Monday, September 22, 2008

The Iraqi Bloodbath and the U.S. Presidential Campaign

"Bloodbath and the U.S. Presidential Campaign
by Arthur Shaw Exclusive
Sep 9, 2008, 14:12

Editor's Note: Axis of Logic Columnist, Arthur Shaw's meticulous research pulls back the curtain on the ongoing genocide being perpetrated on the people of Iraq. His anguish over the unspeakable suffering of the Iraqi people is transparent. His indictment of the U.S. government and the only two viable political parties in the current presidential campaigns and their corporate media arm is damning.

- Les Blough, Editor

The great mass of US people ... this mass consists of a mix of liberals and independents ... look at the aggression/occupation by the US regime against the Iraqi people from a number of different angles.

  • Is this war good or evil?
  • Is this war profitable or costly financially?
  • Is the US regime winning or losing this war?

Growing elements of the US people see this war as an evil thing because this war grew out of an unscrupulous and imperialist greed for oil, camouflaged by a bunch of filthy lies from the US regime about Iraq's WMDs and Iraqi's complicity in 9/11 and these elements of the US people see this war as evil because the US regime prosecutes this war with genocide.

So, the US regime ... now run by lying and vicious GOPs ... should withdraw all of its troops from Iraq immediately and unconditionally.

Outside and apart ... politically, ideologically, and morally ... from the great mass of the US people is a sector of bestial US reactionaries [mostly GOPs but not entirely GOPs] ... about one-third of the US people ... who love this war against the Iraqi people whom the US regime and US capitalist press lie on so much.

US reactionaries, utterly brutal and inhuman, love this war because it is a bloodbath.

In this piece, we shall first look at the reality of the bloodbath, then talk about who is responsible for the bloodbath, and, finally, talk about the relation between the bloodbath and the US presidential campaign.


The US regime does not officially report Iraqi fatalities, whether military or civilian ... pro-imperialist or anti-imperialist. The Bush regime apparently believes official US reports about Iraq's casualties aren't newsworthy or harmful to US imperial interests. Although such reports are unpublished, the US regime keeps a precise and detailed body count of the Iraqi victims who have perished from this war the US regime started.

The Bush regime however uses unofficially a number of front groups and reactionary fellow-travelers to spread lies about Iraqi casualties, grossly belittling the magnitude of Bush's bloodbath in Iraq.

The most prominent of such Pentagon front groups or fellow-travelers is the Iraqi Body Count (IBC) which the US capitalist media most often cites as their source for Iraqi deaths.

There are about hundred of these Pentagon front groups and reactionary fellow travelers, including the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count and Brookings Institution Iraq Index, as two of the more prominent ones relied on by the capitalist press. The US capitalist press, the Pentagon, and the front groups are the key participants in the cover-up of the ongoing bloodbath in Iraq.

The Iraqi Body Count (IBC) undercounts the number of dead Iraqi bodies by something like 90 percent if their deaths were occasioned by the US aggression/occupation.

On its website, IBC says this about itself:

"IBC's documentary evidence is drawn from crosschecked media reports of violent events leading to the death of civilians, or of bodies being found, and is supplemented by the careful review and integration of hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures."

IBC says it uses "media reports of violent events leading to the death of civilians." So, if IBC doesn't see a "media report" about somebody being killed on TV, in newspapers, or other capitalist media, IBC doesn't count the person as dead, perhaps missing, but not dead.

IBC says it counts the "death of civilians." So, IBC ignores the deaths of Iraqis who are anti-imperialists and pro-imperialist who serve in the military forces on either side. These "miltary" Iraqis are still dead but IBC doesn't count them as dead. Many Iraqi who are killed are deemed "insurgents" which removes them from the category of "civilian." IBC doesn't count dead "insurgents." Insurgents don't carry insurgent ID. So, any dead Iraqi can be called an insurgent, especially victims of US air bombings, and not counted by IBC.

IBC counts "bodies being found," it says. Genocide operational units of the regular imperialist military and imperialist mercenaries units, which are unbelievably brutal and inhuman, throw bodies on flatbeds or into garbage trucks, then dump and bury them in mass graves dug by bulldozers. Often genocide operations go to great length to assure that bodies aren't found. Some used powerful acids that leave almost nothing of the bodies and others, like the Nazi, preferred ovens, leaving only ashes.

IBC says it reviews "hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures." Since the hospitals, morgues, NGOs [like, for example, IBC], and officials are directly controlled [while in Iraq] by the US quisling regime in Baghdad under Nouri al-Maliki and indirectly controlled by George W. Bush who exercises a military and murderous dictatorship over Iraq, the "figures" of these hospitals, morgues, and officials are either suspect or worthless.

In Dec. 2003, "Iraq's Health Ministry ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far ...", USA today reported. Since 2003, the US quisling regime in Baghdad changed its mind a number of times about releasing death figures. The quisling regime stops releasing death figures, then resumes, stops again, and resumes again, then stops ... so on and so forth.

Given the rigged methodology of IBC, no wonder IBC, other Pentagon front groups and fellow-travelers and the US capitalist media ... which almost always echo IBC extreme undercounts ... generally find less than 100,000 war-related fatalities in Iraq after 2003, the year the US regime began its aggression/occupation.

The true number of war-related deaths in Iraq since 2003 is at least in the vicinity of 1,500,000, carnage of historic proportions even by standards set by the "only good redskin is a dead redskin" US regime.

Today, the US regime follows a macabre policy based on the maxim that the only good Iraqi is a dead one. Today, about 1 out of every 25 Iraqis is good.


To uncover the magnitude of the bloodbath the US regime and US imperialists have introduced, we'll look at four major studies on the war-related deaths in Iraq:

  1. John Hopkins I survey released in Oct. 2004, finding over 100,000 war-related Iraqi deaths

  2. John Hopkins II survey released in Oct. 2006, finding over 650,000 deaths

  3. WHO [or, more correctly, the US quisling regime in Baghdad] survey, Jan., 2008, finding 151,000 deaths

  4. Opinion Research Business survey, Sept. 2007, finding over a 1,000,000 Iraqi war-related deaths.

John Hopkins I Survey, Oct. 2004

The first major study of Iraq's war-related mortality was conducted by a team of US and Iraqi researchers associated John Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious schools in the USA and the world.

The study, often referred to as John Hopkins I or JH I, was published in the UK medical journal "Lancet" in October 2004.

John Hopkins I or JH I found, as of Oct. 2004, over 100,000 people had perished from war-related causes after March 2003. JH I was interrupted before completion by an escalation in hostilities in Iraq in the summer of 2004. So, the premature termination of the JH I body count indicates that the actual body count, as of 2004, was above 100,000 fatalities.

We'll still use JH I's 100,000 number for the body count, as of Oct. 2004, because it's the best number we have for 2004.

US capitalist press noticed the JH I story about over 100,000 Iraq deaths by 2004, but the capitalist press buried the story in the back pages or as the closing item on news broadcasts. After less than a week of scanty coverage, the capitalist media dropped the JH I story entirely.

John Hopkins II Survey, Oct. 2006

John Hopkins II (or JH II) found, as of Oct. 2004, over 650,000 people had perished from war-related causes in Iraq since March 2003.

JH II was published in Oct. 2006, also by the UK medical journal "Lancet."

While IBC read media reports about fatalities, refused to count the deaths of enemy and friendly combatants, searched for dead bodies still lying in the streets, and reviewed the figures of morgues and hospitals, both John Hopkins studies, I and II, relied principally on house-to-house interviews.

In JH II, researchers asked households, claiming a war-related death after 2003, to show a death certificate for the deceased member of the household; 92 percent of households presented a death certificate for the deceased.

So, applying the 92% rate of death certificate presentation from the survey sample of 1800 households to the 650,000 deaths the survey found, we get 598,000 Iraqi deaths from war-related causes after 2003 documented by death certificates.

The JH II study, unlike its predecessor JH I, was completed despite the hostilities.

