/ s"We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." // - From George Orwell's 1946 essay "In Front of Your Nose." / / g - "In George Orwell's "1984", the state remained perpetually at war against a vague and ever-changing enemy. The war took place largely in the abstract, but it served as a convenient vehicle to fuel hatred, nurture fear and justify the regime's autocratic practices." // -"Learning To Love Big Brother, George Bush Channels George Orwell", by Daniel Kurtzman, San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2002 // "We have perpetual war for perpetual peace. We have the Enemy-of-the-Month Club: one month it's Noriega, one month it's Saddam Hussein, one month it's Khadafy, currently it's Osama bin Laden. We have a deranged president. We have despotism. We have no due process." / - Gore Vidal, May 6, 2002 / g "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." bsbs - James Madison, the master builder of the U.S. Constitution, 1795
"Extending the war into Iraq would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Exceeding the U.N.'s mandate would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." / - From " Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" by George H.W. Bush ( Bush I ) and Brent Scowcroft, Time Magazine, 1998 // "I firmly believed that we should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a secretly entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war."
/ "...BRENT SCOWCROFT, one of the Republican party's most respected foreign policy gurus yesterday appealed for President Bush to halt his plans to invade Iraq, warning of "an Armageddon in the Middle East". In yesterday's article, Mr Scowcroft argued that by alienating much of the Arab world, an assault on Baghdad, would halt much of the cooperation Washington is receiving in its current battle against the al-Qaida organization." // "While Armageddon aficionados might be easily dismissed, when Brent Scowcroft says an attack on Iraq will lead to Armageddon and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa warns it will "open the gates of hell," these matters take on more weight. Likewise, when a Saudi diplomat explains that Bush's "obsession" with Iraq will lead to tragedy, one thing becomes starkly clear: Armageddon, tragedy and "gates of hell," aren't words traditionally used by generals and ambassadors." / -The Guardian UK, 8/15/2002 _______________________________
"Don't Attack Saddam" / By Brent Scowcroft Wall Street Journal August 15, 2002
August 15, 2002
Our nation is presently engaged in a debate about whether to launch a war against Iraq. Leaks of various strategies for an attack on Iraq appear with regularity. The Bush administration vows regime change, but states that no decision has been made whether, much less when, to launch an invasion.
It is beyond dispute that Saddam Hussein is a menace. He terrorizes and brutalizes his own people. He has launched war on two of his neighbors. He devotes enormous effort to rebuilding his military forces and equipping them with weapons of mass destruction. We will all be better off when he is gone.
That said, we need to think through this issue very carefully. We need to analyze the relationship between Iraq and our other pressing priorities -- notably the war on terrorism -- as well as the best strategy and tactics available were we to move to change the regime in Baghdad.
Saddam's strategic objective appears to be to dominate the Persian Gulf, to control oil from the region, or both.
That clearly poses a real threat to key U.S. interests. But there is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.
He is unlikely to risk his investment in weapons of mass destruction, much less his country, by handing such weapons to terrorists who would use them for their own purposes and leave Baghdad as the return address. Threatening to use these weapons for blackmail -- much less their actual use -- would open him and his entire regime to a devastating response by the U.S. While Saddam is thoroughly evil, he is above all a power-hungry survivor.
Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals for his aggression. There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression. Rather, Saddam's problem with the U.S. appears to be that we stand in the way of his ambitions. He seeks weapons of mass destruction not to arm terrorists, but to deter us from intervening to block his aggressive designs.
Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities. Our pre-eminent security priority -- underscored repeatedly by the president -- is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.
The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive -- with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy -- and could as well be bloody. In fact, Saddam would be likely to conclude he had nothing left to lose, leading him to unleash whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses.
Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991 when Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict. This time, using weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond, perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle East. Finally, if we are to achieve our strategic objectives in Iraq, a military campaign very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.
But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive. The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence.
Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict -- which the region, rightly or wrongly, perceives to be clearly within our power to resolve -- in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.
Even without Israeli involvement, the results could well destabilize Arab regimes in the region, ironically facilitating one of Saddam's strategic objectives. At a minimum, it would stifle any cooperation on terrorism, and could even swell the ranks of the terrorists. Conversely, the more progress we make in the war on terrorism, and the more we are seen to be committed to resolving the Israel-Palestinian issue, the greater will be the international support for going after Saddam.
If we are truly serious about the war on terrorism, it must remain our top priority. However, should Saddam Hussein be found to be clearly implicated in the events of Sept. 11, that could make him a key counterterrorist target, rather than a competing priority, and significantly shift world opinion toward support for regime change.
In any event, we should be pressing the United Nations Security Council to insist on an effective no-notice inspection regime for Iraq -- any time, anywhere, no permission required. On this point, senior administration officials have opined that Saddam Hussein would never agree to such an inspection regime. But if he did, inspections would serve to keep him off balance and under close observation, even if all his weapons of mass destruction capabilities were not uncovered. And if he refused, his rejection could provide the persuasive casus belli which many claim we do not now have. Compelling evidence that Saddam had acquired nuclear-weapons capability could have a similar effect.
In sum, if we will act in full awareness of the intimate interrelationship of the key issues in the region, keeping counterterrorism as our foremost priority, there is much potential for success across the entire range of our security interests -- including Iraq. If we reject a comprehensive perspective, however, we put at risk our campaign against terrorism as well as stability and security in a vital region of the world.
- Brent Scowcroft, "elder statesman of the Republican foreign policy establishment", Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002
/"Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us." / - White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke (2003) // Colin Powell, Feb. 2001: "Sanctions have worked." Condi Rice, May, 2001: "Saddam is fully contained."
by Christian Avard Raw Story August 4, 2006 ORIGINAL /
Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.
In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End, Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
A year after his "Axis of Evil" speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq's first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.
Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, "I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!"
Other reports also place Bush announcing newfound knowledge of the differences between Muslim groups shortly before entering the Iraq war.
In an interview with RAW STORY, Ambassador Galbraith recounted this anecdote from his book to exemplify "a culture of arrogance that pervaded the whole administration."
"From the president and the vice president down through the neoconservatives at the Pentagon, there was a belief that Iraq was a blank slate on which the United States could impose its vision of a pluralistic democratic society," said Galbraith.
"The arrogance came in
the form of a belief that this could be accomplished with minimal
effort and planning by the United States and that it was not important
to know something about Iraq."
// "I thought the Iraqis were Muslims." // "The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' I will be, but until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective." / - In Wayne, Mich., as quoted by Katharine Q. Seelye in the New York Times , June 28, 2000 fr98yf0yufpf fr98yf0yufpf "I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy." - Redwood, Calif., Sept. 27, 2000 fr98yf0yufpfyufp0ff "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." - George W. Bush, as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002 r98yf0yfpf dbsdfbsbbsb "I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war." / - Dubya doing a sterling job of belittling war and parenting at the same time, while also backhandedly manufacturing a war record for himself out of thin air, Jan. 27, 2002 dbsdf dbsddbsdffbsbbsb "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind." - Meet the Press, Feb.8 2004 dbsdfbs "You say we're headed for war in Iraq. I don't know why you say that ... I'm the person who gets to decide, not you." - President Bush, speaking to reporters outside a cafe in Crawford, Texas, Jan. 2003 bsdfbsbbs "The person who is in charge is me" - CNN, Tuesday, October 14, 2003 db/sd ...Then it's WAR! Bring 'em on! (How's this, Karl?)
/ "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that." / . Presidential debate, Oct 3, 2000 Q: How would you decide when it was in the national interest to use US force? GEORGE. W. BUSH: "Well, if it's in our vital national interests. And that means: // // 1. Whether our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. // 2. Whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. // 3. Whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing (?) and well-equipped. / //// 4. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. / //// I would take the use of force very seriously. ("Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out.") ("Bring em on.") ("No weapons of mass destruction under here!...") /// /I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. /// I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president (Al Gore) believes in nation-building. /// I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. ///// I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place /// So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. /// Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. /// Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places. And therefore I want to rebuild the military power. ///// It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform. A billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law. It's to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped. (Halliburton, Walter Reed) /// - George W. Bush, Presidential debarte, Oct 3, 2000 /// ________________________________ / / SUPPORT-OUR-TROOPS UPDATE: May 17th, 2007 "The Bush administration today threatened to veto a House defense spending bill over a 3.5 percent pay raise for U.S. soldiers and a $40/month increase in benefits for military widows, among other provisions. Troops don't need bigger pay raises, White House budget officials said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy laying out objections to the House version of the 2008 defense authorization bill. The legislation passed the House today 397-27." /
Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq? Iraq War Planned Pre-9/11? By CBS News / "During the 2000 campaign, candidate George W. Bush had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist: "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that." rhppen509nty "The thing that's most surprising, I think, is how emphatically, from the very first, the administration had said 'X' during the campaign, but from the first day was often doing 'Y,'" says Suskind. "Not just saying 'Y,' but actively moving toward the opposite of what they had said during the election." http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/main592330.shtml
Bush: Iraq war plans memo wrong CNN, Tuesday, June 7, 2005
/Bush, June 2005 (CNN): / "There's nothing farther from the truth" / "Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to use military force to deal with Saddam. "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said. "We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said."Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option." /`// Bush, March 2002 (CNN): / "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out." / Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room. A year later, Bush's outburst has been translated into action, as cruise missiles and smart bombs slam into Baghdad. / - "First Stop, Iraq", by Michael Elliott and James Carney, CNN, March 24, 2003/ / In early 2003, when the question was raised by a reporter if the United States was going to war against Iraq, President Bush indignantly responded, "You said we're headed to war. I don't know why you suggested that. I'm the person who gets to decide, and not you." / / - G.W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, Dec. 31, 2002 /
/ Practice to Deceive / Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan. / By Joshua Micah Marshall Washington Monthly / http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0304.marshall.html gtwh/rhww "The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that the administration has in mind a "world war between the United States and a political wing of Islamic fundamentalism ... a war of such reach and magnitude [that] the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future ... what the White House really has in mind is an enterprise of a scale, cost, and scope that would be almost impossible to sell to the American public."
Originally published April 2003
Imagine it's six months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are watching, and waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence--talk that is further inflaming the region. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.
To most Americans, this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. But to the Bush administration hawks who are guiding American foreign policy, this isn't the nightmare scenario. It's everything going as anticipated.
In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. Prior to the war, the president himself never quite said this openly. But hawkish neoconservatives within his administration gave strong hints. In February, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq, the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Meanwhile, neoconservative journalists have been channeling the administration's thinking. Late last month, The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that the administration has in mind a "world war between the United States and a political wing of Islamic fundamentalism ... a war of such reach and magnitude [that] the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future."
In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative--Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria--while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks' broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments--or, failing that, U.S. troops--rule the entire Middle East.
There is a startling amount of deception in all this--of hawks deceiving the American people, and perhaps in some cases even themselves. While it's conceivable that bold American action could democratize the Middle East, so broad and radical an initiative could also bring chaos and bloodshed on a massive scale. That all too real possibility leads most establishment foreign policy hands, including many in the State Department, to view the Bush plan with alarm. Indeed, the hawks' record so far does not inspire confidence. Prior to the invasion, for instance, they predicted that if the United States simply announced its intention to act against Saddam regardless of how the United Nations voted, most of our allies, eager to be on our good side, would support us. Almost none did. Yet despite such grave miscalculations, the hawks push on with their sweeping new agenda.
Like any group of permanent Washington revolutionaries fueled by visions of a righteous cause, the neocons long ago decided that criticism from the establishment isn't a reason for self-doubt but the surest sign that they're on the right track. But their confidence also comes from the curious fact that much of what could go awry with their plan will also serve to advance it. A full-scale confrontation between the United States and political Islam, they believe, is inevitable, so why not have it now, on our terms, rather than later, on theirs? Actually, there are plenty of good reasons not to purposely provoke a series of crises in the Middle East. But that's what the hawks are setting in motion, partly on the theory that the worse things get, the more their approach becomes the only plausible solution.
"The nadir of this deceit was the Iran-Contra scandal, for which Podhoretz's son-in-law, Elliot Abrams, pled guilty to perjury. Abrams was later pardoned by Bush's father, and today, he runs Middle East policy in the Bush White House."
Ever since the neocons burst upon the public policy scene 30 years ago, their movement has been a marriage of moral idealism, military assertiveness, and deception. Back in the early 1970s, this group of then-young and still mostly Democratic political intellectuals grew alarmed by the post-Vietnam Democrats' seeming indifference to the Soviet threat. They were equally appalled, however, by the amoral worldview espoused by establishment Republicans like Henry Kissinger, who sought co-existence with the Soviet Union. As is often the case with ex-socialists, the neocons were too familiar with communist tactics to ignore or romanticize communism's evils. The fact that many neocons were Jewish, and outraged by Moscow's increasingly visible persecution of Jews, also caused them to reject both the McGovernite and Kissingerian tendencies to ignore such abuses.
In Ronald Reagan, the neocons found a politician they could embrace. Like them, Reagan spoke openly about the evils of communism and, at least on the peripheries of the Cold War, preferred rollback to coexistence. Neocons filled the Reagan administration, and men like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, and others provided the intellectual ballast and moral fervor for the sharp turn toward confrontation that the United States adopted in 1981.
But achieving moral clarity often requires hiding certain realities. From the beginning, the neocons took a much more alarmist view of Soviet capacities and intentions than most experts. As late as 1980, the ur-neocon Norman Podhoretz warned of the imminent "Finlandization of America, the political and economic subordination of the United States to superior Soviet power," even raising the possibility that America's only options might be "surrender or war." We now know, of course, that U.S. intelligence estimates, which many neocons thought underestimated the magnitude and durability of Soviet power, in fact wildly overestimated them.
This willingness to deceive--both themselves and others--expanded as neocons grew more comfortable with power. Many spent the Reagan years orchestrating bloody wars against Soviet proxies in the Third World, portraying thugs like the Nicaraguan Contras and plain murderers like Jonas Savimbi of Angola as "freedom fighters." The nadir of this deceit was the Iran-Contra scandal, for which Podhoretz's son-in-law, Elliot Abrams, pled guilty to perjury.
But in the end, the Soviet Union did fall. And the hawks' policy of confrontation did contribute to its collapse. So too, of course, did the economic and military rot most of the hawks didn't believe in, and the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, whom neocons such as Richard Perle counseled Reagan not to trust. But the neocons did not dwell on what they got wrong. Rather, the experience of having played a hand in the downfall of so great an evil led them to the opposite belief: that it's okay to be spectacularly wrong, even brazenly deceptive about the details, so long as you have moral vision and a willingness to use force.
What happened in the 1990s further reinforced that mindset. Hawks like Perle and William Kristol pulled their hair out when Kissingerians like Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell left Saddam's regime in place after the first Gulf War. They watched with mounting fury as terrorist attacks by Muslim fundamentalists claimed more and more American and Israeli lives. They considered the Oslo accords an obvious mistake (how can you negotiate with a man like Yasir Arafat?), and as the decade progressed they became increasingly convinced that there was a nexus linking burgeoning terrorism and mounting anti-Semitism with repressive but nominally "pro-American" regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In 1996, several of the hawks--including Perle--even tried to sell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the idea that Israel should attack Saddam on its own--advice Netanyahu wisely declined. When the Oslo process crumbled and Saudi Arabian terrorists killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, the hawks felt, not without some justification, that they had seen this danger coming all along, while others had ignored it. The timing was propitious, because in September 2001 many already held jobs with a new conservative president willing to hear their pitch.
Prime Minister bin Laden
"..But, to date, every time a Western or non-Muslim country has put troops into Arab lands to stamp out violence and terror, it has awakened entire new terrorist organizations and a generation of recruits. Why do we imagine that our invasion and occupation of Iraq, or whatever countries come next, will turn out any differently?"
The pitch was this: The Middle East today is like the Soviet Union 30 years ago. Politically warped fundamentalism is the contemporary equivalent of communism or fascism. Terrorists with potential access to weapons of mass destruction are like an arsenal pointed at the United States. The primary cause of all this danger is the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, poverty, and economic stagnation. Repressive regimes channel dissent into the mosques, where the hopeless and disenfranchised are taught a brand of Islam that combines anti-modernism, anti-Americanism, and a worship of violence that borders on nihilism. Unable to overthrow their own authoritarian rulers, the citizenry turns its fury against the foreign power that funds and supports these corrupt regimes to maintain stability and access to oil: the United States. As Johns Hopkins University professor Fouad Ajami recently wrote in Foreign Affairs, "The great indulgence granted to the ways and phobias of Arabs has reaped a terrible harvest"--terrorism. Trying to "manage" this dysfunctional Islamic world, as Clinton attempted and Colin Powell counsels us to do, is as foolish, unproductive, and dangerous as dÈtente was with the Soviets, the hawks believe. Nor is it necessary, given the unparalleled power of the American military. Using that power to confront Soviet communism led to the demise of that totalitarianism and the establishment of democratic (or at least non-threatening) regimes from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait. Why not use that same power to upend the entire corrupt Middle East edifice and bring liberty, democracy, and the rule of law to the Arab world?
The hawks' grand plan differs depending on whom you speak to, but the basic outline runs like this: The United States establishes a reasonably democratic, pro-Western government in Iraq--assume it falls somewhere between Turkey and Jordan on the spectrum of democracy and the rule of law. Not perfect, representative democracy, certainly, but a system infinitely preferable to Saddam's. The example of a democratic Iraq will radically change the political dynamics of the Middle East. When Palestinians see average Iraqis beginning to enjoy real freedom and economic opportunity, they'll want the same themselves. With that happy prospect on one hand and implacable United States will on the other, they'll demand that the Palestinian Authority reform politically and negotiate with Israel. That in turn will lead to a real peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. A democratic Iraq will also hasten the fall of the fundamentalist Shi'a mullahs in Iran, whose citizens are gradually adopting anti-fanatic, pro-Western sympathies. A democratized Iran would create a string of democratic, pro-Western governments (Turkey, Iraq, and Iran) stretching across the historical heartland of Islam. Without a hostile Iraq towering over it, Jordan's pro-Western Hashemite monarchy would likely come into full bloom. Syria would be no more than a pale reminder of the bad old days. (If they made trouble, a U.S. invasion would take care of them, too.) And to the tiny Gulf emirates making hesitant steps toward democratization, the corrupt regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt would no longer look like examples of stability and strength in a benighted region, but holdouts against the democratic tide. Once the dust settles, we could decide whether to ignore them as harmless throwbacks to the bad old days or deal with them, too. We'd be in a much stronger position to do so since we'd no longer require their friendship to help us manage ugly regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
The audacious nature of the neocons' plan makes it easy to criticize but strangely difficult to dismiss outright. Like a character in a bad made-for-TV thriller from the 1970s, you can hear yourself saying, "That plan's just crazy enough to work."
