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Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later


#1

Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later

Danny Sjursen

We were always caught in the middle. We still are. As a young man, a new lieutenant, and a true believer, I once led a US Army scout platoon just south of Baghdad. It was autumn 2006, and my platoon patrolled – mainly aimlessly – through the streets and surrounding fields of Salman Pak. To our north lay the vast Shia heartland of East Baghdad, to our south and east, the disgruntled and recently disempowered Sunnis of the rural hinterlands.


#2

In October 2000, Iraq decided to dump the US dollar (the currency of the enemy–just ask Madeleine Albright for details) in favor of the Euro for its oil exports. The rest is and is becoming history. Ever wonder why the French didn’t join the “coalition of the willing”? It is not to hard to figure out. It is, as usual, just necessary to follow the money. Likely as not, most of the Francophobes’ sniveling mockery (think “Freedom Fries”) was perpetrated in complete ignorance of this scenario as our representatives are truly, for the most part, representative of the lowest common denominator (think American Gladiator).


#3

“… Chalk up a big V for Al Qaeda. I’m convinced that’s part of the reason there remain so many 9/11 “truthers:” because the “storm” seems so “perfect.” If the goal of the neocons and military-industrial complex was – and I don’t personally subscribe to this particular – to engulf the US in self-perpetuating forever wars in the Mideast, they sure scripted it perfectly. This is the stuff which feeds conspiratorial thinking.”

I won’t worry about turning this thread into a long debate/argument about conspiracy theories; this remark of Sjursen’s will certainly do that without me. I haven’t spent even five minutes of my time pursuing the various threads of conspiracy surrounding 9/11, but I do believe that it was allowed to happen. I believe Darth Chaney and his crew would do anything to get what they wanted, and what we have now is exactly what they wanted: perpetual never-ending war.

We’ve all witnessed on these pages as Danny Sjursen has made his way to the truth, as ALL of the scales slowly fell from his eyes. I don’t fault him, he was a soldier and an officer, and there was a great deal of unpacking to do before he came to the truth. But maybe I’m being presumptuously unfair; maybe he’s known all of this all along, but was just unwilling to share it.


#4

"The story has been told so many times, that the tragedy doesn’t warrant a full recounting. Here’s the short version: poor intelligence and dubious evidence was used by gang of neocon ideologues to sell Americans on the need for regime change in Iraq (a country that had not been involved in the 9/11 attacks). Frightened, naïve, and ill-informed, the American people – and esteemed outlets like the New York Times – went along for the ride. We were told it’d be easy (a “cakewalk”) and self-financing. It was neither."

This is a great and truthful article, Major Sjursen, but I must say that thousands, if not millions of us were NOT convinced. We protested in the streets, yet we were simply steamrollered as if we did not matter. And that is a truth you can bank on as well. To the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court of the USA, We The People simply DO.NOT.MATTER. Just like you and your brave troops. Sad!


#5

This is generally better reporting than the hundreds of other recent pieces on the U.S.-led capitalist wars of occupation in the Mideast. However, I strongly disagree that the people of the U.S. and the New York Times ‘went along for the ride.’

The people of the U.S., after surrendering to the brainwashing of anti-communism and imbued with the myths of ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘individualism’ have generally been willing and enthusiastic participants in U.S. wars against the world since WW2 (and before). Hundreds of thousands in the U.S. protested, as did millions around the globe; but we were never able to build a critical mass nor figure out how to organize sustainably.

Even Danny Sjursen admits his own ‘patriotism’ at the beginning of this piece. It took a long and dirty swim through the sewer of war to turn him around. What did his education cost the Iraqis who he and his ‘brothers’ encountered? The draft ended decades ago. He volunteered.

As for the New York Times, it is a central organ in the capitalist war-mongering and propaganda machine. It does not ‘go along’ with the capitalist program; it is a leading voice in creating it.

In any case, Sjusen’s perspective remains refreshing as much of the ‘left’ rehashes old news and fails to organize to change the news of tomorrow.


#6

You were steamrolled under the guise of Patriotism, exceptionalism and years of Pentagon funded brainwashing where the people conditioned to “Support the troops”.

In this regard the US Citizen that supported that war was no different then any other Fascist that pledges their loyalty to the State. Operation Paperclip helped to cement the grip on the USA that native born Fascists had been trying to exert since before WW2.


#7

I look forward to the well-written and insightful articles contributed by Major Sjursen.

Too bad he had to learn the hard way about his country.


#8

One thing I’ll never forget is the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama choosing to bomb the sh!t out of Libya on March 19, 2011.

The timing was deliberate, a day before a peace march in many US cities. A deliberate signal. It was a face-fart for anyone who had any hopes whatsoever that the Democrats might slow down or impeded the runaway war machine.

In retrospect, it was as if our collective death sentence had finally been read aloud in court for the first time. The Pentagon was by that moment, fully, totally in charge…it had, in reality, been running the show since Sept. 12, 2001…but on March 19, 2011, I had to face the facts.

Our federal government is, more than anything else, a vast extortion scheme…garnering our wages, turning them into bullets, bombs, & barbed wire.


#9

Dear Danny, I am one who tried to stop the invasion. On March 19, 2003, I marched with over 5,000 down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. We knew the war was a lie. We knew why Bush and his thugs wanted war. But no one listened. The news outlets – helicopters overhead, reported a line or two. They said there were a few hundred people marching. What a lie! So many Americans tried to protest the start of an immoral war, but we were not listened to. I’m so sorry–for you and your “boys.” I’m so sorry for the Iraqi people. On this March 20, a day I will never forget, I mourn. I have lost a lot of my hope for the “freedom” of this country. There’s still a little–but it’s waning.


