In Cleveland yesterday Bush gave a delusional speech that shows he is detached from reality. “We’re going to help the Iraqis build a strong democracy that will be an inspiration throughout the Middle East, a democracy that’ll be a partner in the global war against the terrorists.”
Has no one told Bush that the Iraqis cannot even agree to form a government?
The day before Bush’s delusional Cleveland speech, Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister of one of our make-believe Iraqi governments, said that in Iraq the casualty rate from the sectarian strife is so high that “if this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”
The day of Bush’s delusional speech, Patrick Cockburn, present on the scene in Irbil, Iraq, gave a much more truthful account of the situation. Writing here in CounterPunch, he reported: “Iraq is a country convulsed by fear. It is at its worst in Baghdad. Sectarian killings are commonplace. . . . The scale of the violence is such that most of it is unreported. . . . Unseen by the outside world, silent populations are on the move, frightened people fleeing neighborhoods where their community is in a minority for safer districts. There is also a growing reliance on militias because of fears that police patrols or checkpoints are in reality death squads hunting for victims.”
Not a word of this reality from our delusional president.
The fantasy Iraq that Bush painted was only his warm-up. He went on to tell his Cleveland audience that American could not be safe unless Iraq was a democracy. What a weak, pitiful, vulnerable place Bush’s America must be. Unless a small, devastated Middle Eastern country is a democracy, America cannot be safe. Who in the Cleveland audience could possibly have believed this utter nonsense.
Bush told his audience that “the security of our country is directly linked to the liberty of the Iraqi people, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.” What victory is he talking about? Despite the huge sums of dollars paid by the Bush regime to all the leaders of all the factions, Iraq cannot form a government.
Without victory, Iraq will be “a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation.” Alas, there were no terrorists in Iraq until Bush invaded the country and drew them in. The problem our troops face in Iraq is not terrorists, but resistance fighters, “insurgents” in the Bush regime’s parlance. Democracies lack the dictatorial, extra-legal powers to suppress terrorists. That is why Bush is destroying civil liberties in the US. Under Saddam Hussein, there were no terrorists and no insurgents. Bush is modeling his no habeas corpus, torture prone, all intrusive government on Saddam Hussein.
The security of Americans has nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq. Iraq cannot overthrow the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, and American civil liberties. Iraq cannot illegally spy on American citizens, declare them to be “suspects” and detain them forever without warrant or charges. Iraq cannot put American critics of the Bush regime on “no-fly” lists.
The real dangers to Americans reside in the neocon Bush administration. This delusional warmonger administration believes it has the power and the right to dictate to Muslim countries their political and social institutions. This extraordinary arrogance and hubris breeds opposition where there was none. The world is not going to obey Bush and a handful of stupid neocons.
In his speech Bush told Cleveland that “the decision to remove Saddam Hussein was a difficult decision.” That is a lie. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, and a number of others have reported that Bush came into office intending to remove Hussein. The head of British intelligence told the British Cabinet that Bush first decided to go to war and then created the reasons to justify his aggression against Iraq.
“Before we acted,” Bush told his audience, Hussein’s “regime was defying U.N. resolutions calling for it to disarm. It was violating cease-fire agreements, was firing on American and British pilots which were enforcing no-fly zones.” Gentle reader, think what Bush is saying. As Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, a fact that Bush has acknowledged, how could Iraq possibly have been violating U.N. resolutions calling on it to disarm?
What cease-fire agreements are Bush talking about? It was US and UK planes that continued to fly over Iraqi territory and bomb Iraqis.
Do you know what Bush means by no-fly zones? He means that US and UK jet fighters could fly all over Iraq, but if Iraqi planes flew over Iraqi territory, we would shoot them down.
Where did the US get the right to tell countries that they dare not try to control their own air space?
Americans need to understand that terrorists are responding to America’s behavior, or misbehavior. The only successful way to stop terrorism is to alter our behavior. America is not God. It has no right, and it certainly lacks the power, to impose its will on the world.
The Bush regime cannot lead the world to democracy by tearing democracy down at home. Not since Abraham Lincoln have American civil liberties been so threatened as by the Bush regime. America even has an Attorney General, a Vice President, and a Secretary of Defense who believe in torture. How do they differ from officials in the Third Reich or Stalin’s KGB? Anyone who believes in torture is not an American. That person is outside our tradition. Yet, it is people who believe in torture who occupy our highest offices.
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org