was the most publicized teardrop in modern history. As the
Washington Times, in a
veritable swoon, breathlessly related:
Bush yesterday swooped into Baghdad for a surprise Thanksgiving
Day visit with U.S. troops and, with a tear running down his
cheek, said their countrymen ‘pray for your safety and your
strength as you continue to defend America.’"
he surveyed the crowd," reported
the Associated Press, "a tear dripped down the president's
tear could be seen rolling down the president's cheek as the
troops roared and pushed forward," a
Houston television station observed.
the hall, a tear visible in his eye, was ‘an emotional moment,’
Bush said afterward," according
to the Los Angeles Times.
of empathy from the compassionate conservative, or tears of
frustration on account of how badly the war is going? In any
case, they certainly weren’t tears of remorse:
did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay
a bitter cost in casualties, defeat a brutal dictator and
liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of
thugs and assassins. We will prevail. We will win because
our cause is just. We will win because we will stay on the
his recent speech
to the National
Endowment for Democracy, the President proclaimed his
strategy" – and he means it, I believe, in a military
sense. Iraq is merely a way station on the road to complete
domination of the region. We’re on
the Middle East escalator and who knows where the next
stop is – Iran?
Bush realizes that, by playing a purely defensive game in
Iraq, the US cannot hope to win any time soon – and, in any
case, the political price may be so high that an American
"victory" would be strictly Pyrrhic.
All the insurgents have to do is hold on, and wait for the
Americans to tire of the burden of empire.
if we look at the occupation of Iraq as merely the first stage
in a larger strategy to clean out the Augean
Stables of the Middle East "draining
the swamp," as the neocons say then the stationing
of so many American troops in Iraq begins to make a certain
amount of sense. After all, these troops are not trained as
police, as humanitarian aid workers, or even in counterinsurgency
tactics: their job is to confront and defeat enemy armies,
that is, the armed forces of other states. So why the
tremendous resistance on the part of this normally opportunistic
administration to handing over a festering problem – one with
ominous domestic political implications to the United Nations?
we will stay on the offensive."
does the President mean by this? Is he saying that future
wars are on the drawing board? This, of course, is the sort
of question that the political opposition – in a real democracy
– is bound to ask. But not in America, where the fake "opposition"
tries to outdo the administration in the militarism department.
To anyone with illusions about how, if only the Republicans
hadn’t "stolen" the Florida election with the complicity
of the Supreme Court, we wouldn’t be in Iraq today, I implore
you to pay attention. Listen to what Senator Hillary Clinton
(D-New York), said on her own trip to Iraq. She echoed the
President’s own words: the headlines read "Clinton
says: ‘Stay the course.’" She added that she didn’t
think we have "adequate forces" in the region: "We
have to exert all of our efforts militarily, but the outcome
is not assured." She said she was "moved and inspired"
by what she saw in Iraq, but qualified her endorsement by
administration didn't fully appreciate what they would be
encountering in Iraq, [although many members of the Bush administration
had been preoccupied for years with Saddam Hussein.] Now we're
During the course of two Thanksgiving dinners with the troops
in occupied Iraq, the soldiers wanted to know "how the people
at home feel about what we are doing." The leader of what
is perceived as the far left wing of the Democratic party
are wholeheartedly proud of what you are doing, but there
are many questions at home about the (Bush) administration's
for the children" Clinton proud of this:
troops at Ibn Firnas airport, seven kilometers from Baqubah,
shot Fatimam and Azra, 15 and 12, on Thursday at midday as
they were collecting wood from a field some 30 meters away,
their brother said. ‘Azra died on the spot and my other sister
later died from her wounds,’ said 18-year-old Qusay.
Hussein Ali said U.S. forces handed one of the girls' bodies
over to the police ‘arguing that she had a gun in her possession.’
Police searched the girls' home, ‘without finding anything
illegal,’ Ali added."
are proud of the bravery, the endurance, and the professionalism
of American soldiers, but these personal virtues are entirely
separate from – and, often, in opposition to – the policies
and politics of the civilians in charge. Americans are most
emphatically not proud of what their soldiers are doing
in Iraq: I, for one, am disgusted.
are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq," Bush told
the troops over turkey with all the fixings, "so that
we don't have to face them in our own country." Will
somebody please tell me how shooting
down teenaged Iraqi girls in cold blood is protecting
us from a terrorist attack on American soil? If Young Qusay
some day flies a jetliner into the heart of an American city,
don’t say you weren’t warned.
might add that the U.S. occupation authority has strongly
denied that the shooting even occurred, claiming that
American forces somehow chanced to come upon the bodies and
that the girls were murdered by persons unknown. The story
denying the incident was carried by several Western media,
than carried the original accusations. One can only note that
news outlets cite their sources by name, including an Iraqi
policeman, while the American denial mentions no names and
is therefore not checkable. How convenient.
the perpetrators of what could be a war crime needn’t worry.
As the pet poodles of the War Party, the American media is
all bark and no bite: they’re much more interested in the
pathetic details of the latest Michael Jackson scandal to
be bothered with running down the truth about what happened
to Fatimam and Azra.
the American media is too busy covering itself. How
did we have to hear and read about how friggin’ surprised
some clueless dork of a journalist was to be specially chosen
by the Powers That Be and whisked away to Iraq on Air Force
One? Wowee zowee! And then we had to hear about what a political
it was, as the unctuous Jonah Goldberg put it, and how this
warmed the cockles of American hearts as they gathered around
the family hearth and sat down to a Thanksgiving feast, as
Kate O’Beirne tried to spin it on "Capital Gang."
if they had been told that, just as George Bush was popping
his monkey head from behind the curtain, Fatimam and Azra
were being cut down in their tracks as they foraged for firewood?
bet it would have spoiled their appetite.
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