The US Dept of Defense has requested an additional $50 billion to continue its torture, killing and abuse of Iraqis in the name of "freedom and democracy." The US government has a long tradition of wasting borrowed money, but do we really want to squander billions of dollars building our war criminal dossier?
Iraqis have made it clear that they are fed up with American arrogance. They did not choose us to remake their society, draft their constitution, pick their leaders, and make sure that their religion plays no part in their political life. They certainly did not ask us to occupy their country for years to come in order to make certain that Iraqis adhere to America’s plan for Iraq.
There have been ample opportunities for reality to dent the delusional minds of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. But, alas, delusion remains the operational principle of Anglo-American Middle Eastern policy.
On May 17, the head of the Iraqi "Governing Council," a front group for the US which governs nothing, was assassinated. The UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said: “What this shows is the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are trying to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from the occupiers to the Iraqi people and that these are enemies of Iraqi people themselves.”
Foreign secretaries have been known to issue idiotic statements, but Straw’s remark is a "10" on the scale of the all-time stupidest. What the assassination shows is that Iraqis are not going to permit the US and the UK to impose a puppet government. Whoever we install will be assassinated.
A deluge of delusional statements from the US and British governments further cloud the murky understanding of the media. On May 17 the BBC reported, in one breath, that Bush and Blair plan to speed up the turnover of sovereignty to Iraq, but UK and US troops will remain in Iraq for years!
Does the US really want to be the Soviet Union of the Middle East? How does "freedom and democracy" reconcile with "occupied sovereignty"? When the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe, the West called the countries "Soviet satellites." Some of the Soviet occupied lands even had memberships in international organizations, but the minute their governments acted independently, Soviet tanks crushed the sovereign action, as in Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968.
When will Americans realize that the US invasion of Iraq was a political reelection strategy that went wrong? September 11 got President Bush off the defensive and gave him "the war on terror" with which to bind the country to him.
Do something big and decisive, Karl Rove advised, and patriotism will protect you from the Democrats. This advice fit perfectly with neoconservative plans to make the Middle East safe for Israel. No strategy could have done more to enrage Muslims and inspire terrorism.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and maimed and $200 billion squandered in a gratuitous invasion of Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no reconstituted nuclear weapons, no terrorists links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
All of this was known by the "morally superior" US government prior to the invasion. The deception of the American public and the United Nations was unprecedented. Even a government as incompetent as the US would not assemble 150,000 troops in a tiny area adjacent to Iraq if the country about to be invaded really had weapons of mass destruction. One or two weapons of mass destruction and there goes our entire army with no troops available to replace them.
Whether from incompetence or intention, Iraq was invaded under false pretenses. The invasion was a crime and a strategic blunder. Unless we hold accountable those who are responsible, the US will be no different from the tyrant countries of the 20th century.
Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.