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Laying Naked Neo-Conservative Incompetence

Amidst the shocking images that Americans were forced to come to grips with this week, documenting the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by United States military personnel, was yet another invaluable clue about the likely verdict of the cosmic principle that astrologers describe as Saturn on the performance of the Bush Administration.

As I wrote in “It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn” (http://www.hpleft.com/050503.html):
“Saturn is a planet that astrologers associate with the need to accommodate the demands of physical reality, and with testing the theoretical and material foundations of all human activity. Beginning in the fall of 2003, and throughout 2004, transiting Saturn will be conjunct the natal Suns of both President Bush and the United States of America. This passage of Saturn over the natal Sun of a person, corporation or nation, typically brings a period of intense struggle, resulting in either a hard earned victory, and the assumption of even greater responsibilities – or in failure, and a need to take stock of errors and change direction. ”

One of the obvious theoretical assumptions that one must be able to make when even considering an incredibly ambitious project, like the occupation of Iraq, is that properly trained human assets are available to participate in such an operation. As Douglas Jehr and Eric Schmitt wrote in the lead of their story, “In Abuse, a Picture of G.I.'s Ill Prepared and Overwhelmed“, in the May 9, 2004 edition of The New York Times:

“The orders that sent most of the 320th Military Police Battalion to Iraq came on Feb. 5, 2003, as part of the tide of two-week-a-year soldiers being called up from the National Guard and the Army Reserve in preparation for war.

“In theory, the battalion's specialty was guarding enemy prisoners of war, a task that was expected to be a major logistical problem. In fact, few of the 1,000 reservists of the 320th had been trained to do that, and fewer still knew how to run a prison. They were deployed so quickly from the mid-Atlantic region that there was no time to get new lessons.“

Clearly, as the complete Times article documents, many of the troops responsible for this outrageous behavior were inadequately trained. Some were apparently not even conversant with the requirements of the Geneva Convention. Thus, these inexperienced reservists were likely to be easily manipulated by the military intelligence officials who would eventually assume control of the detention units at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

According to the timetables presented by military officials, the worst incidents all took place in November 2003 – at the very moment that transiting Saturn had formed what astrologers describe as its planetary station (that is, a change in apparent direction, as seen from the perspective of earth) in conjunction with the exact degrees of the United States' and the President's respective natal Suns. In May 2003, in the same Human Potential Left article quoted above, I wrote:

"The last week of October 2003 and first week of November 2003 could bring a decisive turning point for the Bush Administration, and the nation."

The Bush Administration's obvious rush to war in Iraq must be considered in any examination of the root causes of this debacle. The Bush Administration apparently embarked on this completely optional military operation without first establishing that it had the required portfolio of human assets available – with United States forces already deployed in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and South Korea, and a substantial contingent of its experienced military jailors and interrogators also occupied at Guantanamo Bay. Why was the Bush Administration so intent on attacking Saddam Hussein in early 2003 that it was willing to do so while relying on inadequately trained National Guard troops – and without sufficient support from allies to fill the void? What was the rush? In an analysis entitled Bush 2004? (http://www.hpleft.com/031303E1.html), published on March 13, 2003, I speculated:

"Weather conditions in Iraq do mandate that any spring military campaign happen sooner rather than later. But, there is no credible reason why a campaign must begin in March or early April, rather than September or October 2003 – unless the Bush Administration has non-military, political reasons for pushing the earlier date.

"In light of the way the Bush Administration used the “War on Terror” as a partisan campaign issue in the recent mid-term elections, one has to ask if Bush and his handlers are absolutely intent on getting the war, and any nasty aftermath, out of the way before Duyba's 2004 re-election campaign begins in earnest. They must know that the aftermath, particularly one with the United States and Britain attempting to pacify a population with as many repressed ethnic and religious resentments as they are likely to find in a post-Hussein Iraq, is apt to be very messy, with ethnic violence and retaliatory terrorist acts directed at American and British soldiers and civilians, both in Iraq and throughout Europe and the United States. Hence, I strongly suspect that the Bush administration is calculating that if they stick to the current timetable, the worst of these outbursts will be over, and their policy vindicated, by the fall of 2004. While I think their policy is not politically, but ideologically, driven, I think the timing of this policy is clearly designed to facilitate what they hope will be Dubya's reelection in November of 2004. If this is indeed so, then their policy is not only fundamentally unsound but also wildly unpatriotic. They would be putting the long-term peace and security of this nation at risk for purely selfish, partisan purposes. They would have earned the strongest possible condemnation.”

In my opinion, such condemnation is now in order. The Bush Administration has soiled the good name of the United States, its intelligence services, its soldiers, and its people. Through its slipshod preparations for a completely optional and ideologically driven military campaign, it has put the lives of both United States citizens and servicemen at greater risk. It has even jeopardized the success of the Iraq enterprise. If this were a parliamentary system, calls for the resignation of the government, and new elections, would be in order. And Saturn has yet to even form its climatic final conjunction with the nation's natal Sun, and the President's Sun – both of which will occur in June 2004, and later be cemented in place via the President's and the nation's “return charts” for the twelve months beginning in July 2004. We are entering a profoundly dangerous period for this nation, one in which further setbacks in Iraq, and in the battle with Islamic extremism, are probable. As images of the sexual humiliation of Iraqi men held in United States custody spread around the world, neo-conservative incompetence, arrogance and unhealthy ambition is laid naked. The wisdom of skeptical Americans, both liberal and conservative, who opposed a rush to war, is confirmed.

Matthew Carnicelli © 2004. All rights reserved.

Originally published May 8, 2004; revised May 9, 2004.

For more on Saturn's conjunction of the United States Sun see:

Darkness Ascending
Documenting the Impact of Cosmic Gravity, Part II
Getting to Know You
Documenting the Impact of Cosmic Gravity, Part I
The Reagan Legacy
Take Responsibility
Why John Kerry Matters
The Turning Point
Saturn and the Rush to War
Mission Accomplished?
Rumsfeld Awakens from the Dream
A Viewer's Guide to a Gathering Storm
It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn