This is the war that President Bush said he wanted; the War on terrorism. Remember, “Bring it on!” Now that events in Iraq have brought that dream to full flower, we find our unelected leader headed for the exits.
In a series of statements from top Administration officials including Condi Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Bremer,( as well as their counterparts in the Military) we have heard repeatedly that the US plans to hand over more responsibility to the Iraqis. The most recent of these came from the supreme commander of the armed forces in Iraq, General John Abizaid. Abizaid said last week, “We have to take risk to a certain extent, by taking our hands off the controls. It’s their country, it’s their future.” His comments came on the heels of an announcement that the Military is planning to remove its troop s from within Baghdad to eight bases beyond the city. There they will create a military cordon around the entire city to stop the flow of insurgents and terrorists from entering.
The real meaning of the General’s remarks is entirely clear and much more sinister. The Bush Administration has decided to ignore its responsibilities to provide security for the Iraqi people; a responsibility that is required of an occupying force under the Geneva Conventions. Instead, the military will situate itself in a way that it can secure the oil fields from disruptive elements, but not put American lives at risk. Abizaid’s comments are the “kiss of death” for Iraqis who have already seen a steady increase in attacks and suicide bombings. Now, that the US expressing its intention to withdraw, the potential for factional fighting and even civil war looks much more likely.
The reasons for the withdrawal are numerous. First of all, it doesn’t bode well for Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign to be losing American lives in a war that, as yet, has no moral legitimacy.(NO WMDs) Bush’s advisors are obviously coaching him that the American public won’t care if Iraqi blood fills the streets of Baghdad and Fallujah, as long as US servicemen are protected. Second, the administration is hoping to shift the blame for the ongoing chaos onto their all-purpose scapegoat; foreign terrorists. Presently, the Bush loyalists in the American press are focused on a solitary al Qaida operative, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the source of Iraq’s troubles. Zarqawi appears to be the administration’s “flavor of the month”, replacing both bin Laden and Saddam as the current justification for poor planning and abysmal policy decisions. It’s difficult to know how many American’s are still buying this nonsense, but we can be reasonably sure that as things keep deteriorating the profusion of excuses will continue.
In contrast to the Bush-Bremer analysis that the attacks are being carried out by foreign terrorists, key Iraqi officials are calling them “homegrown”. “The plan and the attackers are Iraqi,” said Fallujah’s police chief, Aboud Farhan al-Isawi.
Lt. Col. Brian Drinkwine, who commands the 82nd Airborne in Fallujah, agrees. “I have no reason to believe it was al Qaida.”
Another senior military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said, the attack on the police station “was a complex, well-coordinated” and appeared to be the work of former members of the Republican Guard.
Whether the attacks are remnants of the Republican Guard, Ba’athist loyalists or foreign terrorists, is of limited interest to anyone except the public relations team on the Bush re-election campaign. Everyone else just wants to see the US honor its commitments and establish security for the Iraqi people.
We all remember President Bush saying, “We didn’t come this far in the liberation of Iraq only to give in to a band of thugs and assassins.”
Apparently, Mr. Bush has reconsidered his boastful claims as he is planning to “run away” from the Iraqi struggle and place his army out of harm’s way. Perhaps, the President’s calculated retreat will give him the bump upwards in the polls that he needs to convince a skeptical electorate that he deserves another four years.
In any event, the prospect of Muslims killing each other has never bothered occupants of the Oval Office. We harkens back to Henry Kissinger’s words during the eight year Iraq-Iran War, when over one million conscripts were killed in the hostilities. (At different intervals, the US was providing weaponry to both sides.) Kissinger brilliantly summarized the US position on the brutal conflict, “I hope they kill each other.”
Some things never change.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org