Between Iraq and a Hard Place – 7, The New Crusade and the Black Flag

I write this account of predicted events near about the Ides of March 2003, four years to the day on the Ides of March 2007:

March 2003:
Great American Caesar’s Comet!

A lover of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar will know the following story. The bard of Avon took it from Plutarch’s The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. Fair Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, obsessed over evil omens cropping up at the time her husband became dictator of Rome. The most dramatic of these was the appearance of a new comet. It had appeared over Rome’s skyline in early evenings of March 46 BCE. She believed it warned of her husband’s imminent death. Caesar had also been warned of death’s danger by the augur Vestricius Spirinna to take place on the Ides of March. Caesar, however, would have none of a woman’s hysteria about bearded stars or balk at entering the Senate on the Ides of March because of revelations surrendered from the entrails of sacrificial animals. On that day marking the mid-point of the month, he entered the Senate where a throng of senators led by Marcus Brutus and Cassius stabbed him to death. It could be said that Caesar’s own entrails spilled on the marble floor augured Brutus’ vain attempt to preserve the republic against dictators.

It now comes to me to ask, how fair Calpurnia might have interpreted an ominous sign for our American Caesar, President G.W. Bush. Back when a comet of a different kind fell just six weeks and five days before he plunged the US military headlong into Iraq?

On 01 February 2003, the US Space Shuttle Columbia made her descent to earth with mortally wounded wing, shot through unawares by debris from a rocket booster that launched her into space a week or so before. The fires of re-entry smuggled hot death through her open wing and Columbia with all her crew consumed, broke apart transiting the Texan morning skies like a great shattered comet trailing sparks.

Objectivity deemed this merely a black comedy of technical errors. But prophecy?

The space shuttle, icon of American genius and heroics, falling out of the sky ablaze is more. It is a portend, a sign of a fall from grace for America the Bold.

I wrote the following two days after she fell to earth:

Nestled in the grass in a field in eastern Texas, lies a mission patch from the fallen space shuttle Columbia. It somehow had miraculously survived its fiery fall out of the morning sky. The names of the seven heroic astronauts who died make an outline of their space shuttle. A glowing trail like a comet’s tale streaks through the shuttle’s outline ending in a many-pointed star. It is a star very similar to that filmed by a hundred amateur video cameras across Texas as it fell to earth like a flaming comet.

Mabus will soon die, then will come,
A horrible undoing of people and animals… when the comet will pass.

Has the comet [foretold above by Nostradamus] just passed?

Is this the chilling portent of things to come for America if they should hurry off to war?

Destiny holds it breath as America primes its war machine.

(03 February 2003)

ASSESSMENT (March 2007):
Perhaps a vision of a comet falling from space need not be in Nostradamus’ mind a solely natural cosmic phenomenon. He was wont to mingle poetic metaphors in his history of the future. Was he aware that much of the space debris fell over the town of Palestine, Texas; or, that the crew included an Israeli (Jewish) astronaut? A coincidence, or, more food for omen thought?

The question I posed back on 03 February 2003 may have been answered at daybreak over Baghdad on 30 December 2006. The first democratically elected Iraqi government said their morning prayers and executed a former dictator, Saddam Hussein, by hanging. It happened just before sunrise on the early starlit morning when Comet McNaught first became visible to the naked eye. In the coming two weeks, this comet soon rivaled the brightness of flaming debris thrown out of the sky across eastern Texas by comet Columbia.

Falling comets punctuated the time of the Iraqi Caesar’s descent and destruction. The power of dictatorship ripped from his hands six weeks after America’s comet fell. They tried, hung and buried him three years later after the appearance of another comet, the brightest in nearly a century. If he is Mabus, (a reverse word play on “Saddam” according to the rules of Nostradamian cryptograms), his death marks the onset of a horrible destruction of people and animals–the world’s fate following the death of Nostradamus’ Third Antichrist.

Let us return to the fate of America’s Caesar.