#10

Wasn’t that unmitigated economic crime labeled “Operation Iraqi Liberation” (OIL)? A not so subtle hint at why we were actually going to and did destroy Iraq and murder, maim or displace millions and commit environmental pollution on a massive scale?? Whether that title was factual or not, it stands as truth!

The other driver/prime-mover for war was Israel that along with their US lap-dogs/co-conspirators wanted, and planned for, the complete destruction of any ME/NA nation that could stand-up to Israeli racism and expansionism into all of Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran?


#11

Bravo! If only a third of the mainstream media would cover a story from one who was there,served time and came out with their wits about them. For all you ostriches who want to bury your head in the sand about 911, like a comment above, its not “conspiracy” it is high school physics! 105 stories cannot collapse in 12 seconds when a plane hits on the 92nd floor — there is an entire steel structure underneath that will not disintegrate - whatever…keep ignoring that FACT and your leaders will lead you down another war for absent purposes!! Enjoy!


#12

All true but lets not be too hard on Barack; a smart guy, a likable guy but a puppet like so many others. What’s he going to do? If you don’t do their bidding, your brains may wind up riding on the trunk in a downtown Dallas street.


#13

Dear Danny Sjursen - Please utilize your insights from direct experience and dig deeper into the practices of Petraeus specifically as regards the “Counterinsurgency Manual”, which distorted anthropological premises, purposes and methodologies in order to rationalize militarization of ‘hearts and minds’.

This level of manipulation is similar in tenor to the two psychologists that “advised” the torture program. I would submit that addressing - via publication as journalist - these deeper, more systemic abuses would indeed be a much needed service to your country.

The Network of Concerned Anthropologists is a group of scholars seeking to promote an ethical anthropology. They believe that anthropologists should not engage in research and other activities that contribute to counterinsurgency operations in Iraq or in related theaters in the war on terror. "

Dismayed by the blatant corruption, they published the “Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual”. It is a slim and concise little pocket volume that costs only $12.95 - priceless considering the insights. If you are, like me, strapped for cash these days, here is a link to a PDF version


#14

…continue to fall for any b.s. lie that promises “security”.

Danny Sjursen and Andrew Bacevich understand what these wars have done to our country
much better than Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, Pompeo and Bolton put together!


#15

I’m truly sorry for the suffering of Major Sjursen’s troops and for the suffering they caused the Iraqi people. I wonder if he asks himself why more of his compatriots don’t speak out about this ongoing military “blunder”. I remember walking out of the room where my late father sat watching that smug-faced Rummy on the Sunday morning TV and listening to his insipid words about the approaching “shock ‘n awe” campaign. Dad, ex naval officer, always supported military brass and their civilian “bosses”. He got up from his easy chair, walked over to me and asked, so how do you see it? I don’t know why exactly but words came to me, in effect, that we’d be bogged-down there for a thousand years. Notions of “blood feuds” among ancient civilizations surged through my brain. And so the powers that be stuck their big, belligerent, all-out-war noses, right in the middle of it and painted a target on our backs to boot. Or rather, they stuck yours, Danny, and your buddies’ noses and boots in it. I guess we, Big Bad America, showed them, didn’t we? And now it seems the country’s “officials” are in a spot similar to when they kept escalating the Viet Nam invasion to save their own faces from their own self-induced failures. And who made the difference to stop it then? Not college kids, not yippies, not politicians, not “the silent majority”, not religious people, though some tried to some extent. No, it was returning vets, disgusted with the lies, the disgrace, the brutality, the waste and the murder of a people who never really threatened us. They threw back their medals, grew their hair long, spoke out, started newspapers and coffee houses and told their stories in the Winter Soldier investigations. That got the truth out and turned the tide on those who make such facile life or death decisions. Plus some brave, independent reporters and photographers and news outlets that published them. But those kinds of possibilities seem to be effectively blocked now. That’s by military design, isn’t it, Danny? That and a blooming spread of cultural conditioning, like a strain of deadly bacteria. And if any care to get even a small whiff of how the great American majority feels about the horrors of war, then venture over to Counterpunch and find an article by Mike Uhl about the My Lai massacre. That happened 50 years ago this past week. It seems nothing much has changed with the not-so-silent-any-more “majority” since then either.


#16

If you look at some of those telephoto shots before the buildings came down, you’ll notice that a number of people were standing at or near the entry hole for the plane, waving clothes or towels for help. If that floor had been burning hot enough to soften or melt steel, those people would not have been there, they would have been “Crispy Critters.” Of course, the huge fireball on the backside of the building was that fuel load burning up in the air.
*When I was still a firefighter, we all studied highrise and skyscraper fires from around the world. Some of them burned like a torch for days until everything flammable had burned up. When the fire went out, the steel structure was still standing there.
*Those buildings were built to withstand the impact of a fully laden 747. To drop those buildings, especially at free-fall, required a lot more coordinated help than an airliner hitting them. And then there is Building 7…
;-})


#17

See WiseOwl’s comment above, Libya was also about to drop the dollar, hence their demise.


#18

So true, never in the history of the world had a steel framed structure been brought down due to fire, that is until 9/11(according to the official LIE), when 3 steel framed buildings came down.
They didn’t just come down, 90% was turned to dust in front of our eyes.


#19

Yesterday on the radio, John Kiriakou retold a story of a meeting he was in at the Pentagon just after to the invasion. The generals were telling Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other assembled war criminals how things were going. They stated that in so many months they would be in Tehran. Kiriakou states then director of the CIA whispered to him for clarification if they had said Tehran or Baghdad. If this story is true, and I believe it probably is, the plans were in place to invade Iran next.
John Kiriakou says the plans were derailed because the Iraqi’s did not greet the invaders with flowers (as we were told) and instead chose to fight back.


#20

True. Muammar Gaddafi’s also planned to introduce a gold-backed currency via an African Central Bank.