The End Of The
October 15 2003
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is bitter over the way Condi Rice leaked
word the National Security Council would be big-footing his Pentagon to
take over the management of Iraq.© 2003 Creators
The State Department is having a hellish time persuading the United
Nations to support a U.S. resolution that might bring in U.N. troops and
Republicans are balking at the White House request for $20 billion for
reconstruction. Democrats are painting Iraq as a disaster bred of White
House hubris and Bush unilateralism. U.S. forces are being daily hit
with mining, bombing and sniping attacks. And half the nation is now
dissatisfied with President Bush's handling of Iraq.
In Baghdad, radical Shiites appear to be edging toward a clash with U.S.
occupation forces. And at the Islamic summit in Malaysia, Prime Minister
Mahatir Mohamad has called on Muslim countries to evict the United
States from Iraq.
So, the neoconservatives who rhapsodized about American soldiers being
hailed as liberators in Baghdad as they were in Paris in 1944, and
democracy sweeping the Middle East, have been exposed as naifs whose
knowledge is as small as their egos are large.
But that does not mean Baghdad is Stalingrad or U.S. forces on the
Tigris face what U.S. forces did on the Yalu in 1950.
For the president is also right. Heartening progress is being made in
restoring basic services such as water and electricity, and in
recruiting and training police and soldiers. Schools are open, and Iraq
is moving toward self-determination. It may thus yet be said: The
ultimate outcome of the Iraqi war remains in doubt.
As to whether the war was wise, however, the returns are tilting heavily
against the president. On the credit side of the ledger, Saddam has been
overthrown, his murderous regime removed and the Iraqi people given a
chance to be independent and free.
On the debit side, our failure to unearth any hard evidence that Iraq
had chemical or bio weapons ready for use, or was working on nuclear
weapons, or had ties to al-Qaida or a role in 9-11 has been ruinous to
the nation's and president's reputation for truth.
And the White House's stubborn refusal to admit that prewar intelligence
was faulty has enabled critics to claim the president's men deceived the
country. And that is what the world believes.
Our alliances have been strained. The rift with Old Europe is unrepaired.
Our Arab friends are putting distance between us. And the president's
coalition partners are embattled. Prime Minister John Howard of
Australia has been censured by his senate for misleading the country on
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and British belief in the integrity
of Tony Blair has sunk with his approval rating.
As for neoconservative predictions that democracy would break out in the
Arab world and Mideast peace would be at hand after Baghdad, the less
said the better. The "roadmap," smeared with the blood of Jewish victims
of Hamas terror and Palestinian victims of Sharonite reprisals, is
crumpled up in the back seat.
As for the salutary effect of "shock and awe" on Axis of Evil nations,
where is it? Iran and North Korea appear undeterred by our smashing of
Iraq and even more resolved to acquire atomic weapons to defend
themselves against U.S. air, sea and ground forces that are otherwise
Has our victory in Iraq been a triumph in the war on terror?
How? Before the invasion, not one U.S. civilian or soldier had died in a
terror attack plotted by Saddam in a decade. Since we went to war, 330
Americans have died, 1,500 more have been wounded, and Iraqi guerrillas
are killing three to six soldiers a week and wounding scores. According
to the administration itself, Iraq has become "a haven for terrorists."
Before the invasion, all was quiet on what is now called "the central
front" in the war on terror.
One thing, however, seems certain. With Americans balking at paying the
cost in blood of occupying Iraq, and Congress balking at voting even 1
percent of GDP to hold Iraq, the imperial project of the neocons – to
erect an American empire in Arabia and impose democracy on reluctant
Muslims – is dead.
Only Mahatir thinks not. Pointing to the Israeli air strike near
Damascus, he told the Islamic summit, "Israel has been urging America to
invade Syria, and Americans seemed to be reluctant, so in order to force
the hand of America, Israel invades Syria."
Will Bush allow Sharon and his neocon auxiliary to drag us into another
war, against Syria or Iran, or will he see his country's interests more
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