But like a TV plot, the hawks' vision rests on a willing suspension of disbelief, in particular, on the premise that every close call will break in our favor: The guard will fall asleep next to the cell so our heroes can pluck the keys from his belt. The hail of enemy bullets will plink-plink-plink over our heroes' heads. And the getaway car in the driveway will have the keys waiting in the ignition. Sure, the hawks' vision could come to pass. But there are at least half a dozen equally plausible alternative scenarios that would be disastrous for us.
To begin with, this whole endeavor is supposed to be about reducing the long-term threat of terrorism, particularly terrorism that employs weapons of mass destruction. But, to date, every time a Western or non-Muslim country has put troops into Arab lands to stamp out violence and terror, it has awakened entire new terrorist organizations and a generation of recruits. Placing U.S. troops in Riyadh after the Gulf War (ostensibly to protect Saudi Arabia and its oilfields from Saddam) gave Osama bin Laden a cause around which he built al Qaeda. Israel took the West Bank in a war of self-defense, but once there its occupation helped give rise to Hamas. Israel's incursion into southern Lebanon (justified at the time, but transformed into a permanent occupation) led to the rise of Hezbollah. Why do we imagine that our invasion and occupation of Iraq, or whatever countries come next, will turn out any differently?
The Bush administration also insists that our right to act preemptively and unilaterally, with or without the international community's formal approval, rests on the need to protect American lives. But with the exception of al Qaeda, most terrorist organizations in the world, and certainly in the Middle East, do not target Americans. Hamas certainly doesn't. Hezbollah, the most fearsome of terrorist organizations beside al Qaeda, has killed American troops in the Middle East, but not for some years, and it has never targeted American civilians on American soil. Yet like Hamas, Hezbollah has an extensive fundraising cell operation in the States (as do many terrorist organizations, including the Irish Republican Army). If we target them in the Middle East, can't we reasonably assume they will respond by activating these cells and taking the war worldwide?
Next, consider the hawks' plans for those Middle East states that are authoritarian yet "friendly" to the United States--specifically Egypt and Saudi Arabia. No question these are problem countries. Their governments buy our weapons and accept our foreign aid yet allow vicious anti-Semitism to spew from the state run airwaves and tolerate clerics who preach jihad against the West. But is it really in our interests to work for their overthrow? Many hawks clearly think so. I asked Richard Perle last year about the dangers that might flow from the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "Mubarak is no great shakes," he quipped. "Surely we can do better than Mubarak." When I asked Perle's friend and fellow Reagan-era neocon Ken Adelman to calculate the costs of having the toppling of Saddam lead to the overthrow of the House of Saud, he shot back: "All the better, if you ask me."
This cavalier call for regime change, however, runs into a rather obvious problem. When the communist regimes of Eastern and Central Europe fell after 1989, the people of those nations felt grateful to the United States because we helped liberate them from their Russian colonial masters. They went on to create pro-Western democracies. The same is unlikely to happen, however, if we help "liberate" Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The tyrannies in these countries are home grown, and the U.S. government has supported them, rightly or wrongly, for decades, even as we've ignored (in the eyes of Arabs) the plight of the Palestinians. Consequently, the citizens of these countries generally hate the United States, and show strong sympathy for Islamic radicals. If free elections were held in Saudi Arabia today, Osama bin Laden would probably win more votes than Crown Prince Abdullah. Topple the pro-Western autocracies in these countries, in other words, and you won't get pro-Western democracies but anti-Western tyrannies.
To this dilemma, the hawks offer two responses. One is that eventually the citizens of Egypt and Saudi Arabia will grow disenchanted with their anti-Western Islamic governments, just as the people of Iran have, and become our friends. To which the correct response is, well, sure, that's a nice theory, but do we really want to make the situation for ourselves hugely worse now on the strength of a theoretical future benefit?
The hawks' other response is that if the effort to push these countries toward democracy goes south, we can always use our military might to secure our interests. "We need to be more assertive," argues Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "and stop letting all these two-bit dictators and rogue regimes push us around and stop being a patsy for our so-called allies, especially in Saudi Arabia." Hopefully, in Boot's view, laying down the law will be enough. But he envisions a worst-case scenario that would involve the United States "occupying the Saudi's oil fields and administering them as a trust for the people of the region."
What Boot is calling for, in other words, is the creation of a de facto American empire in the Middle East. In fact, there's a subset of neocons who believe that given our unparalleled power, empire is our destiny and we might as well embrace it. The problem with this line of thinking is, of course, that it ignores the lengthy and troubling history of imperial ambitions, particularly in the Middle East. The French and the English didn't leave voluntarily; they were driven out. And they left behind a legacy of ignorance, exploitation, and corruption that's largely responsible for the region's current dysfunctional politics.
Another potential snafu for the hawks is Iran, arguably the most dangerous state in the Middle East. The good news is that the fundamentalist Shi'a mullahs who have been running the government, exporting terrorism, and trying to enrich their uranium, are increasingly unpopular. Most experts believe that the mullahs' days are numbered, and that true democracy will come to Iran. That day will arrive sooner, the hawks argue, with a democratic Iraq on Iran's border. But the opposite could happen. If the mullahs are smart, they'll cooperate just enough with the Americans not to provoke an attack, but put themselves forth to their own people as defenders of Iranian independence and Iran's brother Shi'a in southern Iraq who are living under the American jackboot. Such a strategy might keep the fundamentalists in power for years longer than they otherwise might have been.
Then there is the mother of all problems, Iraq. The hawks' whole plan rests on the assumption that we can turn it into a self-governing democracy--that the very presence of that example will transform politics in the Middle East. But what if we can't really create a democratic, self-governing Iraq, at least not very quickly? What if the experience we had after World War II in Germany and Japan, two ethnically homogeneous nations, doesn't quite work in an ethnically divided Iraq where one group, the Sunni Arabs, has spent decades repressing and slaughtering the others? As one former Army officer with long experience with the Iraq file explains it, the "physical analogy to Saddam Hussein's regime is a steel beam in compression." Give it one good hit, and you'll get a violent explosion. One hundred thousand U.S. troops may be able to keep a lid on all the pent-up hatred. But we may soon find that it's unwise to hand off power to the fractious Iraqis. To invoke the ugly but apt metaphor which Jefferson used to describe the American dilemma of slavery, we will have the wolf by the ears. You want to let go. But you dare not.
And what if we do muster the courage to allow elections, but the Iraqis choose a government we can't live with--as the Japanese did in their first post-war election, when the United States purged the man slated to become prime minister? But if we do that in Iraq, how will it look on Al Jazeera? Ultimately, the longer we stay as occupiers, the more Iraq becomes not an example for other Arabs to emulate, but one that helps Islamic fundamentalists make their case that America is just an old-fashioned imperium bent on conquering Arab lands. And that will make worse all the problems set forth above.
None of these problems are inevitable, of course. Luck, fortitude, deft management, (How are they doing so far, folks?) and help from allies could bring about very different results. But we can probably only rely on the first three because we are starting this enterprise over the expressed objections of almost every other country in the world. And that's yet another reason why overthrowing the Middle East won't be the same as overthrowing communism. We did the latter, after all, within a tight formal alliance, NATO. Reagan's most effective military move against Moscow, for instance, placing Pershing II missiles in Western Europe, could never have happened, given widespread public protests, except that NATO itself voted to let the weapons in. In the Middle East, however, we're largely alone. If things go badly, what allies we might have left are liable to say to us: You broke it, you fix it.
Whacking the Hornet's Nest
"Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into."
If the Bush administration has thought through these various negative scenarios--and we must presume, or at least pray, that it has--it certainly has not shared them with the American people. More to the point, the president has not even leveled with the public that such a clean-sweep approach to the Middle East is, in fact, their plan. This breaks new ground in the history of pre-war presidential deception. Franklin Roosevelt said he was trying to keep the United States out of World War II even as he--in some key ways--courted a confrontation with the Axis powers that he saw as both inevitable and necessary. History has judged him well for this. Far more brazenly, Lyndon Johnson's administration greatly exaggerated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to gin up support for full-throttle engagement in Vietnam. The war proved to be Johnson's undoing. When President Clinton used American troops to quell the fighting in Bosnia he said publicly that our troops would be there no longer than a year, even though it was widely understood that they would be there far longer. But in the case of these deceptions, the public was at least told what the goals of the wars were and whom and where we would be fighting.
Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into. The White House has presented this as a war to depose Saddam Hussein in order to keep him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction--a goal that the majority of Americans support. But what the White House really has in mind an enterprise of a scale, cost, and scope that would be almost impossible to sell to the American public. The White House knows that. So it hasn't even tried. Instead, it's focused on getting us into Iraq with the hope of setting off a sequence of events that will draw us inexorably towards the agenda they have in mind.
"Strip away the presidential seal and the fancy titles, and it's just a straight-up con."
The brazenness of this approach would be hard to believe if it weren't entirely in line with how the administration has pursued so many of its other policy goals. Its preferred method has been to use deceit to create faits accomplis, facts on the ground that then make the administration's broader agenda almost impossible not to pursue. During and after the 2000 campaign, the president called for major education and prescription drug programs plus a huge tax cut, saying America could easily afford them all because of large budget surpluses. Critics said it wasn't true, and the growing budget deficits have proven them right. But the administration now uses the existence of big budget deficits as a way to put the squeeze on social programs--part of its plan all along. Strip away the presidential seal and the fancy titles, and it's just a straight-up con.
The same strategy seemed to guide the administration's passive-aggressive attitude towards our allies. It spent the months after September 11 signaling its distaste for international agreements and entangling alliances. The president then demanded last September that the same countries he had snubbed support his agenda in Iraq. And last month, when most of those countries refused, hawks spun that refusal as evidence that they were right all along. Recently, a key neoconservative commentator with close ties to the administration told me that the question since the end of the Cold War has been which global force would create the conditions for global peace and security: the United States, NATO, or the United Nations. With NATO now wrecked, he told me, the choice is between the United States and the United Nations. Whether NATO is actually wrecked remains to be seen. But the strategy is clear: push the alliance to the breaking point, and when it snaps, cite it as proof that the alliance was good for nothing anyway. It's the definition of chutzpah, like the kid who kills his parents and begs the judge for sympathy because he's an orphan.
Another president may be able to rebuild NATO or get the budget back in balance. But once America begins the process of remaking the Middle East in the way the hawks have in mind, it will be extremely difficult for any president to pull back. Vietnam analogies have long been overused, and used inappropriately, but this may be one case where the comparison is apt.
Ending Saddam Hussein's regime and replacing it with something stable and democratic was always going to be a difficult task, even with the most able leadership and the broadest coalition. But doing it as the Bush administration now intends is something like going outside and giving a few good whacks to a hornets' nest because you want to get them out in the open and have it out with them once and for all. Ridding the world of Islamic terrorism by rooting out its ultimate sources--Muslim fundamentalism and the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, and poverty--might work. But the costs will be immense. Whether the danger is sufficient and the costs worth incurring would make for an interesting public debate. The problem is that once it's just us and the hornets, we really won't have any choice.
Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing writer, is author of the Talking Points Memo. Copyright © 2003 The Washington Monthly 733 15th St. NW Suite 520 Washington DC. 20005.
_________________________________________________________________________________________ / SEE ALSO: IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) : / "Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President", by Neil Mackay, Sunday Herald September 15 , 2002 and "Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq?" / "Iraq War Planned Pre-9/11?"(VIDEO), CBS News, Jan. 11, 2004 _________________________________________________________________________________________ //
Q. Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. - White House Press Conference, March 13, 2002 // "Some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters." /- G.W. Bush, Heritage Foundation, Nov.1,2007// // / / /
WE WILL REMEMBER THAT WE ARE NOT THE TYPE OF BARBARIANS WHO WILL KILL AND TERRORIZE THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS TO GET AT THEIR GOVERNMENT. WE ARE BETTER THAN THEY ARE.
WE WILL REMEMBER THAT THE TERRORISTS WANT US TO KILL AND TERRORIZE THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS, FANNING THE FLAMES THAT WILL GIVE THEM MANY THOUSANDS OF NEW RECRUITS AND SUPPORT AND FAR GREATER STRENGTH. WE WILL NOT BE SO EASILY MANIPULATED. WE WILL NOT GIVE THEM THAT SATISFACTION.
WE WILL REMEMBER THAT IT WAS SAUDI ARABIANS WHO ATTACKED US, AND SAUDI ARABIA THAT WAS THE CHIEF STATE SPONSORING THE TERRORISTS WHO ATTACKED US; AND WE WILL DEAL WITH THEM ACCORDINGLY. WE WILL NOT LET MONEY OR OIL OR CRONYISM MUDDY OUR MORAL RESOLVE IN THIS.
WE WILL REMEMBER THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION USED THAT TERRIBLE EVENT SHAMELESSLY TO PUSH THEIR TAX CUTS AND PRE-EXISTING AGENDAS FOR BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC DOMNATION BY A SMALL ELITE.
g - "This is an impressive crowd - the haves, and the have-mores," quipped the GOP standard-bearer. "Some people call you the elites; I call you my base." g - / - George W. Bush g - /g - / "America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own, and they are privatizing democracy." /g - / Bill Moyers g - / "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." g - / - Thomas Jefferson g - / __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________ "War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope.x It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives."x
~ General Smedley Butler, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________/g -g - / / "In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes." / - President Dwight Eisenhower's Farewell Address, January 1961
(From PBS' BILL MOYERS' NOW)
Earlier in this hour Jeff Madrick talked about how inequality is changing the country. Politics determines economic outcomes - campaign contributions give the edge to those who can afford the entrée. It goes even deeper. What's emerged full-blown is the military-industrial complex famously predicted and feared by President Eisenhower fifty years ago.
It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins. The poster boy for this new elite is Richard Cheney. As the head of Halliburton, he made a fortune from the influence and access gained through his earlier service in government.
Then Halliburton Corporation gets favored and confidential treatment soon after Mr. Cheney becomes George Bush's vice president. This week the big construction company Bechtel receives a contract that could pay three quarters of a billion dollars for work in post-war Iraq. Bechtel gives lots of money to politicians, mostly to Republicans. On its board is George Schultz, who ran Bechtel before he became President Reagan's Secretary of State. One of Bechtel's Senior Vice Presidents is a former general who serves on the Defense Policy Board along with other hawks like Richard Perle and James Woolsey who wanted war with Iraq and got it. They advise the Pentagon and then turn around and make money out of their defense contacts.
These fellows are all honorable men, I am sure, but they call for war with all the ferocity of non-combatants and then turn around and feed on the corpse of war. Illegal? Not in our system. Unsavory? No matter how you slice it.
But the main point is this. America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own, and they are privatizing democracy. All the benefits - the tax cuts, policies, and rewards - flow in one direction: up. And the people Jeff Madrick talked about, whose faith in the fairness of the American way of life is the bulwark of our country, are left outside looking in.
- Bill Moyers, From PBS' BILL MOYERS' NOW)
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / _____________________________________________________________________________ / "It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins." - Bill Moyers _____________________________________________________________________________ /
(Click on the links below for complete articles)
On Iraq Sets Off Gold Rush
Lawmakers Fear U.S. Is Losing Control of Funds
By Jonathan Weisman and Anitha Reddy , Washington Post Staff Writers , Thursday, October 9, 2003
"All I can say is it's mind-boggling," James Lyons, a former military subcontractor in Bosnia, said of the opportunities for private contractors. "People must be drooling."
Iraq Could Produce Another Enron By Nomi Prins, Newsday , 02 December 2003
"As one UN senior insider said, "No country has ever had so much control over information and resources for reconstruction efforts in history. But the murkiness of Iraq finances goes beyond a mere jiggering of the books. In the case of Iraq, there are no obvious books."
in Iraq funds 'missing'
San Jose Mercury News
"The British-based charity
Christian Aid yesterday alleged that $US4 ($5.69) billion out
of an estimated $US5 ($7.11) billion had "disappeared
into opaque bank accounts"
administered by the CPA. The group urged any potential contributor at the conference to demand explanations before pledging any additional assistance,
claiming that "no independent body knows where this cash has gone".
It said the "financial black hole" would only fuel suspicions that large amounts of the money in the fund were being siphoned off
for large US firms and not being channelled to deal with Iraq's serious needs."
"Enron was the first storm warning but no one realized how easily accepted that cluster of capers would be by a polity marinated in corruption -- as Ben Franklin predicted, in 1789, as our eventual fate." - from "Gore Vidal Delivers Chilling Predictions of Despotism", by Arthur Jones, 8/2/03
Delays Hand Cheney's Halliburton a Billion Dollars
The Observer | Guardian UK , Sunday 07 December 2003
By Paul Krugman , NY TIMES , December 16, 2003
"Some Americans still seem to feel that even suggesting the possibility of profiteering is somehow unpatriotic. They should learn the story of Harry Truman, a congressman who rose to prominence during World War II by leading a campaign against profiteering. Truman believed, correctly, that he was serving his country. On the strength of that record, Franklin Roosevelt chose Truman as his vice president. George Bush, of course, chose Dick Cheney. "
Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said
Affiliates Had $73 Million in Contracts
By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, June 23, 2001; Page A01
UNITED NATIONS -- During last year's presidential campaign, Richard B. Cheney acknowledged that the oil-field supply corporation he headed, Halliburton Co., did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries. But he insisted that he had imposed a "firm policy" against trading with Iraq.
"Iraq's different," he said.
According to oil industry executives and confidential United Nations records, however, Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." / - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address / /"[Saddam] built up a massive war machine while neglecting the basic needs of his own people." / - President's Radio Address October 11, 2003 / / / "There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are," Cheney said. "At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve. The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of hatred are over."
/ "...This is the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years". He said: "Some US journalist came up to me and said: 'How can you say this about President Bush?' Well, I think what I said then was quite mild. I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policiest he is initiating will doom us to extinction."
/ "The neocons believe in what they think is a noble truth, power of the few, the select few. These are godless people who want power, nothing more. They do not have a country or an allegiance, they have an agenda. These people might hold American passports, but they are not Americans because they do not believe in the Constitution. They believe in the power of the few, not a government for or by the people. They are a few and their agenda is global." / - Scott Ritter, "Neocons as Parasites" / / /
"February 27, 2003: Wolfowitz tells the U.S. House Budget Committee that oil exports would pay for the reconstruction of post-invasion Iraq. "It's got already, I believe, on the order of $15 billion to $20 billion a year in oil exports, which can finally -- might finally be turned to a good use instead of building Saddam's palaces," he testifies."
"FromThe Wolfowitz Chronology : An examination of the presumptive World Bank President's works on oil, national security, development, corruption, human rights, and debt" by The institute for Policy Studieshttp://www.ips-dc.org/wolfowitz/tl_01-05.htm
"On March 27, 2003, Wolfowitz told a Congressional panel that oil revenue earned by Iraq alone would pay for Iraq's reconstruction after the Iraq war; he testified: "The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." By March 2005, two years later, oil revenues were not paying for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, Wolfowitz's estimation of 50 to 100 billion US dollars had not materialized, and, in light of his miscalculation, detractors criticized his appointment to head of the World Bank."
