Loveless Among the Ruins


Well, so much for Iraqi “sovereignty.” So much too for “staying the course” and for “fighting the terrorists there so we won’t have to fight them here.” And while we’re at it, so much for all the young Americans who’ve tragically given their lives or their bodies and health in the interest of advancing President Bush’s criminal political agenda.

We saw the true nature of Iraqi “sovereignty” when it was disclosed that a worried Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this week made an anxious phone call to Bush to ask whether rumors he had been hearing were true that Bush was planning on replacing him. The call made it clear that Maliki knows he serves in his role solely at the pleasure of the American president. In saner, more honest times, the media would refer to such a situation as colonial, but our lapdog media just plays the game and talks about Iraq as if it were a sovereign nation.

Maliki also asked the president if it was true that the U.S. was planning on pulling the plug on the Iraq occupation. The president reportedly reassured his worried puppet that he was not going to undercut him, and was not about to withdraw US troops, but if I were Maliki, I’d heed the lesson of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, who was assured of US backing even as the CIA was making arrangements to have him assassinated and replaced by another thug.

As for “staying the course,” this president who has spent the last four years accusing congressional opponents of the war and advocates of a quick withdrawal of treason and cowardice, of being “cut-and-run” Democrats, is being advised by Republican fixer James Baker that he should either cut and run, withdrawing US forces from Iraq and recognizing the obvious failure of his grand imperialist scheme, or he should invite those two Axes of Evil, Iran and Syria, to come in and pacify the place.

Imagine that! Weren’t we just hearing about how those two countries were terrorist states, and how Iran is such a threat to America that it should be attacked and massively bombed?

With luck, Baker may force this crazed president, who is so spooked at the prospect of a Democratic takeover of Congress in November that he appears to be gearing up to invade Iran before Election Day, to call off the dogs of war and instead start making nice to the imams.

It may just be that Republicans, and the corporate elite to whom they answer, all of whom have been giving Bush, Rove and Cheney everything those power-made fascist wannabes have asked for two long terms, are realizing that they are now at risk of losing it all. The Iraq War is moving inexorably to a point where the U.S. will either have to voluntarily retreat or be driven out. Meanwhile, it is clear that an attack on Iran, while it might possibly lead to a quick jingoistic boost in support for the president that could save him from a Democratic Congress, would cause such a global economic disaster and such a military catastrophe for the U.S. over the longer run that Republicans could be destroyed as a political party for years to come.

There really are no good answers for Republicans at this point–only less bad ones.

Any possible outcome of the Iraq situation is going to leave most sentient Americans asking why 3000 young Americans had to die there, and for those who don’t get it right away, the 25,000 maimed survivors, along with the tens of thousands more who bear the psychological scars of that pointless criminal venture, will be around for a long time to remind us of how we were deceived. So too will Osama Bin Laden, whom Bush never really seriously went after at all, despite his feigned Texas posse rhetoric.

If Democrats succeed in winning control of Congress, as appears increasingly likely, Republicans will have to begin thinking about how to survive the fallout of this historic fiasco. It seems inevitable–and we are starting to see the signs of this–that the strategy will be to blame Bush and Cheney. This offers us the entertaining prospect of the lamest of lame ducks, or perhaps goats, for the next two years.

Of course, a large number of cowardly Democrats share the blame for Bush administration crimes. They too need to pay for their complicity. Unfortunately, there is no good way to punish these quislings and cowards on Election Day, since abstaining or voting against them just benefits Republicans, and ousting Republicans from control of Congress is critical. But the next two years, following Nov. 7, must be a time of political payback. Not only do we need to impeach the president. As well, challenges need to be organized against every sell-out Democrat who does not make amends by fighting hard over the next two years to restore respect for constitutional government and the Bill of Rights, as well as for international law.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Connecticut have a unique opportunity to fire a warning shot in that battle by supporting Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont and ousting incumbent pseudo-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman, who for Bush’s two terms has served as a Republican Trojan Horse inside the Democratic caucus. Democrats around the country can help in this effort by sending money to the Lamont campaign, and by volunteering to make calls on his behalf.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at:



CounterPunch contributor and founder of ThisCan’tBeHappening!, DAVE LINDORFF co-produced the 2023 Stevee James-directed feature-length documentary film “A Compassionate Spy” on the life of teenage Los Alamos spy Ted Hall and his wife of 51 years, Joan Hall, now streaming on Hulu, Youtube, Apple TV, Vudu and Google Play. His latest book,“A Spy for No Country” (Prometheuis Books, 2024) was published in January.