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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/27/11

Gates Agrees, Bush's Wars Were Nuts

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It's also may strike some Americans as a touch disingenuous when these same news outlets lecture governments in the Middle East about not using violence against political enemies.

While we can all agree that Khadafy and other Arab tyrants should restrain their police forces, it is odd to see such moral pronouncements coming from U.S. editors and political leaders who saw no problem of unleashing hell on the heads of Iraqis and Afghans.

And those double standards continue to this day. Even as the U.S. government urged non-violent responses to political disorders sweeping the Middle East, the U.S. military continued to slaughter Afghans suspected of being pro-Taliban militants.

In one case on Feb. 20, Gen. David Petraeus reportedly shocked Afghan officials when he suggested that Afghans caught up in these air strikes were burning their own children to put the blame on the United States. Meanwhile, in Iraq on Friday, some 20 Iraqis were killed when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces fired into political protests.

Which brings us back to Gates' address to the West Point cadets also on Friday, when he offered his belated recognition that the United States should have found another way to deal with its concerns about Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

Gates said: "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it."

And one must assume that if such an adventure is crazy today, Gates is suggesting that it was crazy back in 2001 and 2003. Indeed, he clearly was reflecting on those bitter experiences in reminding the cadets of Gen. MacArthur's foresight.

But the worrisome fact remains that many of America's opinion leaders and politicians, who needed to have their heads examined last decade, have never been forced to sit down with a psychiatrist.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

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