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"There is no path to peace. Peace is the path." --Freed
Is there anyone left who still doubts that Bush is on the verge of escalating his occupation of Iraq? Bush has spent the weeks following his party's defeat in the November election thumbing his nose at the American voters who elected new Democratic senators and representatives to replace his republican enabler and to force him to set a course out of Iraq. Almost immediately following the election, Bush flew from America to cry on Putin's shoulder, and then to the Mideast to curry the favor of any Iraqi and Saudi officials he could find to contradict the wishes of American voters; and to align himself with anyone who would argue for our soldiers to stay hunkered down in the middle of Iraq's civil war.
Just as defiantly as he had spurned the will of the American people, Bush turned his back on the Baker/Hamilton, bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendations for withdrawal and nestled up comfortably behind his generals as they predictably argued for more combat-ready troops to bolster their over-extended, beleaguered soldiers who are tasked with the incredible mission of securing a democracy in Iraq. Democracy, however, hasn't revealed itself in Iraq. Despite the propped-up Maliki regime's exercise of whatever authority they can assume behind the sacrifices of our troops, and with the weapons we provide for them to use at their will and whim, there is no functioning democracy in Iraq for our soldiers to defend.
That's no matter for the Bush regime, who has, more than once, considered settling for "alternatives to democracy" in Iraq as they continue to argue for keeping our soldiers bogged down there defending the unpopular junta just so they can claim to have scattered seeds of liberty and freedom. Supposedly, all of that liberty and freedom is emanating from their cluster bombs and scattershot reprisals against those Iraqis who dare to oppose Bush's occupying forces.
The word from the Iraqi courts is that Saddam is to be executed within a month. You can see Saddam playing to the Maliki regime for a reprieve from his death sentence by calling for reconciliation and an end to Iraqi's acrimony against the U.S. invaders. The Maliki regime has already made it clear they want Saddam to die. So, somewhere between the U.S. Camp Cropper where Saddam is being held, and the soccer stadium where they originally planned to execute Saddam before a bloodthirsty crowd, Saddam is to be hanged by the neck until dead.
The former U.S. strongman in Iraq, who both our new and former defense secretaries, Rumsfeld and Gates, were comfortable coordinating resistance and aggression against Iran, was once looked upon by our government as the product of our nation's pride and influence in the region. It's more than ironic that an even more despoiled Iraqi puppet is set to neatly dispose of his predecessor, with our assistance, at the completion stage of Bush's transparently choreographed coup.
In many ways, the Maliki regime has had a more pernicious impact on Iraq and the region than the subversive support the U.S. provided Saddam as a wedge against Iran in the past. Along with the overt use of the 'shock and awe' of our nation's defenses against the Iraqi population and infrastructure, the Maliki regime has benefited from the combined forces of U.S. trained and outfitted militias fighting behind American soldiers as they have attacked and suppressed those communities who rise up in opposition to their false reign.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been detained - indefinitely - without charges, representation, or trial. Many of those detained have reported tortures in numbers which have far exceeded the complaints levied against the supposedly barbarous Saddam regime. Soldiers in our own forces have been convicted of atrocities in Iraq, against Iraqis, which are at least as horrendous as the accusations made by our government against Iraq when Saddam invaded Kuwait.
Iraq is a desperate nation in an induced state of chaos. It's citizens are the subjects of short-sighted warlords who are mindlessly obsessed with posturing and positioning for power at the expense of those they claim to be liberating and defending. The continuing conflict is, both, their reason for commanding our attention, and their vehicle for perpetuating that attention. I can't really imagine Maliki is looking to pump up the volume of the civil war, but, Bush seems content to keep our military engaged in these bloody skirmishes against one spoke or the other in Iraq's multi-pronged power struggle.
To Bush, Iraq is still the "center" of his manufactured "war on terror" that he's declared against "enemies" and "terrorists" everywhere. Both he and the new defense chief think there's something in Iraq that can be won by our military; some victory to be had behind the press and fall of more American soldiers against the Iraqi resistance. The White House has not given up hope that Bush can rise above the nearly 3,000 dead American soldiers sacrificed for his posturing and positioning, and be recognized as some sort of Churchillian instigator of democracy in the Mideast.
Notwithstanding his utter failure in even assembling his present band of Iraqi thugs into a legitimate rule, there has emerged a clear tilt among voters in the region away from electing any candidates who dare ally themselves, or claim any association with, the U.S. or our interests. Bush has transformed the U.S. into an international ogre, rather than some "beacon of freedom," or liberty, or whatever he imagines will result from the killings he's sanctioned.
America the beautiful, here we go . . . farther down the bloody path as Bush prepares to commit more of our soldiers to hew even deeper into Iraq, and to sidle up to the rest of the deadly pretenders while Bush looks for some validating victory there to justify his years of lying about WMD's and Iraq's link to 9-11. I can see how eager Bush thinks we all are to help clean up his legacy by allowing him a few more bursts of 'shock and awe' from the backbone of our military in Iraq. If our elected representatives in Congress manage to find their own backbone in January and stop covering for his miserable fiasco, Bush should be made to put our soldiers' lives ahead of the feathering of his own miserable record.