Supporting Shiites, Arming Sunnis, Selling Out the Kurds—Bush’s Personal Surge

I am not a big fan of Robert Novak, the columnist who outed Valerie
Plame and then sat back to watch the toil and trouble of his
outsmanship. He wrote another incendiary column yesterday and I am
taking it for the straight scoop, because there are no ifs, ands or
buts, no unnamed sources, no apparent conjecture.

I am not a big fan of Robert Novak, the columnist who outed Valerie
Plame and then sat back to watch the toil and trouble of his
outsmanship. He wrote another incendiary column yesterday and I am
taking it for the straight scoop, because there are no ifs, ands or
buts, no unnamed sources, no apparent conjecture.

morass in Iraq and deepening difficulties in Afghanistan have not
deterred the Bush administration from taking on a dangerous and
questionable new secret operation. High-level U.S. officials are
working with their Turkish counterparts on a joint military operation
to suppress Kurdish guerrillas and capture their leaders. Through
covert activity, their goal is to forestall Turkey from invading Iraq.”

Not much wiggle-room there. Covert and secret are
the very actions that sank Republican Richard Nixon, Democrat Lyndon
Johnson and left Ronald Reagan’s ship of state taking on dangerous
quantities of water toward the end. Novak continues,

detailed operational plans are necessarily concealed, the broad
outlines have been presented to select members of Congress as required
by law. U.S. Special Forces are to work with the Turkish army to
suppress the Kurds’ guerrilla campaign. The Bush administration is
trying to prevent another front from opening in Iraq, which would have
disastrous consequences. But this gamble risks major exposure and

Exposure and failure is this administration’s strong suit. You really
need a scorecard to keep up with the changes in lineup, but it seems
like the Shiites (who were the chosen sect to run a new and revitalized
Iraq, mostly because international crook Ahmed Chalabi told Bush to)
have been jabbed in the eye by Bush agreeing to arm Sunni tribes (who
actually ran the country before Bremer sent them all home) and it is
now (by Bush logic) in the American national interest to name the
Kurdish leadership as terrorists—or aiding and abetting terrorists—it’s
not entirely clear. Whew. Confused?
What is clear is that, after four years of literally tearing their country apart, our invasion has succeeded in

  • removing and beggaring the competent,
  • elevating and making wealthy the incompetent
  • and now (if Novak can be believed) kicking the legs out from under the Kurds once (twice, thrice?) again.

Kurds, the only ethnic segment in all of Iraq that have consistently
supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and continually put
themselves at risk for American goals have yet again been sold down the
river. When America saved Europe’s bacon in 1918, President Woodrow
Wilson promised a modern Kurdistan at Versailles. The follow-up Treaty
of Sèvres stipulated creation of an autonomous Kurdish state in 1920.
Before the birth of Turkey, before the formation of Iraq, before
Persia became modern Iran, there was a Kurdistan. The subsequent Treaty
of Lausanne in 1923 failed to mention Kurds. Guess someone forgot.
Four thousand years before there were Iraqis, Turks, Syrians or
Iranians, there were Kurds. Embarrassingly long before there was an
America, there were Kurds. Kurds predated the Bush family dynasty by as
many thousands of years as there are fingers on a hand and yet this
confused and desperate president is preparing to sell them out to the

“The development of an autonomous Kurdish
entity inside Iraq, resulting from the decline and fall of Saddam
Hussein, has alarmed the Turkish government. That led to Ankara’s
refusal to allow U.S. combat troops to enter Iraq through Turkey, an
eleventh-hour complication for the 2003 invasion. As the Kurds’
political power grew inside Iraq, the Turkish government became
steadily more uneasy about the centuries-old project of a Kurdistan
spreading across international boundaries — and chewing up big pieces
of Turkey.”

A more accurate reading of history
would have Turkey (1923), modern Iran (1906) and Syria (1946) chewing
up big pieces of Kurdistan (4000BC).

“What is Washington to do in the dilemma of two friends battling each other on an unwanted new front in Iraq?

little political courage comes to mind. Moral clarity and recognition
of legitimate Muslim Kurdish autonomy might be a start. Friendship is
one thing, history and justice quite another. The Wilson Mandate,
finally achieved, but don’t hold your breath.

surprising answer was given in secret briefings on Capitol Hill last
week by Eric S. Edelman, a former aide to Vice President Cheney who is
now undersecretary of defense for policy. Edelman, a Foreign Service
officer who once was U.S. ambassador to Turkey, revealed to lawmakers
plans for a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces to help the Turks
neutralize the PKK. They would behead the guerrilla organization by
helping Turkey get rid of PKK leaders that they have targeted for years.

listeners were stunned. Wasn’t this risky? He responded that he was
sure of success, adding that the U.S. role could be concealed and
always would be denied. Even if all this is true, some of the briefed
lawmakers left wondering whether this was a wise policy for handling
the beleaguered Kurds, who had been betrayed so often by the U.S.
government in years past.”

A secret use of Special Forces 1) in a country with whom we are not at
war, 2) to carry out short-term and short-sighted policies 3) that have
little chance of success, 4) in order to support a failing political
strategy in Iraq. Shades of Nixon and Johnson in Vietnam. A harking
back to Reagan’s Iran Contra black arts and Don Rumsfeld selling arms
to Saddam. But Edelman is sure of success. Dare we use the term

served as Turkish Ambassador after the second Iraq invasion, during
which anti-American tensions within Turkey were high. According to
Ibrahim Karagul, a columninst with the Turkish Weekly, “Edelman act(ed)
more like a colonial governor than an ambassador… (He) is probably
the least-liked and trusted American ambassador in Turkish history, and
his reputation is not likely to recuperate.” (Wikipedia)

Bush has yet to learn that old adage “if you run with dogs, you get fleas.”
You may also remember Edelman as the Pentagon dog who embarrassed
himself and his boss (Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates) by publicly
rebuking Hillary Clinton when she enquired about Iraq disengagement
plans; writing her that

“Premature and public
discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy
propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much
as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.”

understand that point of view. Premature and public discussions can
raise hell with the most devious of plans, especially when they appear
in an editorial by Robert Novak. Apparently, Edelman feels that
undermining northern Iraq’s Kurdish contingent by a deed so dastardly
and perfidious that, in his own words, the U.S. role could be concealed and always would be denied, doesn’t unmask America’s willingness to abandon its allies in Iraq.
Define allies. Maybe Edelman means only the Brits. Novak concludes his piece,

plan shows that hard experience has not dissuaded President Bush from
attempting difficult ventures employing the use of force. On the
contrary, two of the most intrepid supporters of the Iraq intervention
— John McCain and Lindsey Graham– were surprised by Bush during a
recent meeting with him. When they shared their impressions with
colleagues, they commented on how unconcerned the president seemed.
That may explain his willingness to embark on such a questionable
venture against the Kurds.”

Unconcerned is not an adjective you want to describe the mental condition of your president during a time of war.
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