Tank tread graffiti on shifting sands of Iraq marked the US military’s lightning fast occupation and overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. What I had already predicted as the easiest part of this catastrophe was a mission accomplished: the blitzkrieg, panzer-style invasion of Iraq from the south by US-Coalition forces had secured the country in exactly six weeks (20 March–01 May 2003). Saddam Hussein had lost himself in the urban jungles and spider holes of Anbar Province and all that was left of any resistance were the occasional pot shots of AK-47 wielding gangs of Baathist diehards gone guerilla. George Bush’s Operation Iraqi Freedom had enjoyed the most one-sided successful invasion and occupation of a country since the Nazi armies invaded Holland and Denmark in 1940. The statues of Saddam began falling throughout Iraq while desert winds soon erased the US tank track paths to glory. I knew what was coming and I waited for the objective first signs of a new Vietnam to surface in the aftermath’s afterglow of quick and easy victory.

July 2003, just two months after the US president announced that all major military operations were accomplished; current events had stepped on the booby trap of prescient potential. Phase two had begun. The new Vietnam had started. It was time for me to talk about it. I ask you to remember the times in which I said the following. Such dire statements today seem commonplace, but over three years and eight months ago, my predictions were deemed radical and alarmist:

There are new columns of smoke arising in Baghdad. They are no longer the inky apocalyptic clouds of flaming oil pits set alight in a desperate attempt of a moribund dictatorship to mask the city from US smart bombs. The new columns of smoke ascend from the flaming wreckage of US trucks and personnel carriers that almost daily fall prey to guerrilla attacks. The preemptive US war against Iraq has come and gone and it would seem that many of my interpretations of prophecies from Nostradamus and others are playing out. Saddam’s government fell quickly. US priority was placed on getting the oil flowing from Iraq before restoring water and power and social order to its people. The invasion was quick and turned out to be the easier venture than the murky postwar occupation. And, as I feared, Iraq now descends into the guerrilla war I predicted would follow the invasion. Iraq has become the new Mecca of pilgrimage for militant Islam. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will continue sending their irregulars across the Iraqi border seeking a baptism of fire and a taste for American blood.

Terrorism in the world has escalated, not diminished, after the US occupation of Iraq. Moreover, it would seem that even so-called civilized countries have adopted the terrorist military taste for preemptive attack without an objective cause. Each day, week, month, passes with no proof to back up President Bush’s motivation for this war. The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have apparently become weapons of mass occultation, soon to become weapons of amassed fictions.

(11 July 2003)

ASSESSMENT (March 2007):
President Bush was a guest at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, in late March 2004. It is tradition for the president to step up to the podium and cut up, show his comedic skills, etc., being his own standup comedian poking fun at his own presidency. In the past, some presidents might take a subtle jab at a joke or two, keeping their presidential pride in tact. Others, such as Bill Clinton made ambitious home movies. I recall his little “day-in-the-life” as president documentary during his last appearance at the RTCA roast in 2000. The first lady, Hillary Clinton, by then a Senator of New York, made Mr. Clinton the stay at home husband homemaker. The most memorable bit was Clinton running out of the White House chasing after his wife’s limo with her forgotten brown bag lunch. I think he had a kitchen apron on. Can’t be sure of it though.

President Bush had tried to one-up the funny on the Clintons during his guest appearances narrating rather funny slide shows. I predict the president has a future in stand-up comedy after he leaves the White House. He is that good! Anyway, the press association’s dinner held in March 2004 convened just five days past the first anniversary of the US Iraqi invasion. Bush put on one of his narrated slide shows. Up prompted a slide of Bush peering out of the Oval Office window. The president identified it as his attempt to find those pesky weapons of mass destruction. One shot after the other displayed the president looking under couches and furniture, sometimes with the aid of his Scottish terrier, declaiming, “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere… maybe here? Nope.  Maybe over… here? Uh uh… dang!” Most of the banquet guests were laughing.

I know I did not laugh when the news broadcast the president’s skit. I love tasteless jokes but one has to time their delivery. Perhaps after the WMDs were found, then he could play with it as a joke about being better late than never. Those weapons were the chief reason Bush went to war. Cutting up about them before they were found, a year and nearly 600 dead Americans coming home from Iraq in flag draped coffins later, is bad timing. His coarsely timed slide show was about as tasteless as if Hitler had entertained guests at the Berghof narrating a slide presentation of the Fuehrer himself “creeping” on all fours, Blondi, his German shepherd, by his side. The slides change showing dog and Fuehrer looking under couches and furniture in the grand hall of the Berghof while Hitler is saying, “Dose Jews have got to be someveere… maybe hier? Nein. Maybe oober… hier? Nichts… Oh Scheise!… wo ist die Juden! Ha ha ah… ! In diesem ash tray?”

Three months and a death toll rising to 862 dead Americans later, after Bush’s WMD (weapons of mass destruction) yuck yuck hunt, weapons inspector David Kay, the head of Bush’s Iraq Survey Group who had led the effort to find Saddam’s offending arsenal of doomsday weapons stashes told the BBC on camera the following: “Anyone out there holding–as I gather Prime Minister Blair has recently said–the prospect that, in fact, the Iraq Survey Group is going to unmask actual weapons of mass destruction, [is] really delusional.”

The war has entered its fifth year this week. There is a complete lack of evidence of the existence of the WMD. They were the grounds for going to war and killing as of this writing on the Ides of March 2007, some 3,220 American, 258 coalition soldiers, plus a death toll of civilian, Haliburton and military contractors approaching 770 killed, and estimates of anywhere between 66,000 to 600,000 Iraqis. The wounded and crippled for the cause of non-existent WMDs include nearly 25,000 coalition and 7,761 civilian contractors and privately contracted mercenaries. The Iraqi wounded and injured are uncounted–perhaps uncountable.

The reasons for going to war are beyond suspicious. They are sinister. Back in 2001 the man waving his vial of dummy anthrax under the noses of the UN Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powel, recorded a different view. There was no arguing a US case for invading Iraq. The same was true of his successor, Condoleeza Rice–the woman who would breathlessly bogey man threats before Congress of “mushroom clouds” rising over nuked US cities if we did not stop Saddam’s imminent threat of WMD use. Back in 2001 before the 9/11 attacks, both went on record saying Saddam Hussein was no threat at all. He had not the means to build or wage war with weapons of mass destruction.

What happened to change their tune?

Returning to the bulletin from 11 July 2003 where I predicted the WMDs were a ruse, I added the following:

At least the oil is real. It hasn’t vanished into thin air.

In January 2003, I did an interview for LauraLee Online where one of my predictions earned a lot of angry emails. On the show I predicted that people of the future would label America’s planned invasion of Iraq as the first stage of its “Oil Wars.” I said these imperial adventures intended to prop US-friendly puppet democracies first in Iraq, then Iran and Saudi Arabia with the US strategic goal of dramatically lowering fossil fuel prices while increasing the flow of oil to US industries. (Oh, before I forget, I might also add Liberia to the mix. A few thousand US troops will be arriving there shortly, as it is yet another failed country needing our “help” that according to the BBC sits on a recently discovered and potentially rich oil reserve.)

(11 July 2003)

By the first summer of the occupation in Iraq, no one was writing nasty letters about calling it an “Oil War” anymore. The Vice President’s former oil rig construction company, Halliburton, received carte blanche bids to rebuild Iraq. How is it not, therefore, an oil war?

Back in the latter half of April, US Marines and army units of the 1st Armored and 3rd Divisions entered Baghdad with specific orders to secure the buildings and records of only one Iraqi government agency. They did not receive orders from the Bush administration to secure the hospitals, nor the administrative offices overseeing the water systems or food distribution. The Marines did not protect the national archives or the museums. Law and order were not their first priority, nor was sustaining food, power, water or protecting cultural heritage of the Iraqi people. They left the ministries that supply these needs and the museums wide open to plundering mobs. They left the “liberated” citizens of Baghdad at the mercy of darkened streets filled with hooligans and the looters for weeks on end. Hundreds of Iraqi civilians died in the coming chaos. The only assets of the Iraqi people carefully guarded by the invaders were the buildings of the Ministry of Oil.

(11 July 2003)

US occupiers, in my estimation recorded back in July of 2003, were testing with combat boot and unarmored humvee a future path through the black future of a La Brea Tar Pit of oil war woes. What would be the outcome?

John Hogue
(07 April 2007)

More predictions.

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