JH II stunned the mass of the US people who morally recoiled in horror from the evil and savagery of US regime, US reactionaries, and US imperialists in Iraq.

The vile US reactionaries ... many of whom, but not all, are GOPs ... upon hearing the news about 650,000 Iraqi casualties seem to rejoice and celebrate that the US regime has either slaughtered or caused the slaughter of so many people.

About this time, one of the most prominent of the US reactionaries, US Sen. John McCain, a GOP, seem distressed and suggested, using very polite language, that this war wasn't evil enough. He implied 650,000 Iraqi deaths wasn't enough. He said the war badly needed a "surge" in the US troop level, but McCain really meant a "surge" in the genocide rate or the terror the US regime inflicted on the Iraqi people.

The next month after JH II's Oct. 2006 release, an indignant mass of the US people ... a mix of liberals and independents ... voted out, in Nov. 2006, a number of pro-war lawmakers in the US Congress, forcing Bush, to fire Donald Rumsfeld, a vicious reactionary who then supervised the application of the genocide policies of the US regime in Iraq.

JH II marked a new stage in the exposure of genocide that the US imperialists perpetrate in Iraq.

The imperialist US regime and animalistic US reactionaries ... about a third of the US people ... see no essential difference between combat casualties and casualties resulting from imperial genocide. To these imperial reactionaries, the deaths that result from imperial genocide are just another form of combat casualties. Some US reactionaries shamelessly argue that genocide -- the systematic extermination of defenseless and helpless people without justification or provocation-- is superior to combat, that is, the fighting between enemy forces.

By the middle of 2006, a few few months before the release of JH II. combat between the heroic forces of the Iraqi patriotic resistance and the occupying US imperialist forces was at its all time peak at about 200 daily clashes throughout Iraq. A UN tally found that the death toll for civilians was about 100 per day.

So when JH II came out in October, we all knew that the US imperialists and their military forces -- US Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, CIA, and US mercenaries -- were cowards who had resorted to genocide along side other imperialist forces in Iraq.

The heroic forces of Iraqi patriotic resistance generally fight in small units of less than 20 soldiers and rely heavily on explosives and snipers to limit their casualties. There is no way that the US imperialists could kill enough fighters of the patriotic resistance to make up a sizable portion of the JH I's100,000 death as of 2004 or, not to mention, JH II's 650,000 deaths as of 2006.

Take the UN's summer 2006 tally of civilian deaths at 100 per day. If the daily civilian toll remained at the summer 2006 peak, that's 36,000 deaths per year.

Where did the 100,000 bodies in the incomplete Oct. 2004 JH I or, not to mention, the 650,000 bodies in the Oct. 2006 JH II come from?

The only way to get to get those numbers of kills is to round of people Nazis style and slaughter them.

This is what the US imperialists did and does.

At the Oct. 2006 release of JH II, the Bush regime, the US capitalist press, and the repulsive reactionaries rats who often infest the top positions of academia summoned their experts on survey-taking to nitpick JH II and its shocking number of 650,000 Iraqi deaths since 2003. But the experts from John Hopkins University easily blew away the nitpickers ... sent them running for their lives with their tails flying behind them.

After several months, the "see no evil" US capitalist press more or less dropped the JH II story, but the internet talking shops and continuing and intensifying academic interest kept the story about 650,000 deaths alive.

The only candidate for Democratic presidential nomination who publicly urged the public to study JH II was US Rep. Dennis Kucinich whose campaign never got off the ground, similar to most of the other Democratic hopefuls.

US Rep. Ron Paul, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, also publicly called attention to the John Hopkins II study. His campaign was also stillborn.

For the JH II study to get some traction, it needed a frontrunner on either the Democratic or GOP side to take an interest for or against the study or for the public spontaneously to pick up the story and run with it. But the front runners passed on the controversial JH II's finding of a huge bloodbath in Iraq, preferring at the time to debate whether the US regime was winning or losing the war. In the main, the public didn't pick up on the JH II story, the mass of the US people followed the debate about whether the US regime was winning or losing the war or whether the "surge" was working.

"WHO" Survey, Jan., 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) is an agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating body on international public health issues. Before the March 2003 invasion, US imperialists gave WHO "... the role of leading the Health Coordination Group, also known as the UN Health Cluster, a planning and implementing umbrella under which UN agencies, governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) teamed up to provide a coordinated response to health risks in Iraq" during the US aggression/occupation.

Two years after Oct 2006 release of John Hopkins II, WHO, acting as the two-faced mouthpiece for the ministry of health of US quisling regime in Baghdad announced the results of a survey conducted solely by employees of the health ministry. In January 2008, the Health Ministry survey found that as of 2006 "151,000 Iraqis died from violence between March 2003 and June 2006."

The households interviewed reasonably feared giving information about war-related deaths to government interviewers who represented one of the belligerents in the war. This was a conflict of interest that not even WHO could missed. To deal with conflict of interest from a PR point of view, the quisling regime brought in WHO to speak for and to legitimize the ministry's survey because nobody would believe the lies of the Iraqi quislings.

Remember that the health ministry of the US quisling regime in Baghdad is the same agency, as earlier mentioned, that ordered a "halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far ...", USA today reported in Dec. 2003.

The so-called "WHO" survey was a masterpiece in disinformation, killing at least three birds with one rock.

Among other things, the "WHO" survey:

  1. gave apparent corroboration to the lies of Pentagon front groups and fellow-travelers, like IBC, that minimized the Iraqi body count to a number around 100,000.

  2. contested John Hopkins II which found over 650,000 war-related casualties as of 2006

  3. promoted the false impression that the body count as of 2008 ... not the 2006 cut-off year of the "WHO" survey ... was 151,000.

Again, "WHO" survey found about 151,000 Iraqis died from violence between 2003 and 2006 and John Hopkins II found over 650,000 Iraqis died from war-related causes between 2003 and 2006.So, there is a gap of about 500,000 fatalities between the findings of WHO and John Hopkins II for the period between 2003 and 2006.

"When interviewers asked to see a death certificate at households reporting a death, it was presented in 92 percent of instances," John Hopkins II says.

So, applying the 92% death certificate presentation rate from the JH II sample of 1,800 households to the 650,000 value for Iraqi fatalities as of 2006, we get about 598,000 Iraqi war-related fatalities, as of 2006, documented by death certificates issued by the quisling regime in Baghdad with which WHO collaborates to deceive the world about the terror and inhumanity of the US occupation of Iraq.

WHO survey is silent about whether it asked households claiming a war-related death between 2003 and 2006 to present a death certificate.

But as long as JH II documents by death certificates 92% of the 650,000 fatalities as of 2006, it doesn't matter whether WHO survey was diligent enough to ask for death certificates.

The capitalist press, both US and foreign, manipulatively stretched the 151,000 number that "WHO" survey said applied to 2006 all the way to 2008.

The BBC, on Jan. 10, 2008, brazenly lied about the WHO survey in its headline and lead.

"One of the biggest surveys so far of Iraqis who have died violently since the US-led invasion of 2003 has put the figure at about 151,000", the BBC said, avoiding all reference in its headline and lead to the 2006 cut-off date for the survey.

The Washington Post, on Jan. 10, lied like the BBC in its headline, but the post was more sly than the BBC in its lead.

"A new survey estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country. Roughly 9 out of 10 of those deaths were a consequence of U.S. military operations, insurgent attacks and sectarian warfare."

The Post didn't mention 2006 as the cut-off for the WHO study, but the Post did say " three years following the U.S.-led invasion" if the reader took time to figure out that this meant 2006.

These two examples are typical of the manipulative tactics used by the capitalist press on the "WHO" survey story.

Opinion Research Business Survey, Sept. 2007

In September 2007, the Opinion Research Business, (ORB ), survey found about 1,200,000 war-related Iraqi fatalities since 2003.

ORB is an British polling firm based in London that had tracked public opinion in Iraq since 2005.

In January 2008, ORB published an update based on additional work carried out in rural areas of Iraq. Some 600 additional interviews were undertaken and as a result of this ORB's death estimate was reduced from 1.200,000 to 1,033,000.

Here is ORB's statement on the revision lowering the body count:

"Further survey work undertaken by ORB, in association with its research partner IIACSS, confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003.

"Following responses to ORB's earlier work, which was based on survey work undertaken in primarily urban locations, we have conducted almost 600 additional interviews in rural communities. By and large the results are in line with the "urban results" and we now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000."


To get a better look and a better feel for the tempo of US imperialist savagery in Iraq, we can break-up the war into four periods based on the two John Hopkins studies and ORB survey. Then we can divide the estimated number of casualties for each period by the number of months the period contains. This will give us the average number of people killed per month for each of the periods based on the survey estimates or, in other words, the monthly genocide rate.

The first period of the war is between the March 2003 beginning of the war and the Oct 2004 release of JH I, with an estimated 100,000 fatalities. When the 100,000 deaths are divided by the 19 months in this period, we get about 5,200 deaths as the monthly genocide rate the US imperialists inflicted, during this period, on the Iraq people.

The second period begins just after the Oct 2004 release of JH I finding 100,000 deaths and ends with the Oct 2006 released of JH II, finding an estimated 650,000 deaths. First, we reduce the total estimated casualties as of Oct 2006, that is, 650,000, by the 100,000 deaths that occurred before the second period to get 550,000 deaths for the second period. Dividing the 550,000 deaths of the second period by the 23 months the second period contains, we get a monthly rate of genocide of about 24,000 a month.

It's unclear whether the almost 500% increase in Iraq casualties between the first and second periods was a response to programmed genocide objectives or a response to stepped-up attacks by the Iraqi patriotic resistance.

The third period coincided with a phase of the war known as the "surge." The "surge" was [and is] not a rise in US troop levels, as advertised. Rather, the "surge" was a huge leap in the monthly genocide rate achieved chiefly with about 50,000 animalistic US mercenaries already in Iraq, playing an expanded role in the execution of the US genocide program.

Third period begins just after the Oct. 2006 release of JH II, finding an estimated 650,000 deaths and ends with the Sept. 2007 release of the ORB survey, finding over 1,000,000 deaths. We first reduce ORB's 1,000,000 deaths by JH II's 650,000 to get 350,000 deaths for the third period. Then we divide the 350,000 deaths by the 9 months the third period contains to get about 39,000 deaths, as the monthly genocide rate.

So, the the genocide rate "surged" from about 24,000 deaths to a horrifying 39,000 deaths per months during the third period.
War-related deaths in Iraq on this monstrous scale has very little to do with the intensity of combat operations, suicide bombers, and assassinations. In Iraq, a monthly genocide rate of 39,000 requires a Nazi-styled systematic and highly organized genocide project.
There has been many casualties in Iraq after the Sept. 2007 ORB found 1,000,000. But we don't have a credible study that updates after the ORB.


The people responsible for the bloodbath are those who started the genocide, do it, and prolong it.

Remember, US reactionaries and some other people, fooled by the reactionaries and the indifference of all sectors -- liberal, centrist, and reactionary -- of the capitalist press toward the genocide, deny the reality of a bloodbath.

Who started the bloodbath?

The US regime, as early January 2001, decided to steal Iraq's oil and later told the US people and the whole world a lot of lies about Iraq dealing with WMDs and 9/11 complicity to supply a pretext for aggression, occupation, genocide, and oil stealing.

All sectors of the mainstream of the US capitalist press -- reactionary, centrist, and liberal -- not only reported the lies of the US regime about Iraq, but also the capitalist press, especially the liberal sector, pitched and sold the lies that the US regime used as a pretext for aggression against Iraq.

Of course, US reactionaries, especially their vanguard of mercenaries, wanted most an opportunity to exercise their bestiality by killing humans and didn't care and still don't care, in the least, whether the reports about Iraq's WMDs and 9/11 complicity are true or false.
Who prolongs the bloodbath?

US regime and its mercenaries prolong the bloodbath by their refusal to pullout of Iraq.

Who commits genocide?

Most by far ... but, of course, not all ... of the casualties, found in credible studies, have been caused by the US regime and its allies, including degenerate and deranged mercenaries who are the second largest coalition armed force in Iraq after US troops. In other words, the most important ally of the US regime in the field are mercenaries.
Again, the US regime, much of the US capitalist media, and the reactionary sector of the US electorate deny that they either started or do or prolong the bloodbath. Indeed, they deny that a bloodbath has even taken place and argue that the occupation by US imperialist forces prevents a bloodbath from taking place.

But all three -- the regime, press, and conservative base -- are confirmed and habitual liars about Iraq. Hardly anything they say can be believed.

In this war, a kind of precedent or paradigm is being set for future wars of imperial aggression, occupation, genocide, and pillage.

Here is the moral and legal presupposition that underlies the bloodbath.

Either US regime morally and legally EQUATES its conquest of Iraq to the resistance of Iraqi people to the US conquest or the US regime judges its conquest morally and legally SUPERIOR to the Iraqi resistance to the US conquest. In other words, the US regime argues that murder and self-defense to prevent murder are the same thing morally and legally. The murderer, threatened by the self-defense of his intended victim, believes he, although a murderer, kills in self-defense, too.

When unprovoked conquest is seen as either the moral and legal EQUIVALENT of national defense against conquest or, much worse, when unprovoked conquest is deemed morally and legally SUPERIOR to national defense against conquest, then we know we're dealing with evil ... not just with everyday moral weakness ... with regard to the conqueror, in this case, the US imperialists.

Moral weakness is when we do wrong and enjoy it often very much, while we still believe in the difference between right and wrong and further believe in right over wrong, but we are just not strong enough to do right either all the time or most of the time or some of the time. Often propelled by an irresistible desire for the foulest pleasures, we do or pursue wrong contrary to our belief in what's right.

Evil is something very different from moral weakness. With evil the right principle is corrupted or perversely transformed into its opposite. Evil believes right is wrong and wrong is right. Evil does wrong and often delights in it, but unlike moral weakness, evil believes or believes absolutely that it is right to do wrong and to do only wrong to some people.

In this sense, the US regime under Bush, much of the US capitalist media, and almost all of the vile reactionary base of support for Bush are evil, not just morally weak.

Evil, as defined, started, performs, and prolongs the bloodbath.
This evil that resides in the reactionary sector of US politics is a problem not only for Iraq, but also for the whole world, including allies of US imperialists. Again, the November 2008 is about whether genocide committed either by US troops or US mercenaries or both is a legitimate tool for US foreign policy.


In 2007-2008, US Sen. Barack Obama rose in the opinion polls and won in primaries largely because he said or once said the US regime can't win the war; so, the US regime should pull out. Obama opposed the war mostly on pragmatic grounds of winning or losing.

As a result of the bloodbath or, more correctly, as a result of the escalation of inhuman genocide known as the surge, the US regime is doing better in the war than the regime did in 2007 when Obama's pragmatic argument for a pullout of US military forces gain traction with the public.

Now that the balance of forces on the field of battle has apparently and temporarily shifted, Obama's choices are:

  1. say pullout now whether the US regime is winning or losing because the war is morally and legally wrong

  2. say pullout now because the US regime isn't winning

  3. flip-flop and say don't pullout now because the US regime may be winning.

  4. say nothing or almost nothing and play rope-a-dope against McCain's blows.

[The rope-a-dope is a boxing style which a boxer employs by assuming a protected stance, lying against the ropes and allowing their opponent, at will, to hit him in the hope that the opponent (in this case, McCain) will become tired.]

Choice (2), denying the effect of the surge, is difficult to support and (4), the rope-a-dope is political suicide. Although we can't rule out (2) or (4), Obama will most likely pick either (1) or (3).

If Obama picks (3), that is, the flip-flop, he will lose in November. If he picks (2), that is, take the high ground, he may win or lose.

The pick that Obama will make from among these four choices is not just a matter of morality or legality, rather the pick is chiefly a matter of politics. What effect will picking (1) or (2) or (3) or (4) have on the liberal, independent, and reactionary sectors of the US electorate?

The reactionaries, who are about a third of the US electorate, are lost to Obama and none of the four picks will win them over, including the flip-flop. Face it, the reactionaries are evil, worthless, and rotten.

Obama has already won over the liberals who are also about a third of the US electorate. The liberals oppose the war mostly on moral grounds of right or wrong, not pragmatic grounds of whether the US regime is winning or losing. But Obama can still lose the liberals or a chunk of them if he picks wrong, that is, if he picks (3), the flip-flop or (4), the rope-a-dope.

The Democratic Party convention in Denver was largely a quasi-rope-a-dope affair.

The most likely outcomes of picking (3), the flip-flop, is Obama will NOT win over any of the vile US reactionaries who love the war because it's evil and Obama will lose some or most of the liberals who hate the war because it's evil.

So far with very modest success, McCain chiefly follows a strategy and tactics of pushing Obama toward (3), a flip-flop, to separate Obama from his liberal base or from a big chunk of it. McCain wants Obama to pick, at least, either (3), the flip-flop, or (4), the rope-a-dope, because McCain wants to show the great mass of the US people that Obama, by picking either (3) or (4), lacks the guts to defend the principle he professes in circumstances of probable political adversity.

Apart for the morality and legality issues, two key tactical concerns are: First, what percentage of independents oppose the war on any grounds? And, second, do the independents who oppose the war chiefly oppose it on moral grounds of right or wrong or on pragmatic grounds of winning or losing?

To win, Obama of course has to pick (1), this is, the US regime must pullout now whether the US regime is winning or losing because the war is morally and legally wrong. But he has to finesse it until the public, especially his liberal base, enters the discussion about the bloodbath. The problem is this liberal base follows and reacts only to the content in the capitalist media which largely ignores the bloodbath in Iraq, except to argue that the US regime must not pullout now because a bloodbath WILL ensue, not ALREADYoccurred before the pullout.

McCain (See the You Tube video) himself gave an opening to Obama or Obama's surrogate to bring the bloodbath into the campaign when McCain in April 2008 talked about "hundreds of thousands" of Iraqi casulties since 2003. If Obama can set the record straight, he will likely expose the evil nature of the war, forcing the mass of the fuzzy independents to recoil in horror from war of evil and imperial terror.
The initial step is for Obama or his surrogate to skillfully and authoritatively document the reality of the bloodbath and when the bloodbath is established as an incontrovertible fact for liberals and most independents [don't worry about or waste any time on reactionary garbage], then Obama can argue the bloodbath makes the pullout of US military fiorces morally and legally mandatory.

Bloodbath will give Obama the win in November on a silver platter, if he has the brains and the guts to use it.

Finally, the ultimate question in this struggle is whether the USA remains a nation under law or under the commander-in-chief who is above the law.

Bush says as commander-in-chief of the USA, he has the power and the right to lie the United States into war no matter how unjust the war or how big the lies. Bush says he can and will disregard any domestic US law or US treaty that interferes with his exercise of the war powers, including laws and treaties that ban torture and genocide. Bush says the "The Constitution is nothing but a Goddamn piece of paper."

The new military doctrine that Bush presents is that the commander-in-chief of the USA can start wars without regard for morality or legality and US military forces don't have to withdraw unless they're lose. And to avoid losing, US military forces, with authority from the commander-in-chief, can practice torture and genocide.

If this doctrine prevails in November 2008, we must expect many US imperialist wars in the near future.

"Bush is right," McCain says.

McCain often sounds like he has already picked the countries he intends to attack and the lies he intends to tell about these countries.

So, November 2008 is really about whether the rule of law or only what US Sen. Robert C. Byrd calls the "cloak of legality" prevails over the USA.