Last month, 776 U.S. soldiers were wounded fighting Iraqis in Iraq. To everyone except Bush, the Iraq occupation is an epic disaster in which survival is the primary motivator and instigator. In fund-raising speeches around the country aimed at keeping his republican enablers in Congress in place to continue his military meddling, safely ensconced in his security bubble, Bush has all but abandoned Afghanistan and the battle against al-Qaeda's Taliban as he exploits the unrest he's caused in Iraq and casts the captured nation as the 'center' of his 'terror war'. Bush wants us to embrace the violence he's fostered in Iraq as a new front in his 'ideological struggle', but it's actually just a retreat from the original mission against those our government says were responsible for actually attacking and threatening America.
Almost all of those nations Bush relied on as his 'coalition of the willing' have called their troops home from Iraq; leaving Bush and Blair, and a handful of other patronage states, to suffer the consequences of fighting and dying on one side of a multi-fronted civil war, with most of the violence directed at the false authority of the propped-up Maliki regime. Britian's Blair appears to be waiting obediently for the U.S. elections to end before he abandons Bush in Iraq, and leaves our soldiers, the most visible symbol of Bush's imperialism, exposed to the full brunt of the Iraqi's violent reprisals.
Almost everyone except Bush has signaled that they will not endure the Iraq occupation for any distance beyond the midterm congressional elections. The troops would be on their way home right now if it wasn't for the cowardice of Senators and Representatives in failing to admit the folly and clear failure of Bush's manufactured war which has taken the lives of over 2730 of their constituents in support of Bush's "ideological struggle," and end the funding which allows the travesty to continue.
The continued raids, clampdowns, detentions, and restrictions on Iraqi's free movement have not created anything resembling the order of a functioning central democracy. There's not even any "alternative to democracy" to be found in Maliki's increasingly autocratic reign. The Iraqi prime minister has unilaterally suspended many of Iraqi's basic rights under the new constitution they voted for. One of the most striking clampdowns has been his censorship of Iraq's media sources against their portrayal of the bloody results of the growing violence there. The Iraqi press has been threatened with arrest if they broadcast or print anything Maliki or his regime determines 'unhelpful'. It's not as if there wasn't enough effort put into directing and controlling the stories which were reported there through bribes and favors offered Iraqi reporters by the Pentagon and their Lincoln Group, propaganda firm to write 'good news' which obscured the awful reality of the suffering there.
Maliki's options for gaining popular support for his regime have been reduced to offering the residents what their many sects and factions have already embraced; sectionalism. Iraq's parliament has already signaled their support for dividing Iraq into several sections, each with their own significant autonomy. He offered his own minimal plan this week which sought to allow a split, but still presuming his regime's 'central' control over the military, and ultimately, central control over the distribution any oil revenues they manage to get their hands on. Under his plan, each district of Baghdad would have its own 'commission' made up of representatives of religious and tribal leaders who would have some sort of advisory role in his government. The compromise is less about democracy, than it is about Maliki maintaining control in the face of the collapse of popular support for whatever hodgepodge of officials the U.S. has managed to assemble to lord over the divided Iraqis. The effect of his military-enabled control would be the same, despite Maliki's token offer of increased participation from the leaders of the respective communities in his decision-making.
The most dangerous effect of Bush's blundering militarism in Iraq has been the divisions he has fostered and aggravated between those factions which were effectively controlled and mollified by Saddam's own autocratic control. Virtually no diplomacy has been employed in Iraq which has reached out to any but Bush's purchased cabal which assumed power underneath the protection and support of our military forces, and under the $10b a month of our hard-earned contributions that goes to support the Iraq occupation alone. One hundred and forty-five thousand of our troops are still in Iraq despite the training and arming of almost 300,000 Iraqi police and military forces. Yet, there is no democracy in Iraq for our soldiers to defend.
There are only costly remnants left to show for Bush's bungling diversion from the 'hunt' for bin-Laden and his accomplices in Afghanistan to invade Iraq. There is a new generation of Iraqis who are increasingly aligning themselves with any militarized force there which intends to resist Bush and the human instruments of his occupation. Bush is satisfied to highlight and elevate the residents of Iraq who are actively engaged in defending their basic prerogatives of liberty and self-determination against the American invaders, and who've taken on the defiant moniker of al-Qaeda in their resistance to his attempted consolidation of power. There's no doubt anymore that Bush's failure for five years after the attacks on our nation, to capture bin-Laden and stifle his infamous organization's influence, is the prime engine which has emboldened these groups and individuals to violent actions against our soldiers, our interests, and our allies.
The fight to avenge and defend against the 9-11 attacks is over for Bush in Afghanistan. There was no complaint from the Bush White House this week as their republican majority leader in the senate, Bill Frist, advocated surrender to the Taliban, and suggested that their members join the Karsai government. It's amazing how the same Bush regime who is claiming the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq, is now accepting the return of the al-Qaeda-supporting Taliban to a position of authority in Afghanistan, even as our soldiers are in active conflict with the ousted group. Do Bush and the republicans who've remained silent in the face of their own party leader's unilateral surrender, really believe the world would be better off with the Taliban back in power?
There is no more talk from Bush about defending democracy in Iraq. Bush is determined to substitute concern for the certain threat to our nation which came from the al-Qaeda terrorists he's turned his back on, for the risk to our soldiers from the unrest and chaos his occupation has caused in Iraq. He's backed our nation into a corner in Baghdad. The bulk of our nation's defenses are invested in making his political point in the November elections, and perhaps, beyond. An 'ideological struggle' is how Bush defines his retreat from the pursuit of the perpetrators identified in the congressional authorization to use military force.
Bush's 'ideological' political campaign which 'centers' his 'terror war' in Iraq is an admission of his failure to capture bin-Laden, "dead or alive." Moreover, it's a cynical attempt to sell his retreat as some inevitable challenge to America, when it is, in reality, a dangerous affront to the very moderates there who may have been amenable at one time to his promise of regime change without the 'shock and awe' he ultimately delivered.
Any threat to the U.S. in Iraq is Bush's own creation and his own invention. He deposited our troops there in numbers which were clearly insufficient to the task of cowing the population of millions, and he's deluded himself that there are Iraqis there who welcome any measure of that oppressive control. Bush has our forces hunkered down in Baghdad, building a dirt fortress with guard towers to surround his unpopular junta, and to cling to the appearance of progress; just to 'stay the course' in the months before the elections as he attacks his critics in his 'smear and fear' campaign as 'soft' for pointing out the diversion and it's consequences.
Bush and his republican enablers have led our nation to this retreat to Baghdad. They're prepared to tolerate the continued deaths of our our soldiers as our troops hunker down there; tolerate the thousands drastically wounded; waiting for some 'victory' to materialize out of our soldiers' desperate defense of their own lives against the Iraqis that Bush claims we're liberating.
We've been in Iraq longer than our country fought WWII. No matter to Bush, though. At the christening of the new battleship which will bear his father's name, Bush tried to wrap himself in the sacrifices Americans made in that necessary war, including the service of his father which put shame to his own avoidance of duty during the conflict in Vietnam. "We recall the service and sacrifice of earlier generations," Bush proclaimed. "And we pay tribute to a new generation of sailors and Marines who have stepped forward to serve in freedom's cause."