney said, and other Marines are expected to be charged.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich was charged with 12 counts of murdering individuals, plus one count of murdering six people by ordering Marines under his charge to ''shoot first and ask questions later'' when they entered a house, according to charging sheets released by defense attorney Neal Puckett.


Iraq: More Hellish Now Than Under Saddam | Son of Bush continues his Oedipal battle to cause more death, destruction, and bloodshed than his father

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Iraq: More Hellish Now Than Under Saddam:

The tragedy unleashed by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq defies description.

According to the most recent findings of the Lancet medical journal, the number of 'excess deaths' in Iraq since the U.S. invasion is more than 650,000. 'Iraq is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world,' according to Refugee International: nearly two million Iraqis have fled the country entirely, while at least another 500,000 are internally displaced.

Basic foods and necessities are beyond the reach of ordinary Iraqis because of massive inflation. 'A gallon of gasoline cost as little as 4 cents in November. Now, after the International Monetary Fund pushed the Oil Ministry to cut its subsidies, the official price is about 67 cents,' the New York Times notes. 'The spike has come as a shock to Iraqis, who make only about $150 a month on average -- if they have jobs,' an important proviso, since unemployment is roughly 60-70 percent nationally.

October 2006 proved to be the bloodiest month of the entire occupation, with more than six thousand civilians killed in Iraq, most in Baghdad, where thousands of additional U.S. troops have been sent since August with the claim they would restore order and stability in the city, but instead only sparked more violence. United Nations special investigator Manfred Nowak notes that torture 'is totally out of hand' in Iraq. 'The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.' The number of U.S. soldiers dead is now more than 2,900, with more than 21,000 wounded, many severely.

The underlying trend is clear: Each day the occupation continues, life gets worse for most Iraqis. Rather than stemming civil war or sectarian conflict, the occupation is spurring it. Rather than being a source of stability, the occupation is the major source of instability and chaos.

Bush, listening to the voices of death in his head, set to send 30,000 more potential corpses to the pyre for the sake of his ideology and legacy

Bush defies commanders by bolstering troops | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited:

George Bush today confirmed that a temporary increase in US troops for Iraq is under consideration, despite the opposition of his top generals.

In an interview with the Washington Post, the US president also acknowledged for the first time that the US is not winning the war in Iraq, reversing a declaration in November when he said: 'Absolutely we're winning'.

Mr Bush is expected to unveil his new strategy for Iraq early in the new year. Despite the opposition of his joint chiefs of staff and his top commander in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, the president appears to be leaning towards the idea of a temporary surge - six to eight months - of 20,000 to 30,000 troops in 'one last big push'.

The president has, however, persuaded Tony Blair of the need not to set a timetable to pull troops out of Iraq, according to Iraq's vice president.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York yesterday, Tareq al-Hashemi reportedly said that the prime minister was originally in favour of a timetable but was 'brainwashed' by Mr Bush into changing his mind on the subject.


Assassinating Gemeyel and blaming Syria was just a start for Bush | Syria in Bush's Crosshairs

TIME.com: Syria in Bush's Crosshairs:

American officials say the U.S. government has had extensive contacts with a range of anti-Assad groups in Washington, Europe and inside Syria. To give momemtum to that opposition, the U.S. is giving serious consideration to the election- monitoring scheme proposed in the document, according to several officials. The proposal has not yet been approved, in part because of questions over whether the Syrian elections will be delayed or even cancelled. But one U.S. official familiar with the proposal said: 'You are forced to wonder whether we are now trying to destabilize the Syrian government.'

Some critics in Congress and the Administration say that such a plan, meant to secretly influence a foreign government, should be legally deemed a 'covert action,' which by law would then require that the White House inform the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill. Some in Congress would undoubtedly raise objections to this secret use of publicly appropriated funds to promote democracy.

Bush bows down to his two keepers: The House of Saud and Israel | US considers naval build-up as warning to Iran

US considers naval build-up as warning to Iran | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited:

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower has been in the region since September, along with four other ships and submarines carrying 6,500 sailors. The navy could move other carriers into the region within six weeks. The USS Stennis, a cruiser which was scheduled to deploy in early 2007 in any event, would be the most likely ship to be deployed.

