New Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), is calling President Bush’s invasion of Iraq a “stark blunder” and says that his new scheme to send 21,500 more troops into the mess he created is just digging the hole deeper.
I wonder though.
It seems ever more likely to me that this whole mess was no blunder at all.
People are wont to attribute the whole thing to lack of intelligence on the president’s part, and to hubris on the part of his key advisers. I won’t argue that the president is a lightweight in the intellect department, nor will I dispute that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and that whole neocon gang have demonstrably lacked the virtues of self-doubt and humility. But that said, I suspect that the real story of the Iraq War is that Bush and his gang never really cared whether they actually would “win” in Iraq. In fact, arguably, they didn’t really want to win.
What they wanted was a war.
If the war they started had ended quickly with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that would have served their purposes, at least for the short term. Bush would have emerged from a short invasion and conquest a national hero, would have handily won re-election in 2004, and would have gone on to a second term as a landslide victor. But if it went badly, as it has, they figured he would still come out ahead. He would be a wartime president, and he’d make full use of that role, expansively misdefining his “commander in chief” title to imply authority over the Congress and the courts, to grab power heretofore unheard of for a president.
This, I suspect, was the grand strategy underlying the attack on Iraq.
If I’m right, there may have been method to the madness of not building up enough troops for the invasion to insure that U.S. forces could occupy a destroyed Iraq and help it rebuild, method to the madness of allowing looters free sway to destroy the country’s remaining post-invasion infrastructure, method to the madness, even, of allowing remnant forces of Hussein’s to gather up stockpiles of weapons and even of high-density explosives, so they could mount an effective resistance and drag out the conflict.
So many apparently stupid decisions were made by people who should clearly have been too smart to make them, from leaving hundreds of tons of high explosives unguarded to cashiering all of Iraq’s army and most of the country’s civil service managers, that it boggles the mind to think that these could have been just dumb ideas or incompetence.
I mean, we expect a measure of idiocy from or elected leaders and their appointees, but not wholesale idiocy!
This disaster has been so colossal, it almost had to have been orchestrated.
If that’s the case, Congress should be taking a hard look at not just the latest installment of escalation, but at the whole war project, beginning with the 2002 campaign to get it going. Certainly throwing 21,500 new troops into the fire makes no sense whatever. If 140,000 of the best-equipped troops in the world can’t pacify Iraq, 160,000 aren’t going to be able to do it either. You don’t need to be a general to figure that out.’ Even a senator or representative ought to be able to do it. So clearly Congress should kill this plan.
Since it’s not about “winning” the war, it has to be about something else. My guess would be it’s about either dragging things out until the end of 2008, so Bush can leave office without having to say he’s sorry. But of course, it could also be about something even more serious: invading Iran.
We know Bush is trying mightily to provoke Iran. He’s illegally attacked an Iranian consulate in Iraq (an act of war), taking six protected consular officials there captive. He is sending a second aircraft carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf, and is setting up Patriot anti-missile missile bases along Iran’s western border. This buildup has all the earmarks of a pre-invasion. All that’s needed now is a pretext-a real or faked attack on an American ship, perhaps, ala the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” that launched America into the Vietnam War,
The way I see it, either way the president is committing treason, because he is sending American troops off to be killed for no good reason other than for aggrandizing power he shouldn’t have, and/or simply covering his own political ass .
Treason is the number one impeachable crime, and we’re reaching a point where Congress is going to have to act or go down in history as having acquiesced in the worst presidential crime in the history of the nation.
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: email@example.com