Bush gave and continues to give a series of justifications for why we spend nearly 100 billion a year trying to kill bad people in Iraq. We don't seem to know who most of these bad people are but that hardly stops us: 50 thousand Iraqis are dead. And one by one, these justifications die as well, falling apart before our eyes on the evening news, pretty much as critics and liberal bloggers predict. The list has gotten rather long so I will briefly recount them. Isn't it a little odd that American voters tolerate this? How patiently must we watch thousands die as we wait for each of his fatal fibs to show how false it is:
- No WMD found,
- Only Chalabi showed up to greet our tanks with roses.
- We were told we have the resources to fight this war and don't need friends...what crap. We don't have the resources to protect, or failing that rebuild, one major city ravaged by a hurricane. Perhaps Bush forgot to tell us about the Al Qaida in New Orleans?
- Before the war was announced we were told the perpetrators of 9/11 would be captured but even at that date, war was already planned. Yet Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still on the loose. If it really is open season on these bums, then we are terribly sloppy marksmen.
- Not much in the way of antiseptic, quick and clean pinpoint combat[I'll spare you pictures and links to atrocity and collateral damage stories and casualty figures],
- Who is shocked? Who is awed?
- We were told we were going in to get Al Qaida. But it had no presence to speak of in pre-war Iraq. Our invasion attracted far more Al Qaida into the country than ever could have been there under Saddam. In the two years it took us to hunt down one Jordanian, how many hundreds more fighters made their way across the borders?
- Invasion has led to civil war and sectarian fighting that completely overwhelm our democracy building...so much so that any claim to have invaded for the cause of democracy looks suspiciously like an empty cover for some other purpose. Not all the candidates we attempted to back were using us, not all were puppets for our use..but those have fallen away and we are left with aggravated camps of sectarian extremists from which to form a coalition..mission abolished!
- Far from stabilizing a troubled region, our demonstration of the fatigued militarism and inept empire building have made old enemy Iran and its proxy Hezbollah bold enough to pursue their dream of annihilating Israel and not flinch from Israel's bloody attempt to return the favor. Those two were true and long standing sources of terror and would have been far more effective targets for constructive rather than military engagement and addressing them would have been far more likely to reduce tension in the region.
- "Pullout would be a disaster!" [OK this is more of an admission that going to war was a mistake than it is a reason to let war drag on...but don't tell the Republicans that.] Would it be a worse disaster than perpetuation of the daily bloodshed we have now? We destabilized the country, we blew away the cruel forces that held it together without a workable plan for what would replace them. Anybody but the US would have more credibilty in patching up what we leave behind...try the UN, try the neighboring states...for heaven sakes Dubya, TRY peace!
- Its come to light lately that this unadvertized justification proved a dud: A pro-war stance is a good way to get elected.
The images and words of terrorism and the relentless appeal to the horrors we viewed on Sept. 11, 2001 [year included for those who forgot it] are seldom left out of this president's speeches. When not offering specific justifications for military action, Bush just vaguely appeals to residual fear and makes claims yet more vague that we are more secure now than we were when he took office.
This sort of post and the scary news that prompts it seem to me like the last nail in the coffin for Bush's war justification as I will explain, but first witness how widely this vicious nonsense is repeated. From NYTimes, Bush reacts to the arrests in Britain:
President Bush called the arrests “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom.”And the papers can find Americans who buy that line:
"I think they're doing just fine," Ron Spangenberg, 69, of Jacksonville, Ill., said of the Bush administration. "This is a big deal. I don't [know] where the doubters are coming from, but apparently they don't think we're at war. We are at war."
And in another NYTimes piece, Adam Nagourney, parphrases Cheney, equating opposition to his war with support for terrorists. Cheney's leap of bad faith claims certainty that these "dangerous times" require a war against a country that has much oil, many bodies but, until recently, has been underrepresented among the nationalities of terrorists. The only way to have Iraq show up in the statistics as a terrorist country is to do as the US Army does and include all the insurgent's and sectarian killings as "terrorism". [none of which went on prior to our invasion, need I remind?]
And finally, Atrios catches a typical Republican in a typical moment of delusion or stupidity:
Lieberman (on video): “If we just pick up as Ned Lamont wants us to do and get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England, and it will strengthen them and they will strike us again.”Really? Not the "same people" at all! Who believes the number and ubiquity of such bitter schemers and willing suicides is less today than it was before we invaded Iraq? Those who would now commit acts of terror against Americans find enduring justification for their hatreds and plans of retribution: in our invasion on false pretenses, in our disregard of international calls for restraint, in the subsequent isolated instances of atrocities well outside the norms of warfare we espoused. These latest plotters are all British, not 9/11's recruits from Saudi Arabia. What prompts Muslims living far from the middle east to volunteer to kill hundreds of strangers and themselves? What state do we attack next to make ourselves safe from this threat, Britain? We lost 3000 innocent lives in an unprovoked attack. Instead of getting the charismatic and the dogmatic instigators who are financed by oil-rich Muslim Country That Is Puting Out, we captured a few lieutenants, let the big fish hide out in Muslim "Ally" Country With Nuclear Weapons and then went next door to the oil-rich Muslim Country That Is Not Puting Out and precipitated the killing of 50 thousand people. How many of those dead were more guilty than our 3000? How many, like our 3000, unfortunately got in the way of some ideolgue's politcial statement? Isn't it a little odd that Mr. Bush and his supporters are so mystified by the lack of love young Muslims feel for America? How could he say with a straight face that we are under attack because "they hate us for our love of freedom"? Yep, there you have it folks! They hate our freedom. I have to confess, I was unaware our constitution provided any freedom to invade far-off oil republics.
I beg readers to add any rationale for war that I have overlooked. Dear leader might have over looked it as well!
Based on his statements and those who are/have stuck with him, President Son-of-a-Bush has left only this tissue of an argument for continued war: somehow it staunches the flood tide of terrorism. His very own presidential web page concludes as much in its claims of success:
The United States and its allies have made great progress in the Global War on Terrorism, but we must maintain our dedication and vigilance. While many terrorists have been brought to justice, others are plotting to attack us.After I dashed off this post on the day the would-be bombers were cuffed, I pulled it because I owe it to myself and to my readers to not just post reactions and guesses about how wrong the Bush/Cheney/Lieberman interpretation is but to add a well supported criticism of these claims. What if I were wrong? That takes time and digging through the diverse array of lists and databases of terrorism incidents available on the web. Your patience will be rewarded now with a clearer picture of what US warfare in Islamic countries really does for terrorism, a picture I invite you to quote or throw in the face of idiots who blithly contend armed intervention in the world is making us safer. This simple graph is a thorough demolition of their easily told lie.
I have pointed to an appendix of other sources and interpretations for those who do not trust my numbers. But wingnuts quit reading my little blog a year ago, so for most of you, I'll cut to the tail-chasing:
How is this success against terrorism? This is utter failure! The database I used was the one that was most complete for the period plotted. Rand Corp. keeps it up to date, explains its criteria for including incidents and provides data analysis tools on line. It lumped all Islamic terror organizations into "religious" as opposed to Nationalist/separatist [such as IRA or Basque ETA] which are the other and longer running category of contributors to the world's pile of innocent dead. The non-Islamic religious terror incidents could be removed with a another week of work and barely change the graph. The pathetic dodge of only considering attacks on US soil, in order to show numbers that support claims that we have been protected, will not go over with even our closest ally, Britain. The Spanish, likewise would not care for the Bush view that dead people outside the US border just don't count. US actions have made the world a dangerous place and sooner or later, if we don't stop those actions, we will find out that we actually do live in that world.
The US has enjoyed this supposedly hated freedom for about two centuries. Muslim countries and even empires exhisted far longer so the freedom haters could have come after us any time. When did they start coming over here to do us in? There is a lot to know about the when and by who against whom of terrorism. Fortunately,several compilations of all 20th century terrorism incidents exist. No two of these lists say quite the same thing and some are compiled for propaganda purposes without stating definition of the terms or methods of collecting the data. But not one of these databases or chronologies that includes the ten years of data ending in 2005 gives any impression other than what I graphed. What has caused this increase? Why has it happened when it did? Hmmm?
So, Sen. Lieberman, Dubya and you too creepy VP, you ought to know it is so much simpler than you can admit. We in the US have taken to killing Muslims with only a bit more discrimination and in far greater numbers than they kill us. Unless you consider that killing to be one of our freedoms then its not our freedom they hate. Our much-tampered-with intelligence community has just managed to save more lives than all our guns, bombs, cruise missles and Haliburtons combined. Why can't this administration just look at what works and do more of it? If George Will asked that question, would Dubya listen? Instead it enflames the world, harvests fresh crops of angry Muslims and, having provided the intelligence services with that many more angry young men, ignores the deaths abroad and applaudes the increase in plots foiled...it is the most vicious circle in human history and on an unprecedented global scale.
BTW, I am NOT ignoring the deepest problem: the United States' perceived one-sided support of Israel in its struggle with the Palestinians for a precious piece of dirt to stand on. But that is the original problem that can't be approached until we first douse all the flames on which Bush has poured so much gasoline.
The Neocons have not fought terror, they have bought terror...with our money!
A few thoughtsAs always, I wish people were a bit more wise. I imagine much of the billions, bloodshed and byzantine political calculations could be dispensed with if we all appreciated what was going on inside each human who contributes to these messes:
Every one needs a little power, and the more frustrated that need becomes the more apt some of us are to demonstrate the ultimate in power: killing. I find that kind of psychology when I look into most criminal or intentional taking of lives: rapes, muggings, bar fights, gang wars, revenge killings, ethnic bloodshed... The ape within us is an ugly being we just don't want to look at. It seems more understandable when these deadly reactions work out on the personal level than when carried out by nations through the involvement of thousands who neither had direct losses nor got blood on their hands. A lack of power and a feeling of insecurity are much the same thing.
If the US can't put its own house in order, its misguided attempts to save the world will continue to bring havoc and hatred.
People who talk like the the Son-of-a-Bush or Mr. Spangenberg are, to put this as decently as possible, unaquainted with the information. The only slack I could cut such "thinking" is that perceptions do indeed warp in the face of emotionally charged matters like terrorism. That is the potentcy terrorists strive for. But terrorism is always a deal with the devil: once fear is loose, your adversary can turn it on you. Terrorism wants to make fear a tool for political ends. Once fear is in the air, it can be played from both ends. Bush and all those who support him desperately need to get a clue that deranging politcial will is the whole idea of terrorism and asymetrical warfare...if you stay rational when someone tries to scare you then you win. Who is trying harder to scare us? Islamic terror organizations [for reasons we understand, by means we dispise] or Bush [for reasons I find dispicable, by means of piggy backing on terror]?
It took him a week, it took him three years, but Thom Friedman has come around to a sensible view...more or less.