Friday :: Oct 10, 2003

Bush Continues to Screw Iraq and US too.

by Mary

George W Bush and his key henchmen (Dick Cheney and Condaleeza Rice) are on the road selling Iraq and why the US had to invade Iraq. Condi said:

Had any one of these examples been discovered last winter, the Security Council would have had no choice but to take exactly the same course that President Bush followed: to declare Saddam Hussein in defiance of Resolution 1441, and enforce its serious consequences.

Um, Condi, they didn't support the war when they thought there might be some real weapons. Now that we've seen that Saddam didn't have real weapons, but only aspirations of weapons, you think they would have been more convinced? That's definitely a good one!

However, for the Bushies, this was perhaps a particularly bad week to go around selling snake oil. As Bush got up today and talked about how things are really going well in Iraq, Iraq experienced one of its bloodiest days for awhile. Yes, things are going very well in Iraq.

Then this evening, Frontline had a powerful documentary on Iraq: truth, war and consequences which does an excellent job of describing the self-serving lies that took us into war and the incompetence and mistakes made before and after Saddam fell. No wonder things are going so well in Iraq right now. The only thing I did not see in the Frontline documentary was the total veniality of the Bushies and that one of the main reasons things were so SNAFU'ed on the ground is because the jobs were all outsourced to the war profiteers.

Kenan Makiya (author of the Republic of Fear) said that the Bush administration was wrong to use WMD to justify this war because it was the wrong reason. He still believes the only reason that we needed was because it was essential to rescue Iraq from the evil Saddam. I find it sad that he thinks the Bushies (who don't like Democracy here in the USA) would support and create democracy in Iraq. It's hard to create democracy when you don't understand what it is. And now he believes that we must stay in Iraq and bring about democracy because American "prestige" and "credibility" are on the line and so is our "commitment to our highest values". If we leave we betray ourselves.

American prestige is at stake, American credibility is at stake and American commitment to its own values, its own sense of what it's all about, is at stake here. If it abandons this process halfway because a few soldiers being killed here and there every day, because of mistakes being made on the ground, then all of that, that which the United States itself stands for, is rendered less credible throughout the world.

Okay. Let's do a reality check. One of the reasons the war mongers said we had to go to war in March was because America would lose its "credibility" if it backed down. You don't get all those troops over there and not use them. Now the story is we can't leave until the job is done because we will lose credibility. Yah, right.

It is my contention that we will never see the Iraqi situation (or our own safety in regards to terrorism) until we get rid of these hacks and incompetents who continue to lie about why we went to war and who are totally incapable of getting past their grandious and greedy visions to understand and work with facts.

Bob Herbert's column on Friday covers a bunch of the reasons the UN refuses to get in bed with the US right now. [GW Bush: I promise you won't get pregnant. UN: Then why won't you marry me?]

In late spring I wrote a piece for the watch about why I thought that the missing WMD created a more dangerous place for the United States and for the world. With the Bushies reviving their sales job, I decided it was worth reposting it here.

Why the Missing WMD Matter (First published on the Watch, June 6, 2003)

It is increasingly obvious that the imminent threat from Iraq due to Weapons of Mass destruction was wildly overblown or, more cynically, a ruse to justify a preemptive war. Many people in the United States of America seem to think that the result of the war, toppling Saddam Hussein and ridding the world of an evil dictator, is now sufficient justification and we shouldn't worry about how we got into the war. I think this is a very dangerous thing to believe. I believe the danger to our country and the world will increase until we have a full and accurate accounting of how we got here. And once we have a full accounting, we can find a way to begin to lessen the danger, which resulted from starting a war without sufficient justification, and to start to work with others to make the world safer.

The danger to our country is: if we are seen as unpredictable, paranoid, and bellicose bullies then other countries will never trust us. There is a serious disconnect between the way the rest of the world views this war and the way Americans see the war. We really need to understand why that is. Condi Rice talked about the lingering anger she and the administration continue to feel towards those countries that did not line up behind the United States in its pursuit of war.

"I think there was disappointment in the United States that a friend like Canada was unable to support the United States in what we considered to be an extremely important issue for our security," Ms. Rice said in an interview before joining George W. Bush at this weekend's G8 summit in Evian, France. (emphasis added)

But, the problem is, other countries were not convinced that the United States had any such security concerns arising from Iraq. The administration declared again and again that Iraq under Saddam Hussein constituted an imminent thread against the United States. However, the evidence presented to the world about the threat was flawed and because of that, the US has squandered its reputation in the international arena on its drive to war.

Colin Powell apparently was aware of how important it was to maintain our country's reputation. U.S. News reports that he thought it was crucial to get accurate and verifiable information to present before the United Nations in February:

"Powell was acutely aware of the need to be completely accurate," says the senior official, "and that our national reputation was on the line."

Powell's problem was, although he tried to get the most accurate and most verifiable information for his presentation, it was revealed in less than 24 hours that the main dossier that he touted was a fraud, and had been cobbled together out of years-old reports and on information based on the work of a graduate student that was less than substantive.

Once that was revealed, the vote for authorization from the Security Council was effectively lost. The only thing that could have changed that outcome was solid, reliable and verifiable evidence, which the administration did not have despite its best efforts. No matter what the Intelligence agencies reported, the administration directed them to review their data again whenever a report did not support the reasons for war.

In September 2002, U.S. News has learned, the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a classified assessment of Iraq's chemical weapons. It concluded: "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons...."

The fact that Powell was unable to find legitimate evidence to take before the UN in February shows another significant danger for our country. If life and death decisions are made without enough input, but rather based on a preconceived goal which no new information can change, then we will continue to have "failures of intelligence". A major objection to the war from the very beginning was that it was clear that the decision makers were solely focused on proving the existence of a threat and so, shut out any dissenting opinions simply because their only goal was to go to war. They refused to hear any news that did not back up their preset goal.

Today our country is in greater danger than for many years because now many other countries in the world cannot trust what we say and might be less inclined to help when we really do face a legitimate threat.

If it turns out that no WMD are found amid accusations that the Bush administration and Blair governments misused intelligence information, "that will have long-term ramifications with our allies," Korb says.

Referring to a Pew poll released this week indicating that international public support for the United States has significantly slipped -- with majorities in 13 of 20 foreign nations surveyed holding an unfavorable view of the United States, and majorities in seven out of eight Muslim countries expressing the fear that the U.S. might threaten them -- Korb says the affair "feeds into the problem we already had with the rest of the world. People think we're making up the rules as we go along, and that we think that might makes right." This could have far-reaching implications on the future of American foreign policy, including our ability to wage the "war on terror." (emphasis added)

The danger to the world arises because if there is no accounting how we got into war, the tactics that were used to take us into war once can be, and most likely will be used again. If military action is the first response to threats rather than the last, the world is much less safe. No wonder so many foreigners say they should be able to vote in our elections, because they know our military might be used anywhere and anytime based not on reality but on fantasy. There is no safety in unpredictable and arbitrary violence. Something is clearly wrong when 90% of the world thinks we stepped over the line.

If we were honest, we would look at how we would feel if another country, perhaps China, had this amount of power and decided to use it whenever it felt threatened. We either create a world where the rule of law ties us together, or we live in a world where war happens at the whim of small groups of people who hold unaccountable power. Of all the things this war did, tearing up the international framework of laws was the worst. And until we get back to shoring up that framework, no one anywhere can really be safe again.

The final point is that right now, although Saddam is gone from Iraq, because of the way this war was conducted, the Iraqis are not getting all the help they need to create a society that can manage on its own. The lack of clean water, the crime and lawlessness, the disease cropping up are all a result of an administration that is so driven by its ideology that it refuses to let the UN help.

If we had executed this war under the aegis of the UN or within a broad coalition, then we could have found sufficient peacekeepers from all over the world to help provide a space of safety for the Iraqi people while fixing the destroyed infrastructure. (As it is, Americans now have over one hundred thousand troops stationed in Iraq for the forseeable future.) Opening up the country to the expertise of the world for repairing the damage would have gone a long way in helping set things right. Today, the almighty drive for a dollar where the Bush administration picks the winners for the reconstruction contracts, keeps the real needs of the Iraqis from being addressed. No matter how you felt about the war, we absolutely owe them a chance to get back on their feet, and to do this we need to open the country to the help that can come through the UN. It is not the time to be considering how to make a buck.

Mary :: 12:42 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!