"In sudden panic those false murderers fled,
Like insect tribes before the northern gale;
But swifter still our hosts encompassèd
Their shattered ranks, and in a craggy vale,
Where even their fierce despair might nought avail,
Hemmed them around!--and then revenge and fear
Made the high virtue of the patriots fail" -- from 'The Revolt of Islam'
In addition to the 3013 U.S. Deaths confirmed by the DoD since the start of Bush's invasion of Iraq, there have also been countless Iraqi deaths reported in the hundreds of thousands. Those deaths are all I can think about as I watch the Bush administration officials this weekend defending the president's escalation of his occupation. The theme that's been forwarded by the White House to explain the sacrifice of over 21,000 more soldiers to Bush's Iraq fiasco, is an echo of their increasingly vocal fear that the people in Iraq they tried to conquer with our military will rise up and assert themselves the moment they take their jackboots off their throats.
There's a deep horror running through the minds of those few neonuts who still believe our military can conquer anything with a healthy dose of shock and awe, that, they've perhaps failed to kill and maim enough Iraqis to make a strong enough impression on anyone there who might want to retaliate and avenge Bush's bloodthirsty substitution of their lives for the terror suspects he let get away in Afghanistan.
National security adviser, Stephen Hadley, on MTP, parroted Bush's fearmongering by asserting that, "if Iraq fails, it jeopardizes our interests, and that means terror returning to the United States from the Middle East."
Our protector-in-chief and his minions are bent on another round of assaults on Iraqis -- against Sunnis in al-Anbar, and against the Shia in Baghdad, Sadr City and elsewhere -- using Kurdish troops who have, so far, managed to keep their military activity restricted to their own territory up North. Not so coincidentally, the Kurds are engaged in their own skirmishes along their border, with Bush's nemesis, Iran. They will, unbelievably, be used as a wedge in the ongoing sectarian struggles elsewhere in Iraq; yet another faction urged to war against their neighbors by Bush.
Aside from the obvious and tragic abuse of our own forces by Bush as he insists on keeping them fighting and dying between the warring factions in Iraq - driving unnecessary re-con missions across dangerous Iraqi territory; re-engaging them in the policing of Iraqi streets with door-to-door intrusions and search and destroy missions in opposition communities - there is the immoral use of Iraqis as bait and fodder for the administration's manufactured terror war. Bush keeps calling for all of those in the region who would violently oppose his imperious militarism to "bring it on," as he insists on "fighting them there," in Iraq with arbitrary attacks impacting the civilian population in the middle.
Bush chose Iraq for the center of his terror war long before we heard the taunts of the 9-11 terror suspects he let run free. The Iraqis, however, are not bound to their struggle for survival and self-determination by the mere choice of the leaders in their country whose actions Bush has decided to make all Iraqis accountable for. Most of the 26 million Iraqis are locked in their own isolated struggles to survive the chaos and unrest Bush has fostered with his invasion, outside of whatever schemes and practices these self-appointed leaders undertake in their own grabs for power and influence.
The leaders, self-appointed and otherwise, run scared behind the citizens and soldiers who offer their lives and livelihoods in their defense. Back and forth, the ascended leaders in Iraq and the U.S. hurl their followers into the bloody abyss -- out of greed, revenge, and hunger for power -- and, in Bush's case, partly out of fear of retaliation for his own immoral barbarism. The latest influx of soldiers is a reflexive defense by Bush to ward off the inevitable, impending declaration of a humiliating failure in Iraq which will follow our exit, whenever in this century it finally takes place.
It's a classic Cambodia-style push-off; a "decent interval" like Kissinger advised Nixon to employ to stave off criticism of their failure before the presidential election. Kissinger, a major architect of the deadly military aggression in Vietnam, took the view when advising Nixon on how to withdraw, that if he just left the soldiers in place and propped up the South Vietnamese government instead of pulling our troops out - giving them what was described a "decent interval" - the Nixon administration could weather the presidential election and continue to hold power. Nixon was heard on recently released 1972 tapes saying "South Vietnam probably would never even survive anyway."
"We also have to realize, Henry, that winning an election is terribly important," Nixon was heard telling Kissinger. "It's terribly important this year, but can we have a viable foreign policy if a year from now or two years from now, North Vietnam gobbles up South Vietnam? That's the real question."
The new Iraq escalation is a political ploy to roll back the 'terrorist fringe' in Iraq -- far enough for Bush to free enough soldiers to diversify his militarism, perhaps, to muckrake in Iran or Syria. But, there's much more to the administration's desperate flailing of our soldiers around Iraq than just their desire to 'win' anything there. They are locked in their own original game of seeking validation for their self-appointed roles as protectors of the world after the September 11 attacks. It's their only relevant reason for being.
Much has been made by the occupation's supporters about the retaliatory threat to our nation that's supposed to come from forces in Iraq who identify their cause against the U.S. by identifying with the band of al-Qaeda thugs our government holds responsible for the attacks on our nation. "They'll follow us home," is the popular cry from the frightened warmongering chicken hawks in the WH and elsewhere. Yet, there's almost no acknowledgment by the fearful of the entirely new threats to the U.S. which Bush' own intelligence agencies told him last year are being fueled and increased by his continuing occupation of Iraq.
Bush's prescription for Iraq's warring factions is to introduce more aggression with the admitted prospect of more deaths for those tragically abandoned by their leaders into the middle of his regime's bloody Iraq creation. It's all their own invention in Iraq; from the false rationale about WMDs, to the nonsense about spreading liberty and democracy behind the intimidation of our nation's defenses; to the latest revival of the prospect of our peacemongering encouraging another 9-11.
Predictably, this weekend, there was the elevation of another paranoid justification born out of the Iraq occupation's supporters' naked fear of the blow-back from their mindless aggression. The old crutch that they chose to lean on was the vain defense of whatever they defined as our nation's 'prestige' as they encouraged the ramping up of their violence in Iraq in hopes of intimidating some terrorist somewhere who hadn't heard that our mighty forces were overstretched and overburdened in Iraq.
Vice-President Cheney accused the American people and Congress of cowardice against his "adversaries" for demanding an exit from Iraq in the November election. As far as Cheney is concerned, Americans were dupes to believe the opponents of the administration's militarism in the last campaign when Democratic candidates argued for an exit strategy and an end to the Iraq occupation.
"Polls change day by day, week by week," Cheney said in a FOX News interview Sunday. "I think the vast majority of Americans want the right outcome in Iraq. The challenge for us is to be able to provide that. But you cannot simply stick your finger up in the wind and say, "Gee, public opinion's against; we'd better quit," he said.
"That is part and parcel of the underlying fundamental strategy that our adversaries believe afflicts the United States," Cheney continued. "They are convinced that the current debate in the Congress, that the election campaign last fall, all of that, is evidence that they're right when they say the United States doesn't have the stomach for the fight in this long war against terror."
Cheney was correct that Americans have lost their stomach for the Bush administration's "long war" which they insist on waging through Iraq behind the sacrifices of our soldiers. Is there anyone with any credibility left who believes bin-Laden and his accomplices would rather have the bulk of our forces on the hunt for the terror suspects in Afghanistan where they've been allowed to run free for five years, than bogged down in Iraq? There isn't a lack of resolve against terror in the U.S., there's an unwillingness among Americans to continue waging that fight against Iraqis; the very people Bush claims to be liberating with his violence.