Friday, June 24, 2005

Musings on Iraq

Each and every day we hear news of multiple bombings in Iraq, with daily civilian casualties in the dozens. Many are suicide bombings.

At the same time, American servicemen continue to be killed and maimed by roadside IEDs (improvised explosive devices), which get ever more sophisticated.

Some time ago American officials proclaimed the upsurge in violence was the last gasp of a desperate insurgency. Yet we can easily imagine they'd be claiming progress if the violence were to subside. This is the kind of doubletalk that gets to have it both ways.

Indeed, Dick Cheney, who is either stupendously self deluded or an accomplished liar, now says the insurgency is in its "last throes". This man spins fables with such a calm, no-nonsense demeanor that one cannot help but be impressed--or horrified. It was Cheney, remember, who was doggedly repeating the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection long after everybody else in the administration--including the president--had abandoned it. It's no wonder that a third of Americans still believe that WMD were found in Iraq.

No matter what the spin, the mayhem continues unabated. General John P. Abizaid said in congressional testimony that foreign fighters continue to stream into Iraq, and that the resistance is as strong as it was half a year ago. An in-theater officer recently said that for every fighter killed, three take his place. Didn't opponents warn at the outset of this dirty little war that it would be a tremendous recruiting cause for the terrorists?

The American armed forces tasked with defending our country have been decisively diverted into Bush's adventure in nation building. Of course, democracy in the Middle East, which is all we hear about now, became the new necessity after WMD turned out to be a bust. Whatever the cause, American armed forces have taken a big hit. A couple of weeks ago joint chiefs chairman Richard Meyers said in a leaked classified document that the Iraq war was burdening the U.S. armed forces in a manner that would make it exceedingly difficult to respond to other military challenges. And lately the news has been full of stories about the military being unable to meet its recruiting goals. We've even heard reports of ethical violations by recruiters desperate to meet their quotas.

Kim Jung Il must be pleased.

It's an understatement to say that things aren't turning out quite like our leaders had hoped. But that's been apparent for a long time. Iraq continues to be an object lesson on how arrogant power can be brought low.

Then there's the story from London--still not widely reported on this side of the pond--of an inside British perspective on American fibbing during the lead up to the war. The so-called Downing Street Memo shows that the Bush administration was privately determined to wage war with Iraq even while publicly claiming to seek a diplomatic solution. And yes, the memo shows an administration intent on making sure that intelligence supported its war aspirations. Published by the Times of London on May 1, 2005, the leaked "memo" is actually the minutes of a meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security advisers. You can read it at the Times of London website.

None of this is remotely news to those of us who have been paying attention. Even before the invasion, there were ample reports in the mainstream media about how the Bush claims didn't add up. And there were early, persistent, and credible reports about manipulation of intelligence. In short, there is a large body of work from reputable sources available to anyone who cares enough to learn the truth.

Copyright (C) 2005 James Michael Brennan, All Rights Reserved


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