However, if the US were to contemplate a military strike, it would need far more than two carriers, said Reva Bhalla, an analyst at Strategic Forecasting Inc. The US deployed five carriers ahead of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Outgoing UN secretary general Kofi Annan said yesterday that military intervention in Iran would be 'unwise and disastrous', as the Security Council debated a resolution that would impose sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme. 'I believe that the council, which is discussing the issue, will proceed cautiously and try and do whatever it can to get a negotiated settlement,' he said.

The latest draft resolution would order all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear programmes.

Reports that the US is leaning towards an even stronger posture against Iran reflects indications that Washington wants to deepen its military presence in the region. It follows warnings from Saudi Arabia that it would fund Sunni militias in Iraq in the event of a US troop withdrawal. 'The aircraft carrier is a way of assuring the Saudis that the inclination is to do more rather than less, and that we are not going to leave them in the lurch,' said John Pike, a military analyst.

Another Bush Lie Exposed | Iraqi Women's Bodies Are Battlefields for War Vendettas

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Iraqi Women's Bodies Are Battlefields for War Vendettas:

Almost four years into the Bush Administration's ill fated adventure in Iraq, Iraqi women are worse off than they were under the Baathist regime in a country where, for decades, the freedoms and rights enjoyed by Iraqi women were the envy of women in most other countries of the Middle East.

Before the U.S. invasion, Iraqi women had high levels of education. Their strong and independent women's movement had successfully forced Saddam's government to pass the groundbreaking 1959 Family Law Act which ensured equal rights in matters of personal law. Iraqi women could inherit land and property; they had equal rights to divorce and custody of their children; they were protected from domestic violence within the marriage. In other words, they had achieved real gains in the struggle for equality between women and men. Iraqi women, like all Iraqis, certainly suffered from the political repression and lack of freedom, but the secular -- albeit brutal -- Baathist regime protected women from the religious extremism that denies freedom to a majority of women in the Arab world.

The invasion of Iraq, however, changed the status of Iraqi women for the worse. Iraq's new colonial power, the United States, elevated a new group of leaders, most of who were allied with ultra conservative Shia clerics. Among the Sunni minority, the quick disappearance of their once dominant political power led to a resurgence of religious identity. Consequently, the Kurds, celebrated for their history of resistance to the Iraqi dictator, were able to reclaim traditions like honor killings, putting thousands of women at risk.

Iraqi sectarian conflict has exacerbated violence against women, making women's bodies the battlefields on which vendettas and threats are played out. My organization, The Global Fund for Women, and the humanitarian community has long known that the presence of military troops in a region of conflict increases the rate of prostitution, violence against women, and the potential for human trafficking.

Blood-thirsty Right-Wing Extremists ready themselves for fresh Iraqi blood | Their only fear? Will the American public let it continue?

A WHOLE NEW WAR By JOHN PODHORETZ - New York Post Online Edition: Seven:

Can it work?

That may be the wrong question. The right question may be: Will America allow it to work?

When you use an army to 'establish security,' you are not engaging a police force. You are assigning the task to highly armed men who aren't trained as police officers. You are talking about sending soldiers door to door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

They're going to shoot people. They're going to blow up buildings, as they did in Fallujah.

They're going to be engaged in firefights by insurgents, and they're going to return fire. That will result in civilian casualties on the streets of Baghdad (or, as we saw in Lebanon last summer, in insurgent and militia casualties that we will be told falsely are civilian casualties).

What happens when these horrible tragedies of war occur? Will America's leading centrists - the politicians, anchorpersons, editorialists, writers and speakers who haven't quite given up on the mission in Iraq - discuss these events as part and parcel of an effort to save the people of Baghdad from chaos and carnage as we attempt to act decisively to win the war?

Or will they, instead, retreat in horror from the images on their TV sets and denounce the barbarous nature of the new U.S. mission? Will they see the battle for Baghdad as a heroic and dangerous task or as the new Abu Ghraib on a larger scale?

The toxic nature of the discussion on Iraq guarantees there will be Abu Ghraib-like talk from some quarters. If it becomes the dominant talking point, there's no way we will be able to sustain the mission, for it will be derailed by war-crime accusations and congressional hearings.

