Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Cries

Many Americans have at one time or another dismissed President Bush’s talk of conquering Iraq as a “weapon of mass distraction.” Even if Bush’s war cries are just talk, his words have had far-reaching effects.

Certainly, Bush has much to distract us from. The budget deficit. His administration’s ties to Enron. His NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY blueprint to dominate the world by military force. Shredding the anti ballistic missile defense treaty. Blocking investigation into the security failures before September 11. Saying No to the global warming treaty. Disappearing civil liberties. Corporate scandals and 401(k) meltdowns.

And the War on Terrorism, which appears about as successful as the War on Poverty. Last month, CIA Director George Tenet warned Congress, “The threat environment we find ourselves in today is as bad as it was last summer, the summer before 9/11.”

Bush’s shoving us toward war with Iraq, however, is not mere distraction from these failings. It’s a serious disruption, like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. According to the evidence, Iraq has no weapons that seriously threaten us, is unlikely to obtain any, and is unlikely to attack us.

Bush’s bellicose talk has splintered our government. Former Bush Sr. officials have publicly blasted Bush Jr.’s plans. So have many generals. Civilians at the Pentagon have created their own intelligence agency, because Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, disagree with the CIA’s assessment that Iraq has no links to Al Qaeda.

Congress’s agenda was upended. The forced, rushed vote on Iraq preempted debate over many more pressing issues during the run-up to midterm elections. One such issue is how to deal with North Korea: Bush kept Pyongyang’s revelations about its nuclear program secret until only after Congress signed and sealed its approval for him to use violence against Iraq. Might Congress have voted differently if members knew yet another war was possible? Might they have sought to delay their Iraq vote and develop a coherent policy?

War talk has disrupted ordinary Americans’ lives, especially military reservists and National Guardsmen who wonder if they’ll be mobilized. Young men and their families fear a draft. Those poised to fight worry that if they survive, they might suffer the fate of thousands of Gulf War vets who have succumbed to the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome.

The rest of us are riveted to the news. Thousands of Americans have felt compelled to protest in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Boston and other cities. Thousands more have called, written or visited their elected representatives. Many of these people had never petitioned or marched before.

Countless lives in other nations have also been disrupted by President Bush’s war talk. People know death and destruction could easily spill over Iraq’s borders. And that their country could be next on Bush’s blacklist.

Business has been disrupted, too — the stock market shudders, and the price of oil has risen steadily with the fear that war will shrink supply. Many corporations are scrambling to change forecasts and plans. Instability can hamper growth and lead to recession.

Bush’s war talk endangers our nation’s security. Turmoil and turf battles in our government can choke the flow of information and thought. The talk has alienated foreign allies, whose best efforts are crucial to preventing terror attacks in the U.S. Many Arabs see themselves in the crosshairs of a new crusade — thousands could seek solace in fanaticism.

Moreover, many officials and experts warn that by invading Iraq, we will increase the threat that Saddam will unleash whatever weapons he does have. Even if we don’t invade, this persistent talk of war alone could provoke terrorism. These horrors might be reasonable tradeoffs if it were probable that Saddam would attack us without provocation. But the evidence suggests otherwise.

The Bush Disruption reflects an enormous abuse of presidential power. Bush is either irrationally scared of Saddam, has a hidden agenda, or has used threats of war to disrupt elections and solidify his power. Of course, presidents should discuss how to address possible, future threats to our security, but creating hysteria and pledging to wage a war that is unwarranted is something altogether different.

And by pushing so hard without strong evidence, Bush has jeopardized whether we will believe him if he ever finds a genuine threat to our security.

BRIAN J. FOLEY is a professor at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. He can be reached at Brian.J.Foley@law.widener.edu.

 

More articles by:

Brian J. Foley is a lawyer and the author of A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press). Contact him at brian_j_foley@yahoo.com.

October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail