FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The War Goes Ever On

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

 

Is the Iraq war to become a permanent feature?

The war persists despite the opposition of a majority of Americans and Iraqis.

The war persists despite warnings from US generals that the stress is breaking the US Army.

The war persists despite its enormous cost in red ink and dependence on foreign loans.

The war persists despite its total failure.

The war persists despite the known fact that it was based on Bush administration lies and deception.

President Bush’s latest delusion–the surge–has not increased security. The surge has been accompanied by new records of daily Iraqi civilian casualties, such as the 312 Iraqis killed and 305 wounded on April 18. Recently, US commanding general David Petraeus said that Iraqis would just have to learn to live with daily bombing attacks. Petraeus promises Iraqis decades of violence when he says, “Iraq is going to have to learn–as did Northern Ireland–to live with some degree of sensational attacks.”

For the past two years polls of the US public have shown that a majority of Americans believe that it was a mistake to invade Iraq.

Polls of Iraqis show that large majorities support attacks on US troops and want US forces withdrawn from their country.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has concluded that 70% of primary school students in Baghdad suffer from trauma-related stress from passing dead bodies in the streets, from witnessing relatives being killed, and from being injured in attacks.

President Bush and his dwindling band of apologists allege that the US cannot withdraw from Iraq without a bloodbath between Sunnis and Shiites. This bloodbath is already occurring. Indeed, the bloodbath was caused by the US invasion, which took political power from Sunnis and gave it to Shiites in the form of a US protectorate or colony.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq had no justification. Continuing the war has no positive effects. Each day that the war continues produces more pointless casualties, more red ink and dependence on foreign creditors, more trauma, and more hatreds.

The Bush administration is continuing the war without a realizable or defensible goal. Although the Iraqi government is supposedly a democratically elected majority Shiite government, in reality it is puppet creature of the US occupation without real power and without public support. The “Iraqi government” exists only within the heavily fortified and US guarded “green zone” in Baghdad. Even this protected zone is subject to attacks. Just last week the parliament was bombed

As a colony or protectorate, Iraq is too costly to maintain. The US has already incurred out-of-pocket and future costs of $1 trillion or more. The total gains from oil exploitation and military-security complex profits do not approach this massive figure imposed on US taxpayers which is growing by the day.

As bad as it is, the situation could suddenly become much worse. Those in charge of US policy want to expand their targets from Sunni insurgents to Shiite militias. US forces have been unable to prevail over a lightly armed insurgency drawn from 20% of the population. The Shiite population is three times larger. Moreover, Shiites control southern Iraq, the territory through which US supplies must pass from Kuwait to Baghdad. If the Bush administration manages to get itself at war with 80% of the Iraqi population, US troops could be cut off and destroyed.

How would an unstable egomaniac such as President Bush deal with the humiliation?

The US dollar, already under pressure from large and growing trade deficits, has lost more of its value to the Bush administration’s dependence on foreign borrowing to finance its war. With foreigners accumulating huge annual sums in US denominated assets, the US dollar’s reserve currency role is jeopardized. If the dollar loses its reserve currency role, foreigners will not finance our wars or our trade and budget deficits.

The risks of Bush’s war both to Iraqis and Americans is out of proportion to any conceivable gains. The war is all cost and no benefit. Iraqis have been made massively insecure, and their country has undergone tremendous destruction and turned into a training ground for terrorists.

The entire Middle East has been put at risk of Sunni-Shiite conflict. Muslim hostility to US puppet regimes in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan is rising. The Saudis have warned Washington that the Iraq war is causing the ground to shake beneath their feet.

Bush claims that he invaded Iraq because he so highly values democracy that he desired to establish one in Iraq as an example for other Middle Eastern countries to follow. However, what Bush has demonstrated to Muslims is that American democracy is unresponsive to citizens and voters. Bush has demonstrated to the world that the US government is controlled by a small oligopoly of vested interests, the public be damned. Democracy means a government that follows the will of the people. Bush is ignoring public opinion and has made it clear that he will continue the practice.

Bush has shown the world that the only difference between American dictatorship and other dictatorships is that, for now, Americans are permitted to remove their dictator after his term is served.

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: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

November 23, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Discussing Trump Abroad
Jay Moore
The Failure of Reconstruction and Its Consequences
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Trout and Ethnic Cleansing
John W. Whitehead
Don’t Just Give Thanks, Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time
Chris Zinda
Zinke’s Reorganization of the BLM Will Continue Killing Babies
David Krieger
Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Rick Baum
While Public Education is Being Attacked: An American Federation of Teachers Petition Focuses on Maintaining a Minor Tax Break
Paul C. Bermanzohn
The As-If Society
Cole A. Turner
Go Away, Kevin Spacey
Ramzy Baroud
70 Years of Broken Promises: The Untold Story of the Partition Plan
Binoy Kampmark
A New Movement of Rights and the Right in Australia
George Ochenski
Democratic Party: Discouraged, Disgusted, Dysfunctional
Nino Pagliccia
The Governorship Elections in Venezuela: an Interview With Arnold August
Christopher Ketcham
Spanksgiving Day Poem
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail