Iraq, A Drain on American Power

The two and a half year old invasion of Iraq has been terribly mismanaged. Most Americans were oblivious to it, because Iraq is "over there," and the amenities of the average American were not directly affected. The terrible mismanagement in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has opened their eyes to the abject incompetence of the Bush administration.

Finally more and more Americans are asking, why are we in Iraq? The two reasons promoted by Bush were WMDs in Iraq and the complicity of Saddam in the 9/11 attacks. Both have been proven to be not only false, but also contrived. The roster of mismanagement in Iraq is long. Nothing in Iraq has been done right.

The fall of Saddam was quick, but as many predicted, American forces are stuck in a quagmire of guerilla war in Iraq. American soldiers live imprisoned in the green zones. Almost, every day they loose a few of their comrades. They keep fighting the same battle over and over again but cannot sustain the occupation. Even the road from the airport to Baghdad is not safe.

Falsehood exposed, Bush under the tutelage of his "Neocon" mentors, invented a fallback position – bringing democracy to Iraq.

"Bush a champion for democracy" would be laughable, if it were not so sad to the Latin Americans and to the people of the Middle East. In April 2002, Bush recognized the coup in Venezuela, against the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez, even before the dust had settled. The coup failed within 48 hours, with Chavez back in a stronger position. Recently, Rev. Pat Robertson, a close religious-political ally of Bush, suggested assassination of Chavez, with not a word of condemnation from Bush. In March 2004, Bush struck again at the democratically elected Aristide government of hapless Haiti. Under the American installed dictator, Haiti has gone from bad to worse.

It is preposterous for Bush to constantly threaten Iran and Syria with the bluster "all options are open," meaning war. Then counter-intuitively expect them to seal their long borders with Iraq to the Guerilla traffic. In the interest of safety, their policy is to keep the US bogged down in Iraq. It sounds even sillier to the rest of the world, when the US cannot seal its own border from the illegal immigration from Mexico.

The regular threats from Bush have been a bonanza that the Mullahs in Iran could not have dreamed. A belligerent Bush first wiped out their archenemy Saddam, but is helpless to stop the formation of a Shia dominated religious government of Iran’s choice in Iraq. As if this were not enough, by constant saber rattling the US arouses nationalism in the secular opposition to line up behind the Mullahs of Iran.

Russia, China, India and many European countries are weary of an intemperate hyper power. They are afraid to criticize the US directly and are diplomatic in their criticism, but they would not lift a finger to help in Iraq. Russia and China convinced the Uzbekistan government to kick the US airbase out. They hope that losses in troops and materials in Iraq would cut the US down to size. It is not too difficult to imagine how and from where the weapons are coming to arm the resistance.

From the bully pulpit of the presidency, dutifully reported by the media, Bush gives the ‘Happy Talk’ of victory, trying to keep the public support for a war based on repeated falsehood. In the pages of the international newspapers, Bush is regarded as a super bully who took out a regional bullying maniac, Saddam Hussain. The international outpouring of help after Katrina is indicative of the ambivalent feelings. They like and grieve with the Americans as they did after 9/11, but distrust and dislike the Bush government.

Bush attempts to pull at the national heartstrings by invoking the sacrifice of dead American soldiers to continue his failed policies. It is insulting that soldiers should keep dying and killing to defend Bush’s misadventure simply because many have already given their lives for their belief that they were defending their country.

About 1900 American soldiers have died and 15,000 wounded in Iraq. Of course they should be mourned, but the enormous Iraqi civilian casualties should also matter to us. They certainly matter to the Iraqis and all others who care for human life. Estimates, range to more than 100,000 Iraqis dead and many hundreds of thousands wounded, with no end in sight to the mayhem. Iraqi casualties are the most potent recruitment tool for Iraqi guerillas. But the Pentagon callously refuses to tabulate or acknowledge the Iraqi civilian dead and wounded.

Fatigue from the deceit, incompetence and hubris of the Bush administration has started to set in. The much-ballyhooed Homeland Security Department after three years and billions of dollars was unable to cope with a slow, well-predicted unfolding disaster in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Increasing number of Americans, even the Fox news watchers, now know that the war in Iraq was contrived.

Just as we wonder why many countries live under corrupt dictatorships. Others wonder why Americans elected such an incompetent president, one who is weakening America by frittering away its goodwill and enormous power by such cruel misuse of that power.