Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets

I’ve heard over the years that one of President Clinton’s former national security advisers Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger was as eccentric as he was brilliant, but damn Berger Hid Archives Papers Under a Trailer, Probe Shows

On the evening of Oct. 2, 2003, former White House national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger stashed highly classified documents he had taken from the National Archives beneath a construction trailer at the corner of Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW so he could surreptitiously retrieve them later and take them to his office, according to a newly disclosed government investigation.

Let’s see, he had a security clearance and had not only seen the documents before, but authored some of the content. What the heck was he thinking. This is something the Right excels in, filling in Berger’s motivations with comic book level conspiracy theories and I will leave them to it.

Marine charged in killings of Iraqi civilians

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif — A Marine Corps squad leader was charged today with 13 murder counts stemming from the killings of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year, his attorney said.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich was charged with 12 counts of murdering individuals and one count of murdering six people by ordering Marines under his charge to “shoot first and ask questions later” when they entered a house, according to charging sheets released by defense attorney Neal Puckett.

Wuterich, of Meriden, Conn., was also charged with soliciting a corporal to make false statements and making another staff sergeant make a false official statement.

As many as eight Marines in all may be charged in the case. (Note I had linked to the AP story at the LA Times and the link went behind a password wall so I substituted the Reuters link)

The Right’s reaction hasn’t changed too much since the story broke – i.e. these things happen in a war, the Marines were just defending themselves, Rep. John Murtha is still despicable for wanting to hold any guilty participants to account ( Murtha as would Marines would want charges brought to uphold the honor of the Corp, but the Republican Fighting Keyboardist have a difficult time grappling with issues that involve honor). For some background , What Happened at Haditha. There are social issues involved here thus the very strong reactions by commenters that would like to brush aside the whole sordid affair and let those accused go without punishment or with just a hand slap. This is where the going gets a little tough. Its natural to feel sympathy for those accused who had been placed in an extraordinarily stressful situation, but that sympathy should not push us from taking a moral course. These Marines might have acted in the heat of the moment, but the attempted cover-up was cold and calculated. Bloggers and pundits didn’t write the rules of engagement, the Marines did. The Marines or rather the Navy performed the investigation and brought the charges. The brass knows that even in the heat of battle you don’t rush into a bedroom and gun down children hunkered down on the floor shaking in fear.

Well we finally get a look at that column by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann that was Ok’s by the CIA, but censored by the BushCo ( some parts as you’ll see are still censored), Redacted Version of Original Op-Ed

But Tehran was profoundly disappointed with the United States response. After the 9/11 attacks, xxx xxx xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xx set the stage for a November 2001 meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s six neighbors and Russia. xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx xx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx Iran went along, working with the United States to eliminate the Taliban and establish a post-Taliban political order in Afghanistan.

In December 2001, xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx x Tehran to keep Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the brutal pro-Al Qaeda warlord, from returning to Afghanistan to lead jihadist resistance there. xxxxx xxxxxxx so long as the Bush administration did not criticize it for harboring terrorists. But, in his January 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush did just that in labeling Iran part of the “axis of evil.” Unsurprisingly, Mr. Hekmatyar managed to leave Iran in short order after the speech. xxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx the Islamic Republic could not be seen to be harboring terrorists.

xxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx xx xxxxx xxx xx xxxxxxx This demonstrated to Afghan warlords that they could not play America and Iran off one another and prompted Tehran to deport hundreds of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who had fled Afghanistan.

Those who argue that Iran did not cause Iraq’s problems and therefore can be of only limited help in dealing with Iraq’s current instability must also acknowledge that Iran did not “cause” Afghanistan’s deterioration into a terrorist-harboring failed state. But, when America and Iran worked together, Afghanistan was much more stable than it is today, Al Qaeda was on the run, the Islamic Republic’s Hezbollah protégé was comparatively restrained, and Tehran was not spinning centrifuges. Still, the Bush administration conveyed no interest in building on these positive trends.

These jacks just keep jumping out of the box. The warbloggers keep trying to whip the AP Iraq kerosene story as though everything the AP has ever reported hangs in the balance while on a regular basis we get another revelation about the Bush agenda. How could an average American come to have an informed opinion about Iran without this story. A member of the so-called “axis of evil” helped us fight Bin Laden and the Taliban after 9-11. While This news alone doesn’t magically transform Iran into a Chrysler van of soccer moms it does demand that we look at Tehran in a way that sees them as some shade of gray rather then all bad or good and obviously not all evil. While I found the recent elections encouraging, we as a nation, if I judge by Fox and various conservative pundits are not ready for debates that include subtle points of consideration. You’re either with the people that are withholding information or you’re against them. We’ll all heard the term fog of war, but they seemed determined to keep the American public in a fog. If you don’t get with the Bush program you’re a traitor, if you’d like all the facts you’re a traitor and if you’re a marginally literate adult that is keeping track of the neocons deceptions you’re just not drinking enough of the kool-aid.

Unfortunately, the window for pursuing a comprehensive settlement with Iran will not be open indefinitely. The Iranian leadership is more radicalized today, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, than it was three years ago, and could become more radicalized in the future, depending on who ultimately succeeds Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader. If President Bush does not move decisively toward strategic engagement with Tehran during his remaining two years in office, his successor will not have the same opportunities that he will have so blithely squandered.

Billmon has some amazing analytical skills and this An Iraq Retrospective is proof. Too bad Iraq is not one of those bar bets where everyone that said I told you so can have a good laugh.

In the imperialism business, troops equal money, and the neocons are under-capitalized. The Iraq deal was sold and leveraged on the assumption that the invasion and “stabilization” forces could be drawn down relatively quickly after Saddam was gone. But now the deal is starting to go south. The debt service costs are threatening to eat the neocons alive. At some point they’re going to have to tell the CEO, and then the board of directors. The regulators (voters) may be slow, but even they may figure it out sooner or later. Heads could roll.

The Imperial Stretch
May 18, 2003

More at the link.

“Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets” –
William Faulkner