March 20 is the third anniversary of the Bush regime's
invasion of Iraq. U.S. military casualties
to date are approximately 20,000 killed, wounded, maimed, and disabled. Iraqi
civilian casualties number in the tens of thousands. Iraq's infrastructure
is in ruins. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. Fallujah, a city
of 300,000 people, had 36,000 of its 50,000 homes destroyed by the U.S. military.
Half of the city's former population are displaced persons living in tents.
Thousands of Iraqis have been detained in prisons, and hundreds have been brutally
tortured. America's reputation in the Muslim world is ruined.
The Bush regime expected a short "cakewalk" war to be followed by
the imposition of a puppet government and permanent U.S. military bases. Instead,
U.S. military forces are confronted with an insurgency that has denied control
over Iraq to the U.S. military. Chaos rules, and civil war may be coming on
top of the insurgency.
On March 9, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the man who has been totally
wrong about Iraq, told Congress that if the unprecedented violence in Iraq breaks
out in civil war, the U.S. will rely primarily on Iraq's security forces to
put down civil war.
What Iraqi security forces? Iraq does not have a security force. The Shia have
a security force, the Sunnis have a security force, and the Kurds have a security
force. The sectarian militias control the streets, towns, and cities. If civil
war breaks out, the "Iraqi security force" will dissolve into the
sectarian militias, leaving the U.S. military in the middle of the melee.
Is this what "support the troops" means?
President Bush's determination to remain in Iraq despite the obvious failure
of the attempted occupation puts Bush at odds with the American public and with
our troops. Polls show that a majority of Americans believe that the invasion
of Iraq was a mistake and that our troops should be withdrawn. An even larger
majority of the troops themselves believe they should be withdrawn.
Yet Bush, who is incapable of admitting a mistake, persists in a strategic
blunder that is turning into a catastrophe.
Bush's support has fallen to 34 percent.
The war's out-of-pocket cost to date is approximately $300 billion every
dollar borrowed from foreigners. Economic and budgetary experts have calculated
that the ultimate cost of Bush's Iraq war in terms of long-term care for veterans,
interest on borrowed money, and resources diverted from productive uses will
be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.
What is being achieved for this enormous sacrifice?
No one knows.
Every reason we have been given for the Iraqi invasion has proved to be false.
Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Reports from UN weapons inspectors,
top level U.S. intelligence officials, Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill,
and leaked top-secret documents from the British cabinet all make it unequivocally
clear that the Bush regime first decided to invade Iraq and then looked around
for a reason.
Saddam Hussein had no terrorist connection to Osama bin Laden and no role in
the 9/11 attack. Hussein was a secular ruler totally at odds with bin Laden's
Islamist aims. Every informed person in the world knew this.
When the original justifications for the U.S. invasion collapsed, Bush said
that the reason for the invasion was to rid Iraq of a dictator and to put a
democracy in its place. Despite all the hoopla about democracy and elections,
no Iraqi government has been able to form, and the country is on the brink of
civil war. Some Middle East experts believe that violence will spread throughout
The brutal truth is that America's responsibility is extreme. We have destroyed
a country and created political chaos for no reason whatsoever.
Seldom in history has a government miscalculated as badly as Bush has in Iraq.
More disturbingly, Bush shows no ability to recover from his mistake. All we
get from our leader is pigheaded promises of victory that none of our military
Our entire government is lost in confusion. One day Vice President Cheney and
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tell us that we are having great success in training
an Iraqi military and will be able to begin withdrawing our troops in a year.
The next day they tell us that we will be fighting the war for decades.
Bush's invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Bush's attempt to cover up his mistake
with patriotism will ultimately discredit patriotism.
America has to be big enough to admit a mistake and bring it to an end.