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The Greatest Strategic Disaster in US History

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Capitol Hill Blue, the Washington DC publication that cultivates relationships with White House staffers, reports (September 28) one White House aide saying: “It’s like working in an insane asylum. People walk around like they’re in a trance. We’re the dance band on the Titanic, playing out our last songs to people who know the ship is sinking and none of us are going to make it.”

“If POTUS is on the road, you can breathe a little easier,” says an aide. Otherwise it is one temper tantrum after another from Bush, whose “cakewalk war” has turned into interminable conflict, whose idiocy in diverting funding for New Orleans’ levees to war in Iraq was disastrous for the famous city, and whose Social Security privatization has been rejected by the electorate.

Even rah-rah Republican Newt Gingrich says the White House is surrounded by failure.

No member of the White House staff wants to deliver news to Bush, because the news is bad. Bush demands sycophancy and equates bad news with disagreement and disloyalty.

Little wonder that Republican minority token Condi Rice was dispatched to Princeton last week to inform the university that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun. US military force, said the secretary of state with a straight face, is required to force democracy down the throats of the Muslims in order to save future American generations from “insecurity and fear.”

Condi obviously doesn’t want Bush to put her in the “against us” camp. She told Princeton that she agreed with Bush “that the root cause of September 11 was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology rooted in the oppression and despair of the modern Middle East.”

Every American should be scared to death that a secretary of state can make such an ignorant and propagandistic statement.

Many Middle Eastern countries are ruled by puppets on the American payroll. Even the Saudis are under American protection. If there is oppression in the Middle East, it is because US puppets and protectorates are doing what the US government wants, not what the people they rule want.

The Middle East is in despair because almost a century after the First World War freed Arabs from Turkish occupation, they still cannot get free of US and British occupation. The reasons Osama bin Laden has a cause among Muslims are US military bases in the Middle East and the genocide that Israel practices toward Palestine by stealing the West Bank and herding Palestinians into ghettos.

What kind of fool believes that the way to bring democracy to a country is to invade, destroy cities and infrastructure, and kill and maim tens of thousands of civilians, while creating every possible animosity by aligning with some members of the society against the others?

Condi Rice’s speech at Princeton has branded her as the greatest fool ever to be appointed Secretary of State. The same day that she declared, Mao-like, that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun, Lt. Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Security Agency during President Reagan’s second term, a scholar with a distinguished career in military intelligence, declared Bush’s invasion of Iraq to be the “greatest strategic disaster in United States history.”

No one can impugn Gen. Odom’s patriotism. When I wrote on April 1, 2003, that “the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a strategic blunder,” the hate mail poured in from bloody-minded Bush supporters, who assured me that the war would be over in one week. Only a liberal pinko Bush-hating commie could fail to see that the war was won, they jeered.

Two and one-half years later with rising casualties and instability, no one can dispute Gen. Odom. As all news reports make clear, there is no trained Iraqi army. Consequently, says the US commander in Iraq, the hopes that some US troops could be withdrawn next spring is forlorn.

The Democratic Party is no help. Its warmongers are pushing legislation to increase the available US troops by 80,000 in order that the US can keep the war going in Iraq.

These troops, too, will perish in the interminable conflict.
Meanwhile the US, which cannot occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport, is making more threats against Syria. The Bush administration is blaming Syria and Iran for its failure in Iraq. “Our patience is running out,” declared US ambassador to Iraq Zaimay Khalilzad.

The Israelis have told their US puppet that if the US doesn’t use force to destroy Iran’s nuclear energy programs, then Israel will undertake to bomb Iran. This despite the announcement by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency that two years of unfettered access to Iran’s nuclear programs has failed to turn up any sign of a weapons program.

When will Americans notice that the threats flow from the US to the Middle East? No Middle Eastern government has made any threat against the US or initiated any hostile action. In contrast, the US has invaded two Middle Eastern countries and is threatening to attack two more.

Terrorism is not an activity of Muslim states. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi who dares not return to his homeland.

Most Muslim states are too impotent to stamp out independent terrorists and too fearful that terrorist networks will be organized against them. Ignorant US officials equate weakness with intention and demonize Middle Eastern governments, including our own puppets and protectorates, as “state sponsors of terrorism.” Isn’t it ironic? The US damns vulnerable Middle Eastern rulers for not stamping out terrorism when all the troops and violence the US can muster cannot stamp out terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The implication of a recent CIA report is that the US itself is a state sponsor of terrorism. According to the CIA, the US invasion of Iraq has created a terrorist training ground for al Qaeda where no previous terrorists existed. The US is creating more terrorists in Iraq than the rest of the Middle East together. Why is President Bush spending $300 billion running a terrorist training ground in Iraq?

Why does Condi Rice think that democracy would wipe away the hatreds that the US and Israel have created in the Middle East? How does she know that Middle Eastern democracy would not uphold terrorism against Israel and the US? In the US democracy is upholding an illegal war based on deceit. In Israel democracy is upholding genocidal practices against the Palestinians. Does Condi Rice really believe that democracy, a mere political form, insures that people and their governments never behave wrongly, immorally, or violently?

If America is going to preach democracy, shouldn’t it lead by example? According to all the polls, the vast majority of Americans do not agree with Bush and Rice that democracy comes out of the barrel of an American gun. They do not support Bush’s goal of using American blood and treasure to coerce democracy on the Middle East or anywhere else. The majority of Americans want the war over and the troops home. Why do Bush and Condi Rice oppose the will of the majority? Why don’t these two who preach democracy practice it?

The Bush administration is the administration of deceit and hypocrisy. It is the antithesis of democracy. All democracy rests on persuasion, which implies disagreement. Yet, Bush and Condi regard dissent as disloyalty. They glorify coercion.

They believe in their will alone. Where have we seen that before?

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Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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