“President Bush’s vision . . . provides for an Iraq made secure through the efforts of the Iraqis. In addition to a more secure environment, the President’s plan provides for an Iraqi economy based on sound economic principles, bolstered by a modern, reliable infrastructure. And, finally, the President’s plan provides for a democratic and sovereign Iraq at the earliest reasonable date.”
–From the statement of L. Paul Bremer, U.S. Administrator in Iraq, before the Senate Appropriations Committee, September 22, 2003.
Is Uncle Sam about to sew a fifty-first star on Old Glory? How long before Iraq is admitted to the Union by executive order, presented on a bier made from the deaths of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, grandparents, willing and unwilling for an honor such as this?
Although there is no provision in the United States Constitution for President Bush to “adopt” a new state into the Union, signs are that Iraq is being dragged, protesting, toward statehood. Congress has the constitutional authority to admit new states. It simply has not yet begun a debate on the issue. Perhaps debate is unnecessary, since our compliant politicians are unlikely to protest when the White House invites Iraq into the national fold.
The world is told Iraq will have “sovereignty” come July 1, 2004. In the Wonderland world of Bush Administration policy-making, “sovereignty” for Iraq does not mean true “independence,” for the United States plans to maintain tight control over Iraq’s defense, its major industry, its ability to act autonomously from the higher U.S. occupying authority. The “governing council” will be selected with final approval of the Bush Administration. Less than a full-fledged independent nation, this “sovereign” Chalabized Iraq will be a 21st century “nation-state.”
Only the most ill-informed believe there is no U.S. after-invasion “plan” for Iraq. The messianic determination of President George W. Bush and his neo-conservative army of zealots have lived for this moment, and they get what they want. Like ardent Stage Door Johnny suitors, our Bushvolk want to save their prized starlet from herself. In apparent return for job security, George Tenet slipped George W. Bush the “intelligence” bouquet he needed to convince a gutless United State Senate it must hand over a blank check regarding Iraq’s future. Far from acting the thoughtful deliberative body it was meant to be, an anxious Senate scurried to give President Bush everything he wanted. Now, despite mounting solid evidence of lies, evasion, bullying and general corruption, senators still refuse to debate the most vital issues, even as they read John Dean’s compelling Worse than Watergate brief, even as the numbers of dead and wounded steadily pile up in Iraq.
Smarting from recent setbacks in the pacification/reconstruction campaign to subdue “insurgents,” our bathed-in-testosterone war jocks press forward into battle. They boast we will never “cut and run” from the “relative few” who are mounting what increasingly resembles the Spanish Civil War as fighters from outside Iraq infiltrate to join forces with Sunni and Shiite bands intent on breaking the will of our diminishing willing coalition. An insanity-laced invitation to this dance of death was proffered with the recent Bush-Sharon agreement, almost immediately followed by Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Rantisi.
No longer “wimps,” America’s leaders plan to “stay the course.” Already the administration has given more funding to its divine mission in Iraq than it hands out to some of the current fifty, nifty United States. If 100,000 or more of our citizens remain employed in Iraq for the foreseeable future, if fourteen or more military installations are supported on Iraqi soil “indefinitely,” will it break the bank at Fort Knox, break the hearts and minds of parents, children, husbands, wives? No matter. Forward soldiers, God is on our side.
“Democratized” by divine intervention of Bush Administration saviors, a grateful and compliant Iraqi population can easily take the next logical step: to be embraced and annexed as the Big Five One: statehood thrust upon them. Their votes will keep neo-cons in control of all three federal government branches forever. They can finally own the place, lock, stock and oil barrel, as is their due. Dick Cheney gets the last lamentable word.
Fiscal conservatives should find this plan attractive, especially after they sell off those annoying liberal blues, California and Massachusetts, to Canada or France. (Maybe Arnold can muscle a deal with Austria.)
Once Iraq is granted statehood, all those rosy lifetime deals with insider corporations will be transformed from questionable handouts into good old American political pork. Vast expanses of uninhabited Iraq may be appropriated by our burgeoning privatized prison system to house terrorists, insurgents, American criminals, war protesters and government whistleblowers. Out of sight, out of mind, women and children first–so don’t rock the boat.
Increasingly evidence shows the Bush Administration cares more about “democracy” in the Middle East than it does here at home. Iraqis must be relieved to find that where dictator Saddam Hussein executed his enemies, battle-hardened neo-conservatives imbued with a spirit of federalism merely assassinate the reputations of those who dare disagree with party policy. (Yes, we also kill “terrorists,” “insurgents” and civilians, but they don’t count so they aren’t counted. Though one suspects that somewhere, someone or something may be keeping score.)
In the game for Iraq, there can be no tie. Play continues until we win all the marbles. And for Bushvolk, winning means winning, whatever the cost. Having at last transcended trivialities of conscience and a sense of guilt or shame, the present administration will never falter in the quest for its Holy Grail. Anything less than total victory is a “sign of weakness.” A cry goes up, “Better a dead duck than a live chicken!” In this neo-conman “good v. evil” world order, brutal strong-arm methods matter most. Genuine “strength” means bully force. We will not emerge at high noon from our national saloon to negotiate and appease. Fire power and relentless intimidation trump the elitism of intellectual strength, ethical strength and the strength that comes through understanding. Even John Kerry seems to prefer an all-out “win” in Iraq. Apparently the prize is worth the pricetag. Tough-guy politicians put forth only two options–beat them down or beat a cowering retreat; but for them there’s really only one option: total victory.
Two roads diverged in the desert, and we–we have chosen the path too-often travelled. Soon, or maybe not so soon, Iraq will be pounded to its knees, bloody, bowed and ready to embrace Bush Administration “sovereignty.” Snatched from the coffins of those who were “sacrificed” on our national altar of necessity, flags will fly, parades will parade as New Iraq is cuddled and embraced, our most precious, most sought-after state.
Before that parade passes by, let us toast our coming citizens-to-be, the People of Iraq. You’re welcome to America, just as long as you stay at home.
DOUG GIEBEL is a writer and analyst who lives in Big Sandy, Montana. His essay “When Professors Cheat” is soon to be published by Mellen Press. He welcomes comments at email@example.com