Iraqis to Bush: What have we done to deserve this?
By Evelyn Pringle
Online Journal Contributing Writer
January 25, 2005—Despite Bush's endless hypocritical assertions about how we have brought freedom to Iraq, the truth is that almost all of the people in that country who have managed to survive the military attacks, have lost loved ones and had their lives ruined.
Iraqis have been telling us to leave ever since we arrived. They want to run their own country and they want an end to the torture and killing. They're willing to take the risk of believing their lives will be better without the involvement of the US.
An anonymous Iraqi woman edits the blog "Baghdad Burning," subtitled "Girl blog from Iraq." This was her message nearly a year ago on May 7, 2004, "I sometimes get emails asking me to propose solutions or make suggestions. Fine. Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill, and get out while you can—while it still looks like you have a choice . . . Chaos? Civil war? We'll take our chances—just take your puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go."
A fact that George W. Bush seems to have forgotten is that Iraq is their country. And I think the message is perfectly clear, they want us out of their country.
The True War Criminals
Bush and Rumsfeld should both be tried as war criminals. Article VI of the Constitution says, in part, "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land." The Geneva Conventions covering the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians in wartime are treaties the US government signed and ratified. They are the supreme law of the land, and neither Bush nor Rumsfeld has the authority to choose whether to abide by them or not.
Bush's invention of such labels as "illegal combatant," or "evil-doer," and a claim to some right to indefinitely imprison such persons, without charges or access to the courts and an attorney, is a direct violation of the Constitution.
The United State should have ratified the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. The ICC would then have the authority to deal not only with the crimes of true terrorists, but with the kind of crimes the Bush administration has committed as well.
During Vietnam, we had the draft and a citizens' army. Members of the armed forces served as a check on militarism because they were not volunteers. They could be counted on to question the rationale of the war and whether their president was lying to them.
Today in Iraq, we have a voluntary military where servicemen and women are less likely to question lies about the war from the president and high commanders, so its up to us to get our soldiers out of the Iraq quagmire.
Elected officials are duty-bound to pay attention to public opinion. If a majority of Americans come out strong enough for an end to the war in Iraq, I believe Congress will be forced to figure out a way to end this insanity.
US Credibility Destroyed
The Iraq war is the most serious blunder in the history of US foreign policy. The lies and deception by those at the highest level of the US government, along with the torture scandals, Tenet's resignation, war profiteering by Bush cronies, and all the other atrocities, have discredited our country to the point where we will never be able to fully restore our reputation on the world stage.
The failure of Bush's policies in Iraq, and the accompanying discrediting of our military and intelligence agencies, as corrupt and incompetent, has led to international disgrace. Bush has stirred up more rage and resentment toward Americans, with his contemptuous attitude toward any society or nation who dares to disagree with him, than any other president in our nation's history.
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned the public about the dangers of having the kind of administration we have with Bush. "In the councils 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. We should take nothing for granted," he warned.
The media should have reminded the voters about Eisenhower's warning. Because as it stands today, just like Ike predicted, the Department of Defense, and its supporting industrial complex, dominate the US government. Ninety-three percent of money spent on foreign affairs is controlled by the Pentagon; with only 7 percent controlled by the State Department.
And yet, with the exception of Colin Powell, the top leaders in our government today, from Bush on down, have no experience whatsoever with war or war-time operations. Experience with garnering military contracts and profit, yes. Active military operations, none. And to make matters worse, none of them will listen to the advice of our most experienced military advisors.
We've got a bunch of inexperienced people controlling the most expensive and dangerous element of the executive branch, acting like a bunch of little kids playing a game of war, while our soldiers, and innocent Iraqis, are slaughtered, and our tax dollars go down the drain.
If this isn't insanity I don't know what is.
Where Does The Course End?
In his press conference on April 14, 2004, Bush said repeatedly, "We must stay the course in Iraq." That was nearly a year ago and we're not any nearer to the end of the course, wherever the hell that may be.
It's also almost a year since former Centcom commander Gen Anthony Zinni said on 60 Minutes, "The course is headed over Niagara Falls." And almost a year since the Washington Post reported that Gen Joseph Hoar, former head of the Marine Corps, warned, "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."
Granted, Zinni and Hoar are both retired military officers. However, Army Maj Gen Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne, was on active duty when he was asked by the Post whether he believed the US was losing the war in Iraq, and he replied, "I think strategically, we are."
On May 30, 2004, Marine Maj Gen William Whitlow went so far as to write an op-ed for the Washington Post, calling for the firing of incompetent Bush administration officials. "A principal tenet of forming a strategy—have a 'war termination' phase—was neglected . . . It is time for the president to ask those responsible for the flawed Iraqi policy—civilian and military—to resign from public service," he demanded.
No heads have rolled.
I've heard it said that, "When war becomes this profitable, we can expect more of it." Well, if we don't want more of it, we need to demand an end to the secrecy within the Bush administration, and I mean end it before we end up in Iran. This is the only way to re-establish control over the military establishment and the military-industrial complex. Which in the Bush administration, seem to be one and the same.
Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV, and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government.