- Wikipedia's Wolfowitz page
Scott Ritter: "Paul Wolfowitz was a salesman; his job was to sell a war. He acknowledged this in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, in which he acknowledged that WMDs and the threat they posed, was nothing more than a vehicle to sell this war to America. Now you [get] to the war itself and selling it to Congress and [the] questions: How long will this take? Or how much will this cost?
Paul Wolfowitz lied to Congress about the costs of war. There is not a responsible member of government who thought this would be quick and cheap. There was nobody who believed that Iraq oil would pay for itself, no one in the oil business thought so."
- "Scott Ritter: Neocons as Parasites", by Larisa Alexandrovna, Raw Story, April 1, 2005
- "Donkeys of Mass Destruction" by William Rivers Pitt , 2003 (below)
Wolfie's Fuzzy Math By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times May 2, 2004
This administration is the opposite of "The Sixth Sense."
They don't see any dead people.
Beyond the president's glaring absence at military funerals; beyond the Pentagon's self-serving ban on photographing the returning flag-draped coffins at Dover; beyond playing down the thousands of wounded and maimed American troops and the thousands of hurt and dead Iraqi civilians, now comes the cruel arithmetic of Paul Wolfowitz.
What can you say about a deputy defense secretary so eager to invade Iraq he was nicknamed Wolfowitz of Arabia, so bullish to remold the Middle East he froze the State Department out of the occupation and then mangled it, who doesn't bother to keep track of the young Americans who died for his delusion?
Those troops were killed while they were still trying to fathom the treacherous tribal and religious beehive they were never prepared for, since they thought they'd be helping build schools and hospitals for grateful Iraqis.
Asked during a Congressional budget hearing on Thursday how many American troops had been killed in Iraq, Mr. Wolfowitz missed by more than 30 percent. "It's approximately 500, of which - I can get the exact numbers - approximately 350 are combat deaths," he said.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
As of Thursday, there were 722 deaths, 521 in combat. The No. 2 man at the Pentagon was oblivious in the bloodiest month of the war, with the number of Americans killed in April overtaking those killed in the six-week siege of Baghdad last year.
This is, of course, an administration that refuses to quantify or acknowledge the cost of its chuckleheaded empire policies, in bodies, money, credibility in the Arab world, reputation among our allies or the reinvigoration of militant Muslims around the globe. Duped themselves, they duped Americans into thinking it would be easy, paid for with Iraqi oil. But Donald Rumsfeld's vision of showing off a slim, agile military was always at odds with the neocons' vision of infusing enough security into Iraq to turn it into an instant democratic paradise.
Crushed in the collision of these two grandiose dreams are all the smaller dreams of fallen soldiers, to raise kids and watch baseball and grill hot dogs on the Fourth of July.
Now things have deteriorated to the point that the administration is pathetically begging for help from the very people it was trying to roll over - the U.N., Saddam's Baathist generals and the Iranians.
When Ted Koppel decided to devote his Friday "Nightline" to showing the faces and reading the names of the men and women killed in action, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard denounced it as "a stupid statement" and the conservative Sinclair media company, one of the country's largest owners of local stations, said it would pre-empt the program on its ABC affiliates. Sinclair, a big Republican donor, felt Mr. Koppel was undermining the war effort.
(M.O.W. editorial insert) / Wolfowitz pal and fellow Project for the New American Century member Kristol
Bill O'Reilly suggested that CBS, by breaking the news of the grotesque pictures of American soldiers gaily tormenting Iraqi prisoners, had put American lives at risk.
But it's unhealthy to censor the ugly realities of war. The real danger is when the architects of war refuse to rethink bad assumptions, wrapping themselves in the blindly ideological nobility of their mission.
Senator John McCain let Sinclair have it with both barrels, noting that the public needed "to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail" and calling the pre-emption "unpatriotic." (Shouldn't John Kerry be running as John McCain's vice president?)
Mr. Koppel told me that he neither wanted to beat the drums for war nor "encourage flower children to come back." He said war is "a bitter, bitter business and we need to keep talking to each other about where the war goes from here." The tolerance for casualties, he said, shortly before the start of his wrenching roll call of all those baby-faced and smiling soldiers and marines, will be in direct relation to faith in the motivation for war.
The W.M.D. reason vanished. And, with the re-Baathification of the de-Baathification, the American idealism rational is not panning out.
Hiding the faces of the war dead makes the motivation seem like saving face in an election year.
Americans won't take casualties for the credibility of the Bush administration. That's not a good enough reason for people to die.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
For more on Wolfowitz, and Bill Kristol and the other neocon's deceptive, decade-old plans, see PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN PERPETUAL WAR.
/// /""On March 27, 2003, Wolfowitz told a Congressional panel that oil revenue earned by Iraq alone would pay for Iraq's reconstruction after the Iraq war."
/ "...this comes to $166 billion spent on Iraq by the Bush administration. The actual numbers, while difficult to ascertain, are certain to be significantly higher... ...the cost of this Iraq invasion exceeds the inflation-adjusted costs of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Persian Gulf War combined." / Donkeys of Mass Destruction By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Monday 24 November 2003
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
About a month into the Iraq invasion, Congress set aside $79 billion in funds for the military. Recently, Bush requested another $87 billion because the occupation was dragging on far longer, and was costing more in men and materiel, than the rosy pre-war forecasts had indicated. In total, this comes to $166 billion spent on Iraq by the Bush administration.
The actual numbers, while difficult to ascertain, are certain to be significantly higher. Yale University economist William D. Nordhaus has crunched the numbers, and states that the cost of this Iraq invasion exceeds the inflation-adjusted costs of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Persian Gulf War combined.
Why did we do this? We did this because George W. Bush and the members of his administration argued, day after day, week after week, month after month, that Iraq was in possession of massive stores of mass destruction weapons that would be delivered to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda for use against the United States.
The total amount of weapons held by Iraq, according to the administration, is described on a WhiteHouse.gov webpage entitled 'Disarm Saddam Hussein. According to this page, Iraq possessed 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 1,000,000 pounds of sarin, mustard and VX gas, 30,000 munitions to deliver these agents, plus mobile biological weapons labs, uranium from Niger to produce nuclear bombs, along with deep and abiding al Qaeda connections.
"Simply stated," said Dick Cheney on August 26 2002, "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
"We know for a fact that there are weapons there," said Ari Fleischer on January 9 2003.
"There is no doubt," said General Tommy Franks on March 22 2003, "that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction."
"We know where they are," said Don Rumsfeld on March 30 2003, later denying to the press that he ever said such a thing. "They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
"We have sources that tell us," said George W. Bush on February 8 2003, "that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons."
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt," continued Bush on March 17 2003, "that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
In his February 5 2003 speech to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned of the "sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network."
George W. Bush, on March 18, had delivered a letter to Congress explicitly indicating that an attack on Iraq was an attack upon those who perpetrated September 11. Paragraph two reads, "The use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
On May 1 2003, when he announced the end of "major combat operations," Bush proclaimed, "We've removed an ally of Al Qaeda."
It is now the 24th of November. Some 9,000 American soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, according to an official Pentagon count. Well over 400 American soldiers have died. The occupation itself has almost completely bogged down. Even the 'safe' areas in northern Iraq have seen a startling upsurge in violence. The two Blackhawks recently downed, to the tune of 17 Americans killed, were attacked in northern Iraq. Two soldiers had their throats cut in northern Iraq today, with a third killed by a bomb outside Baghdad.
The uranium claims were based on crudely forged documents, the mobile labs were weather balloon launching platforms sold to Iraq by the British in the 1980s, the al Qaeda claims are utterly impossible to establish as true, any connection between Iraq and September 11 was publicly denied by George W. Bush himself recently, and the mass destruction weapons are utterly and completely absent. Despite the fact that Iraq lacks any aspect of the formidable arsenal described by the Bush administration, fighters against the American occupation have managed to slay and maim our troops with sharp and deadly accuracy.
How? How are people without the vast amounts of money, weapons and training enjoyed by American forces succeeding in killing and wounding so many of our soldiers? The answer lies in the same two ingredients that brought defeat to America on bicycles and oxen and human backs down the length of the Ho Chi Mihn Trail: Ingenuity and will.
The Palestine Hotel and the Iraq Oil Ministry building came under rocket attack last week. The missiles were not fired by Iraqi men, but from the backs of donkey carts. The fuses to remotely launch these missiles were fashioned out of car batteries. The missiles struck home, gravely wounding a civilian employee of the American petroleum company Halliburton.
Halliburton had fashioned huge siege walls to protect the Palestine Hotel, an interesting fact in and of itself. One is forced to wonder exactly how a company whose purpose is to pull oil out of the ground came to be so adept at preparing military-style defenses. More interesting, though, is the fact that those defenses were defeated by donkeys. Not anthrax, not botulinum toxin, not VX gas, not with any of the 30,000 munitions Bush claims Iraq possessed, not with a nuclear bomb fashioned with material from Niger, and not with the help of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Halliburton was attacked by pack mules.
Americans continue to die, the cost of this invasion continues to skyrocket, and all of the dire threats we were told of do not, in any way, exist.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.' He is also editor and publisher of t r u t h o u t .com. © 2004 t r u t h o u t
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
- George Orwell
Wars of Reason, Wars of Principle Setting the record straight / By Barack Obama Chicago, October 26, 2002 (colors and bolds added) ORIGINAL
I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil.
