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Bush Is Escalating His Iraq Occupation To Move "Forward" Against Iran

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Iran and the Devil Next Door "If we were to leave before the job is done, if we were to fail in Iraq, Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons." -- Bush, today, in remarks during visit with military personnel and families at Fort Benning, Georgia. The most pernicious part of Bush's primetime declaration Wednesday night wasn't his predicted determination to move forward with his bloody occupation of Iraq. The most dangerous mischief was, by far, his strident attempt to shift blame for the violent resistance to his consolidation of power in Iraq, to the sovereign nation of Iran. Amazingly, Bush cited Iranian support for Shia "death squads" as a rationale for his accusations without any mention at all of his own role in the arming and training of these rogue elements - many of which began as militias under control of the new regime. Bush made the accusation and rationalization that an al-Qaeda attack on the mosque in Samarra in early 2006 was the reason the Shia militias became independent execution squads, dispensing their barbaric brand of justice wherever and whenever they engage their Sunni rivals. "Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause," Bush claimed, "and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked." he said in his primetime address. "Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads," Bush said. As Bush, Wednesday night, proposed an escalation of America's involvement in the middle of Iraq's civil war - including sending 4,000 of the 21,000 additional troops to the al-Anbar province to battle what he calls "extremists" in the Sunni communities there - it should be remembered that it was our own forces who inflicted the first damage on a holy site in a siege in Najaf in 2004 when they were trying to dislodge al-Sadr and his Mahdi army who had taken refuge around the Imam Ali shrine. It should also be remembered that it was Sadr and his followers who joined with Shiite leader Sistani and enabled the new regime, headed by Shiite and Sadr ally, Maliki, to assume power. Now in Iraq, under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda, Bush intends for our troops to re-enter strongholds like Najaf and Samarra, and they will inevitably confront the anti-American Shia forces who reside there. Bush challenged Maliki to act against his Shiite allies and provide him with Iraqi troops to help with his escalation, or take the blame for whatever chaos and unrest the bolstered U.S. force stirs up with their muckraking. "If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises," Bush warned, "it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this," Bush said. After sacrificing the resources and humanity of our nation's defenses for almost four years to install and establish, to fight and defend a Shiite-dominated regime who has openly curried the favor of the very Iranian government Bush is now demonizing, Bush wants that same Iran-friendly regime to provide forces to attack and suppress the heart and soul of their very existence in Iraq and in the region. It was the Maliki regime who, earlier this year, made a very public trip to Iran to meet and bond with Bush's Iranian nemesis. It was the Maliki regime that our soldiers were killed and maimed defending, who defied the interest of the U.S. and forged a security agreement with the objectionable Iranian regime. It's more than remarkable for Bush to now complain about Iranian influence among the Shias in Iraq after his invasion removed the only existing wedge against their influence when Saddam's puppet dictatorship was taken down by his fickle U.S. benefactors. It's all the more amazing to hear Bush accuse Iran of sponsoring Shiite death squads when it was our own military who initially armed and trained them as recruits for Iraq's army and police forces, and who tolerated them for months and months -before, during, and after the staged elections - as they terrorized their Sunni rivals and those factions opposed to the new Shiite-dominated regime. Secretary of State Rice today added her voice to the chorus of administration overtures to war against Iran. "I don't want to speculate on what operations the United States may be engaged in," she told a Senate committee, "but you will see that the United States is not going to simply stand idly by and let these activities continue," she said. Now, under the pretext of concern for the victims of these government-affiliated death squad's vigilante justice, Bush wants to move into these Shia neighborhoods with our military forces - into Sadr City and elswhere - and wage another false offensive against Iraqis to further his expansionist ambitions against those forces he now claims are being 'aided' by Iran. However, there is no outside influence aiding and encouraging Iraqis to violence which comes anywhere close to the role Bush has played with his manufactured militarism. Iraq is Bush's battleground of choice for his contrived "war on terror." We're "fighting them there . . ." "Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity - and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge," Bush told the world Wednesday night. "This begins with addressing Iran and Syria," he said. "These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq," Bush claimed. "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq." Once again, Iraq has been set up as a surrogate battlefield against yet another one of Bush's "enemies" as he unilaterally constructs an artificial wedge between the Maliki regime and its neighbor and ally, Iran. It's not at all cynical to wonder what Bush's strategy actually was in fostering the radicalization and strengthening of the present Iranian regime with the removal of Saddam - and after the sacrifice of over 3,000 American lives and countless innocent Iraqi lives to create an Iran-friendly Iraqi regime - only to turn around and try to militarily face down the very alliance he sponsored with his invasion and occupation. It no wonder that there's still chaos and unrest in Iraq, because, Bush is clearly obsessed with stoking the violence for his ultimate intention to provoke Iran into a self-serving confrontation against our forces. Today, it was reported that U.S. forces attacked an Iranian consulate and arrested several members of the staff who the military claimed were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces." The raid on the consulate seemed suspiciously like a staged event meant to coincide with the line in his address about Iran aiding attacks on our soldiers in Iraq. It's just not a credible coincidence from this duplicitous administration. It serves Bush in his attempt to shift blame for the violent resistance to his bloody Iraq occupation to some faceless Iranian influence. But, Iran is not occupying Iraq; Bush is. Iran has not armed and trained the very individuals who make up the bulk of the Shia death squads; Bush has. Iran is not threatening anyone outside of their own borders; it's Bush who, in fact, threatens Iran with our military forces amassed next door. Bush is attempting to manufacture yet another distraction from his failure to capture the individuals in Afghanistan who he claimed were responsible for the 9-11 attacks. This time he's looking to distract attention, as well, from his failure to subdue the Iraqi population underneath his newly installed regime. Unfortunately, the citizens in the region caught in the way of Bush's imperialism will bear the ultimate consequences of his reckless meddling, despite his transparent excuse that he's 'liberating' someone or the other or 'protecting' us from some greater evil than his own vain aggression. "In the long run," Bush told the world Wednesday night, "the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy - by advancing liberty across a troubled region," he said. So far, however, Bush has only contributed various expressions of his original bludgeon of 'shock and awe' to the shell-shocked residents of Iraq caught in the way of his 'liberating' and 'protecting.' According to the Iraqi Health Ministry, 22,950 people were killed in Iraq in 2006. The United Nations says that over 28,000 civilians were killed in the first 10 months alone of 2006. The Lancet medical journal reported in October 2006, that over 600,000 people were killed in Iraq following Bush's 2003 invasion. There's no evidence that our forces have 'protected' anyone in Iraq, much less, 'liberated' anyone from violence; or made lives more secure from violence there, or here at home where Bush's concern supposedly originates. Bush's latest attempt to tie our nation to another military assault on yet another sovereign nation, is evidence of his own bloodthirsty ambition - more than it represents any necessary defense of American interests, or anything else Bush might claim as he pushes forward. The nation and the world should not allow him to expand his Iraq failure into Iran. We should not allow him to continue.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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