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Coronado in Iraq

 

The Bush administration’s fiasco in Iraq is now reaching the point where, if it weren’t for the thousands of dead and maimed Iraqi’s and Americans, if it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of American miilitary families whose lives have been turned upside down, if it weren’t for the millions of Iraqi’s living under the gun, if it weren’t for the millions of Americans paying through the nose for it, this would be the stuff of comedy.

Take David Kay, the ernest leader of the massive 1400-member Iraq Survey Group. Like a modern-day Coronado searching the American southwest for his fabled lost city of gold, Kay, after scouring the Iraqi countryside unimpeded for three months and blowing a reported $300 million in a vain search for those elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction, returns to Washington empty-handed, with a report saying that he can’t find anything.

What does the administration then do? It asks for more time–three times more–and more money–twice as much again–to keep looking.

CNN, meanwhile, invites Kay’s biggest cheerleader in the media, N.Y Times reporter Judith Miller, on to the Aaron Brown News Hour to comment on Kay’s report, without mentioning to viewers that she herself has a book out all about those dangerous WMDs–a book whose sales and reputation will wither away if Kay turns up nothing. Miller predictably, suggests that what Kay has provided is merely a “snapshot in time” (never mind that the exposure time for the snapshot was three months). If we keep looking, she suggests with a bright smile, though on the basis of no evidence, we’ll find those elusive weaons.

As for the attacks on American troops, which are growing more frequent,more lethal and more professional as each week goes by, the Pentagon, in a marvelously clever maneuver, offers up the theory that this is because the American military’s attacks are succeeding. “The resistance forces are getting whittled down to the leadership, the professional military people who have been organizing the attacks, who are now having to go out on their own,” they say–again with no evidence to support this idea. Never mind that this rationale flies in the face of countless reports from Iraq suggesting the opposite–that the ranks of the resistance guerrilla movement are swelling as the occupation goes on.

Bush himself goes to the U.N. to beg for military and financial help cleaning up his mess in Iraq, but because he’s afraid to look weak at home, he offers no apologies for his abuse of the international institution or of the Security Council members that had sagely opposed America’s war adventure last spring. Meanwhile, by his very appeal to the U.N., an institution reviled by American conservatives, he is viewed as a spineless wimp by those very Americans he wanted to impress with his toughness.

Even the president’s vaunted staged aircraft carrier victory landing last May, which was once supposed to be the centerpiece of the ad campaign in his re-election bid– is now the butt of jokes by Democrats, who are at this point feeling comfortable enough about the Bush Admistration’s weakness to joke about the president’s fondness for playing “dress up.”

Karl Rove, once the dreaded force behind the throne, the bane of a Democratic resurgence, is now the subject of a felony investigation for the outing of an undercover CIA agent and is at risk of being led out of the White House in cuffs and leg irons, unless he can manage to get some underling to take the fall for him.

As for Iraq’s oil, which the Bush warmongers long promised would be up and flowing after the war and able to finance the country’s reconstruction, is still just trickling out of the country, at perhaps a fourth of pre-war export volume. It turns out American military planners–while investing enormous military assets in protecting the refineries and oil fields from the earliest days of the invasion, forgot about the ease with which pipelines can be sabatoged. So now the Administration, which has already run the U.S. budget off a cliff with a mind-boggling $500-billion deficit, has been forced to ask Congress for another $87 billion for Iraq–a staggering figure that everyone knows is just a fraction of what will actually be needed.

If we as an American electorate had partied all night on election eve in November 2000, and then gone out the next day and deliberately tried to vote in a collection of clowns and no-nothings in a perverse effort to see how badly they could screw up the country in just four years, we couldn’t have come up with an Administration more inept and bungling than this one.

Is anyone laughing?

I don’t hear anyone laughing.

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A collection of Lindorff’s stories can be found here: http://www.nwuphilly.org/dave.html

 

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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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