On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Bush’s illegal war of aggression in Iraq, the Fabricator-in-Chief made a speech at the Pentagon, whose muzzled army chiefs had opposed his costly, ruinous adventure from the start for strategic, tactical and logistical reasons.
As benefits the dictatorial monarch of yesteryear, evicted by America’s first patriots, this modern-day King George blistered the truth, somersaulted the facts and declared that a “strategic victory” in Iraq is near. He called the war “a just and noble cause.” Sugarcoating the terrible, impoverished state of daily life in Iraq, he acknowledged “the high cost in lives and treasure,” but said the recent situation in Iraq made it all worthwhile. “Worth the sacrifice” is how he put it often in previous statements.
At the same time, his V.P. his Prince Regent, Dick Cheney was having this exchange with ABC’s Martha Raddatz:
Raddatz: “Two-thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting, and they’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.”
Raddatz: “So you don’t care what the American people think?”
Cheney: “No,” who then inaccurately wrapped Abraham Lincoln’s stand during the Civil War around his relentless illegal warmongering in Iraq.
In an article called “Defining Victory Downward: No, the surge is not a success,” columnist Michael Kinsley exposed the fatuous standards of comparison used by Bush and took his readers to standards back in 2003. Kinsley observed how Bush spouts success against conflicts and conditions that never existed before March 2003. There were no Al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, no large scale sectarian carnage. There were modicum rudimentary public facilities and necessities, notwithstanding severe Clinton-Bush propelled economic sanctions, under dictator Saddam Hussein, instead of a devastated, riven nation of 4 million refugees and violent street anarchy.
At the same time that the rancidly redundant fictionalizations of reality in Iraq by Bush and Cheney were once again receiving front page attention at the New York Times and the Washington Post, protests on the downtown streets of Washington, D.C. and in scores of cities and communities around the country received subdued short articles deep inside these newspapers. Both remarked on the smaller turnout of marchers compared to the large demonstrations in 2003.
This decline should not be surprising. Most people are trying to communicate their concerns, and their repeatedly accurate warnings about the impacts of this war of aggression to a wider audience. But the mainstream media, often hardly working on weekends, never gave these outpourings the attention they deserved (even though American public opinion was behind their call to end the war-occupation and said that the war was not worth the cost to America in lives and dollars).
Fortunately, along came a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, with a new detailed book titled “The Three Trillion Dollar War ,” (W.W. Norton) to inform the American people just how right they are about the long term cost of Bush’s messianic reckless pursuit launched on a platform of lies, distortions and cover-ups.
The twisted defiance of Bush, the cowardliness of the majority Democrats in Congress and the frustration and powerlessness felt by sensitive Americans who see no light at the end of the Iraq tunnel leaves little room for citizens to gain control of their runaway government.
There is a possible way to turn the tide in favor of ending this illusion of “victory” and the occupation that breeds its own opposition in Iraq.
Unlike before or during any other war in our nation’s history, hundreds of former high military, national security-intelligence and diplomatic officials have spoken, written, testified and some even marched against Bush’s tragic folly before and after the March 2003 invasion.
These retired public servants include generals and anti-terrorism specialists who worked inside the Bush Administration. Taken as a whole, were they to aggregate their standing and influence before the American people by banding together as a group, their cumulative impact on Congress, on galvanizing and focusing public opinion during this election year could well turn this deteriorating situation around.
These patriotic Americans, with their experience in battles, conflicts and geopolitical tensions, coupled with their desire to wage peace for a change in Washington’s policies, could be the catalyst that spells the difference. Compared with Bush and Cheney, successful draft-dodgers during their Pro-Vietnam war past, they make for quite a credible contrast.
Will they mobilize themselves for the common good and provide the new dynamic needed?
Time will tell.
RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions