By Terry HughesWHO LOST IRAQ?
As the United States begins looking for the back door in the bar room brawl known as the Bush War, the blame game is forming a line beneath the EXIT sign. George Walker Bush and the neo-conservatives are not going to take it on the chin for losing the Bush War. How was the Bush War lost? The Bush Administration and the Republicans will begin revising history, searching for an alternative to their warfare-state oil lust agenda.
Days after the fall of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Dick Cheney assembled his inner circle and their wives for a victory dinner at his Washington DC home, and made a toast to the non-attendant president of the United States, George Walker Bush. The war had gone quicker than even optimistic projections, and there was little opposition to the presence of American troops in Iraq. The president, Dick Cheney told his team, was insistent on spreading democracy, not only to Iraq, but throughout the Middle East.
Iraq was to be George Walker Bush’s historic legacy: peace in the Middle East, a region releasing its legacy of religious wars and sectarian violence. Monarchies and theocracies would transform themselves into democracies wherein all citizens would freely and equally participate in their own systems of government. The tribal history of Islamic intolerance would fade away in the new Middle East and bond together as both brothers in government, and brothers in arms.
The mismanagement of the occupation would soon poison this vision, as the reality of the Arab and Persian history and Moslem culture slowly rose up against the United States, and the cruel dream of parliamentary government disintegrated into civil war and religious violence. Iraq is broken, shattered into hundreds of tribal pieces. Winston Churchill crafted Iraq out of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, cobbling together different ethnicities, cultures and tribes into one nation. He called this creation his biggest mistake. Iraq will also be George Walker Bush’s biggest mistake.
Who lost this war? The architectural villain in this litany of the guilty is Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense who retired generals who disagreed with him, discouraging dissent amongst his fiefdom. He stubbornly short-changed the Army and Marine Corps by not invading Iraq with the 400,000 troop estimates provided by senior military commanders. Looting broke out soon after the invasion, which encouraged the infant insurgency, yet Donald Rumsfeld insisted that troop levels were adequate to occupy Iraq. The Secretary of Defense wanted to save reserves for the planned invasion of Iran, and listened to those who guaranteed success with current numbers.
Rumsfeld’s partner in crime, Dick Cheney, wanted to settle his score with Saddam Hussein, his old adversary from the Gulf War, now mocking him from oil fields and golden palaces. Cheney pushed the CIA into cooking the books, linking Saddam with Osama. Before September the eleventh, Rumsfeld and Cheney looked the other way when warned about the threat from Osama bin Laden, knowing of the Bush family’s special relationship with the Saudis and with the bin Laden clan, keeping certain threats in secret tents. When the undefended World Trade Center fell, Dick Cheney knew he had his rationalization for invading Iraq. Terrorism: a word that spreads terror amongst the susceptible.
The list of the guilty continues after the invasion and occupation, beginning with the CPA, the Coalition Provisional Authority created to govern Iraq during the transition phase from occupation to independence. By disbanding the Baath Party, the Iraqi bureaucratic infrastructure dissolved into sand, and Viceroy L. Paul Bremer’s arrogance and incompetence (and probably corruption) pushed Iraq into a vacuum without order, electricity, water or oil. If you want a few laughs, go to www.cpa-iraq.org and review headlines of propaganda news releases still posted from the CPA during the heady days of spring and summer of 2002. “Powell Predicts Smooth Turnover of Sovereignty to Iraqi Government.” “Iraqis Will Control All 26 Ministries by Week’s End, Senor Says.” “Bush Reviews Five-Point Plan for Iraqi Self-Government.”
The war contractors lost this war with their over-charges, corruption, and unwillingness to hire local contractors to share in the booty. Secret and without fiscal or political accountability, these private armies roamed Iraqi roads without challenge or review. These mercenaries were hired guns misleading the American people as to how many troops were truly in-country. Without a Code of Conduct, they were free to perform their duties above both Iraqi law and American justice.
Another perpetrator in the list of usual suspects is the administrators of Abu Ghraib prison, a notorious torture chamber under the dictator Saddam Hussein, transformed into a notorious torture chamber under the directives of President George Walker Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The day the images of hooded men standing on precarious boxes with electrodes strapped to their appendages was the day the United States lost any likelihood of winning the Bush War. Those dark pictures will live in historic infamy, forever defining the Bush Legacy.
Under the clouds of patriotism and misguided responses to the destruction of the undefended World Trade Center, the American Republican party lost this war. They will never recover from this debacle, and will be restricted to regional influence while a new and truly conservative faction develops. The neo-conservatives lost this war. This was their plan, but they did not foresee the complete incompetence of the Bush administration in managing the occupation of a divided enemy.
And, finally, George Walker Bush lost his vanity war. His unwillingness to do his homework, his lack of intellectual curiosity, his management style of hiring incompetent ideologues to do complex government work, his inability to ask tough questions and reluctance to hear the tough answers, and his inability of culpability to one of the greatest blunders in American history has condemned this political Prince Hamlet to wander the tragic stage of history as a dark and dreary failure. Goodnight, sweet prince.