By Douglas O'Rourke
Online Journal Guest Writer
LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2004
Like a thief in the night, Bush proconsul L. Paul Bremer disappeared from Baghdad two days early. Mr. Bremer, who used to work for Henry Kissinger's lies-for-hire firm, was very upbeat to the end. Iraqi Democracy was going so well this week, Mr. Bremer only needed four armored SUV's, two Bradley fighting vehicles, a dozen heavily armed body guards, 50 troops, and two helicopter gunships overhead to drive out to the airport. At some point, just like Mr. Bremer, all the Americans will have to retreat from Iraq.
It will not be pretty. Conquest in reverse never is.
The way Iraqi civilians dance in the streets when our people die foreshadows the high-risk extrication of over a 130,000 of our troops. When Iraq goes sour, and it will, we face the added humiliation of a frantic forced march back to the sea with our kids dying anew for every mile.
Sort of Dien Bien Phu with sand . . .
When the French colonial tenure in Indochina became unpopular at home, politicians left their troops to die, surrounded at Dien Bien Phu. That was 1954. America repeated the same pointless experience there from 1960 to 1975, then we also ran away. Millions died. Everybody lost.
For some of a certain age, the images of 10,000 people trying to catch the last Huey off a Saigon rooftop are still fresh. You'd think we'd have learned a lesson. Apparently not.
The neocon "War for God and Oil" is a disaster half-complete. American troops in place in Iraq can hardly defend themselves as it is. When they start the long march back to the sea they'll die by inches. All the happy smoke blown on Fox News can't change that.
To strengthen our forces in the field, Mr. Rumsfeld is calling up Ready Reserve troops long out of the service and far from in shape. Some of the enlisted people already dead were in their mid-fifties. What's wrong with this picture? Mr. Rumsfeld's original decision to use a small fraction of the troops that military professionals demanded makes Custer seem a military genius.
Many sage old warriors warned strongly against this war precisely because they feared an insurgency and a protracted U.S. withdrawal south to the Gulf, down the lawless country's narrow roads, as a worst and deadly outcome. We're almost there.
Nobody wants to be the last fool to die in Iraq, but somebody's kid, brother or sister will have to do it. Based on the way the war's been run to date, the end game on the Tigris will be more chaos and death.
The Bush folks have set Iraq up for a dandy civil war. Their hope seems to be that it won't come to full bloom until after November. Unfortunately, our 'liberation' destroyed what little infrastructure remained under Saddam. Most Iraqis have come to hate us. Thanks to the neocons, they're now free to implode as a society.
Mr. Bush's Free Iraq is an NRA dream state—everybody has a gun and lots of ammo. Mr. Bremer turned the whole shebang over to Iraq's new Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a longtime CIA retainer who is already making noises about 'martial law.' Iraq today is every bit as 'sovereign' as Vichy France under the Nazis.
The Bush folks seem repeatedly surprised at the coordinated ferocity of the growing insurgency. They constantly dismiss it as a 'few dead-enders' or Saddam loyalists. In reality, Iraq is a magnet for everybody in the world with a grudge. All the arms they'll ever need are already in country. People who've hated each other for a thousand years have joined in common purpose to expel the invading Infidels. For terrorists, it's a 'target rich' environment.
Bush administration promises made in Iraq have left 'rebuilding' unfunded, infrastructure still in ruins, security a deadly joke, fraud and waste by U.S. contractors rampant, WMD still missing, and prison abuse authorized from the very top. The Iraqis even rejected the nifty new flag we designed for them.
Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz eagerly blamed the whole mess on a cowardly media afraid to go out in the countryside and get the 'good news.' He had to eat his words later, but it shows where the Bush folks are at. The only 'good news' most Americans want to hear from Iraq is that our last kid is out safe. With the death toll headed toward 1,000, the brave families of our honored dead are starting to speak out in righteous anger.
At home this week, the only thing keeping Mr. Bush afloat in the polls is public ambivalence to the plodding candidacy of John Kerry. As bad as things are, just over four in 10 Americans apparently still like being lied to by Republicans. Europeans watch us and shake their heads. The greatness that was America has been undercut by the triviality of the greedy men in charge. Does anybody still actually believe Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney?
Lots of folks in the Red States still do. If ignorance is bliss, this should be a blissful campaign.
Who still loves this administration? The residents of Limbaughland—those true patriots whose love for God and America is second only to whatever it is they hate. They speak from a darkness of the soul, vengeful voices of the night. They're all over the radio and the web. It's so much simpler than running through the streets with torches chasing the latest Bogeyman. America's heartland is still dancing 24/7 to a bloviating rhythm of jingo juice and ballsy bar fight talk. Men who never served in combat always think war is neat.
The guys in brown shirts or white sheets are digital now, but their message is the same.
Flat Earthers tingle the airwaves. The Rapture Rules! To be 'Liberal' is to be worse than a traitor. To even ask why our troops are dying is considered treason by some. They don't believe the 'Elite Media.' Neocon hatespeak can work some strange magic. Thanks to their efforts to stifle his film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore is quickly becoming a multi-millionaire. Nothing makes Americans crave something more than pious people telling them it's evil.
The tone of the debate is sinking fast. Despite all his flag waving and Jesus talk, the best Mr. Cheney could do on the Senate floor last week was to use a four-letter word to defend his failed policy. The Bush folks are currently stonewalling growing investigations of Abu Ghraib, the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, 9/11, missing WMD, Halliburton, and lest we forget, Ken Lay still has your money. The Supreme Court bought Mr. Cheney some time before his energy secrets come out, but, alas, it had to admit even terror detainees do have rights. The resulting litigation will outlive us all.
The neocons have oddly taken to linking Saddam to Osama again, even after they earlier admitted there was no connection. Delusional thinking has worked so well for the Republicans that the pope floated a story claiming the Spanish Inquisition (much like Watergate and Iran-Contra) was way overblown by the Elite Media of its time.
For all the spin, most Americans polled now think George Bush's Iraq War was a stupid and deadly mistake.
Perhaps they've finally seen the light at the end of the camel.
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Douglas O'Rourke is a writer in California and can be reached via www.columnleft.com.