mind those weapons of mass destruction, said
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the Senate armed
coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic
new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder.
We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light,
through the prism of our experience on 9/11."
for once, is not lying. It was only on the surface that the
War Party seemed to be arguing that Iraq posed a military
threat to its neighbors and the U.S. The subtext of all this
was that they didn't need a reason: a feeling would
do. This is the irrationalism at the core of our theory
of "preemption," which now governs American foreign and
military policy in the post-9/11 era: it doesn't require evidence,
only a vague premonition (based on murky "intelligence" of dubious
provenance) that someone, somewhere, might become a threat.
sooooooo contemporary American: we're a nation that
is constantly getting in touch with its "feelings," perpetually
seeking "validation" and "closure," where subjectivism and
emotionalism are the semi-official religion. No wonder the
end result has been the Oprah-ization of American
foreign policy. The policy of subjective preemption is just
good old American narcissism mixed with a liberal dose of
must have ripped a hole in a space-time
continuum, and repealed the laws of logic
as well as those governing international relations. There
is no other way to explain the statements of administration
spokesman in the weeks following the announced "end" of the
war. The only evidence we have points to the willingness of
this administration to invade Iraq without any evidence
of WMD or Iraq's aggressive intentions. In a recent interview
with Vanity Fair, deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz
blithely revealed that, in the days after 9/11, the decision
to go to war with Iraq had already been made:
the surface of the debate it at least appeared to be about
not whether but when. There seemed to be a kind of agreement
that yes it should be, but the disagreement was whether it
should be in the immediate response or whether you should
concentrate simply on Afghanistan first."
who cares about not finding those fearsome weapons Saddam
was supposedly ready to level Chicago with? If it feels good,
do it. And we can do whatever we want – because who's going
to stop us?
Congress, which lamely calls for an "investigation" into the
lies that dragged us into war – indirectly asking to be absolved
of any responsibility. We were duped into voting to strike
Iraq, they seem to be saying, but who're they kidding? They
knew it was all lies from the get-go, and were cowed by the
polls and the relentless propaganda.
and Richard Lugar,
fresh from their trip to Iraq, tell us the administration
didn't come clean with the American people about just what
the occupation of Iraq would involve. But they knew
what was going to happen – the guerrilla war, the rising costs
in troops and treasure – and yet, when it came time to vote,
they opted for war.
Bush administration didn't just lie about the casus belli,
they lied about the consequences and the cost.
Now that the camel's nose is already under the tent, the Pentagon
has almost doubled the estimated bill: where once it was $2
billion per month, Rumsfeld told the armed services committee
that the new estimate is $3.9 billion – not counting the costs
of the "reconstruction."
Tommy Franks, stepping
down as supreme commander at Centcom, told
the Senate committee that the U.S. would be in Iraq "for
the foreseeable future." But Rumsfeld sought to assuage the
lawmakers' anxiety at this grim prospect by posing the possibility
that we could Iraqi-ize the occupation, and turn over part
of the burden to our allies:
numbers of US forces could change, while the footprint stayed
the same, in the event that we have greater success in bringing
in additional coalition forces, in the event we are able to
accelerate the Iraqi army."
about our "coalition." The
Brits are about
ready to boil Phony
Tony in oil. As for the French and the Germans, they want
no part of our Iraqi misadventure unless
the reins are handed over to the UN, which is neither
likely nor desireable. The only footprint in the Iraqi sands
is going to be our own, even as we sink under the weight of
our own imperial
the way, I wouldn't count on being able to "accelerate the
Iraqi army" – unless Rummy envisions the U.S. being accelerated
right out of there. Today (Thursday, July 10) the Iraqi police
in Falluja threatened
to walk off the job unless the Americans who trained and
armed them high-tailed it out of town but quick. As the Washington
have the ability to protect these sites,' said Riyadh Abdel-Latif,
the town's police chief. "The presence of Americans endangers
us. We asked the Americans more than a month and a half ago
to leave Falluja.' The protesters handed a petition to the
mayor and U.S. commander in the town, saying they would resign
in 48 hours if American troops did not leave."
Prestowitz, a former Reagan aide, says the Republicans
could lose the White House if the war of attrition in Iraq
drags on, or worsens, and the WMD remain a figment of the
presidential imagination. Writing in the British Spectator,
was one thing for the President to ask Americans to send their
sons and daughters into harm's way to ward off the threat
of WMD, but if the threat was and is non-existent, how does
the government explain to the public why it is putting their
young people in danger?"
good question. Too bad no major party candidate for President
who asks it will be on the November 2004 ballot. The Democratic
wing of the War Party will make sure of that. The War Party
controls both major parties, and nearly always has: all other
parties are "minor" in comparison, and must go through the
impossible task of getting on the ballot in all 50 states.
Such are the wonders of the "democracy" we're so keen to export
to the far corners of the globe.
rising popular sentiment against this ongoing war isn't going
away, and becomes even more volatile when it has no real political
outlet. And dissent is on the rise in the most unlikely places.
Here's a message
Private First Class Matthew O'Dell gave to an American reporter
to give to this administration:
call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready
to go home."
'em on? I don't think so, Mr. President. Listen
to your own soldiers, take a look
at the polls,
and bring 'em home!
IN THE MARGIN
The Spectator is a treasure
trove these days, and not just because of Taki's
"High Life" column. Lloyd Evans pens a
pithy piece of reportage on the recent conference sponsored
by the British Socialist
Workers Party (SWP), a major bastion of the Euro-left,
that is just too funny for words. I especially like the nasty
descriptions of the sorry visual state of the assembled commies,
but there's also this confirmation of the Trotsky-con
phenomenon, which has roiled the American Right with controversy
ever since Michael Lind and Jeet
Heers conjured Trotsky's ghost walking the halls of the White
House. Describing a speech by leftie MP George
Galloway, Evans writes:
mocked his accusers in New Labour. Two grandees, he said,
who were once his political allies, had quizzed him over his
anti-war stance. 'One of them used to be Trotskyite.' Loud
sniggers. 'The other was a Maoist.' Laughter. He smiled, shrugged
and held out his hands as if in supplication. 'I've stood
still. But they ...'and he swept his arms off to the right
in a whooshing gesture. Tremendous laughter and huge applause."
it from one who knows: the War Party is swarming with
"ex"-Reds of a pinkish hue, and Mensheviks of the
second mobilization. The leopard may have changed his spots,
but he's just as a bloodthirsty as ever.
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