I don't oppose all wars. My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil.
I don't oppose all wars. After September 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.
I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by [former Pentagon policy adviser] Richard Perle and [Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like [chief Bush political adviser] Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
I know that even a successful
war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost,
consequences. I know that
an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without
strong international support will only fan
the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst,
rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen
the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars. So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president.
You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.
You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure that we vigorously enforce a nonproliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.
You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.
You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.
Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
State Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) is a candidate for the U.S.
Senate. He delivered the above remarks at an antiwar rally on
October 26, 2002, in Chicago.
a "The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously." cvscv Blood Money By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Thursday 27 February 2003 /
George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.
In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were detailed.
The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into Baghdad.
PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud. Chalabi and the INC have, over the years, gathered support for their cause by promising oil contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power in Iraq.
Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The Committee has set out to "educate" Americans via cable news connections about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways and means of this education.
Who is PNAC? Its members include:
* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;
* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along with four of his chief aides including;
* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological father of the group;
* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;
* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration;
* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board;
* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;
* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;
* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative media mogul Ruppert Murdoch.
The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish what they call 'Pax Americana' across the globe. Essentially, their goal is to transform America, the sole remaining superpower, into a planetary empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of 2000 entitled 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which requires a massive increase in defense spending and the fighting of several major theater wars in order to establish American dominance. The first has been achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for the exact dollar amount to be spent on defense that was requested by PNAC in 2000. Arrangements are underway for the fighting of the wars.
The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign policy schemes, hatched in 1997, brought into reality. They control the White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department, by way of this the armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a Republican-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.
The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and has always been, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of an American protectorate in Iraq. The purpose of this is threefold: 1) To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise; 2) To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3) To establish in Iraq a military staging area for the eventual invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes, including some that are allies of the United States.
Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this aspect of the grand plan in the September 2002 issue of his journal, 'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes, "that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for Podhoretz, this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."
This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely different light.
Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of Iraqi liberation and democratization are cynical in their inception. At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The drive behind this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it exists in both government and society within the Middle East. Once this is accomplished, the road to empire will be open, ten lanes wide and steppin' out over the line.
At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions in the board room and the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved, and entice those outside the loop to get into the game.
Thus, the payout.
It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice President, served as chairman and chief executive of the Dallas-based petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure, according to oil industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk $73 million in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face with Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton were also moving into position to capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In October of 1995, the same month Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced a deal that would put it first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of burning oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.
Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the construction business, and thus has won a share of the $900 million government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads and other basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be repaired after parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.
More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of permanent American military bases. There are twelve permanent U.S. bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown & Root for a multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration has not offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of Brown & Root should answer them succinctly. We do not plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build permanent bases there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern nations can be staged and managed.
Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.
Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and Brown & Root. The two companies have worked closely with governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those nation's histories. Many environmental and human rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in fact, centrally involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was contracted by the Defense Department to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one project came to $300 million.
Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still profiting from deals between Halliburton and Hussein. One year later, Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating for war on Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.
Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies, including telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W. Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and former Secretary of State James Baker III.
One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.
In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs.
Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in American military buildup is the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin Laden, father of Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through contracts with the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this company is called, was heavily invested in Carlyle for years. Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which includes in that portfolio United Defense and other weapons manufacturers.
This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit From Jump in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.' The 'bank' in question was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington - Saudi Clan Has Had Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes the relationship. In October of 2001, Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing is auspicious.
There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives, make such a democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to achieve.
This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire requires some significant sacrifices.
Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for 227 years.
And yes, of course, a great many people will die.
It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.
mnn (M.O.W. editorial insert)
Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it again.
Would that we Americans could be so wise.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.' He is also editor and publisher of t r u t h o u t .com.
/ Who Lost Iraq? / By Paul Krugman New York Times Tuesday 29 June 2004
The formal occupation of Iraq came to an ignominious end yesterday with a furtive ceremony, held two days early to foil insurgent attacks, and a swift airborne exit for the chief administrator. In reality, the occupation will continue under another name, most likely until a hostile Iraqi populace demands that we leave. But it's already worth asking why things went so wrong.
The Iraq venture may have been doomed from the start - but we'll never know for sure because the Bush administration made such a mess of the occupation. Future historians will view it as a case study of how not to run a country.
Up to a point, the numbers in the Brookings Institution's invaluable Iraq Index tell the tale. Figures on the electricity supply and oil production show a pattern of fitful recovery and frequent reversals; figures on insurgent attacks and civilian casualties show a security situation that got progressively worse, not better; public opinion polls show an occupation that squandered the initial good will.
What the figures don't describe is the toxic mix of ideological obsession and cronyism that lie behind that dismal performance.
The insurgency took root during the occupation's first few months, when the Coalition Provisional Authority seemed oddly disengaged from the problems of postwar anarchy. But what was Paul Bremer III, the head of the C.P.A., focused on? According to a Washington Post reporter who shared a flight with him last June, "Bremer discussed the need to privatize government-run factories with such fervor that his voice cut through the din of the cargo hold."
Plans for privatization were eventually put on hold. But as he prepared to leave Iraq, Mr. Bremer listed reduced tax rates, reduced tariffs and the liberalization of foreign-investment laws as among his major accomplishments. Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time - but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics.
If the occupiers often seemed oblivious to reality, one reason was that many jobs at the C.P.A. went to people whose qualifications seemed to lie mainly in their personal and political connections - people like Simone Ledeen, whose father, Michael Ledeen, a prominent neoconservative, told a forum that "the level of casualties is secondary" because "we are a warlike people" and "we love war."
/- Michael Ledeen, resident scholar in the "Freedom Chair" at the American Enterprise Institute (below) (M.O.W. editorial insert)
Still, given Mr. Bremer's economic focus, you might at least have expected his top aide for private-sector development to be an expert on privatization and liberalization in such countries as Russia or Argentina. But the job initially went to Thomas Foley, a Connecticut businessman and Republican fund-raiser with no obviously relevant expertise. In March, Michael Fleischer, a New Jersey businessman, took over. Yes, he's Ari Fleischer's brother. Mr. Fleischer told The Chicago Tribune that part of his job was educating Iraqi businessmen: "The only paradigm they know is cronyism. We are teaching them that there is an alternative system with built-in checks and built-in review."
Checks and review? Yesterday a leading British charity, Christian Aid, released a scathing report, "Fueling Suspicion," on the use of Iraqi oil revenue. It points out that the May 2003 U.N. resolution giving the C.P.A. the right to spend that revenue required the creation of an international oversight board, which would appoint an auditor to ensure that the funds were spent to benefit the Iraqi people.
Instead, the U.S. stalled, and the auditor didn't begin work until April 2004. Even then, according to an interim report, it faced "resistance from C.P.A. staff." And now, with the audit still unpublished, the C.P.A. has been dissolved.
Defenders of the administration will no doubt say that Christian Aid and other critics have no proof that the unaccounted-for billions were ill spent. But think of it this way: given the Arab world's suspicion that we came to steal Iraq's oil, the occupation authorities had every incentive to expedite an independent audit that would clear Halliburton and other U.S. corporations of charges that they were profiteering at Iraq's expense. Unless, that is, the charges are true.
Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
___________________________________________________________________________ / /"...They clearly wanted to go after Iraq and they clearly wanted to do this reshaping of the middle east and they used the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to test their theories."= / - Former National Security Chief Richard A. Clarke /____________________________________________________________________________ / "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."
- Michael Ledeen, resident scholar in the "Freedom Chair" at the American Enterprise Institute. It's too bad we can't do the same to crappy little chickenhawk Republican men with Napoleonic complexes. "Writing in The Nation, a left-wing magazine, Jack Huberman, who describes Ledeen as "the most influential and unabashed warmonger of our time", also attributes these quotes to Ledeen: / "Change - above all, violent change - is the essence of human history" "the only way to achieve peace is through total war" "The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people" / "From the other side of politics, The American Conservative has claimed that Ledeen had strong sympathies for Italian fascism and that "Ledeen's careful distinction between fascist 'regime' and 'movement' makes him a clear apologist for the latter." - from Wikipedia's Ledeen entry dvas// "At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds. I want to thank them for their service, but I also want to remind people that for 60 years, AEI scholars have made vital contributions to our country and to our government, and we are grateful for those contributiions" - President Bush Discusses the Future of Iraq . February 26, 2003 / Michael Ledeen's very interesting history (Iran Contra, P2, Niger documnents, etc.) HERE. / "I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war...What we hate is not casualties but losing." - Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute Breakfast, March 27, 2003 dvasd
By Georgie Anne Geyer The American Conservative January 13, 2003 http://www.amconmag.com/01_13_03/geyer7.html
Ever since his Watergate revelations, which helped evict a president and change the United States for all time, for better or worse Bob Woodward has stood as the major force in a new genre of journalism. He talks, wheedles, and, using government officials' personal ambitions and dreams of political eternity, implicitly threatens his way into the often closed corridors of power-there, he is a master at getting a certain number of figures who try their best to remain aloof and unknown to tell their stories. The proposition, understood if not explicitly spoken, is that this book, as his former ones, will tell the story-you miss out on leave on this journalistic port, fellow, you miss the whole historic ship!
But once again with Bush at War, one has to wonder first what really is this genre? As with his other books, such as The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House , the style is curt and commanding. It is easy and fully intended for the reader to get the impression that this is exactly the way it all really happened, particularly since by far the largest part of the book is direct quote after direct quote, many of them quite complex and all totally impossible to check. There is also little contextual matter or balance and certainly no "other-think" even minimally allowed on the pages.
