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The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

(Cross-posted from Daily Kos)

CNN ran a "Developing" news story on the growing situation between the United States and ally Turkey. It appears that the US military has officially warned its own military officers and troops to plan for alternate routes that do not include the air base at Incirlik, Turkey.

Transcript and a little bit of my own two cents below the fold.

This is a live transcription from Barbara Starr's Pentagon reporting:

B. STARR: Well, Don, at this hour, in fact, a top General here in the Pentagon is meeting with reporters in the briefing room, taking questions about the latest developments in Turkey.  Lt. General Carter Ham, the Director of Operations on the Joint staff - struggling to explain a bit about how involved or not involved the US military plans to get in this situation, especially in that border region where Kurdish PKK rebels launching out of Northern Iraq are attacking into Turkey and Turkey is becoming extremely concerned, returning artillery shell fire back across the border.  The US military is simply trying to stay out of the way.

Look - if that situation wasn't enough, we have the second situation in Turkey - this business of a Congressional resolution declaring as genocide the killing of Armenians by Turks during WWI.  As a result of that problem, the Turks are threatening to cut off access to the critical airbase at Incirlik, Turkey.  What is the latest there today?  Well, the US military has very quietly confirmed they have issued a warning order to troops - to US troops - to be prepared to look at alternative air routes into Iraq without having to go into Turkey.  About 70%, Don, of US military cargo into Iraq goes through Turkey or Turkish airspace.  If Incirlik is cut off, the US has to be ready with other options.

And now indeed, a warning order has gone out to be so-called "prepared to execute other options".  We're talking about looking for aircraft, fuel, cruise lines, air supply routes out of Europe.  It will be much more expensive and much more time intensive for the war.

I have to say - I really think that the resolution against Turkey at this time was really, really stupid.  I agree with Philip Geraldi at HuffPo:

From the Turkish point of view, the United States is completely hypocritical. The United States became a great power through its genocide of the red Indians and is hardly in a good position to point the finger at others. It currently is fighting a self-declared and self-defined global war on terrorism in which it claims the right to attack terrorists anytime and anywhere.


Embroiled in Iraq without any easy way out and heavily dependent on the supply line passing through southern Turkey, Washington has much more to lose than to gain by turning Ankara into an enemy.

It's the passage I bolded from my live transcription of Barbara Starr's reporting on CNN and the one from HuffPo that bothers me the most, though.  The White House is on record loudly decrying the resolution in advance of its passage.  In that respect, Pelosi et al have given Bush cover.  More dangerously, however, is the idea that IF Ankara severs ties with the US and doesn't allow us to fly over Turkey's airspace nor use Insurlic air base, Bush can credibly blame the Democratic Congress for cost increases and time increases.  And while Turkey should rightly have considered the Bush Administration and the former Republican Congress hypocritical, they had no reason to think so of the new Democratic Congress - that is, until they gave them a gold-plated reason.

Yes - I KNOW that that's ridiculous in light of how badly GWB and his entire Administration has bungled Iraq - but think about it - at a bare minimum, it gives him some measure of political cover or at least a bonafide distraction from legitimate criticism aimed in his direction.

In my opinion, this whole thing was stupid and totally avoidable.  What were they thinking??

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posted by RenaRF at 12:51 PM 6 comments