The newspaper of record of the US elite’s “liberal” wing presents the Iraq War Logs story in its own now-practised style.
Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look — at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence — at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran’s role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.
But the field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military. The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in Iraq still continues as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has sought to assemble a coalition — that would include the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr — that will allow him to remain in power. But much of the American’s military concern has revolved around Iran’s role in arming and assisting Shiite militias
The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran’s leaders and reaffirmed the agreement between the United States and Iraq to withdraw American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Suppose, though, that the paper had instead concentrated on the revelations of war crimes. I suspect the political consequences would be zilch.
So long as crimes against peace are deemed okay and indeed necessary, reactions of disgust and horror (I haven’t seen any yet) at news of ~70 000 verifiably dead civilians are merely so much eyewash.
The New York Times‘s use of this occasion to vilify Iran – just as it responded to the Afghan War Logs by highlighting the “Pakistan connection” – is at least honest.
According to the Justice Department, “the very determination of whether and in what circumstances the United States’ armed conflict with al-Qaeda might extend beyond the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan is itself a non-justiciable political question”. Within the political branch, Congress, having “authorized the President to use necessary and appropriate force against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces”, now leaves to the Executive the responsibility of determining what counts “as an organization within the scope of this authorization.”
Princeps legibus solutus est.
Operations of CENTCOM, the steel in the US ship of state according to Obama, could conceivably be extended from the Red Sea to the Taklamakan Desert.
This gets univocal support from all branches of the US elite, from the beast’s beating heart to distal tricksters in the media.