So, first, we need to keep in mind that the Woodward genre, or style, or indeed whatever we want to call it, is one that we might best and most legitimately call a kind of "journalistic political theater." And the important thing in theater is always, first, to know it is theater and thus not exactly life; but the next important thing is to realize that the discerning theater-goer, the person who has other facts and sufficient faculties of discernment at his fingertips, can gain enormous amounts of knowledge and reflection from a careful attendance to the stage and particularly from a skeptical perusal of the movements behind the curtains.
So, do not look in this book for "the whole story," but do look for incredible insights. Woodward walks us into the closed salons of this secretive administration, and that is a valuable escort service indeed.f?
First of all, Bush at War is really about the decision-making process in the upper levels of the Bush administration-the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon-from the exact morning of Sept. 11th. It begins with a profoundly worried George Tenet, head of the CIA and, from all of the space he gets in the book, obviously one of Woodward's best and favored sources. That very morning, Tenet is wondering about when Osama bin Laden, whom he has been desperately tracking, will strike the U.S. Then "it" happens-and from then onward, the book delineates day-by-day, and sometimes hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute-what supposedly went on in meeting after meeting. From all accounts that I know of, Woodward's interpretations are exactly right; it is the quotes that are so bothersome.
But since so much of the material on the Afghan war has been covered before, the clues as to a future attack on Iraq are the parts that are the most original and that I will therefore deal with here.
Franken: "Clinton's military did pretty well in Iraq, huh?" Wolfowitz: "Fuck you."
The "question of Iraq," for instance, was raised at a White House meeting of principals the very next day after the terrorist attacks. It was raised by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld but was actually reflecting the long-time obsession of Paul Wolfowitz, his aggressive deputy. In fact, Wolfowitz did not hesitate even to step in ahead of his demanding boss that day in regaling the president on Iraq. "Wolfowitz seized the opportunity," Woodward writes. "Attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain. He worried about 100,000 American troops bogged down in mountain fighting in Afghanistan six months from then. In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable. He estimated that there was a 10 to 50 percent chance Saddam was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks."
Here you come upon some of the many revealing counterpoints in the score. Some, like Wolfowitz and the group of neoconservative zealots, with their intimate ties to the hardest parts of the Israeli Right, wanted to attack and ultimately "reconfigure" the entire Middle East for their own and Israel's interests, and soon they were moving Heaven and Earth to convince the president that Iraq constituted, not a mere 10 to 50 percent of the problem, but 100 percent of it. Some of the president's advisors also genuinely feared Saddam's possible use of weapons of mass destruction. But there is also a persistent undercurrent of macho thinking that, hey, we've got the weapons: "Should they think about launching military action elsewhere as an insurance policy in case things in Afghanistan went bad?" Woodward paraphrases these moments. "They would need successes early in any war to maintain domestic and international support." And besides, Rumsfeld was "deeply worried about the availability of good targets in Afghanistan."
All the while, the "rational" group in the leadership is warning, warning, warning, like a Greek chorus awakening every once in a while to take center stage. Secretary of State Colin Powell warns against the U.S. being seen as "playing the superpower bully" and tries to tell the president that the behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with whom Bush seemed taken with almost a childlike admiration, "borders on the irrational." Powell is "uncomfortable with random regime change." Powell, his State Department staff, and prominent White Housers like the president's more cautious, New England-born Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. are the holdouts to the radical, macho, neocon, Likudnik, former Cold Warriors who are not, the book makes clear, at all conservatives in any traditional sense.
It is these "warriors," or the "War Party," or the "cabal," as different elements in the press have dubbed them, who would soon weave their own obsession with Iraq over a Texas president first totally inexperienced in foreign affairs and finally obsessed himself that he and he alone-through his instinct rather than his intellect-has been called to a religious duty in the Middle East to rid the world of Saddam Hussein!
The portrait that comes through of George W. Bush is itself revealing. Here again, Woodward does not directly try to characterize him, but the direct quotes from his many interviews with "W" often paint a frankly odd picture.
According to Woodward, the president, contrary to much critical thinking, did not embrace the Iraqi war from the very beginning, nor did he embrace it consistently. According to the book, he went up and down on it, his moods vacillating from the emotional conviction that his "father's generation was called" (and now, so is he) to watching the polls and depending upon the political response around the country. At the end of the book, when he finally meets with a deeply worried Colin Powell, after months in which, astonishingly, his own secretary of state barely has access to him, Bush of course finally responds with a willingness to go to the UN and to place the problem before the world community, while Powell breathes a sigh of desperate relief.
Indeed, it is less Bush's immediate
obsession with Iraq that is illustrated here, than a kind of religiously-inspired
grandiosity of character is revealed. For instance:
"This will be a monumental struggle between good and evil," he says just after 9/11. He returns to the White House from Camp David one day, makes a brief statement to the press, and takes five questions: "He referred to 'evil' or 'evildoers' seven times and three times voiced amazement at the nature of the attacks," Woodward writes. In another place, from Bush: "We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time." He stops at a hockey game in Philadelphia, and, when the fans demand to watch his speech on the stadium's overhead video screens and the players huddle to watch," Bush says with wonder, "They wanted to hear what the commander in chief, the president of the United States, had to say during this moment! I have never felt more comfortable in my life."
Another time, he says to Woodward, "I'm the commander-see, I don't need to explain-I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
At still another point after the Afghan war has started, the president says to his staff, "Look, our strategy is to create chaos, to create a vacuum." And Woodward ends the book with another quote from the president, in which he again reflects the obsessive chaos theory of the neoconservatives surrounding him like sentinels and for whom Iraq has become the sina quo non of political existence: "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation." Whew.
We must remember here that, since the president has given so few interviews since he was elected and since he has kept himself so errantly far away from the press and indeed almost anyone except those in the War Party, these quotes are quite remarkably revealing. He himself says proudly in the book, repeatedly, that he hates and distrusts the media and adds that he does not see the mail either. Very well. One has the right to humor one's preferences, but in fact, the serious and informed press is an invaluable tool of information for any leader and it does not hurt to hear the public's voices either. He declares continuously here that he trusts his "instinct"-but a good and informed instinct only exists in play to the life experiences its holder has had.
The principle behind the Bush thinking, the book says, is, "this is a new world." As a matter of fact, the world that we face today is an exceedingly old world: terrorism as a substitute for armed strength, violence against "the other," the arrogance of the affluent, the careless expectations of the powerful, and the ambitions of the zealous are all as old as the Bible to which George W. Bush so passionately ascribes.
The president says testily at one point in the book to Democrat Thomas Daschle, "I'm in the Lord's hands." One rather thinks, after reading this book, that much of the time now we all are indeed.
© 2003 The American Conservative _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
s Who was right about Iraq-- Marine Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter or five-time draft doger Dick Cheney?
"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 dfbbnzd "The clock is ticking, and it's ticking towards war. And it's going to be a real war. It's going to be a war that will result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It's a war that is going to devastate Iraq. It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America." - U.N weapons inspector, and Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter speaking at Suffolk University in Boston on July 23, 2002 / ___________________________________________ / "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy, Feb. 7, 2003 / "A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict." - President Bush, in an Oval Office speech to the nation, March 20, 2002 ___________________________________________/ / Q (April 2005): Where do you see America, should things continue as is, five years from now? SCOTT RITTER: At war, bankrupt morally and fiscally, and in great pain ... ...and only half-way through the nightmare. Ten to twelve years is what we will have to get through, but we will get through it. - U.N weapons inspector, and Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter, "Neocons as Parasites" / ___________________________________________ / GEORGE H.W. BUSH ( BUSH I ): "I firmly believed that we should not march into Baghdad.///////// To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a secretly entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war." / ___________________________________________ / BRENT SCOWCROFT (National Security Advisor, Bush I): "But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive. The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence. / ___________________________________________ / Q: How do you think the current war in Iraq is going to play out? / GORE VIDAL: I think we will go down the tubes right with it. With each action Bush ever more enrages the Muslims. And there are a billion of them. And sooner or later they will have a Saladin who will pull them together, and they will come after us. And it won't be pretty." / / / ___________________________________________ /
3500-plus Americans killed, more than 25,000 seriously wounded / Caused the deaths of more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly children; many thousands more wounded Increased cancers and birth defects tenfold from depleted uranium exposure (both for Iraqis and coalition forces) // Destroyed Iraqi's infrastructure; museums and hospitals looted, water supplies polluted, electricity and medical care diminished // Destroyed Iraq's economy, causing job loss, hunger, crime, anarchy and more death // htnDestroyed Iraq's security apparatus, opening the floodgates to anarchy and civil war //// Created millions of Iraqi refiugees / Allowed systematic looting of munitions stockpiles after the war, which were later employed against our troops / Drastically diminished Emergency Preparedness at home by depleting National Guard forces and funding \ Increased opium production in Afghanistan from near non-existence to record crop yields / Vastly increased recruitment for alQaeda and other terrorist groups / Diverted energy and funds from the battle with alQaeda .// Engendered the hatred of most of the world /// Destroyed US credibility / "Lost" $9 billion / Squandered more than $2 trillion /// Turned a record surplus into a record deficit /// Enriched Halliburton, Exxon, Bechtel, the Carlisle Group, etc. /// Fired desperately needed Arab translators because they were gayn htshsnndnnd////fgndgfgndgh Established a precedent for 'pre-emptive' wars for other countries to follow htshsnndnndfgndgfgndgh Made US exempt from the International Criminal Court and the Geneva convention //// Removed fundamental American liberties, including Habeus Corpus and the Bill of Rights /dgsh Destroyed an entire covert CIA network protecting us from weapons of mass destruction htshsnndfgndgh / Made the entire world far, far less safe. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "The bottom line is that we're [in Iraq] for the safety and security of the nation and our friends and allies around the world," Cheney said. "We didn't do anything to provoke the attack of 9/11. We were attacked by the terrorists, and we've responded forcefully and aggressively." . - CNN.com - Kerry challenges Bush on Iraq-9/11 connection - Sep 12, 2004
//"In the invasion of Iraq, he said, they could see the same illusion on a global scale - that force and brutality could produce security." / - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 2003 _____________________________________________________
PROOF we are FAR, FAR LESS SAFE because of the Iraq invasion: / (COMPLETE ARTICLES HERE) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Walter Cronkite _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "....Mr. Clarke bemoans the way the invasion of Iraq, in his view, played right into the hands of Al Qaeda: "Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed . . . It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush." "Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us." / -White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, September 17, 2001 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- "U.S. Faces Lasting Damage Abroad" By Robin Wright,The Washington Post, 07 May 2004 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Maureen Dowd, New York Times ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _
- Le Monde ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _
- "Dancing Alone", by conservative columnist Thomas Friedman, New York Times, May 13, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
/ "In 1968, a few Democratic senators - - J. William Fulbright, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Robert F. Kennedy - - challenged their party's torpor and insisted that President Lyndon Johnson be held accountable for his disastrous and disingenuous conduct of the Vietnam War, adding weight to public pressure, which, eventually, forced Johnson not to seek re-election. / Today, the United States is confronted by another ill-considered war, conceived in ideological zeal and pursued with contempt for truth, disregard of history and an arrogant assertion of American power that has stunned and alienated much of the world, including traditional allies. / At a juncture in history when the United States needed a president to intelligently and forcefully lead a real international campaign against terrorism and its causes, Bush decided instead /to unilaterally declare war on a totalitarian state that never represented a terrorist threat; to claim exemption from international law regarding the treatment of prisoners; to suspend constitutional guarantees even to non-combatants at home and abroad; and to ignore sound military advice from the only member of his Cabinet - Powell - with the most requisite experience. //
"September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired. Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction." / "What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace."
Monday 10 May 2004 ORIGINAL
We have traveled a long, dark, strange road since the attacks of September 11. We have all suffered, we have all known fear and anger, and sometimes hatred. Many of us have felt - probably more than we are willing to admit it - at one time or another a desire for revenge, so deep was the wound inflicted upon us during that wretched, unforgettable Tuesday morning in September of 2001.
But we have come now to the end of a week so awful, so terrible, so wrenching that the most basic moral fabric of that which we believe is good and great - the basic moral fabric of the United States of America - has been torn bitterly asunder.
We are awash in photographs of Iraqi men - not terrorists, just people - lying in heaps on cold floors with leashes around their necks. We are awash in photographs of men chained so remorselessly that their backs are arched in agony, men forced to masturbate for cameras, men forced to pretend to have sex with one another for cameras, men forced to endure attacks from dogs, men with electrodes attached to them as they stand, hooded, in fear of their lives.
The worst, amazingly, is yet to come. A new battery of photographs and videotapes, as yet unreleased, awaits over the horizon of our abused understanding. These photos and videos, also from the Abu Ghraib prison, are reported to show U.S. soldiers gang raping an Iraqi woman, U.S. soldiers beating an Iraqi man nearly to death, U.S. troops posing, smirks affixed, with decomposing Iraqi bodies, and Iraqi troops under U.S. command raping young boys.
George W. Bush would have us believe these horrors were restricted to a sadistic few, and would have us believe these horrors happened only in Abu Ghraib. Yet reports are surfacing now of similar treatment at another U.S. detention center in Iraq called Camp Bucca. According to these reports, Iraqi prisoners in Camp Bucca were beaten, humiliated, hogtied, and had scorpions placed on their naked bodies.
In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and humiliation under investigation. The Bush administration went out of its way to cover up this disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and against the law. You can't call something classified just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our definition of freedom.
The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats' most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is "unwinnable." Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader's luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.
"Unwinnable." Well, it only took about 14 months.
Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.
So there's the heat. But let us consider the broader picture here in the context of that one huge word: "Unwinnable." Why did we do this in the first place? There have been several reasons offered over the last 16 months for why we needed to do this thing.
It started, for real, in January 2003 when George W. Bush said in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX, 30,000 munitions to deliver this stuff, and that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger to build nuclear bombs.
That reason has been scratched off the list because, as has been made painfully clear now, there are no such weapons in Iraq. The Niger claim, in particular, has caused massive embarrassment for America because it was so farcical, and has led to a federal investigation of this White House because two administration officials took revenge upon Joseph Wilson's wife for Wilson''s exposure of the lie.
Next on the list was September 11, and the oft-repeated accusation that Saddam Hussein must have been at least partially responsible. That one collapsed as well - Bush himself had to come out and say Saddam had nothing to do with it.
Two reasons down, so the third must be freedom and liberty for the Iraqi people. Once again, however, facts interfere. America does not want a democratic Iraq, because a democratic Iraq would quickly become a Shi'ite fundamentalist Iraq allied with the Shi'ite fundamentalist nation of Iran, a strategic situation nobody with a brain wants to see come to pass. It has been made clear by Paul Bremer, the American administrator of Iraq, that whatever the new Iraqi government comes to look like, it will have no power to make any laws of any kind, it will have no control over the security of Iraq, and it will have no power over the foreign troops which occupy its soil. This is, perhaps, some bizarre new definition of democracy not yet in the dictionary, but it is not democracy by any currently accepted definition I have ever heard of.
So...the reason to go to war because of weapons of mass destruction is destroyed. The reason to go to war because of connections to September 11 is destroyed. The reason to go to war in order to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq is destroyed.
What is left? The one reason left has been unfailingly flapped around by defenders of this administration and supporters of this war: Saddam Hussein was a terrible, terrible man. He killed his own people. He tortured his own people. The Iraqis are better off without him, and so the war is justified.
And here, now, is the final excuse destroyed. We have killed more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in this invasion, and maimed countless others. The photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison Hussein used to do his torturing. The "rape rooms," often touted by Bush as justification for the invasion, are back. We are the killers now. We are the torturers now. We have achieved a moral equivalence with the Butcher of Baghdad.
This war is lost. I mean not just the Iraq war, but George W. Bush's ridiculous "War on Terror" as a whole.
I say ridiculous because this "War on Terror" was never, ever something we were going to win. What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace. This happened, simply, because of the complete failure of moral leadership at the highest levels.
We saw a prime example of this during Friday's farce of a Senate hearing into the Abu Ghraib disaster which starred Don Rumsfeld. From his bully pulpit spoke Senator Joe Lieberman, who parrots the worst of Bush's war propaganda with unfailingly dreary regularity. Responding to the issue of whether or not Bush and Rumsfeld should apologize for Abu Ghraib, Lieberman stated that none of the terrorists had apologized for September 11.
There it was, in a nutshell. There was the idea, oft promulgated by the administration, that September 11 made any barbarism, any extreme, any horror brought forth by the United States acceptable, and even desirable. There was the institutionalization of revenge as a basis for policy. Sure, Abu Ghraib was bad, Mr. Lieberman put forth. But September 11 happened, so all bets are off.
Thus fails the "War on Terror." September 11 did not demand of us the lowest common denominator, did not demand of us that we become that which we despise and denounce. September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired.
Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction.
Every reason to go to Iraq has failed to retain even a semblance of credibility. Every bit of propaganda Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why America should be attacked and destroyed has been given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq. Victory in this "War on Terror," a propaganda war from the beginning, has been given to the September 11 attackers by the hand of George W. Bush, and by the hand of those who enabled his incomprehensible blundering.
The war is lost.
William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t . He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.' © : t r u t h o u t 2004
"An immoral war was thus waged and the world is a great deal less safe place than before. There are many more who resent the powerful who can throw their weight about so callously and with so much impunity." / - Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 2003 / / "One power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." /. - NELSON MANDELA HO "It's as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam. The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." / - HELEN THOMAS
/ "..an administration of liars and murderers, who curse us because we stand in the way of their tyranny, who curse us because we stand in the way of their unholy and brutal agenda, an administration whose villainy and greed is insatiable. We stand at this threshold of history, and say to them, not in our names, not in our names!" / - DANNY GLOVER, 2003
/ / _______________________________________________ ` To BUSHWARS Part 2 >>> / HALL OF SHAME /"....don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity." / "After Pat's Birthday", by Kevin Tillman /bzdbzs _____________// / Smart People nrfnnfnf/ Bushwars / Bushlies / Cheneylies / Incurious George / St. George / King George (the madness of) / George the Lionheart and the New Crusades / George of Orwell / Georgie Warbucks / George W. Hoover / Vanishing Votes // Death Culture / Hall of Shame // 911 Accountability / (Not-so) Friendly Fascism / Project For A New American Perpetual War / Fanning the Flames of Fear, Loathing and Terror / T h e C o l l a t e r a l C h i l d r e n / About This Site: A Gathering Danger _____________// / More writings by, and interviews with SMART PEOPLE on our Dire Situation: / Kurt Vonnegut Speaks / Bill Moyers Rallies / Gore Vidal Rants / Mark Twain Sings _____________// .../ . To BUSHWARS Part 2 >>> / HALL OF SHAME...