Militarists, such as John McCain, Israel-firsters, such as Joseph Lieberman, and inveterate liars, such as Bill O'Reilly, not only have claimed that the "surge" is working, but also that the U.S. is "winning" in Iraq. But, they never tell you what "winning" means. Indeed, they seldom open their mouths "without subtracting from the sum of human intelligence." [Thomas Reed]
They would like you to believe that tactical, "illusory short-term stability," in Iraq actually constitutes "winning," even though the means used to obtain it render the strategic objective of political accommodation ever more unattainable. And, to deflect your attention further, Lieberman actually wants you to believe: If America "had done what Senator Obama asked us to do, for the last couple of years [i.e., withdraw], today Iran and al Qaeda would be in control of Iraq."
Yet, according to Patrick Cockburn (reporting from Iraq), Iranian influence in Iraq today is "stronger than ever" -- thanks to Bush's ill-conceived invasion, not Obama's proposals to withdraw -- and "Iranians are increasingly willing to flaunt it." Moreover, "Washington stressed privately that it wanted Iraq to appear as politically stable as possible during an election year in the U.S." ["Who's Actually Winning In Iraq?" Counter Punch, June 26, 2008] Such is the general state of the "illusory short-term stability" that McCain, Lieberman and O'Reilly call "winning."
But, worse, even after demonstrating that current claims about "winning" are pure rubbish, there's still the morally charged question of how anyone could possibly used the word "winning" in connection with the monstrous carnage the U.S. has inflicted on Iraq, on Americans and on the world by its illegal immoral invasion.
Recall that the Bush administration, to the sick applause of John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Bill O'Reilly, offered numerous justifications for invading Iraq. Thus far, however, the invasion has caused the needless death of more than 4,110 American soldiers (with an additional 30,000 seriously wounded), the needless death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, needless immense social and economic devastation and the needless pell-mell relocation of some 5 million Iraqis who have fled their homes for sanctuary abroad or elsewhere in Iraq.
Why "needless?" Simply ask yourself: What strategic objective in Iraq could possibly justify all the actual carnage, let alone the bogus objectives recklessly or dishonestly tossed about by the Bush administration?
Didn't Bush justify invasion and regime change in Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, only to find that it had none? Didn't Bush justify invasion and regime change in Iraq to sever its pre-war ties to al Qaeda -- subsequently found to be nonexistent -- only to see his invasion actually spark an influx of al Qaeda terrorists into Iraq? Didn't Bush justify invasion and regime change in Iraq to give democracy a chance in the Middle East, only to bolster the power of Iran, instead? Didn't Bush invade Iraq to reduce the threat posed by international terrorists, only to exacerbate that threat around the globe? Weren't the immense human costs expended for these ill-conceived, if not bogus, objectives both needless and criminal?
Thus, not only are we not now "wining" in Iraq, no "victory" now could ever justify the horrendous human cost of Bush's war. No, as William Odom wrote in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, "The key to thinking clearly about it ["the tragic error of the invasion"] is to give regional stability higher priority than some fantasy victory in Iraq. The first step toward restoring that stability is the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq."
Recently, the "Task Force for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq" issued a report that concludes: "The presence of U.S. forces is an important cause of the conflict and violence (though not the only one) and that complete withdrawal is not merely desirable, but essential for durable progress." (The report, click here , deserves serious attention.)
Thus, its up to all Obama supporters to insist that he not only not flip-flop on Iraq by going wobbly under the pressure of all the politicians, foreign policy interventionists and media whores who got it wrong the first time, he also must be pressured to deliver on his campaign promise "to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place."
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