The Bush administration went to war under false pretext by lying and manipulating intelligence. They had the tacit support of George Tenet who failed in his duty as the CIA director and was given a medal confirming that the whole system of government in the US stinks. The apologies of the New York Times and the Washington Post and the revelations of the Judith Miller reporting fiasco showed that there is no honest press amongst the big newspapers. The cheering for war by Fox News and the other networks who were like the dogs that did not bark in the Sherlock Homes story, show that the fourth estate, the guardian of democracy, was asleep at the wheel.
The attention deficit disorder suffering electorate was bamboozled by distraction and patriotic appeals by the crooked politicians confirming that patriotism can become the last resort of scoundrels. The Downing Street Memo and the leaks of Richard Clarke, Paul Oï¿½Neill and others confirm all this. The invasion of Iraq was illegal and in contravention of the UN Charter as torture, rendition and extrajudicial incarceration at various gulags are a breach of the Geneva Convention. Kofi Anan made this illegal war and occupation legal by giving it the UN mandate, making the UN a mere slavish sycophant of the dominant permanent member power.
Failure to find WMDs led to changing reasons for the invasion of Iraq. Removal of the murderous tyrant became the new mantra and with over six hundred thousand Iraqi deaths, incarceration of innocents and their torture in Abu Ghraib put Bush policies on the same level as Saddamï¿½s torture and death chambers. That reason is not valid anymore, so the new rationale was spreading democracy. The Bush administration was so afraid of elections that at first they appointed a governing council and then wanted to have caucuses, the same public fraud that is perpetrated in Iowa for the US farce of democracy. We have two parties in America with little difference and both beholden to the rich vested interests on whose money both parties are sustained. It was Sistani who insisted on elections not caucuses and that only elected legislators should write the new Iraqi Constitution. The US wanted an appointed body to write the Constitution and then subject it to a referendum.
Now that the chaos and mayhem in Iraq have become a civil war, we see the same lying by the administration and the media who claim that it is not yet a civil war, just a prelude to it. The US soldiers were denied adequate armor while a thousand dollars were paid to hired mercenaries and huge contracts of millions were given to cronies, political fellow travelers and contributors. The administration tried to skimp on veterans benefits and wanted to charge domestically hospitalized wounded soldiers for their meals. Sick veterans cannot get medical appointments at VA hospitals for months because of cuts in spending.
Now the mounting military deaths and the fiscal hemorrhage led Bush to admit that the increased insurgent attacks resemble the Tet offensive. The looming fear of the Republicans losing the House and Senate in the upcoming elections has made incumbents running for re-election distance themselves from the president. The dumb public is distracted again with the fear of illegal immigrants and putting the blame on Rumsfeld. In reality, it is Bush and Cheney who deserve the blame for their lies and their policies.
In the desperate words of a cornered rat, the administrationï¿½s new mantra is ï¿½Never mind the cheese, just let me out of the trapï¿½. There is no way that the public will tolerate sending more troops to Iraq, which is what they should have done as the Army Chief of Staff, Shinseki suggested and for which he was forced to retire. The second alternative is to withdraw unilaterally and rapidly after declaring victory, but that would make the Bush cabal, the laughing stock at home and the world over. The third alternative is to retreat to well defended bases in Iraq or Kuwait and let the Iraqi sectarian feud escalate till there is a winner. If the winners make Iraq a sanctuary for terrorists it would require a re-invasion of Iraq which could be more costly in treasure and blood. Much is made of involving Iran and Syria but the administrationï¿½s prior gratuitous, pathological and malignant hostility with refusal to talk directly and obsession with regime change, is hardly likely to induce them to cooperate to save the US skin.
Gradual phased withdrawal over years is the fifth option but that would mean continuing expenditure of tens of billions and a casualty rate of hundred a month. It is ridiculous to expect the Iraqis to stand up so that the US can stand down. Only foolish Indians and starving Iraqis enlist as sepoys for occupying oppressors and only the former are stupid enough to risk their lives and kill their fellow countrymen. The Iraqis go AWOL (absent without leave), a strategy which should ring a bell for the president about his service days. The sixth option is to trifurcate Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni and Shia states but there are too many mixed areas and mixed marriage families. It would be a re-enactment of the partition of India with similar casualties in millions or at least hundreds of thousands. The Sunnis who would get only a desert without oil or revenues, are hardly like to give up their insurgency for that plan.
That leaves a final option of engineering a coup by some paid CIA puppet like Alawi on the condition that on assuming power, he would ask America to leave. Then the US can wash its hands and pretend to leave reluctantly, putting the onus of the decision on the new despotic mini-Saddam clone. This would mean abandoning the much repeated false mantra of removing a tyrant and spreading democracy and and thus acknowledge to the world that the US has been lying and prevaricating all along.
More and more the US position in Iraq and eventually Afghanistan is becoming that of Sartreï¿½s hell in his play ï¿½No Exitï¿½. My recommendation to Bush is to confess publicly to the Pope, that his real reason for invading Iraq was to garner reliable cheap oil and to intimidate Iran and Syria, and after the mea culpa, hope for redemption by a Papal Bull.
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Gaurang Bhatt, MD
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