FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bush Folly

As the old song said, “you got to know when to hold ’em; know when to fold ’em.”

The Bush junta either hasn’t heard the old Kenny Rogers tune, or they have chosen to ignore it. They have chosen to ignore a lot in the last couple of years–everything except their thirst for oil and empire, and their own overweening pride.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the arrogant intellectual mediocrity who has led a willing George W. Bush into this politico-military wilderness, has now passed on the command to his officers in Iraq: No patrol will exit the wire of any US military compound without the signature of a Division Chief of Staff or higher. Troops who just last month were exhausted by an operational tempo that was leading some into ambush, heat stroke, and suicide are now sitting idle for most of the day and wondering what they are doing there.

Operations were not making progress in “pacifying” Iraq. On the contrary, operations were further alienating and enraging the Iraqis with disrespect, bullying, and the constant shooting of civilians. Operations were also creating a steady stream of dead and maimed GIs back home that had become a political liability for the Bush administration.

This daily dose of trauma was combined with collapsing stories. There was no al-Qaeda connection. There was no Iraqi nuclear program. There are no weapons of mass destruction. Alas–just as many of us said well before the American people were manipulated through fear to support this war–Iraq is not now, nor has it ever been, a threat to the United States.

Even as the old lies slowly dissolve, the Bush administration is developing new ones, the most significant of which is the lie that the armed resistance to the US occupation is composed primarily of “remnants” or foreigners. To fight the Americans would be decidedly “un-liberated.” In fact, it is Iraqi resistance with widening popular support. Crowds cheer after successful attacks against Americans.

And as the US troops are pulled back behind the wire, to have their static positions placed under 24-7 surveillance, the Iraqi street and countryside is relinquished to the guerrillas, who can now bomb oil pipelines, water mains, Brown & Root profiteers, embassies and hotels. In military terms, the US has lost the strategic initiative in the war on Iraq.

Now we have to face two indigestible realities.

First, there will be no good outcome of this war. There will only be choices now between bad and worse. A crime has been committed and it can’t be taken back. In the face of a similar dilemma Vietnam, there was the incredulous question, “How do we just get out of Vietnam?” The answer–one that was ignored at terrible cost: “With ships and airplanes.”

Second, the Bush administration will not quit. They have proven their infinite capacity for self-delusion and impunity. That leaves the American public with a stark choice. Accept this junta’s continued vandalism against the world and against our own economy (We are now paying $5 billion a month for the two military failures of Iraq and Afghanistan, while Bush cuts taxes for the rich). Or throw them out. Not elect them out. Throw them out.

Just as we had to pull the whole nation through the constitutional crisis of Watergate to rid ourselves of the Nixon regime, we shall have to risk the political disruption of the same kind of crisis to purge this neo-con disease from the American body politic.

Popular mobilization against the war in Iraq, a mobilization to bring our troops home and leave Iraq to the Iraqis, is the only thing that will stiffen the spines of the elected officials of both parties, who were stampeded into this war by demagogy and their own indestructible opportunism, to call for the independent investigations we must have of the whole highway of lies that led us into this quagmire.

On October 25, hundreds of thousands of people will converge on Washington DC to say, “End the occupation. Bring the troops home now. Money for jobs and not for war.” I hate driving from Raleigh to DC. But I’ll be there. My son is one of those troops.

STAN GOFF is the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti” (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book “Full Spectrum Disorder” (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is bthn@mfso.org.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org

 

More articles by:

November 21, 2018
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Action Would Kill Imperialism
Kenneth Surin
Return to Denver: Clouds on the Horizon
Jonathan Cook
Netanyahu’s Ceasefire is Meant to Keep Gaza Imprisoned
John Steppling
Liar Liar
Bill Hackwell
Paradise Lost
Gary Leupp
“Maybe He Did, and Maybe He Didn’t:” Reflections on Morality in 2018
W. T. Whitney
Criminal Behavior: US May be Developing Biological Weapons
Zhivko Illeieff
How Media, Tech, and News Networks Normalize Trump’s Propaganda
NEVE GORDON - NICOLA PERUGINI
Migrant Caravan: Branding Migrants “Human Shields” Has a Deadly Motive
Wouter Hoenderdaal
Jordan Peterson’s Disturbing Views on Inequality
Dean Baker
Nicholas Kristof and the China Trade War
Colin Todhunter
Approaching Development: GMO Propaganda and Neoliberalism vs Localisation and Agroecology
November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail