WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – Even as critics in this country assail the U.S. Iraq war as a quagmire; more and more former high-level officials condemn the Bush administration’s “hijacking” U.S. foreign policy; and more anti-Islamic desecrations of enemy fighters are exposed every week; President George Bush appears to be turning a blind eye to U.S. crimes, choosing instead to stack the deck for his next possible war target: Syria.

 –News Analysis–

“I called Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice this morning and instructed her to call upon the United Nations to convene a session as quickly as possible,” Pres. Bush told reporters traveling with him to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Oct. 21.


The urgent UN action urged by Mr. Bush would be to deal with the “deeply disturbing” report of an investigation released one day earlier into the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last February. “The report strongly suggests that the politically motivated assassination could not have taken place without Syrian involvement,” he said.

That is the same strategy used by the Bush administration in its lead-up to the Iraq war, Muslim analysts point out: shrill U.S. claims of illegal aggression–accusations that are rejected as exaggerated by the accused–followed by an urgent insistent that the UN impose sanctions against the targeted Islamic nation; followed by U.S. military action.

“Today, more than two years after the war on Iraq began; every single piece of evidence confirms that President Bush, who was obsessed with ousting the Iraqi leader even before 9/11, fixed the intelligence to justify his unwise decision to invade a sovereign nation,” has again started the war clock “ticking down” for an attack on Syria, according to an unsigned editorial published Oct. 23 by Al Jazeera.com.

High-level dissent has begun, however, in this country. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, top-level officials in the Bush administration “hijacked” the country’s foreign policy, undermining U.S. democracy, according to the former chief-of-staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense … that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson said Oct. 19 in Washington, according to broadcast reports. Col. Wilkerson went on to accuse Pres. Bush and Secy. Rumsfeld of condoning the abuse of detainees overseas.

The Financial Times described Col. Wilkerson’s comments as the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by former intelligence official Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill early last year.

At the same time, an Australian TV program aired footage on Oct. 19 of U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The program also aired footage of a U.S. Army psychological-operations unit caught on tape broadcasting news of the burning to local residents. That message, read by a soldier identified as Sgt. Jim Baker, said: “You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt.

“You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be… You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban, but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are,” U.S. soldiers said in the local dialect.

The Pentagon announced it would investigate the incident.

According to the report, the corpses were set afire on hills above a village north of Kandahar after the two fighters were killed by U.S. soldiers the night before. Five soldiers stood around the fire, and two of them read messages over a loudspeaker, trying to provoke their enemy. The messages highlighted the fact that the bodies were laid out facing the Holy City Mecca, Islam’s holiest shrine.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai–already angered by earlier reports that U.S. troops had allegedly desecrated copies of the Holy Qur’an, and possibly concerned over the non-reply of Pres. Bush to his request that U.S. troops begin to pull out of Afghanistan–condemned the behavior of the U.S. soldiers.

“They deliberately wanted to incite that much anger from the Taliban so the Taliban could attack them,” Stephen DuPont, the journalist who filmed the incident while he was “embedded” with U.S. troops, said in an interview on the Australian broadcast “Dateline,” according to a transcript of the program.

“I think the psychological operations unit, who were responsible for the broadcast along with some other broadcasts to the Taliban, (were) quite well aware of” how their actions were improper and possibly illegal, Mr. DuPont said. “That’s their job. They’re PsyOps. They use it as a weapon. And the Americans are so frustrated. They’re frustrated because they can’t find the enemy. They’re chasing shadows all the time.”

That abuse was reported on the same day that detainees at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Cuba accused guards and medical officials of mistreating prisoners taking part in a camp-wide hunger strike. Detainees said large feeding tubes were forcibly shoved up their noses and down into their stomachs, with guards using the same tubes from one patient to another, according to broadcast reports.

The force-feedings reportedly resulted in prisoners vomiting up “substantial amounts of blood.” The detainees say no sedatives were provided during these procedures, which they allege took place in front of U.S. physicians, including the head of the prison hospital. The accusations were made to New York-based attorney Julia Tarver of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Ms. Tarver says one client told her: “Now, after four years in captivity, life and death are the same.”

While the Pentagon called the desecration of the bodies of the Taliban fighters “repugnant” and launched an investigation, and Secy. Rumsfeld called for an inquiry on Oct. 22, Pres. Bush has been silent about these alleged abuses.

“What was very noticeable was how the U.S. administration went out in force about the Syrian issue, immediately after the (UN) report,” Rhanime Abdelkader, a project director at the Mediterranean Satellite Television Network, told The Final Call. “I guess it was an attempt to deflect the attention from the incident in Afghanistan.

“People (in the Muslim world) are really very upset by this. This time they think the U.S. administration thinks that everything is permissible in its war against the Taliban,” she continued. “The average Muslim is skeptical to begin with, and incidents like this just reinforce the level of skepticism.”