Blood for Face


This isn’t blood for oil; it’s blood for face.

President Bush’s “new and improved” plan for “prevailing” in the Iraq War he started almost four years ago–to send an additional 21,500 US troops into the chaos of Baghdad and Anbar Province–turns out to be nothing more than a coward’s way of trying to avoid having to say the war has been lost.

Over 3000 Americans and several hundred thousand innocent Iraqis have died because Bush and his handlers decided early in his first disastrous administration that they needed a bully little war to solidify his position, win the Congress, and grab dictatorial powers by setting him up as a “war president.”

The scheme worked at first. Bush got his war, he won control of Congress in 2002, and squeaked back into office in 2004, all by running as a commander in chief in time of war. He also managed to usurp powers from Congress and undermine the Constitution, again by playing commander in chief.

But his war didn’t go as planned.

The Iraqi people didn’t want to be invaded, much less occupied, and a home-grown insurgency in that ravaged nation of 24 million, armed with just RPGs and AK-47 rifles, has brought the world’s most powerful military to its knees.

Rather than admit that his Iraq adventure has been an unmitigated disaster–one which has essentially handed the world’s third largest oil-producing nation over to the control of its neighbor, Iran–Bush has decided to escalate the slaughter.

The 21,500 additional troops, 17,500 of whom will be in Baghdad, and 4000 of whom will be in Anbar, will be fighting the overwhelmingly popular Mahdi army of Moktada al Sadr in Baghdad, and the entrenched and battle-hardened Sunni fighters in Anbar. Casualties on the American side will predictably soar.

The slaughter of innocent Iraqis in both places, but particularly in the slums of Baghdad, will also mount, because the way Americans fight is with heavy (and indiscriminate) weapons and aerial bombardment, not hand-to-hand.

This carnage will not produce peace and stability in Iraq, but will rather energize support for the resistance to US occupation, and in turn, the influence of Iran, which backs that resistance.

Bush, in his address to the nation, continued the fiction that the violence in Iraq is the work of Al Qaeda and “foreign fighters,” though the military brass, and soldiers on the ground, know otherwise.

As Lt. Gen (ret.) William Odom, commenting after Bush’s address in an interview on ABC News, put it, “I expected to hear a clearer view of the enemy we are fighting. What I heard was `foreign fighters.’ In fact, there are several wars going on: US against many forces, Sunnis against Shias, and Al Qaeda as allies of the Sunnis. So I don’t think he (Bush) understands the nature of the war.”

Odom may be correct as far as our inarticulate and famously uninquisitive president is concerned. You can’t learn too much when your entire research effort consists of scanning one-page executive summaries each day. But Bush’s advisers, and particularly his political advisers, are well aware of what they are up against, and know that the war is already a lost cause–and one which at least 70 percent of the American public have already decided should be ended.

Since they can’t admit to that, they’ve decided to let some more young Americans (and a hell of a lot of innocent Iraqi men, women and children) take the bullets for them, in hopes that they can stretch out the day of reckoning past January 19, 2009, when it will be the next president’s job to watch the helicopters departing from the US embassy roof of the Green Zone.

Or maybe ABC commentator Mark Shields was onto something when he suggested, following the Bush speech, that perhaps it was all a plan to “give everything” to the Iraqi government, say it’s the Iraqi government’s chance to get the country in order, and then blame the failure on the Iraqis. If so, it’s just another dirty trick on the Americans who are being sent into battle to kill and die as cover for Bush’s debacle.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest 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.