FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

"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:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Justin Anderson
Don’t Count the Left Out Just Yet
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail