by Charley Reese
If I had a choice of catching 1,000 feral cats or bringing democracy to Iraq, I'd take the cat job in a New York second.
The Shiites want immediate elections; the Sunnis have just organized themselves and oppose immediate elections. The Kurds want autonomy, but the Turks have warned that they'll cause big trouble if the Kurds get it. On top of all of that is an ongoing guerrilla war that, despite the claims of success by the United States, continues to take a steady toll of American and Iraqi lives. Unemployment is still close to 60 percent.
Some say it would not take much of a spark to set off a civil war, and you can bet the guerrillas will be more than happy to strike that spark if they can.
In the meantime, back at the ranch, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney remain in denial, refusing, it seems, to accept the fact that there are no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, nor were there any when they led us to war.
Sooner or later it will sink into the minds of the American people that more than half a thousand Americans have been killed, about 2,500 have been wounded, and $200 billion has been spent on false pretenses, and there is no end in sight.
David Kay, who just quit as the chief weapons searcher, now says there are no stockpiles and probably never were any. Loyal as a lap dog, however, he has given Bush an out by blaming the CIA. The amazing thing is that Bush doesn't have the smarts to take the hint. He keeps insisting he "did the right thing based on good intelligence."
That's so typical of an ideologue. When the facts contradict the theory, ignore the facts and stick with the theory. Bush apparently intends to keep the search going until after the November election so he can always say the issue hasn't been settled.
Yeah, I know that the Bush administration says it plans to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis this summer, but you can't believe anything the Bush administration says. We'll have to wait to see how the administration defines sovereignty. My guess is it defines sovereignty as an obedient Iraqi government that will allow large numbers of American military forces to remain in the country.
Whether Iraqis will agree to that kind of "limited sovereignty" remains to be seen. If the past is indicative of the future, Iraqis will view the government as a front for the United States and eventually overthrow it and kill off the leaders. In that case, all the lives and limbs lost, all the billions of dollars poured down a Middle East rathole, will have been in vain.
It's too bad we elected a president who had no knowledge of foreign policy, but far worse had no interest in or curiosity about it. Richard Perle, one of the neocon architects of the war, has said in public print that Bush knew nothing. That's why he became a willing victim of the neocon ideologues he put in his administration. They saved him the trouble of having to think, and that is apparently what he likes most: not having to think. Don't ask me to think or make decisions, he seems to say; just tell me what I should do and say, and I'll read the teleprompter.
That would have been all right if he had surrounded himself with wise and experienced people, but he chose a pack of mad-dog ideologues with delusions of grandeur who are itching to impose American will on the rest of the Earth and are fanatically committed to their theory, the facts to the contrary be damned.
Let's hope that Bush's replacement will be somebody with a functioning and engaged brain who is more interested in solving problems for the American people than in keeping fit, dressing sharp and reading quips somebody else wrote at carefully staged photo ops.
February 4, 2004
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.
© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.