Dear Mr. President,
Counterterrorism, Qaeda-affiliate, militants, insurgents, National Security. Like the Abracadabra of magicians, these phrases seem possessed of magical power when used by the magicians and tricksters of Washington to justify any atrocity, any war, any act of aggression, any crime against humanity and any violation of the Constitution or international law. Last week we sent an emergency shipment of 75 Hellfire missiles to a non-existent Iraqi Air Force which had exhausted their supply, justifying it as necessary to help Iraq fight a growing Qaeda-affiliate insurgency in Iraq (today’s NYT, “U.S. Sends Arms To Aid Iraq Fight With Extremists” p. A1). While the Iraqis don’t have Predator or Reaper drones or any combat aircraft—yet—they strap the Hellfires beneath the wings of small Cessna turboprops and fire them “at militant camps with the CIA secretly providing targeting assistance.” (Shades of the CIA secretly providing targeting information for Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons attacks against the Iranians back in the 1970s!) The Iraqis paid for the Hellfire missiles (a little over $5 million, nice pocket change for Lockheed Martin) but we gave them 3 sensor-laden Aerostat balloons and 3 surveillance helicopters to help fight the Qaeda-affiliate insurgency which is gaining more and more territory in western Iraq and across the border in Syria. (So much for your pledge to bring the Iraq war to a “responsible end.”) But this is only the beginning. Next year we deliver 10 ScanEagle drones, 48 Raven drones, the first of the F-16s they bought and, if Congress approves it, lease at least 6 Apache helicopter gunships to them. Meanwhile, our counterterrorism folks say they’ve “effectively mapped the locations and origins of the Qaeda network in Iraq and are sharing the information with the Iraqis.” Hold on here, a minute, Mr. President, I thought Iraq was lined up with Iran and Iran was our mortal enemy, one of the Axis of Evil countries. Or maybe that was last month and the map’s changed once again. It’s hard to keep up with all the to-ing and fro-ing going on behind closed doors, all the Abracadabras and secret agreements and handshake deals. The only thing that never changes is that We the People always lose and the merchants of death always win no matter which side we’re on because war is good for business and the business of America is war. Peace on earth, good will to men, Mr. President. And a belated Mele Kalikimaka.