FOR MAKERS OF A WAR OF AGGRESSION
By Sherwood Ross
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- All America, including much of its military, is talking about how to "get out" of Iraq, and the sooner the better, as the daily killings soar and the fighting becomes increasingly vicious. There's no talk now of the Pentagon reducing its force below 120,000; just the opposite, the talk's about sending more National Guard troops into the killing streets of Baghdad. There's even talk of reinstituting the despised draft.
Some in Congress are castigating Bush for not having an "exit strategy." Senators John Kerry and Russ Feingold, both Democrats, asked President Bush to quit Iraq by July 1, 2007. And Congressman Chris Shays, of Connecticut, broke Republican ranks to call for a withdrawal timetable. They'd like to extricate U.S. troops "with honor." The "New Yorker" magazine reports it's an "open secret" in Washington Defense Secretary Rumsfeld would like to get out of Iraq.
The Iraq bloodbath could drag on for years. President Bush, a man not influenced by opinion polls, is blunt: "Leaving prematurely will have terrible consequences for our own security and for the Iraqi people," he said last November, adding, "And that's not going to happen so long as I am president." Bush even chides his few Democratic critics saying they "have a responsibility to provide a credible alternative" to the fighting, meaning an alternative other than withdrawal, when there is none.
Bush expresses the "victory" mentality so typical of jingoistic leaders. For troops killed in their wars, and for their civilian victims, victory is meaningless. Twice in the last century, Germany turned Europe into a butcher shop in the name of wounded pride. Both "Kaiser Bill" and Hitler continued fighting until their armies collapsed from exhaustion.
Bush told the American Legion in San Diego last month "this war will be difficult; this war will be long" and he must be taken at his word. He means what he says. He paid no heed to the thousands of protesters. He never does. Or to his congressional critics. In fact, the worse matters get in Iraq, the more Bush hypes his rhetoric.
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold urged Bush to stop using the phrase "Islamic fascists" in his speeches. It only inflames Arab public opinion, just as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's crack in his UN speech Wednesday that Bush is "the devil" inflamed some Bostonians who want to take down the big neon "CITGO" sign advertising Venezuelan oil.
Anyone with any knowledge of history knows today's "Axis of Evil" will be tomorrow's business buddies. Living proof is the "Axis" nations of 1941 --- Germany, Italy, and Japan became Washington's fast friends within a decade. As for Viet Nam's Communists, why, in the very first week after they drove the U.S. out, "Business Week" reported American oil firms were feeling out Hanoi about offshore drilling rights!
America can no more quit Iraq with honor than it could quit Viet Nam with honor. When the means are wrong, no good end can result. In the name of saving human life, it is preferable to withdraw immediately rather than a year from now or five years from now.
The Bush Administration scorns the UN. It operates on the theory Americans are a master race entitled to police the globe while the UN and its member states are inferior entities. It has punished Iraq terribly for no credible reason. The U.S. will leave Iraq the same way it left Viet Nam, in a shambles, and without "honor." President Bush lost that the day he started a war of aggression based on the Big Lie that Iraq had WMD. The public must make him understand he must get out now. The sooner the restoration work starts, the better.
(Sherwood Ross is an American who writes on political and military subjects. Contact him at email@example.com)