If you listen to the Bush administration and most of the talking heads on TV, the election in Iraq was a glorious success and the solution to all of our problems in that country. My, oh my, what a lot of purple fingers.
I highly recommend as a truer version of what’s going on an article online at ATimes.com by Pepe Escobar. The catchy title is "We Vote, Then We Throw You Out."
Among the things he points out is that most of the major political groups and figures all signed a "Pact of Honor" offered by Muqtada al-Sadr. He’s the black-robed mullah in Eastern Baghdad that an American military officer nearly two years ago boasted on international television would soon be "dead or in prison." That was before his militia fought us to a standstill.
There is an old Southern expression that warns against letting one’s mouth overload another portion of one’s anatomy. This was just one of several such examples committed during that blunderer Paul Bremer’s regime. Al-Sadr was neither imprisoned nor killed and, according to Escobar, is now said to control the police in Baghdad. Keep that in mind when you hear the Bush people boast of how many trained policemen there are.
Escobar also reports that the minister of the interior, Bayan Jabr, controls about 110,000 men, including the special commando units you hear the Bushies boast about. Aside from creating the hellish prisons that have recently been discovered, Jabr uses many of these as death squads to terrorize the Sunnis.
America’s favorite politician, Iyad Allawi, who was prime minister in the first interim government, said recently that human rights in Iraq were worse under President Bush than under Saddam Hussein. He accuses the present government of being corrupt, and it, in turn, accuses him of being a front guy for occupation. He is known in Iraq, according to Escobar, as "Saddam without a moustache." He gave the OK to level Fallujah and to attack Najaf, which is why the people of that holy city ran him out of town when he showed up there recently.
To return to the Pact of Honor, which all those who will surely emerge as leaders signed, it calls for the withdrawal of American forces according to a strict timetable, no permanent bases and no relations whatsoever with Israel. Even the con man Ahmad Chalabi, who duped the neocons and the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction, signed it in person.
So, it looks like, despite all the nave gushing about purple fingers from voting, whatever government emerges is not going to be a friend of the United States. We will have spent more than 2,100 lives and $221 billion to end up with a government that says, "Get the hell out of our country."
The president scornfully derides "politicians" (as if he weren’t one) who demand a timetable for withdrawal. What’s he going to say when his bright, shiny, new democratic government in Iraq demands that he set a timetable for withdrawal? Perhaps he will get the CIA to engineer a coup and install his own dictator. The U.S. did that in Iran in the 1950s, which is why the Iranian people still hate us today.
Perhaps, though, when all the factions (there were about 275 parties and nearly 7,000 candidates) are wrangling amongst themselves, the Bush people will be able to bribe enough of them to let us stay.
I’m convinced that the Bush administration is hands down the most incompetent administration in history. According to Escobar, a British Broadcasting Corp. poll found that one-half of the Iraqis wish we had never come, 60 percent believe they are worse off than under Saddam, half want a strong leader and only 28 percent say democracy is a priority. It’s hard to believe that after all the billions of dollars spent, all the time since March 2003, we still cannot produce as much electricity or oil as Saddam, and there is still sewage in the streets of Baghdad.
Anybody for a little isolationism?
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.