Blair gets smacked by UK Think Tank appraisal of his performance as Bush's lap-dog

Al Jazeera English - Europe:

Terrible mistake

The report said Blair's support for the US-led invasion of Iraq was a 'terrible mistake' leading to a 'debacle' that will have repercussions on policy for years. It said: 'The root failure [of Blair's foreign policy] has been the inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice - military, political and financial - that the United Kingdom has made.'

Chatham House also said that the British prime minister had been unable to prevent Britain's standing in the Middle East from sliding.

The report also said Blair had been slow to realise the consequences of a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan on the back of drug-trafficking. It said this was 'unforgivable given the link between heroin consumption on British streets and the strengthening of warlordism in Afghanistan'.

Lord Wallace, former director of studies at Chatham House, told Al Jazeera's Inside Story programme that the UK did not wield influence over the US as popular perception is led to believe.

'There is a lot of myth about how special our relationship is with the US. We shouldn't assume that we are more special than Washington's other allies,' he said. On Blair's recent visit to the Middle East, Lord Wallace, said: 'It would have been a much more effective trip if Blair was visiting the Middle East representing Europe rather than being seen as the mouth piece of George Bush [the US president].'

A link to the full Chatham House working paper is here.

It is indeed a shame that Blair did not listen to this group in 2004 when Chatham House published a paper outlining the bleak prospect ahead for Iraq, summarized here:
Unfortunately for the region, the future of Iraq resides on a precipice, with many powerful forces pulling like gravity in the direction of the abyss. The hope is that briefing papers such as this can provide sage advice to policy makers who can admit their numerous and repeated mistakes and correct their folly in time to derail the oncoming disaster. Maybe it is too late for that though. After reading this report I am reminded of this passage from a Seymour Hersh article:

Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister, who supported the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq, took it upon himself at this point to privately warn Vice-President Dick Cheney that America had lost in Iraq; according to an American close to Barak, he said that Israel "had learned that there's no way to win an occupation." The only issue, Barak told Cheney, "was choosing the size of your humiliation." Cheney did not respond to Barak's assessment. [emphasis added]

Will Bush's thirst for hegemony backfire? | Move to the Euro by Iran | Announcement of Gulf States/EU Free Trade Agreement


The Iranian government has finally developed a new weapon that can destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. The U.S. dollar dominance is coming to an end. A hundred years ago the U.S. currency's dominance was referred to as "dollar diplomacy". After the end of the Second World War, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, that policy evolved into "dollar hegemony."

A day before Iran announced converting its dollar-denominated assets held overseas into Euros, Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi, the United Arab Emirates' central bank governor, said that 'we're waiting for a clear trend to emerge before converting our reserves into Euros or any other currency.'

The bank holds 98% of its reserves in greenbacks but plans reducing its dollar holdings to between 50% and 90%.

Analysts aroused fears over Iran's move, warning it would prompt another U.S. war in the region. When other countries, like Iran, sought payment of oil in other currencies, most notably Euro, the punitive action was in order.

The American President George W. Bush's Shock-and-Awe in Iraq was not about Saddam's nuclear ambitions, or the alleged link to Al Qaeda network which the U.S. blames for September 11 attacks, it's about defending the dollar, and setting an example that anyone who seeks payment for oil in currencies other than U.S. Dollars, which is what Saddam did in 2000, would be likewise punished.

But if the U.S. decided to commit the same mistake it made in Iraq again; i.e. invading Iran, it will definitely bring an end to its political hegemony not just the hegemony of its currency, in the region and the world.

History teaches that an empire should go to war for either defending itself or benefiting from war; otherwise, as Paul Kennedy stated in his The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 'a military overstretch will drain its economic resources and precipitate its collapse'.

This comes at a time when the Gulf States are moving away from a GCC and entering into a free-trade agreement with the EU. Who needs dollars???

An agreement between the two trading blocs is “imminent,’’ Sheikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa al-Khalifa told reporters in Dubai yesterday.

The office of EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has said that he may visit the Middle East next month in an attempt to conclude free-trade talks with the six Gulf states, that also includes Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, which have been under way for 15 years.

A free-trade accord would reduce barriers and fuel trade between the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which pumps about a fifth of the world’s crude oil, and the 25-nation EU.

Negotiations cover market access on goods and services, common rules and disciplines on intellectual property rights, competition, dispute settlement or rules of origin.


