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Bombing Saddam into Glory

 

You’ve got to hand it to President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush. Only last month, virtually the entire world was in agreement that Saddam Hussein was one of the world’s great villains. Not only was there near universal condemnation of his domestic tyranny, there were also rigorous sanctions being applied against his regime, and the U.N. was conducting an aggressive campaign of searching out and destroying his more dangerous weapons.

Now, in less than a week, our benighted own maximum leader has managed to do something that this grotesque megalomaniac had failed to accomplish for 30 years despite billions of oil dollars spent on arms and millions more spent on blanketing his country with statues and murals: He has made the Butcher of Baghdad into a hero of Third World resistance.

Incredibly, the U.S. military’s massive, illegal invasion of Iraq has almost overnight galvanized at least some of the people of Iraq into death-defying guerrilla fighters willing to take on Apache helicopters and Abrams tanks of the most powerful military machine the world has ever known with hand-held weapons, and has reportedly even convinced exiled opponents of Hussein to sneak back into the country to help defend their country against the aggressors.

And it can only get worse.

Each Iraqi fighter killed now leaves behind a grieving family that can be counted on to harbor a blood hatred for the countries that caused their loss. Ergo: more recruits for Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and those “Al Qaeda-type” organizations.

Each nomad family driven from its home by American troops holds bitter thoughts of revenge.

Each family that watches its home demolished by American or British cannons will remember the loss. Each family that loses a child or a parent to American bombs will become a potential enemy.

None of this can be very comforting to think about for the American troops who will have to serve as occupiers over the coming months and years if things go well for America–or for their families back home.

Meanwhile, across the vast stretches of northern Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and on out into the island nations of the Pacific, Islamic peoples watching on television the wholesale destruction of one of Islam’s oldest regions, are cheering the astonishing and indeed inspiring resistance being displayed by the vastly outgunned Iraqis.

In a few short days of battle, the War on Iraq has become a no-win situation for the U.S.

If America wins at this point after an inevitably bloody battle for Baghdad, the resulting country will be ungovernable, except under the most brutal of martial law regimes–a quagmire-type situation that promises an endless string of American casualties and another grim monument to insanity on the increasingly crowded Washington Mall.

If America loses–something that is at least being contemplated by some military experts because of the inability of the military to secure the 350-mile supply line from the Persian Gulf to the Baghdad front line–it could signal the end of American superpower status in the world, spurring nations around the globe to resist American threats and imperial demands.

If there is a stalemate, with the slaughter continuing on both sides and no likelihood of a resolution of the fight, the pressures from around the world, from Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, for a cease-fire will become irresistible, even as the peace movement at home will mushroom. Bush bet mightily on this war to secure his position as a powerful leader, harkening to the ill-conceived advice of a group of narrow-minded ideologues with little knowledge of either military strategy or Middle East history.

Now he appears doomed to become another Lyndon Johnson, throwing more and more ordinance at and spilling more and more blood in a country far from home, while his political future drains away. In the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks on America, George Bush looked unstoppable for a second term as president.

No longer.

DAVID LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time, an investigation into the death penalty case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Find out more about Lindorff on his website.

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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