You didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict the
Iraq war would come to this. Heck, even I was able to predict it clearly. In
a column for Antiwar.com
as the Iraqi invasion began (March 2003), I wrote the following:
"I'm not afraid of our troops conquering in Iraq. They'll do that in short
order. I am, however, worried about how our soldiers will become prime terrorist
targets after the military victory, since I expect they will be transformed
into social welfare agents distributing free government surplus cheese and administering
a whole array of giveaway programs to an ungrateful occupied nation. Our 'benevolent'
occupation of Baghdad will be even less popular than the benevolent British
occupation of Boston in 1768."
This is, of course, exactly what happened: the quick military victory, the
increasing guerrilla war against our soldiers, the handouts in the $80 billion
legislative package that Bush bullied through Congress, and an American
occupation that is increasingly unpopular.
The question is, if even this freelance writer can see the Iraq invasion
would lead to this (and virtually every other Antiwar.com columnist), why
couldn't the president? Instead, Bush continues to peddle juvenile statements
about those who engage in terrorist assaults against the United States, such as
rationalization of the reason for the 9/11 attacks:
"They hate us because we love freedom. They hate us because we love the
idea that people can worship an almighty God any way they see fit. They hate
us because we speak our mind, we allow public discourse and dissent. They hate
us because we have a free press. And so long as we love freedom, they'll hate
us. But we're never, ever going to relinquish our love of freedom in America."
The official transcript of this speech records applause at the end of this
statement, but I suspect it was laughter. A cynic would sarcastically reply,
"Ohh, that would explain the rash of terrorism against neutral free countries,
such as Switzerland and Sweden." Because we are free, Bush says, desert Bedouins
get off their camels, travel halfway around the world and kill themselves? Yeah,
right. Bush may convince a fifth grader with that argument, but no person who
has outgrown comic books could possibly buy such nonsense.
Bush has reiterated this idiotic statement numerous times, and has been
using it this year to explain terrorist attacks against American forces in
Iraq. I'm not sure which possibility is worse: that the president is
deliberately insulting us with such an obviously false argument, or that he
actually believes in this comic book world he is describing.
The Real Reason They Hate Us
One of my favorite Cold War-era propaganda movies,
Red Dawn, provides a perfect example of why Iraqis actually hate us.
In one scene, the American guerrillas fighting off murderous invading Cuban
and Russian forces capture a Russian special forces soldier and are about to
execute him in cold blood. Patrick Swayze's character holds a revolver up to
the Russian's head as C. Thomas Howell protests: "What's the difference between
us and them, Jed? What's the difference?" Then, just before he squeezes the
trigger, "Jed" (Patrick Swayze's character) grunts back a reply through clenched
teeth: "Because we live here!"
American forces are not comparable to the cartoonishly evil Russo-Cuban
occupation forces, but the point is that "they" live there and "we" don't.
Swayze's character didn't justify the murder, but his line did explain it.
People will go to extremes to defend their native soil, especially when the
foreign occupiers have killed family members. And America's two unnecessary wars
against Iraq have killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. Each death creates several
more hateful enemies of the United States, and a frustration because Iraqis
don't have the ability to take up conventional arms as our forefathers did.
Therefore, they engage in terrorist car bombings and RPG assaults.
Consider the friendly British occupation of Boston in 1768. Boston's Sons of
Liberty engaged in what today would be called "terrorism" to protest this
benevolent occupation by an army from across the ocean. While the Iraqis who are
committing terrorist assaults are not seeking the ordered liberty sought by our
founding fathers, they are seeking the independence of their country from a
President Bush is still keeping up appearances, denying in his disastrous
national press conference on April 14 that Iraqis oppose the U.S.
occupation. "It's not a civil war," Bush said, "it's not a popular uprising.
Most of Iraq is relatively stable. Most Iraqis, by far, reject violence and
oppose dictatorship." Oops. A poll of Iraqis released
last week revealed just the opposite, that the British occupation of Boston may
have actually been more popular than our occupation of Iraq. A majority – 52
percent – of Iraqis said terrorism against Americans could be justified and 71
percent viewed American troops as "occupiers."
When I wrote my first column for Antiwar.com in March 2003, those of us who
opposed the unprovoked invasion of Iraq were hard-pressed to maintain we
supported American soldiers. A few people called us traitors, but we simply
wanted to keep our soldiers home and safe from an unnecessary war. Now, as
American military casualties mount, those who seek to maintain our forces in
Iraq are the ones who have the difficult task of maintaining they "support the
troops." They are the ones putting our soldiers into harm's way for reasons
unrelated to our national security. They are the ones throwing away the lives of
Let's get out of Iraq now. They live there. We don't.