By Some Measures The Iraq Invasion And Occupation Are Hugely Successful
72% of our troops think we should leave Iraq this year. These are the young men and women who know the situation on the ground, they can see with their own eyes that the situation there is not getting better, but rather deteriorating at a rapid pace. Yet, the Republicans in Congress and this shameless administration refuse to shift the current policy and continue to spout their favorite slogan of “stay the course” and label any attempt to correct this course as, “cut and run”. It is Vietnam all over again. The civilians making all of the decisions know that the objective (whatever that is this week) can’t be met, yet they continue to send our young people to die in an occupation with no end.
The Bush administration lied about the reasons for invading Iraq, lied about what we are there to “accomplish” and lied over and over again about the situation on the ground. They have even lied about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of our men and women in uniform. Shameful. This administration has nothing but contempt for the people, and that includes the young men in women they send to die in Iraq for money, oil and power. I have heard reports of how Bush is all torn up about the deaths of our men and women serving in Iraq, it may be true, but with all the lying that comes so easily to these people, I have a hard time imagining that it is. They’re just poor kids mostly anyway and George W. Bush has no use for the poor. Well, except as cannon fodder and low-wage workers to keep profits up of course.
So maybe I’ve got this all wrong, maybe the objectives of the Bush administration are in fact being met in Iraq, they’re just not the objectives that we the people are allowed to know exist. There are making serious progress on the US Embassy in Iraq, the largest in the world that is said to be the size of Vatican City. And those permanent military bases are coming along nicely. And the oil companies are making record profits. And the military industrial complex is firing on all cylinders. And contractors like Halliburton are swimming in American tax dollars. It’s hard to imagine these are merely unintended consequences. Are we to believe that it’s just dumb luck that the construction on the military bases and the embassy are running full steam ahead because they just happen to be taking place in areas where there isn’t as much violence as, say, the electrical plants? Or that there was no design to the high price we pay at the pump now, thanks to the manipulation of supply now possible because we are in Iraq with our hand on one of the spigots? Or that Vice President Cheney’s old company (that he still holds stock in) has been the biggest beneficiary of no-bid government contracts that have earned him millions?
My dad has studied history most of his life and although my eyes glazed over when he would regale me with stories of the past, there is one thing he told me over and over again that has always stuck with me, “If you want to know the truth about why something happened, it's helpful to take a close look at who benefited most.” Most of us knew that the WMD story was crap, the same way we knew the “spreading democracy” story was crap, neither one passed the smell test. The most recent crap being shoveled upon us are, “when the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down” and “we’re fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here” and “we can’t pull out of Iraq now because it will descend into chaos and become a terrorist breeding ground.” The Iraqis are standing up, they’re just not on our side, how could they be? We are occupying their country, clearly intent on staying, and setting up a government that will allow us unfettered access to their oil. In some instances (who knows how many exactly) the Iraqi troops we are training, are turning around and killing the American troops they’re patrolling with. The Iraqis do not want us there and we cannot “train” them to turn on their own, at least not in the numbers we need.
As far as Iraq descending into chaos, I think we’ve accomplished that already. It has been three years since Bush declared victory in Iraq, but since then we have managed to spark a civil war, erode any good will that may have existed after toppling Saddam Hussein, and we have let loose death squads that are terrorizing the Iraqi people, perhaps even more brutally than Saddam did. With friends like us, who needs enemies? As long as we stay, the insurgency will grow. You see, we call them an insurgency, but they likely consider themselves patriots fighting for their country.
I watched John Kerry on C-SPAN yesterday, defending his amendment on the Senate floor. For all of the problems that I have with John Kerry, I have the utmost respect for his service to this country. He spoke passionately on behalf of those fighting on the ground in Iraq. I honestly don’t think this is a purely political move on his part, I think having served in the military and having fought in battle, he understands the immorality of continuing on with a failed policy that costs more and more young American lives every day.
Kerry brought up the fact that former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote years after Vietnam that he knew the war couldn’t be won, yet he continued to send young men to their deaths for a lost cause (half of the dead in Vietnam came after that point). John Kerry, John Murtha and Russ Feingold are determined not to let that happen again. They are convinced that we cannot prevail in Iraq with “stay the course” and they have no faith that the Bush administration will change the policy, leaving them with no other option that to push for a redeployment of our troops this year. 72% of the troops and 60% of the American people are with them. What happens next is up to us. I’m going to call my Senators again right now and ask that they support a plan for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Vietnam was ended because the public demanded a change. Ending this war depends on the same and candidates that refuse to get on board need to be sent home. Our troops deserve at least that much support from us.