Tuesday, September 09, 2003

War News for Spetember 9, 2003 Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded by mine ambush near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on One US soldier seriously wounded during mortar attack in Balad. Bring ‘em on: Pipeline sabotaged; oil deliveries halted. ABC News: No US casualties for one week. (Wounded soldiers don’t count in Disneyland.) Reservists and Guardsmen receive extended tours in Iraq. Commander of DC National Guard AWOL at soldier’s funeral. “Perhaps Bush could not figure out a way to make political hay out of Dent's funeral -- although he does seem to have a knack for turning sorrow over the casualties of war into talk of more war….” Commentary: It’s hard to respect a man who lies as often as Bush. Norway wants more UN participation than Bush offers. Bush “created the conditions that have made Iraq the place to come to attack Americans." Military families protest Bush’s failed Iraq policies. Europe balks at bailing out Bush. "There is a deep conviction in Europe that if you keep a dominant American role in Iraq, the stabilization effort will not work ..." India says US resolution on Iraq “not sufficient,” despite personal phone call from Bush. Baghdad TV and radio building on fire. Sabotage? Poll: More Americans think Iraq war has increased risk of terrorism in US Rant of the Day During his speech to the nation on Sunday night, Bush tried hard not to smirk, and he barely succeeded. He spoke to three different audiences trying to accomplish three different objectives. First, he had to throw some red-meat justifications to his far-right base by linking his disastrous war in Iraq with their fear of terrorism, and appease his campaign donors by assuring them their precious tax cuts remain safe. Mission accomplished; while he didn’t once mention how he planned to pay the bills for his war, he used the word “terror” 28 times, slyly linked Iraq to both weapons of mass destruction (“they used weapons of mass destruction,” a statement that’s technically true since the Iraqis used them twenty years ago but an utter and contemptible lie in the context Bush said it) and trotted out his proven bait-and-switch technique by swapping al Qaeda for Saddam Hussein (“Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.”) Noticeably absent was any reference to Osama bin Laden, the man who actually attacked the United States. But what works with Bush’s far-right base fails miserably with the other, more important audiences. For the majority of Americans Bush presented the bill for his war: an additional eye-popping $87 billion dollars, in addition to the $79 billion he has already spent. (This shouldn’t be surprising for anybody familiar with his life: Little Georgie has perfected a lifestyle of letting others pick up the tab for his personal and political failures.) Bush failed to present any plan, timetable or exit strategy with the bill, again reflecting his personal sense of entitlement. Bush’s campaign mantra, “It’s your money!” has become “It’s my money.” The most important audience watching Bush’s performance was the international community. International support is crucial to the American effort in Iraq. Whether Bush lied to get us there is immaterial on this point; we’re there, we’re stuck there, the place is a mess, and we desperately need help. Bush offered no incentive for anybody to contribute the help America so desperately needs. Instead, he brought out the tired old wheeze that he expects others to help extricate America from the mess he created, without offering any substantial participation in the decision-making. It's the entitlement thing again. This is bad news for America. The international community - at least those nations that have the resources necessary, not just those tinhorns willing to lend their names only - have made it abundantly clear that they no longer trust Bush and are unwilling to pull his preppy chestnuts out of the fire without the power to veto the schemes of Bush's neo-conservative war hawks or some kind of assurances that their money will not ultimately wind up in the pockets of Dick Cheney's cronies at Halliburton. We are stuck in Iraq, alone save the Brits, the Iraqis, and the terrorists who want to kill every American soldier they can find. The rest of the world sees helping Bush as a greater threat than Osama, and with good reason. Aside from his constant lying and the terrifying belligerence and incompetence of his advisors, Bush has established a reputation as a dishonorable man. In the name of a discredited ideology, he has repudiated treaties that the US signed in good faith and which the rest of the world regards as vital. As 10,000 people died in Europe from this summer's heat wave, an event never seen in the 600 years since Europeans started systematically recording the weather, those leaders remember how Bush trashed the Kyoto accords and they see how he is defunding independent climate research in the United States. When Bush demands their help in Iraq, they remember how he shamelessly promised anti-AIDS funds and then failed to deliver. For the last fifty years, we and our allies built our defense systems on the principle of collective security and invested tremendously in NATO, the UN, OSCE and other institutions. Bush, in word and action, has demonstrated his total contempt for collective security institutions and assured the world that his core beliefs support the crackpot ideals of the Project for the New American Century. Bush has not only failed to secure relief and assistance from the international community, he has ensured that they will contribute only the minimum amount of effort necessary to prevent a complete collapse of order in Iraq that might threaten their own security. Not one nation of consequence will lift a finger to help America out of the mess Bush has created until we rid ourselves of Bush and his gang. Not only has Bush squandered the goodwill and sympathy of the world after 9/11, he has pissed away the prestige and stature that the United States has accrued since the defeat of fascism. I take no satisfaction in seeing my country debased. I am an American, and I am enraged at the little men who treat America like their own personal litter box. But Bush’s lies are relevant in another sense. Bush and his administration must be held accountable and not just at the ballot box. The people who made the decisions to present lies as facts, to wage aggressive war, and to loot the US taxpayers have committed criminal acts. The men who committed the crimes of Iran-Contra were never held accountable and I firmly believe that had we thrown Caspar Weinberger, Oliver North, and John Poindexter (to name but a few) in prison until they are very, very old men, then Karl Rove, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush would have thought twice before they launched aggressive war. Jeremy Bentham was right: you can’t have general deterrence without the public examples of specific deterrence. Little George will get his money, directly from your pockets, to support his war. The Republican congress will make some noise, but they’ll pony up. Meanwhile, until November 2004, that nest of right-wing nut jobs at the Pentagon will continue to squander American lives, limbs and treasure with their ideological incompetence and greed. Americans aren’t as stupid as Rove thinks we are. We’re pissed. And we’re going to wipe that smirk right off Little Georgie’s evil face.


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