American 'whistle-blower' abused by Bush's Brown-shirts in Iraq | Another suit for Rumsfeld

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment - New York Times:

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.


Mr. Vance went to Iraq in 2004, first to work for a Washington-based company. He later joined a small Baghdad-based security company where, he said, “things started looking weird to me.” He said that the company, which was protecting American reconstruction organizations, had hired guards from a sheik in Basra and that many of them turned out to be members of militias whom the clients did not want around.

Mr. Vance said the company had a growing cache of weapons it was selling to suspicious customers, including a steady flow of officials from the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The ministry had ties to violent militias and death squads. He said he had also witnessed another employee giving American soldiers liquor in exchange for bullets and weapon repairs.

Blair, learning from Bush, whores himself to the Saudi Royal Family

Cloak, dagger, bluff, blackmail, and Tony's nervous protector - Sunday Times - Times Online:

Saudi Arabia is a country which would normally be a pariah state, failing every test of human rights. It practises torture, sharia law and systematic bribery (a Saudi prince even sued Rolls-Royce for not delivering on a bribe). The country has been of no noticeable assistance in modernising or stabilising its region and financed the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Selling arms to such a country might be thought beyond Blair’s moral pale. Not so. As with the Afghan opium trade, money talks and sometimes money requests silence.


Last Thursday he changed his mind. Why? What or who had got at him? The truth is that SFO investigators, operating under new arrangements with the Swiss, were about to request the opening of certain Swiss bank accounts.

The Saudis went berserk. They threatened to withdraw the next stage of Al-Yamamah, for 72 Typhoon jets. Lord Bell was hired to threaten every Labour MP with defence work in his constituency. The rule of law was subjected to the full majesty of the rule of public relations. At this flick of blackmail (and probable bluff), the British government crumpled and summoned the hapless Goldsmith to clear up the mess. An inquiry that expediency would never have begun was ignominiously ended.

How to Lose an Army | Will the Bush Crime Family do Israel's bidding and invade Iran?

How to Lose an Army:

The Bush administration, for its part, will be tempted to do what small men have done throughout history when in trouble: try to escalate their way out of it. The White House has already half-convinced itself that the majority of its troubles in Iraq stem from Iran and Syria, a line the neocons push assiduously.

The departure of Donald Rumsfeld, which was greeted in the Pentagon with joyful choruses of “Ding-dong, the witch is dead,” may help to avert an invasion. His successor, Robert Gates, has no background in defense and is therefore likely to defer to the generals, for good or for ill. In this case for good, as the generals emphatically do not want a war with Iran. But for Gates to block White House demands for an attack on Iran, he would have to threaten to resign. Is he the sort of man to do that? That’s not how bureaucrats build their careers, an observation that holds for the generals as well.

The elephant in the parlor is, of course, the fact that Israel wants an attack on Iran, and for Republicans and Democrats alike, Israel is She Who Must Be Obeyed. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ran to Washington as soon as the election was over, and the subject of his discussions with President Bush is easy to imagine. Who will do the dirty deed and when? Iran has already announced that it will consider an attack by Israel an attack by the U.S. as well and respond accordingly, so the difference may not much matter.


Perhaps the greatest danger lies in the fact that, just as the French high command refused to consider the possibility of a German attack through the Ardennes in 1940, Washington will not consider the possibility that an attack on Iran could cost us our army in Iraq. We have made one of the most common military mistakes—believing our own propaganda. Over and over, the U.S. military tells the world and itself, “No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We are the greatest military the world has ever seen!”

Unfortunately, like most propaganda, it’s bunk. The U.S. Armed Forces are technically well-trained, lavishly resourced Second-Generation militaries. They are today being fought and beaten by Fourth-Generation opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can also be defeated by Third-Generation opponents who can react faster than America’s process-ridden, PowerPoint-enslaved military headquarters. They can be defeated by superior strategy, by trick, by surprise, and by preemption. Unbeatable militaries are like unsinkable ships: they are unsinkable until something sinks them.

If the U.S. were to lose the army it has in Iraq to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination of both, cutting our one line of supply and then encircling us, the world would change. It would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad. American power and prestige would never recover. Nothing, not even Israel’s demands, should lead us to run this risk, which is inherent in any attack on Iran.