“We support the troops!” That’s the excuse the Democrats have given for continuing to fund Bush’s aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan. But, of course, war funding doesn’t support the troops. War funding supports an evil machine that chews up and spits out the lives and well being of the troops, along with that of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan, men, women, and children. War funding supports Bush’s aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and his continuing efforts to occupy both countries in order to turn them into puppet states.
Polls show that a majority of the troops and their families do not support Bush’s aggression. The fact that Ron Paul’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination received the lion’s share of contributions from military families also underlines the great divide between the troops and those who would “support” them by keeping them in Iraq and Afghanistan. What all those ribbon decals on the back of SUVs, which proclaim “support the troops,” really mean is support Bush’s wars of aggression against Muslims.
According to the Washington Post (Feb. 9, 2008), Bush’s $3.1 trillion federal budget provides no funding for his proposal in his State of the Union address to permit military members to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. Bush got applause for his nationally televised words, but the troops and their families got no money in his budget.
Government analysts calculate the education benefits would cost in the range of $1-2 billion annually–the cost of funding the war for two days.
The only money that Bush and Congress want to give the troops is what is required to keep them at war. Everyone has read the horror stories of the lack of care for the physically and emotionally wounded troops who have made it back from Iraq.
In contrast, to fund Bush’s war, Bush and Congress have already spent in out-of-pocket and future costs at least $1,000 billion. Every American can draw up lists of better uses of this immense fortune than blowing up a country’s infrastructure and killing hundreds of thousands of its citizens.
Nothing good whatsoever has been accomplished by Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was obvious to anyone with a lick of sense in 2002, six months prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq on March 18, 2003, that an invasion would be a strategic blunder. William S. Lind, myself and others made that prediction in October, 2002. Three years later, Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, vindicated us by declaring Bush’s invasion of Iraq to be “the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history.” If the head of the NSA doesn’t know a “strategic disaster” when he sees one, who does?
Gen. Odom’s assessment is certainly correct. Bush, Cheney, the neocons, and the sycophant media were completely wrong. Look at the situation today. Unable to defeat the Sunni insurgency, the US “superpower” has had to resort to paying tens of millions of dollars to insurgency leaders to bribe them not to attack US troops. In addition, Bush is supplying the insurgents with weapons “to fight al Qaeda.” The Sunni leaders gladly accept the money and weapons, but how long can they survive being collaborators with the American enemy that has destroyed their country and the Sunni place in the sun?
It was obvious to everyone but Bush and the neocons that overthrowing Saddam Hussein in the name of democracy would put the majority Shi’ites, who are allied with Iran, in place as the new rulers of Iraq. So far the Iraqi Shi’ites have bided their time and have not joined in earnest the insurgency against the US occupation. Instead, they, like the Sunnis, have directed most of their attention to cleansing neighborhoods of one another. The reasons that violence–although still higher than Americans could live with–is down are that most of the neighborhoods are now segregated, al Sadr has ordered his militia to stand down, and the Sunni insurgents are being paid not to attack US troops.
Bush started a war, and now to avoid losing it Bush pays Iraqis not to attack US troops!
The Sunnis and Shi’ites are stronger than ever, while the US troops are worn down and demoralized from multiple lengthy combat tours that violate traditional US military policy.
It was also obvious that Bush’s invasions would destabilize nuclear-armed Pakistan. On February 8, seasoned foreign correspondent Warren Strobel reported for the McClatchy newspapers that “Pakistan is now the central front in America’s war on terror.” On February 9, the Washington Post reported: “Pakistan faces a growing threat from a new generation of radicalized, battle-hardened militants who embrace jihad and have become allied with local and international terrorists intent on toppling the pro-Western government [shorthand for paid US puppet], a senior U.S. intelligence official told reporters yesterday.”
US officials have been pressing Pakistan, to no effect, to allow US troops to join the Pakistani army’s fight against Pakistani tribes allied with the Taliban. US officials, “speaking on condition of anonymity,” are trying to muster support for an expanded US military role in Pakistan by alleging that Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar are in Pakistan with their top commanders. Bush wants to bomb Pakistan in order to win the war in Afghanistan.
With all available US troops tied down in Iraq, the US is using NATO soldiers as mercenaries to try to counter a resurgent Taliban. Europeans are tiring of their role as an European proxy for America’s legions, and the NATO commander speaks of a NATO defeat in Afghanistan.
NATO was an alliance created to resist a Soviet invasion of Europe. The US has kept an unnecessary NATO alive for 18 years as a source of troops for its foreign adventures. Europeans dislike being mercenaries for American Empire, especially one that slaughters civilians.
Desperate for troops, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is trying to scare Europeans with the threat of “international terrorism,” but Europeans know that the best way to bring terrorism to Europe is to send troops to fight Muslims for the Americans. Whether Gates will get the German and French soldiers that he so desperately needs depends on whether the US can give the German and French leaders, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, enough billions of dollars to divide among their parties to embolden them to override public opinion and send their soldiers to die for US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.
Gates told Europe that NATO’s survival is at stake: “We must not–we cannot–become a two-tiered alliance of those willing to fight and those who are not.” In a rare bit of honesty for an American government official, Gates admitted at the NATO conference in Munich last week that Europeans’ anger at the US over Iraq is the reason Europe won’t send enough troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan, thus putting what Gates disingenuously called “the international mission in Afghanistan” at risk of failure.
The Afghanistan “mission,” like the Iraq “mission,” was a mission for US and Israel hegemony. The official reason for invading Afghanistan was 9/11 and the alleged refusal of the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Europe, NATO, or any “international mission.” The official reason for invading Iraq was alleged, but nonexistent, weapons of mass destruction that allegedly threatened America–another, but more deadly, 9/11 in the making according to the Bush regime.
If the US now needs foreign troops to save its bacon in these two lost wars, it should demand them from Israel. Israel is why the US is at war in the Middle East. Let Israel supply the troops. The neocons who dominated the Bush regime and took America to illegal wars are allied with the extreme right-wing government of Israel. The goal of neoconservatism is to remove all obstacles to Israeli territorial expansion. The Zionist aim is to grab the entirely of the West Bank and southern Lebanon, with more to follow later.
Remember “mission accomplished”? Remember all the strutting neocons with their promises of a “cakewalk war”? Remember all the ignorant bragging about having “defeated the Taliban”? All of these lies were designed to tie American down in interminable wars in the Middle East for Israel’s benefit. There is no other reason for Bush’s invasions. We know for certain that Bush and his entire administration lied through their teeth about the Taliban and about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
What a total crock of ignorance and deception the Bush regime represents. Bush, defeated in Iraq, defeated in Afghanistan, with Pakistan crumbling in front of his eyes, is now reduced to begging the French, whom it was such grand sport for his neocon officials to denigrate, to send soldiers to save his ass in Afghanistan.
What a laughing stock Bush has made of America. What ruination this utter idiot and his supporters have brought to America. What total traitors the neoconservatives are. Every last one of them should be immediately arrested for high treason. Neonconservatives are America’s greatest enemies, and they control our government! All Americans have to show for six years of Bush’s “war on terror” is an incipient police state.
Now standing in the wings is mad John “hundred year war” McCain. Will the American electorate wipe out the Republican Party before this insane party wipes out America?
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com