FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

"By Their Fruits…"

Can anyone doubt that the war in Iraq has proved to be Osama bin Laden’s sweetest dream come true? In his book on the run up to war, Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism czar at the White House, immediately recognized this potential risk of an Iraq invasion. He recounts envisioning bin Laden sitting somewhere in a cave actually “willing George Bush to invade Iraq.” Clarke knew that such a jingoist misadventure would play right into the hands of the extremists: It would allow them portray the US as an out of control Great Satan with a personal vendetta against the Islamic world and thirst for their oil. Bush’s verbal faux paux in using the word “crusade” to describe the effort only heightened the propaganda bonanza for the extremists.

Mr. Clark and other knowledgeable war critics correctly foresaw our present dilemma: the US treasury spent and bleeding red ink, our credibility and respect lost to the world, our military stretched and overextended while fighting on two fronts, near civil war in Iraq, an unfinished job in Afghanistan, deep and serious divisions in our body politic, and immense international distrust of the intentions and motives of our nation. And worst of all, a great strengthening of the forces of international terrorism.

In his recent dialogue in The Nation, former head of the Middle Eastern Division of the CIA, Paul Pillar, reveals in substantial ways the abusive and deceptive tactics used by the Bush administration in their manipulation of intelligence to sell the war on Iraq. He also describes Mr. Bush’s complete disregard of cautionary warnings about the post war conditions in Iraq, conditions now proven so sadly true. Pillar’s confessions only confirm what many had already begun to accept: we were lied to in justifying the war in Iraq, the intelligence was indeed “cherry-picked,” and the administration was ignorant of or did not care about the potential post war civil strife inside Iraq. So obsessed was Mr. Bush to make war on Saddam Hussein that he willingly played us for fools, and went in half-cocked with insufficient troops to manage the post war environment. The myth of a cakewalk followed by rose pedals in the streets and happy-ever-after demonstrates just how disconnected were the war planners from the reality of Iraq.

And the larger war on international terrorism? We are losing by leaps and bounds. Who in their right mind can argue that invading Iraq has made us safer at home? Despite Mr. Bush’s vain attempt to portray Iraq as the forefront in the struggle against international terrorism — which only compounds the core dishonesty that characterized his preemptive invasion — most now concede that the war has indeed strengthened the Islamofascist movement in unprecedented ways. Sure, Iraq has become a magnet for those in the Middle East who would actively make war against us, but the opportunity we handed them was of our own making. By almost universal agreement it is now accepted that we have actually strengthened international terrorism and the aura of Osama bin Laden by creating a “breeding and training ground for terrorists” in Iraq.

World opinion does matter. In many ways it provides a mirror by which we may see ourselves. Right now we hold the lowest position ever, even worse than the terrible days of Vietnam. We have been disgraced and humiliated in the eyes of the world under Mr. Bush’s blundering helmsmanship.

All military commanders are held to the high standard of outcome and effect, it is the price they pay for the power given them. By this measure Mr. Bush has been a miserable failure bordering on incompetence. We are weaker now than at any time in recent history. We have squandered the good will afforded us after the events of 9/ll and thrown away our punch on a tin pot dictator who posed absolutely no threat to us whatsoever. We are bogged down in a foreign land half a world away that is perhaps quickly approaching a state of civil war. We have handed the terrorists a propaganda bonanza on a silver platter and multiplied the hatred and resentment toward us in the Islamic world to immense proportion. Many argue that the recent success of extremists in Palestine and Iran have been a direct result of our Iraqi invasion; sweeping the floor from underneath the moderate/progressive voices in the region.

If “by their fruit ye shall know them,” then the present realities for the United States speak of leadership that has utterly failed in its duty to lead with wisdom, prudence and forethought. From the missed opportunities to identify and thwart the airborne attacks of 9/11, to the missed opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora, to the lies that preceded the trumped up war in Iraq, to the unwitting strengthening of our real enemies, to the bankrupt treasury and deep divisions within the US, this administration’s legacy will be one of missed opportunities, fatal misjudgments, arrogant and short sighted priorities, reactionary jingoism, and delusional incompetence: Bitter fruits indeed.

Dr. JOHN BOMAR, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is a Catholic Lay Minister in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He can be reached at: johnrbomar@hotsprings.net

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 19, 2019
Ramzy Baroud
How Western Media Bias Allows Israel to Getaway with Murder in Gaza
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Kurds is Still Happening
Dave Lindorff
Student Protesters are Walking a Tightrope in Hong Kong
Richard Greeman
French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes
Dean Baker
Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue
Walden Bello
Is China an “Imperial Power” in the Image of the West?
Jim Britell
Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy
Sabri Öncü
Non-Financial Private Debt Overhang
John Steppling
Baby Shark Coup
Binoy Kampmark
Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
Colin Todhunter
Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter
James Graham
Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate
Elliot Sperber
Scrutiny – From Scruta
November 18, 2019
Olivia Arigho-Stiles
Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia
Ashley Smith
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Macho Camacho: Jeffery R. Webber and Forrest Hylton on the Coup in Bolivia
Robert Fisk
Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen
Ron Jacobs
Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two
John Feffer
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump
Stephen Cooper
Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention
Bill Hatch
A New Silence
Gary Macfarlane
The Future of Wilderness Under Trump: Recreation or Wreckreation?
Laura Flanders
#SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk
Ralph Nader
The Most Impeachable President vs. The Most Hesitant Congress. What Are The Democrats Waiting For?
Robert Koehler
Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress
Walter Clemens
American Oblivion
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail