The American people have, once again, fallen asleep at the switch and their snores make me sick. According to recent polls, almost half of the public now thinks that things are going well in Iraq. This is quite a difference from a few months ago when only thirty percent thought this. Apparently, they have bought into the lie being perpetrated by the Bush Administration and Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, that the “surge” is somehow responsible for the decrease in casualties in Iraq and the purported forward progress of the Iraqi civilian government. There is, in fact, no empirical proof that either of these premises is true and it is just as likely that it is mere coincidence that the surge has occurred during the time the casualty rates have dropped. In fact, in recent weeks the number of bombings has greatly increased, the number of civilian deaths has gone up substantially and thirteen American solders were just killed in a four-day period. More importantly, if things are going so peachy keen as John McCain declared today, then why aren’t we bringing more troops home and why are 8,000 surge troops not being removed at all?
The Bush Administration and warmongers like John McCain and most of the Republican congress would stop at nothing to continue their aggression in Iraq. It has now become a face-saving exercise and has no relation to the reality of a final outcome. Moreover, it is abundantly clear that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with terrorism per se, but are nothing less than a war between the competing fascist ideals of radical fundamentalist Christians and radical fundamentalist Muslims. It is no longer arguable that we were lied to about the basis for the invasion; it is no longer debatable that Bush and his allies have broken the law, discarded the Constitution and bankrupted us financially and morally. The fact that the American taxpayer is underwriting the blatant campaign junket to Iraq by McCain and his tool stooges, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman, should not be lost on anyone. Their claims that as members of the Armed Services Committee they have a duty to go to Iraq and see how things are going on the ground is simply another version of the lies they and their right wing cohorts continue to perpetrate on a dozing American populace. If they were just going to see how the war was going, then why did I just have to be sickened by seeing John McCain telling our soldiers, and the American public, what a great job they are doing? We know what a great job they are doing and we know about the incredible sacrifices they are making. What has that got to do with how long these wars are going to last and what final outcome we can expect?
We are about to “celebrate” the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. By then, 4,000 American soldiers will have died and almost 30,000 will have been wounded. U.S. soldiers have been forced to serve multiple tours that have been significantly lengthened and with little time home between tours. Their families have suffered, marriages are failing and many soldiers have been kept on active duty past their discharge dates under a false premise called “stop-loss,” because the military cannot recruit or retain people for all of the reasons I note. Convicted felons and illiterates are being allowed to enlist and known racists and gang members are now serving in the military. Thousands of soldiers are returning with severe physical and mental health problems and are receiving inadequate care and compensation benefits.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead and 1.4 million of them have fled their country. Most of the Iraqi medical establishment has left and only 30% of their children are receiving any sort of basic education. Hospitals have no drugs, no bandages and no working equipment. Most Iraqis have no electricity, no heat, no clean water and insufficient food. Almost half of the oil flowing through Iraqi pipelines is stolen, converted to cash on the black market and used to fund the insurgencies that are killing and maiming American soldiers. What stolen oil isn’t paying for, stolen national treasures and antiquities are according to a U.N. report released today. We are unable to stop this and neither will the Iraqis. Tens–of-billions of reconstruction dollars given to American contractors are missing and no doubt stolen by them and our so-called allies, while the Bush Administration assures us that they are sure the money was well spent. The Iraqi government, including their military and police, are, by any standard, corrupt and riddled with our enemies. They are no closer to a true reconciliation with the Sunnis and Kurds and there is no reason to believe this will ever occur. But, wow, they have a constitution and have voted. Last time I checked, the same can be said for Iran. And, oh yeah, according to John McCain things are going well because the markets in Baghdad are open again. At least in between the bombings.
And, finally—here’s where the aid to our enemies comes in—American soldiers are now dying for a government that recently gave official sanction to the murderous president of Iran while he lends aid to the insurgency with training, weapons and money. It is despicable that not one single member of the Bush Administration, not one single member of the Congress, not John McCain or any of his right-wing cronies, have said one single word about this clearly insane development in our support for a government in Iraq that is clearly our enemy and not our ally. Let me repeat this—American soldiers are dying for a government that just officially hosted the government that is assisting in the killing of American soldiers. This is the same Iran that George Bush refers to as part of the “Axis of Evil,” that he is planning for war with and whom Dick Cheney and John McCain think we should be bombing today.
Today, John McCain went on another one of his patented rants about Iran while he was in Jordan. He railed against their provision of funds, weapons and other forms of material aid and, yet, did not utter a single word about asking American soldiers to die for a country that openly consorts with this same enemy. Tomorrow, George Bush will give another one of his patented rants about how it’s all been worth it for the past five years and repeat the same lies he has told us for five years. He, like McCain, will wax poetic and virulently about how the bad, nasty Iranians are providing aid to the Iraqi insurgents and seeking the nuclear technology to build WMDs. But he will not say one word about our Iraqi allies’ partying down with these same enemies, openly and with all the pomp and circumstance that would be given the leader of a democracy and not a ferret-faced despot like the Iranian president.
None of this should be surprising considering the fact that we are supporting a government in Afghanistan that is fueled by narco-dollars earned from producing the world’s largest opium crop. Tribal warlords, who barely support our efforts against the Taliban and al Qaida, are funding their efforts by trafficking in opium that is turned into heroin that addicts and kills our children. If this sounds like Vietnam all over again, as much of these wars do, it should not be surprising. I have no doubt that at some point in the future we will learn, just as we did after the Vietnam War ended, that the Afghan military and agents of the U.S. government were directly involved in assisting these drug producers, much as the Vietnamese military and the C.I.A. were involved in the drug business in Southeast Asia. I have a friend who is an advisor in the drug situation in Afghanistan and he says that it is a complete waste of time and money since neither the U.S. government, the Afghan government, or the U.N., has any intention of doing anything to eradicate this evil, any more so than George Bush and John McCain intend to stop having American soldiers dying for a country whose new best friends are our sworn enemies.
There is no chance that the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan will ever stop killing American soldiers or civilians in these countries, no matter what we do, no matter how many soldiers we keep there and no matter how long we stay there. A study of suicide bombers, just completed by the National Counterterrorism Center and reported on by the Associated Press concluded that, “the social and economic situation in the region ‘will keep this generation, and the next generations to come, impoverished.’ That will give fertile ground for al-Qaida to give such men ‘a purpose, a direction, and a reason to live and die.’" Two generations is about the same as the 100 years John McCain says we might be in Iraq and Afghanistan and based upon this study it looks like this is what will happen if America is befouled by a McCain presidency. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the current problems endemic to their “social and economic situation[s],” are clearly the fault of our failed policies and there is no reason to believe that the Bush Administration has any intention of changing the way they do, or fail to do, business in either place. Thus, as in the case of failing to say anything about Iraq’s relations with Iran, or the opium problem in Afghanistan, and allowing American soldiers to be killed by the friends of our friends and drug traffickers, Bush and McCain lend direct aid to our enemies by failing to actually do or say anything about these disgusting events.
And Americans continue to snore, occasionally waking up to say, “Huh?”