Sunday morning talk shows were teeming with administration
spokesmen, prepping the public for their
boss's evening pitch for support on Iraq. Here's Colin Powell
on "Face the Nation":
going to cost more, and there will be continued sacrifice
on the part of our young men and women. Hopefully, in the
very near future we'll get control of the security situation."
talk no doubt made General Anthony Zinni,
retired Marine Centcom chief,
extremely nervous. It was only last Thursday that he'd issued
in a speech to hundreds of Marine and Navy officers:
contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged
on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage
and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening
and the lies: the State Department
dishes out the
former, while the Defense Department's civilian leaders whip
up the latter. The War
Party's kitchen is a
busy place: they're always cooking up something, and there's
a lot on the backburner: Iran,
are all bubbling and boiling, albeit not yet spilling over.
that lied us into war may seem
like they're on the defensive, what
with some prominent Democrats
calling for Rummy and Wolfie to resign, and Maureen
Dowd chortling over the neocons' public humiliation. "Tonight,"
she predicts, "will be a stomach-churning moment for Mr. Bush,
and he must be puzzling over how he got snarled in this nightmare."
from the President's speech that were released in advance,
however, it was clear before he even opened his mouth that
the rest of us were in for some stomach-churning moments of
our own. Far from backing down, Bush declared:
will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary,
to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to
promote freedom, and to make our own Nation more secure."
recalls John F. Kennedy's paean to interventionism delivered
in the early stages of the war in Vietnam, invoking the alleged
nobility of "sacrifice" and declaring that we'd:
any price, bear any burden."
support for the war – and his
reelection – plummeting,
a case of the presidential butterflies would not be at all
surprising. But Bush's critics were no doubt surprised to
find that he's not as conciliatory as they think he ought
to be. The same Washington Post report leaking excerpts
of the speech noted:
released Saturday indicated that nearly seven in 10 Americans
believe it is likely that Saddam was personally
involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, which were carried
out by al-Qaida, even though terrorism experts and others
describe only loose links between al-Qaida and Saddam."
bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have merged into a single vanishing
villain, and this successful strategy of conflation underlies
the administration's hard line on the war: invading Iraq was
necessary to "protect America" from terrorist attacks, they
aver. It's all part of a long-term strategy to "drain
the swamp" that nurtures terrorism in the Middle East.
As Bush puts it:
Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace,
or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes
more lives in America and in other free nations. The triumph
of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and beyond,
would be a grave setback for international terrorism."
and peace in the Middle East? We should only live so long.
This has got to mean a decades-long effort, bigger than the
Plan and the occupation of Japan combined. The bill for
all this is going to be astronomical. The Post cites
one estimate at $70 billion or so, and another congressional
insider who said:
think it could be bigger than $80 billion,' said a congressional
aide, who is familiar with the president's work in refining
how much to request from Congress. 'I think the expectation
is that it's going to be a very, very big number.'"
was right: it
turned out to be $87 billion. How is the administration
going to justify this tremendous expenditure of American treasure
lives? How can the President overcome rising opposition
to his policies, and grumbling
within his own party? By constantly invoking the memory of
9/11, this administration and the radical neocons who have
American foreign policy hope to mobilize the American
people under a banner of rage and fear. The War Party keeps
poking at an open wound, hoping the American public will stay
enraged long enough to support their Napoleonic visions of
empire. The President prodded this wound in his speech:
surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage
the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy
in Iraq and Afghanistan today, so that we do not meet him
again on our own streets, in our own cities."
is what kept the Democrats silenced for so long, and re-invoking
the terror-stricken atmosphere that created such cowed passivity
has got to be Bush's goal. 9/11 is his trump card, and we
can count on him playing it often in the months to come. In
his speech, the President declared:
are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not
on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power."
is the real meaning of the doctrine
of preemptive war. He
is referring here not just to Iraq, but to the entire Middle
East, which he and his neocon advisors have in their sights.
Incredibly, the neocon idea that we were wrong to leave Beirut,
and that we should have stood and fought in Somalia, finds
expression in the Bush speech:
want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past,
the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia,
claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run
from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken."
Ronald Reagan gave the order to leave Beirut, not because
he was "decadent and weak," as Bush phrased it, but because
U.S. forces were sitting
ducks for a terrorist attack – just
like our troops in Iraq. Somalia was a classic
quagmire: we should never have gone in, and we were right
to get out. What the President didn't mention was the casualties
we suffered in Beirut – 241 Marines killed in a single blast.
there are conflicting
on this, the [UK] Telegraph avers that
the President is pretty steamed about Iran's alleged pursuit
of nukes. No, the War Party isn't making a U-turn on the road
to empire: they're just taking a slight breather before they
rev up their engines for the next lap of their journey.
IN THE MARGIN
September 11, this site will feature my book, The Terror
Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, in its entirety.
This coming Wednesday, September 10, you can read the introduction,
which explains the strange publishing history of this work,
and my reasons for putting it online.
brother of Rush, tells
us paleocons to chill out and relax, because – Hurrah!
"President Bush is not a neocon."
aren't you relieved?
President, Limbaugh avers, didn't come up with any world-conquering
scheme prior to 9/11. Uh, no, but his
chief advisors did. The President, says Limbaugh, is just
a plain old ordinary mainstream conservative, like himself,
who is just looking out for "American interests." Yes, but,
as Limbaugh puts it, "the rap against neoconservatives is
that they are imperialists who want to export democracy by
force and prop up Israel at almost any cost." Yet it just
so happens that the Bush administration's list of Middle East
targets coincides precisely with the list of Israel's enemies.
What a coincidence.
addressing us paleocons, Limbaugh writes:
may surprise you to know that there are those of us out here
(I'd call us mainstream conservatives) who are hawkish against
terrorism and bullish on Israel, yet not interested in creating
an American empire. Our guiding principle is protecting America's
strategic national interests. If that means we sometimes have
to attack other nations, even preemptively, so be it. We are
far from being isolationists, but we are just as far from
radicalism represents a violation of the conservative temperament,
and hardly anyone is surprised that mainstream conservatives
– such as David Keene, Donald
Novak, William S. Lind, and
are rebelling against the neocons' vision of endless
wars. Hardly anyone but Brother
Rush, that neocon shill, who worked himself into a lather
to the Congressional Budget Office, our ability to maintain
the present troop level in Iraq will have run out by
next March. By that time, too, the patience of the American
public will have also run out – including, I suspect, that
of many mainstream conservatives. What Limbaugh and his fellow
"mainstreamers" are going to discover is that there is no
middle ground between imperialism and the traditional foreign
policy of the Founders of this country, whom the neocons (and
liberal internationalists) continually smear by calling their
one point, however, Limbaugh may be right: does anyone believe
George W. Bush has read Leo
Strauss? I doubt whether he's even heard of Leon
Trotsky. Dubya's no neocon: he's just their useful idiot.
of idiotic, the administration's plan
to insert Turkish troops into Iraq has got to be the worst
idea since the war that landed us there in the first place.
This is one of these "what were they thinking?" proposals
that seems almost too ridiculous to be true. If you want to
scare yourself in preparation for Halloween (hey, it's just
around the corner), then check
out this MSNBC report:
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shrugged off comments on Thursday
by Iraq's new foreign minister that Turkish peacekeeping troops
would not be welcome in Iraq, saying Ankara would make its
idea that the Kurds, or any Baghdad-based government in which
they play a significant role, are going to invite the Turks
in to patrol Iraqi streets, is just absurd. For the U.S. to
impose such a decision on its Iraqi sock puppets would provoke
a full-scale rebellion in the Kurdish lands to the north –
and risk spreading the war throughout the region. Walking
through the Iraqi minefield of ethnic and religious rivalries
and sensitivities, the U.S. is like a stumbling, bumbling,
and not particularly intelligent giant puppy. Johnny
Depp had it exactly right.
Friday's column, "Imperial Eye for the Republican
Guy," I speculated that our old Republic is now undergoing
a makeover, in which the plain
Republican cloth coat is being thrown out in favor of
purple. Now, as if to confirm my thesis, comes the news that
Colin Powell is a big fan of "Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy," the hit TV show where the "Fab
Five" team goes to work on some typically fashion-challenged
uni-browed aesthetically underprivileged hetero, introducing
him to the world of interior design, clean underwear, and
that's where the realists in the administration got
their line on Iraq from Kyan
Douglas, who advises us to "Spray,
delay, and walk away."
So true, whether you're dispensing scent, or foreign
policy wisdom. Boy oh boy, our government could sure use Kyan's
services. To cite him again, will somebody please tell
Paul Wolfowitz that "There's no excuse
for nose hair – ever!"
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