You canâ€™t make this stuff up. George Bush believes that â€œthe Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.â€ On the other side of the political divide, Presidential hopeful Joseph Biden - a sponsor of the anti-surge legislation pending before Congress - maintains that weâ€™ve â€œdone enough for the Iraqis.â€
What a strange war weâ€™re having Iraq. After four years of shifting rationales, Americans remain clueless about why Bush opened this Pandoraâ€™s box. The cold math that led to this disastrous imperial project is just too much for the pundits to own up to.
Far too many Americans trip over whatever happens to be the latest rationale for sending half our army half way around the world to fight a people that did us no harm. Even the anti-war camp is crowded with pundits whose gripe de jour is that Bush is a messianic Samaritan idealist who miscalculated the cost of exporting liberty to Iraqi ingrates.
Donâ€™t get me wrong. Itâ€™s very gratifying to see the war partyâ€™s constituency dwindle to an irredentist thirty percent of the population. It wasnâ€™t so long ago that opponents of the Iraq war were rewarded with scarlet letters identifying them as subversive Al-Qaeda apologists.
But if Gerald Ford went to the great beyond believing that Bushâ€™s Iraqi expedition was motivated by a desire to â€˜free peopleâ€™ â€“ we have a serious problem on our hand. Because that was hardly the mission in Iraq.
We ended up getting into this Mesopotamian mess because a number of constituencies â€“ represented by skillful political operatives and lobbyists â€“ combined forces to promote this debacle of choice.
Thereâ€™s no denying the primary role of the neo-con think tanks and their Likudnik mass media collaborators in orchestrating this war. But letâ€™s not forget that the Gulf States rolled out the red carpet for the Anglo-American invasion forces. Down on Main Street, the Armageddon worshipping dispensationalists fielded the jingoistic mobs that subscribe to the notion that a little hellfire and damnation in the Middle East will bring on the end of times. And, of course, there is that little detail about Iraqi oil reserves. Did I fail to mention Halliburton and the military industrial complex?
Yet for many Americans, launching this illegal war of aggression was just a primal act of vengeance in retribution for the atrocities of 9/11. This particular constituency enthusiastically lined up to join the war party â€“ without the slightest need for an elaborate WMD hoax. They just wanted to kill as many Arabs as possible. Did it matter that the secular Baathist regime in Baghdad had nothing to do with Al Qaeda? Not a bit.
Just like Vietnam, support for this quagmire gradually eroded with the escalating cost in American blood and American treasure. But even now - after the official rationales for the war have been thoroughly debunked - there continues to be few audible voices of contrition over Iraqi casualties.
Does it really matter how many of these unfortunate brown victims were children or how many women cradling babies were snuffed by â€œsmart bombs?â€ Do American musicians regret the loss of gifted Iraqi musicians? Do American soldiers empathize with the simple farmer whose only sin was that he was drafted into Iraqâ€™s army? Have American academics taken a stand against the systematic slaughter of their colleagues in Baghdad?
Imagine if we lined up the cadavers of every innocent Iraq civilians who fell victim to Bushâ€™s Mesopotamian folly? What if we had a coast-to-coast tour of the horrors we have inflicted on the natives of that distant land? What if we could witness the blown out brains, the missing limbs and the bloated disfigured bodies with obvious signs of pre-mortem torture sessions? What if we could sense the constant fear that blights every Iraqi home?
Exactly how much gratitude should we expect from Iraqis? Should we bill them for the cost of our â€˜nobleâ€™ adventure? So far, this murderous venture has killed half a million Iraqis at the cost of five hundred billion dollars. That works out to a million dollars for every â€˜kill.â€™ Fire bombing Fallujah and Tel Afar, committing war crimes at Abu Ghraib, mowing down civilians at Haditha, recruiting Shia death squads into the Iraqi police and army, igniting a civil war. None of that comes cheap. Shouldnâ€™t the Iraqis set up collection plates to pay us back?
While there continues to be a great deal of controversy over the exact number of Iraqis maimed and murdered in the killing fields of our newest colonial acquisition â€“ you can be certain that Bush is indifferent to the actual toll. Itâ€™s not only the American government and media that keep a lid on the number of casualties sustained by our colonial subjects. Malikiâ€™s sectarian regime â€“ an entity that sponsors death squads fully attired in police uniforms â€“ is openly hostile to any NGO that attempts to tabulate credible statistics.
It stands to reason that any government with an infrastructure capable of dispensing ration cards and registering eligible voters also has the facility to count Iraqâ€™s dead and wounded. The high-tech army fielded by Bush and Blair has more than enough talent and resources to set up accurate data bases to record each and every victim, their age, sex and cause of death.
You would think that the mass media moguls would find civilian casualties to be an interesting â€˜angleâ€™ to the Iraq story. But then again â€“ theyâ€™ve demonstrated only modest concerns about American casualties.
The most nauseating thing about the Iraq war debate is that - even in the peace camp - the discussion revolves around what the war has done to us. People are sincerely outraged that the Iraqis are â€˜not taking responsibilityâ€™ for the Mess on Potamia. Welcome to America the narcissist.
One and a half million Iraqi refugees lost their country to our invasion â€“ but we refuse to take in all but a few thousand. Iraqi exiles are being treated with the same cruelty visited on Vietnamâ€™s boat people. We spent $500 billion tearing the place up and now weâ€™re going to charitably give up one billion for a jobs program.
You canâ€™t really blame Joe six-pack for over-dosing on Rupert Murdochâ€™s racist crap. Joe doesnâ€™t vote and can tell you with absolute certainty that Saddam was caught red-handed with a nuclear bomb in his vest pocket.
But what about the rest of us? Why are so many well-educated well-informed Americans so indifferent to Iraqâ€™s sufferings?
This week, George Bush decided to escalate the war against the wishes of seven out of ten Americans. The president continues to quench his thirst for â€˜victoryâ€™ at the Kool Aid factory owned and operated by the American Enterprise Institute - a quasi-academic storefront set up by the Israeli Lobby. How many MSM articles will report that the authors of the â€˜surgeâ€™ are AEI operatives? Or that the architects of this â€˜new strategyâ€™ wear the colors of the same old gang that that gave us Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Or that the AEI is financed by Irving Moskowitz, an extremist Likudnik who operates bingo halls in Florida and finances illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Enough of us are aware that the foreign policy machinery has been expropriated by the most belligerent anti-Arab racists in the land â€“ the Israel First crowd. But few dare to hold these delusional Likudnik nuts accountable for their role in corrupting WMD intelligence or abusing their media power to drag the country into the worst strategic blunder in American history. Thereâ€™s a word for that kind of timidity â€“ cowardice.
Maybe the deceiver-in-chief and the Israeli Lobby know a few things about the American public that few of us care to admit. Letâ€™s be blunt. The vast majority of us donâ€™t give a damn about Iraqis anymore than George Bush does.
We need to put an end to the lie that we invaded Iraq with good intentions. We didnâ€™t. Bush launched this war of aggression to mess up the place, control a country that sits on 10% of the worldâ€™s oil reserves, prop up the dollar and redraw the map to suit Israelâ€™s real estate fantasies. If the president actually believed for one minute that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, he would have backed off â€“ just like he did with North Korea.
The only problem we have in Iraq is that it didnâ€™t turn out to be a cakewalk because this gambling fool of a president underestimated the cost in blood and treasure and discounted any potential uprising by our colonial subjects. He now faces the very real prospect of ceding control to indigenous forces loyal to Tehran.
If truth be told, the only mission left in Iraq is damage control. But how can you begin to sort out this mess when the same individuals who dug this hole have veto power over the parameters of the debate?
Bush isnâ€™t the only one living in denial. Americans need to stop wallowing in self-pity about what the Iraq war has done to us. Only then can we manage the essential task of impeaching Bush, rounding up the neo-con culprits responsible for the war, identify the MSM hooligans who conspired with the war party and initiate an expedited exit strategy that takes into account the welfare of the Iraqi people. And letâ€™s be decent enough to demonstrate a little guilt and contrition on the way out.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com