Andy Divine in his latest essay takes on the vexing question of Gina Haspel.
Mr. Divine’s record of support for the Iraq War is recorded here in his 136 page mea culpa:
This edited by his hirelings Mr. Appel and Mr. Bodenner. The question is whether the reader can stomach this carefully edited record, not of his bad judgement, as a political hysteric he is incapable of such an exercise, but of his political conformity, wedded to his status as true believer in the current iteration of that politics. Yet there are variations on his theme, according to its audience. His public confessions are made to measure.
This is his apologia as published at The Huffington Post, via Politico (2009) . Call this a trivialization of an horrific crime!
Headline: Andrew Sullivan: I Supported The War In Iraq “Like A Teenaged Girl Supporting The Jonas Brothers”
Today at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Andrew Sullivan discussed his blogging — past, present and future — before a packed lunchtime crowd and it was Sullivan’s initial support for the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq that proved a prominent topic.
“I supported it like a teenage girl supporting the Jonas Brothers,” confessed Sullivan, who currently writes and blogs for The Atlantic. Sullivan would later admit that his support for the war was misguided and told the crowd that it wasn’t without its consequences.
“You lose all your friends,” said Sullivan. “You make enemies of everyone you used to hang out with. … My traffic went down by 60 percent when I denounced the war, but it went back when those on the left thought I was one of them.”
Sullivan also discussed his earlier days of blogging, when he did so without pay, save for a few generous donations from fans. “Lynne Cheney wrote us a check,” said Sullivan. “Those were the days.”
Although Sullivan’s blog is now one of the most popular destinations online, it took a while for his blogging to earn mainstream credibility.
“Chris Matthews refused to mention my blog on his show for years because he thought it was beneath journalism.”
Or this 2008 Slate essay :
Headline: How Did I Get Iraq Wrong?
Sub-headline: I seriously misjudged Bush’s sense of morality.
But my biggest misreading was not about competence. Wars are often marked by incompetence. It was a fatal misjudgment of Bush’s sense of morality. I had no idea he was so complacent—even glib—about the evil that good intentions can enable.
Even the negative expressions of his narcissism feeds his very political/moral toxicity!
Ms. Haspel had help in the torture of ‘prisoners of war‘ : Look to this collection of broadcasts from Democracy Now that shown the guilt of Ms. Haspel and her once fellow traveler Mr. Divine:
That Ms. Haspel had help administering torture, read this Economist news story:
Headline :How America’s psychologists ended up endorsing torture
Sub-headline : New revelations reveal a surprisingly cosy relatinoship between the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense
Of vital importance to the question of Mr Divine’s faith in American ‘competence ‘ to wage war, there is this evidence:
Headline: White phosphorus use by US-led coalition forces in Iraq condemned by humanitarian groups
Sub-headline : The deadly chemical can cause horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone.
Human rights groups have criticised the use of the white phosphorus chemical by US-led coalition troops in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
New Zealand Brigadier General Hugh McAslan admitted the potentially lethal substance had been used as they attempted to free civilians trapped in neighbourhoods controlled by Isis.
He said that around 28,000 civilians have travelled out of Isis strongholds in the city over the last few days.
Iraqi troops assisted by US-led coalition forces were in control of 90 per cent of the western area of Mosul, he added. But Isis is still holding out and using people as human shields, according to the United Nations
Brigadier General McAslan told NPR: “We have utilised white phosphorous to screen areas within west Mosul to get civilians out safely”.
However, the deployment of the chemical was criticised by Human Rights Watch.
“No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. “US-led forces should take all feasible precautions to minimise civilian harm when using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria.”
In early June, an internet café in Raqqa was hit by white phosphorus, killing approximately 20 people, a local resident told The New York Times.
Use of white phosphorus has been called into question, as it puts civilians in danger, but Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) claimed on 4 June that it was used to create a smoke screen.
A US-led coalition statement said: “While protecting civilians fleeing from the Jamouri Hospital the Coalition used smoke and precision munitions to suppress the enemy and provide cover for fleeing civilians.
“In conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces, the Coalition used appropriate munitions to suppress and obscure ISIS snipers so that the civilians could reach friendly forces.”
On the use of ‘Depleted Uranium‘ in Iraq:
Headline : US fired depleted uranium at civilian areas in 2003 Iraq war, report finds
Sub-headline: Dutch peace group Pax says findings show US was in breach of official advice meant to prevent suffering in conflicts
US forces fired depleted uranium (DU) weapons at civilian areas and troops in Iraq in breach of official advice meant to prevent unnecessary suffering in conflicts, a report has found.
Coordinates revealing where US jets and tanks fired nearly 10,000 DU rounds in Iraq during the war in 2003 have been obtained by the Dutch peace group Pax. This is the first time that any US DU firing coordinates have been released, despite previous requests by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Iraqi government.
According to PAX’s report, which is due to be published this week, the data shows that many of the DU rounds were fired in or near populated areas of Iraq, including As Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah. At least 1,500 rounds were also aimed at troops, the group says.
This conflicts with legal advice from the US Air Force in 1975 suggesting that DU weapons should only be used against hard targets like tanks and armoured vehicles, the report says. This advice, designed to comply with international law by minimising deaths and injuries to urban populations and troops, was largely ignored by US forces, it argues.
More contemporaneously, this report from Foreign Policy on the use of ‘Depleted Uranium’ in Syria:
Headline: The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria
Sub-headline : The airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas employed the toxic material, which has been accused of causing cancer and birth defects.
Officials have confirmed that the U.S. military, despite vowing not to use depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, fired thousands of rounds of the munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when it was used hundreds of thousands of times, setting off outrage among local communities, which alleged that its toxic material caused cancer and birth defects.
U.S. Central Command (Centcom) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles* in the country’s eastern desert.
It remains unclear if the November 2015 strikes occurred near populated areas. In 2003, hundreds of thousands of rounds were shot in densely settled areas during the American invasion, leading to deep resentment and fear among Iraqi civilians and anger at the highest levels of government in Baghdad. In 2014, in a U.N. report on DU, the Iraqi government expressed “its deep concern over the harmful effects” of the material. DU weapons, it said, “constitute a danger to human beings and the environment”and urged the United Nations to conduct in-depth studies on their effects. Such studies of DU have not yet been completed, and scientists and doctors say as a result there is still very limited credible “direct epidemiological evidence” connecting DU to negative health effects.
The potential popular blowback from using DU, however, is very real. While the United States insists it has the right to use the weapon, experts call the decision to use the weapon in such quantities against targets it wasn’t designed for — such as tanks — peculiar at best.
Mr. Divine was in 2003 a Neo-Conservative. So the reader just might look to the Project for the New American Century and its august membership, as clue to Mr. Divine’s fellow travelers, and their signatures to PNAC’s Statement of Principals:
All of this cumulative evidence points directly to Mr. Divine’s culpability in advocating /defending the War In Iraq, The War on Terror. Or simply refer to it as the political realization of Huntington’s paranoia, named the Clash of Civilizations.
No matter how cogently Mr. Divine may argue his polemic against Haspel, she is a torturer, who destroyed the evidence of that torture, she is a criminal. Mr. Divine was once an apologist for her crimes, and many more: yet he can’t escape, he can’t mitigate nor can he expunge, his political/moral culpability. His attempt at self-rescue is still-born in his logorrhea. He also luxuriates in a kind of an unseemly rhetorical pornography of torture, as a kind of melodramatic enhancement.