Saturday, December 13, 2003

Moving Target

That’s the title of Seymour M. Hersh’s article in this week’s (12/15/03) The New Yorker. One of America’s most respected investigative journalists, he delves into the plans the Defense Department has drawn up to counter the insurgents in Iraq – and perhaps repeat the same mistakes we made in Viet Nam. Hersh also reveals who the Pentagon enlisted to train our troops:

One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers—again, in secret—when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. “No one wants to talk about this,” an Israeli official told me. “It’s incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation” on Iraq.)

And then there’s this additional tidbit of news that is sure to win over the hearts and minds of Iraqis:

One of the key planners of the Special Forces offensive is Lieutenant General William (Jerry) Boykin, Cambone’s military assistant. After a meeting with Rumsfeld early last summer—they got along “like two old warriors,” the Pentagon consultant said—Boykin postponed his retirement, which had been planned for June, and took the Pentagon job, which brought him a third star.

You remember General Boykin…

In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that Boykin, while giving Sunday-morning talks in uniform to church groups, had repeatedly equated the Muslim world with Satan. Last June, according to the paper, he told a congregation in Oregon that “Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.” Boykin praised President Bush as a “man who prays in the Oval Office,” and declared that Bush was “not elected” President but “appointed by God.” The Muslim world hates America, he said, “because we are a nation of believers.”

Once again, American diplomacy at work.

There’s a lot more to this story. Read it all. This ain’t over.