From Volume 7, Issue 11 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 11, 2008

United States News Digest

Iran Warmongers Move To Oust Admiral Fallon

March 7 (EIRNS)—Don't be fooled: The forthcoming March 12 article in Esquire magazine by Thomas P.M. Barnett, former top policy advisor to warmonger Donald Rumsfeld, which pretends to praise Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, head of the Central Command, is an attempt to get Fallon—a major, clear-headed opponent to a flight-forward war against Iran—kicked out. Barnett is a radical globalizer and proponent of imperial preventive wars against targetted developing-sector nations. His ideas are a menace to every republican tradition in the United States.

Barnett targets Fallon viciously, in his piece called "The Man Between War and Peace," which accurately describes how Fallon has repeatedly called for engagement with Iran, at a point when the White House was foaming at the mouth for war. But Barnett then says, "How does Fallon get away with so brazenly challenging his commander in chief? The answer is that he might not get away with it for much longer. Bush is not accustomed to a subordinate who speaks his mind as freely ... and the president may have had enough." Barnett then predicts his ouster, a lie that has now been picked up internationally.

Lyndon LaRouche notes that the time when the Bush-Cheney warmongers could launch a war against Iran, "at will," is over. They could still do it but, not "at will," especially in the context of the election campaign. Also, John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is also a problem for these warmongers, LaRouche said. McCain has serious advisers who are against the Iran folly. LaRouche said that "sometimes reality takes over," and that Bush will tend to be much more "practical" than his messianic vision of war has been previously.

Improved Mental Health for Iraq Soldiers—Except Suicides

March 6 (EIRNS)—This morning, the Army released the fifth survey of the mental health of soldiers in Iraq since 2003. Compared to 2006, most indicators of mental health, including combat exposures and morale, showed improvements in 2007. This is not surprising, given that the level of violence in Iraq had declined significantly when the survey was conducted, last Fall, compared to a year earlier. However, certain risk factors remain high, including the 15-month deployments, and the fact that this year's survey included a significant proportion of soldiers on their third and fourth deployments. About 25% of those soldiers reported mental-health problems, including lower morale.

The suicide rate remains an anomaly despite the improvements in all other indicators. Earlier this year, the Army reported its highest suicide rate since well before 2001. The 29 confirmed suicides (24 Army, 5 Marine and 1 Navy) in Iraq as of Nov. 14, 2007 were higher than at the same time in 2006, yielding a rate of 24/100,000 which, if it held for the entire year, would be the highest in Iraq since the war began. The middle months of the 15-month deployments appear to be riskiest time for soldiers under stress.

Ickes: Dems Have an Obligation To Win the White House

March 4 (EIRNS)—"Are there issues that we don't know about Senator Obama that need to be developed and fleshed out?" Voters, and then delegates to the Democratic convention need to answer this question, because the Democratic Party has a responsibility to win the general election, senior Clinton campaign advisor Harold Ickes argued on PBS's March 3 "Charlie Rose" show. There are eight more months to go in this campaign, in which economic problems are going to be a major point of debate, so nobody should "rush to judgment," he remarked. "The treatment that our candidates on the Democratic side have given to each other is child's play compared to what is going to happen when our nominee emerges and John McCain and the Republican attack machine turn full force on them. We know it.... It is going to be a very close general election, and we cannot afford to take any risks or missteps," Ickes pointed out.

The Tony Rezko trial in Chicago has just begun. "The American public doesn't know, and most importantly, delegates to the national convention don't yet know what is underneath there. Maybe there is nothing. Maybe there's something. But I will tell you one thing, we have an obligation. We want to win the White House, Charlie. And we have an obligation to make sure that the candidate that is nominated is the single strongest candidate we can put up. The one thing we know: We know everything about Hillary Clinton. The one thing we know is, we don't know nearly enough about Barack Obama."

White House Okays Torture, Despite Military Opposition

March 2 (EIRNS)—Lead editorials in the International Herald Tribune and New York Times denounce George W. Bush for planning to veto a law that holds the CIA and all U.S. intelligence services to the U.S. Army Field Manual's banning of torture. The editorials list the practices banned by the Manual, such as waterboarding, putting hoods over the heads of prisoners, sleep deprivation, simulated assassinations, using military working dogs to threaten—i.e., all the horrors that the photos from Abu Ghraib, and testimony and various trials exposed as being practiced.

More than 43 retired U.S. generals have demanded that such practices be ended by all agencies of the U.S. government. The editorials also mention that Lt. General Michael Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress last week that waterboarding violates the Geneva Conventions. Bush isn't even listening to his favorite, Gen. David Petraeus, whose letter to his troops is cited in the editorials. The letter says, "Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy.... They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary."

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