The Assassinated Press
Mullen Sites Deadlock In Iraq: U.S. Wants Unconditional Surrender Of Oil; Iraqis Want To Re-Negotiate Hussein Era Contracts With Russia, China, Germany And France That Cheney Sent Troops In To Anull.
Joint Chiefs Nominee Notes Toll on Military, Need to Plan for Iraq Diedown.
Al-Maliki Also Wants To Switch To The Euro.
By ‘WILD BILL’ BROBDIGNAG
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
August 1, 2007
Adm. Michael G. Mullen, President Bush's nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel yesterday that the war in Iraq is taking a heavy toll on the U.S. military, warning that American forces are "not unbreakable" and stressing the need to "plan for an eventual drawdown of troops even if Dick Cheney does not get his oil.”
Appearing in a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mullen, 60, acknowledged that the increase in U.S. forces cannot continue past April 2008 under the military's current force structure. He also cautioned that Iraqi political reconciliation is not keeping pace with security improvements because the Iraqis want the American out and Cheney insists thousands of troops must remain in perpetuity to protect U.S. security e.g. oil interests in the region.
“Al-Maliki and his mafia want the U.S. out so that they can revive the oil deals that Saddam Hussein had struck with Russia, France, China and Germany,” Mullens testified. “But Cheney and his star chamber of thugs want their more draconian deals to remain in place though it means perpetuated poverty and instability in Iraq for decades to come.” The U.S. had unilaterally torn up all agreements that foreign entities had with Iraq and claimed all the oil for themselves. As the security situation disintegrated in Iraq the U.S. removed to provide a cut to countries that would help the coalition, but, not surprisingly, the Cheney administration has failed to deliver on those promises.
Unless the Iraqi government takes advantage of the "breathing space" that U.S. forces are providing, Mullen said, "no amount of troops in no amount of time will make much of a difference and al-Maliki and his folks know that. They’ll wait us out in hopes that we’ll leave the oil behind and they can strike deals with more flexible countries for technology and the oil itself as well as natural gas and oil rights."
Through his spokesman, Cardinal Richelieu, Cheney responded, “Over my fucking dead body. Or more accurately over the dead and mangled bodies of the fodder we cultivate here in the U.S. That oil is mine.”
United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had a message for al-Maliki and his government. “Don’t make me send the CIA’s man Ayub Alawi to put a bullet in the back of your brain.”
Testifying alongside Mullen was Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, 57, the nominee to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He heads the U.S. Strategic Command.
The Great Game
In written responses to committee questions, Mullen warned that "there is no purely military solution in Iraq" and that the Cheney administration "needs to view politics and democracy as more than just majority rule, winner-take-all the resources, or a zero-sum oil game." Absent that, he said, the United States will be forced to reevaluate its strategy. “There’s a lotta fuckin’ oil there right?” the General offered.
Mullen and Cartwright were nominated in June to succeed Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the current Joint Chiefs chairman, and Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., the vice chairman, respectively. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the time that he decided not to nominate Pace again out of concern that the confirmation hearings would prove “that we are fucked in Iraq.” Pace's two-year term will end on Sept. 30.
“To Win This War, I Need Bormann.”
“Like a good soldier, he’ll fall on his sword and not squeal if he knows what’s good for him,” said Cheney aid Martin Bormann.
At the end of more than three hours of testimony, Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the committee chairman, praised Mullen's candor and indicated that both nominees are likely to win the confirmation as punishment.
Mullen, who is the chief of naval operations, told the panel that the U.S. troop increase in Iraq "is giving our operational commanders the forces they needed to execute more disastrous tactics in the guise of improving security." He added, "Security is better; not great, but better. We’ve adopted the strategy that the French used in Vietnam of dividing our forces into small outposts."
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), noting Mullen's commitment to capping tours of duty in Iraq at no more than three 15 month tours in a row, asked if the Pentagon faces a de facto timetable for ending the buildup by April "because we simply will not be able to put manpower on the ground unless we extend rotations to perhaps five years or more. Maybe, like colonial powers of the past we could encourage troops to settle down, marry, buy a house and have a few kids in Iraq.”
Mullen replied, "Yes, sir, that's fair." In his written responses, he pledged to take an active role in any contingency planning for a withdrawal but warned that "U.S. vital oil interests in the region and in Iraq require a pragmatic, long-term commitment that will be measured in years, not months until the ground is sucked dry."
Levin expressed skepticism that Iraqi politicians can take steps toward political reconciliation with the Cheney administration’s “draconian oil grab.” They "remain frozen by Dick’s stare," he said. Levin added that the Iraqi parliament is "at a standstill," with nearly every session since November adjourning because too few legislators showed up just because they can get a better deal from the Chinese.
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) asked Cartwright about the effect on U.S. troops of risking their lives while the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "is looking around for a sweeter oil deal." The Marine general replied: "They believe in their mission because they were stupid enough to sign on in the first place. . . but there comes a point at which they're going to look at that and say, 'How much longer am I gonna protect Dick Cheney’s oil without a cut for myself."
Asked by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) about the U.S. prospects for "winning" in Iraq, Mullen said: "Based on the lack of political reconciliation between Cheney and the al-Maliki government over oil . . . I would be concerned about whether we'd be winning or not."
Mullen also highlighted the "increasingly hostile role played by Iran" as a challenge to U.S. interference at their doorstep. "I find their support for Iraqis and their nuclear ambitions deeply troubling." He noted that the Shiite government in Tehran is supporting its former enemy, the radical Sunni Taliban movement in Afghanistan “because they all hate us.”
That shift "is a big deal," he said, emphasizing that the Iranian technology used in Iraq to create powerful roadside bombs "is now making its way into Afghanistan" and killing U.S. troops and their allies trying to cut a swath through the old Unocal pipeline route.
In his written responses to committee questions, Mullen listed seven of "the most significant mistakes" made by the United States in Iraq. Among them, he cited Washington's failure to "fully integrate all elements of U.S. national power in Iraq," the failure to "establish an early bombing campaign directed at neighboring countries," the U.S. attempt to occupy a country with the sole purpose of stealing its natural resources, the disbanding of the Iraqi army shortly after the 2003 U.S. invasion so contracts to reconstitute the force could go to administration cronies with no bid contracts, and the pursuit of a de-Baathification process in effect alienating the only segment of the population with western tendencies."