Wednesday, September 29, 2004

the president's War in Iraq

"The idea that this guy is being made as a hero is baffling"
-Paul Krugman "Books on Bush" panel discussion, August 30 at NYU

After getting the United States of America into what UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has yesterday called an "illegal" war in Iraq, this former grounded pilot for the "Champagne Unit" of the Texas National Guard had the audacity to stand on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner that read "Mission Accomplished" where he stated that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." "Prevailed"? These statements ring about as true today as secretary Rumsfeld's "[N]o terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq." or vice president Cheney's "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

Even now as violence has escalated in Iraq from its "insurgent" controlled regions to our "green" zone, the administration's press secretary dismisses the National Intelligence Council as "pessimists and hand-wringers" after their the National Intelligence estimate on Iraq, released yesterday, painted a less than prettypicture of our progress, or lack
thereof in this war that was thrust upon us. The classified estimate must be pretty bad if the Karl Rove political washing machine can't even spin it into a positive for the president.

Over one thousand American soldiers have died in Iraq, the attendance at their funerals continues to lack the presence of this sitting president. This president pressed for war while weapons inspectors were still trying to do their job. Let's take a look at the reasons. First and for most was the possible "mushroom cloud" from Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction which even David Kay's replacement, Charles A. Duelfer, now says there is no evidence of. There was the yellow cake uranium Saddam was trying to get from Niger. Ambassador Joseph Wilson was the first to debunk this assertion. He followed by too many people even the "b" team to smear (the administration is currently under criminal investigation for the leaking of Ambassador Wilson's wife's name and occupation). There was the connection between the secular Saddam Hussein and the religious fundamentalist Osama bin Laden (yes Secretary Rumsfeld, they are two different people). It has been reported that bin Laden met with a "top iraqi official" in Sudan in 1994, but there is no proof that there was a "collaborative relationship" between the two. Another reason is that even though it is internationally frowned upon for a country to attack another country because its leader is deemed bad or even "evil", we did rid Iraq of the brutal leadership of Saddam. This may be a positive end, depending on what the next leader we support , as we did Saddam, looks like in fifteen years.

Then there is the liberation argument. This argument can be heard from time to time from the same people arguing to "bomb the whole place". Some of these "liberated" Iraqis have now taken up arms against the occupying force that has not yet supplied power and clean drinking water throughout the entire country for which they are still responsible (as if anyone in this administration would ever be held responsible for anything). Ahmed Manajid, midfielder for the Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team, put it best when explaining how if he were not playing soccer he would "for sure" be fighting as part of the resistance. He told Sports Illustrated "I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?" Finally there is the UN resolution enforcement argument. Simply put, how can we simultaneously be striving to enforce resolutions from an organization while disobeying that same organization's charter.

One of the only winners that can currently be seen in Iraq is Halliburton, who continued to get no bid contracts even after over charging to import gasoline in Iraq. You know Halliburton, they're the company that the vice president, and former CEO received $162,392.00 from last year. Turns out that their profiteering in Iraq started way back when International sanctions were still in place, despite the vice president's assurances that "We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that." The disgust with those who profit on the blood of man, women, and child is fodder for another day's argument.

The reputation of the United States of America has been severely tarnished at home and abroad by this arrogant, offensive, unilateral action in Iraq. And though we can not simply "cut and run" from the War in Iraq we do need a new direction there, we do need new leadership there, we do need to show a new face to a world whose population by far was against our "pre-emptive" invasion. This administration has demonstrated that they are incapable of handling the "peace" in Iraq or the diplomacy needed to once again place the United States in the high regard it was once held in by the international community.

Kofi Anna statement:
Mission Accomplished transcript:
Iraq on the Record prepared for Representative Henry Waxman:
New Inspector's report story:
National Intelligence Estimate story:
Faces of the Fallen in the War in Iraq:
Rumsfeld mixes up U.S. foes Saddam and bin Laden
"No Credible Evidence" al quaida-Iraq connection to 9/11
National Security Archives of US supporting Saddam in the 80's:
Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads
Halliburton overcharging to import gasoline in Iraq, two Democrats ...
Cheney may still have Halliburton ties:
Halliburton deals with Iraq: