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What War?

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Message Ron Fullwood
In case you missed it, last night Bush asked Americans to commit themselves to his ideological war. "Our nation is being tested," he said in his televised prime-time address to the nation, "in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War."

"America did not ask for this war," Bush said, "and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century -- and determine the destiny of millions across the world."

Bush is right. America didn't ask for the war he's describing at all. We told him to go after bin-Laden and he diverted to Iraq. Three years setting up and propping up a puppet regime there and Bush has been itching to invade Iran. Hell, he couldn't get enough of the slaughter in Lebanon, holding back the demand for a ceasefire just to see if Israel could forge a scorched-earth path through Syria to Iran.

What war is he talking about? There has been no officially declared war in the U.S., as is outlined in the provisions of the War Powers Act, since WWII. It was Bush who said several times that we could never be completely free from terror. There will always be some nut with a grudge and a weapon, looking to take a piece out of America our allies, or our interests. Its more than obvious that all of the collateral killings and upheavals that came out of our dual invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have spawned a new generation of antagonists who are primed for vengeance and ready to take their place in Bush's menagerie of threats for his latest fear and smear campaign.

Is it the five year war against the perpetrators and accomplices of the 9-11 attacks, as authorized in the bill that he claims gives him the power to wiretap without a warrant and detain Americans indefinitely without charges? Is it the war against bin-Laden and his henchmen? Of course not. That 'hunt' was put to rest barely six months after it started, with Bush declaring to "not be concerned" with bin-Laden at all. The office that he had so boldly set up after he called for bin-Laden's capture, "dead or alive", was meekly closed without opening any other unit or making any other effort to establish a revitalized search.

Most observers and government officials believe bin-Laden is hiding somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan border, but no complaint came from the Bush as Pakistan this month declared a truce with pro-Taliban combatants from that same region. It doesn't take much to imagine bin-Laden taking refuge in the areas Pakistan is standing down from. Sunday, Cheney defended the U.S. efforts in the Pakistan hunt.

"The fact is we've captured and killed more al-Qaida in Pakistan than any place else in the world in the last five years," he said on MTP. The boast is meaningless if we are to believe the threats that Bush and Cheney have been claiming for weeks of a network of terrorists, whose methods have evolved into a "transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals, with state and non-state supporters." By their own admission, al-Qaeda is multiplying and spreading, even in Iraq.

"I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks," Bush said in his address. "The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat."

"Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East," Bush claimed. "They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out."

You can slap a yellow ribbion on my behind as I cut-and-run, but, I don't believe that just because a band of thugs takes the name al-Qaeda that it makes them the equivalent of the band of thugs who hijacked planes and crashed them into targets in America. The Iraqi 'al-Qaeda' has settled in the mostly Sunni part of Iraq and is resisting Shia and government forces in towns like Ramadi; and in towns within the Anbar province, which was reported this weekend to be in a state of anarchy and out of U.S. or Iraqi government control. But, there is no more threat from these resisters to the U.S. occupation - outside of the threat they pose to our occupying troops - than there is from anyone prone to violence from any of the myriad of other world locations where Bush is spoon-feeding recriminations and daring for reprisals.

Bush claims that the terrorists attack us because they fear freedom; "thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever." Yet, if Iraq is to be a guide, the elections there demonstrated Iraqi's free will . . . to elect whomever they want; whether it be a regime sympathetic to Bush's 'elected' nemesis in Iran, or a leadership which has to be bullied into denouncing the violence of Hizbollah. It's not the lack of elections that Bush fears, it's his inability to control the outcome that he worries over.

Five years for one propped up regime, three years to establish the other. You would think they'd learn their lesson. How does a junta give birth to an independent state? It doesn't, unless it transfers or replaces the bloody force that knocked the previous rulers out of their place. The notion of the 'U.S. standing down, as Iraqi forces stand up' that Bush was selling this past year, is a lie based on the fantasy of a unified Iraq. The many sects and factions are separating for good. The primary motivation in Iraq is survival, and each one of the sects will defend their territory as best they can against expansionism and reprisals from rivals. Problem for America is, our troops are staged to defend one side of a multi-fronted, civil war in Iraq. They couldn't be more vulnerable, or compromised.

Bush is asking our soldiers to continue our bunkered down support of the Mayor Karsai of Kabal and Mayor Malaki of the Green Zone in Baghdad. If we leave them to their respective tasks, Bush says we'll become targets here in the U.S.. It's probably true that Afghanistan has a dangerous potential with the Taliban still attacking our forces there daily and the orchestrator of the 9-11 attacks still at large.

However, in Iraq, resisters to the government Bush helped install do not appear to be any more obsessed with their occupiers than they are with each other over defense of their own territory, and with attacking their respective 'enemies' within their country. Bush still insists there's a war in Baghdad for our troops to fight. "They will not leave us alone," he says. "They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad."

The 'Battle of Baghdad' has been going on for months - initiated right after Bush's surprise visit to the Green Zone - without any noticeable reduction in violence outside of the cordons of tanks and armored vehicles that the U.S. forces erect around the towns. Last month the attacks on our soldiers doubled in Iraq, likely a response to the steady escalation of forces to Baghdad in a desperate attempt to hold down the seat of the regime's contrived authority.

If America's safety truly depended on some victory in Baghdad, then that prospect would be hopelessly doomed to the cycle of violence, recrimination, and vengeance that his occupation is perpetuating and heightening. But, Bush got it completely backward. America's safety depends on our pulling back and away from our occupation of Iraq before it becomes a permanent breeding ground for anti-U.S. martyrs, complete with American targets to measure their militant meddle.

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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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