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Departing Iraq

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

June 30, 2005, was the peak of neocon delusion. On that day American Enterprise Institute neocon Karl Zinsmeister posted his article on the AEI online site titled: "The War is Over, and We Won."

No sooner than Zinsmeister put delusion to paper than US military commanders reported escalating and more sophisticated insurgency attacks. Casualties exploded with more deadly bombings, giving meaning to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s projection of a 12-year war. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the conflict’s cost may exceed $700 billion.

A University of Chicago professor published a study that concluded suicide bombings are a response to military occupation and will increase with the length of occupation.

Various Iraqi politicians expressed their opinions that the insurgency was a response to the US occupation and would not end until the Americans withdrew.

British polls found that overwhelming majorities blamed the London bombings on Britain’s participation in the Iraq war.

By July 27 the Christian Science Monitor had the headline:

"Iraq PM urges quick pullout of US forces."

The Washington Post reported that the tone of statements by Secretary Rumsfeld, Prime Minister Jaafari, and Gen. George Casey, US commanding general in Iraq, "suggested a heightened urgency to planning for the US troop reduction, despite the continuation of lethal daily attacks by insurgents in Iraq."

We have run out of troops and money, the rest of the world has run out of patience with our stupidity, and the upper regions of the Bush administration may be crumbling under pressure of a prosecutor’s investigations and eroding public support.

Bush administration neocons such as Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, along with their cheerleaders at Fox "News", the Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal editorial page, National Review, and the New York Times’ Judith Miller will go down in history as the architects and enablers of the greatest strategic blunder in American history. The neocon dream of conquering the Middle East for Israel and destroying Islam as a force is now in history’s trash heap of failed adventures along with such miscalculations as Hitler’s march into Russia and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In seeking to get to the bottom of the Valerie Plame affair, federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is bringing us back to the Big Question: Who cooked the books in order to justify the invasion of Iraq? Was the ringleader Vice President Cheney? Was it Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his neocon cadres? Or was it President Bush himself? What role did Condi "Mushroom Cloud" Rice play in the orchestrated deceit of Congress and the American public?

In the American system, high government officials, no matter how powerful their positions, are not the law. They are subject to the law, which they are sworn to uphold, and when they violate the law they are held accountable.

The US invasion of Iraq was illegal and unwarranted. Those who conspired to bring this war about must be identified and punished. Otherwise the United States will sink from the rule of law into the rule of men.

A true patriot does not confuse government with country. A patriot’s loyalty is to his country, and loyalty to country requires holding government accountable.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com