Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Victory?

by DAVID KRIEGER

What a difference a few months can make.

At the end of April 2003, just four months ago, Donald Rumsfeld was in the Qatar headquarters of General Tommy Franks, effusively comparing the US victory in Iraq to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the liberation of Paris.

The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Cold War and a reuniting of East and West, and the people of Paris actually welcomed the Allied forces as liberators from the Nazis in World War II. In neither case was it necessary for American forces to remain as an occupying force; in neither case did the US government have its eyes on the oil.

As Rumsfeld savored US military dominance over the far inferior Iraqi forces, he triumphantly crowed, “Never have so many been so wrong about so much.” He was presumably referring to the “many” who doubted American military tactics in the war, not those who thought the war was immoral, illegal and unnecessary.

It was clearly a day of jubilation for Rumsfeld and he was enjoying trumpeting to the world that he had been right all along.

A few days later, a triumphant George W. Bush, dressed up like a combat pilot, was flown some thirty miles off the California coast to the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Bush announced to the assembled troops on the carrier that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

Bush said: “With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians.” He did not mention that approximately twice as many innocent civilians died in the Iraq War as had died on September 11th. Nor did not mention the Iraqi children who had lost arms and legs and parents as a result of the war, and would carry their injuries through their lives.

The president, looking to all the world like the military hero he was not, continued: “No device of man can remove the tragedy from war.” He did not say, presumably because he did not think, that with wisdom the tragedy of war might be prevented. Nor did he say that, in the case of this war, it was initiated illegally without UN authorization based on arguments by him and his administration to the American people that the Iraqi regime posed the threat of imminent use of weapons of mass destruction.

The combat pilot impersonator went on, “Yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.” He might have added that this is especially true when it is he and his colleagues, and them alone, who decide who is guilty and who is innocent.

As the television cameras rolled on, Bush said, “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on.” Four months out his perspective on victory is questionable, and there remains no established link between the regime of Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorists. He was also wrong to conclude that the “battle of Iraq” was a victory or had ended.

While an action doll of Bush in military garb is being marketed across the country, almost daily young Americans in the occupation force are being killed in what now appears to be an on-going war of liberation from the Americans.

Saboteurs are blowing up and setting fire to oil pipelines, disrupting water supplies, and attacking UN relief workers. US occupation forces appear helpless to stop the new terrorists that have been created as a result of this war.

The former Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, had argued for a far larger occupying force in Iraq. Rumsfeld overruled him, concluding that a larger force wasn’t needed. It now appears that General Shinseki was right and Rumsfeld was wrong.

The weapons of mass destruction that the Bush administration alluded to in order to frighten the American people and justify the war have not been found, despite our being told by Cheney that he knew where they were located.

Four months after Rumsfeld crowed about the liberation of Paris and Bush declared an end to the major combat phase of the war, there is a deadly continuing war of attrition against US and British troops in Iraq. America, far from being hailed as a liberator, has created even more enemies in the Middle East and terrorists seem to be growing in numbers and boldness.

Paraphrasing Rumsfeld, who himself was paraphrasing Churchill, it might be said: “Never have so few been so wrong about so much.” Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz are the leaders of the militant and shortsighted few. There has been no victory in Iraq, and under the circumstances victory is not possible. We now need a public dialogue on how best to extract ourselves from the perilous situation these men have created before we become ensnared in an oil-driven equivalent of the Vietnam War.

The starting point for ending this peril is to awaken the American people by a full and open Congressional investigation of the misrepresentations by the Bush administration regarding Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for the war. In Britain, the misrepresentations of the Blair government are being vigorously investigated by Parliament, but in the US an investigation of the Bush administration is being blocked by Congressional Republicans. What is needed is an investigation as rigorous as that being pursued in Britain.

Additionally, as an intermediate step to transferring full administrative authority to the Iraqi people, the United States and Coalition Forces should move immediately to turn over authority for the administration of Iraq to the United Nations. Such a recommendation assumes, perhaps too readily, that the UN would be willing to accept this role and would be able to act with sufficient independence of Washington. By entrusting the future of Iraq to the UN, the United States would make clear that it is not administering Iraq in order to dictate the political future of the country or to enrich US-led corporations with ties to the Bush administration. It would also allow for sharing the security burden in Iraq and make possible the earlier return of the US troops presently in Iraq.

DAVID KRIEGER is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time (Capra Press, 2003), and author of Choose Hope, Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age (Middleway Press, 2002).

He can be contacted at: dkrieger@napf.org.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyons
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]