Created on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:23
Tool Time: Rove Goes But the Malevolent Machine Rolls On
by Chris Floyd
arl Rove has resigned, and for the moment that seems like good news
â€” although given the history and M.O. of the Bush gang, it will probably lead to something worse in one way or another. For example, look how much better things are now that Don Rumsfeld has gone!
We've progressed from his last-days, panicky memos about curtailing the war (while spinning it as a victory) to a full-bore, wide-open escalation of the conflict which the chief surger, Gen. David Petraeus, tells us could last for 10 more years.
Or for another, even more glaring example, look how things improved at the Justice Department after John Ashcroft was replaced by Alberto Gonzales. Colin Powell was a weak and pathetic bagman, whoring his media-inflated prestige to sell a war he didn't believe in â€” but aren't things so much better with Condi Rice in charge at State?
o, if there's one rule of thumb that consistently applies to the
Bush Gang, it's this: every move they make â€” whether by choice or
forced by events â€” makes matters worse. So while we all wait for the
other shoe to drop on Rove's resignation â€” i.e., the real reason behind
his sudden bug-out â€” the Bush Gang will doubtless be putting the boot
in somewhere else.
But of course, for all
the media oxygen it has consumed â€” and will continue to consume â€”
Rove's departure is small potatoes. Despite his vaunted "genius" for
political skulduggery, in the e nd Rove too is a drab factotum, a
bagman, a greasy cog in a vast machine that will keep grinding on,
killing and corrupting, without him. (Assuming that Rove is actually
stepping away from the machine, which is most unlikely.) Stories of far
greater significance than the slinking exit of a dirt-smeared toady
have appeared in the last two days â€” items far more revelatory of the
hellish world that the porcine minion has helped make on behalf of his
The boiling core of this hell is Iraq. Stories breaking
while Rove and Bush were puddling up on the White House lawn revealed a
new abyss of criminality in the war crime that the tearful tyrant and
his henchman have engendered: the Mafia running guns to Bush's favored
in Iraq. As the Guardian reports, Italian anti-Mafia
police, tracking down a drug deal, instead came across shipment of
105,000 AK-47s procured by the underworld for their paying client: the
Iraqi Interior Ministry. The Ministry said the guns were intended for
its security forces â€” i.e., extremist sectarian militias in government
The Pentagon denied knowledge of the Mafia guns, but the
middleman for the deal was a Dubai company with "scores of supply and
service contracts for the U.S. occupation," the Guardian reported. The
company, "citing the names of 'friends' in top U.S. military ranks in
Iraq," said it had written approval from the Pentagon authorizing it
"to do all kinds of business."
On the same day, Newsweek's
Christopher Dickey wrote
of how thousands of American weapons
ostensibly intended for Iraqi security forces have been flooding the
Middle East, often ending up in the hands of extremist groups â€” or
violent loners. As Dickey notes, this influx of deadly weapons on the
streets is tied to last week's revelations about the vast arsenal of
weapons that have disappeared from American training programs for Iraqi
At least three U.S. government agencies are now
investigating the massive "disappearance" and diversion of weapons
Washington intended for Iraqi government forces that instead have
spread to militants and organized gangs across the region. The
potential size of the traffic is stunning. A report by the U.S.
Government Accountability Office last month showed that since 2004,
some 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols, bought with U.S. money
for Iraqi security forces, have gone missing.
And looming behind
all of these deals and disappearances involving small arms is a far
more deadly and far-reaching dereliction of duty: the scarcely-reported
failure of the U.S. military to secure the vast dumps of weapons and
explosives left behind by Saddam's army in 2003. As David Gardner
us in the Financial Times:
This discovery [the
missing 190,000 weapons] might be considered the mother of all known
unknowns, were it not that in March this year the GAO published a drily
damning report on the coalitionâ€™s failure to secure scores upon scores
of arms dumps abandoned by the Iraqi army after the 2003 invasion â€“ and
that by October last year it had still failed to secure this giant
toolbox that keeps the daily slaughter going in Iraq.
this sounds like rank incompetence: "Whoa, we didn't even notice that
Interior Ministry deal with the Mob! Goodness me, we just plumb forgot
to track those 190,000 AK-47s! Golly gee, we were just too busy to get
around to those arms dumps. Been meaning to do it forever, but
something always came up."
But it isn't incompetence. Certainly,
the decision not to find and secure the weapons dumps was a matter of
deliberate policy. The decision not to track the vast store of American
arms being given to Iraqi security forces was also deliberate policy â€”
perhaps devised by the general in charge of arming and training Iraqi
security forces at the time: one David Petraeus. And the arms
trafficking with the underworld by factions in the Bush-installed Iraqi
government is almost certainly deliberate policy as well, either with
the direct connivance of Washington, or else with the usual wink and a
nod and a looking-away.
The Mafia arms deal is one of those
glimpses we get from time to time into how the world really works, in
the finely meshed intertwining between the underworld and the
"upperworld" â€” "respectable" Establishment society, "legitimate"
governments led by "honorable" officials. The BCCI affair in the 1980s
was another such glimpse. BCCI was an international bank that fronted
for what the U.S. Senate later called "one of the largest criminal
enterprises in history." Backed by Establishment grandees and national
governments around the world, BCCI ""laundered money on a global scale,
intimidated witnesses and law officers, engaged in extortion and
blackmail. It supplied the financing for illegal arms trafficking and
global terrorism. It financed and facilitated income tax evasion,
smuggling and prostitution," as journalist Christopher Bryon, who first
exposed the operation, put it.
The George Bushes, father and
son, were hip deep in BCCI sleaze. Bush I used the bank to secretly
fund Saddam Hussein's war machine â€” then intervened to quash federal
investigations of the scam. George II was bailed out of one of his many
business failures with a $25 million honeypot from a BCCI bank,
brokered by the mysterious money-man Jackson Stephens, who in the 1992
presidential election had the signal distinction of being a top
contributor to both Bush I and Bill Clinton. Bill has since been
"adopted" by the elder George as an honorary son. And why not? When he
took office, Clinton killed off the ongoing probes into his
predecessor's entanglements with BCCI, and even killed a lot of Iraqis
over an almost certainly bogus attempt on his future "dad's" life.
nexus where organized crime, terrorism, drug-running, covert ops and
government policy churn and thrash together is where the business of
the world gets done. It fuels the machine serviced by tools like Rove,
the machine that has brought so much death and anguish to Iraq â€” and is
slowly devouring the entrails of America as well.
For more on the machine and its ravening hunger, see these stories that have appeared since Rove's resignation: