August 13, 2005
There is no longer any prospect of the United States winning the war in Iraq. Even Donald Rumsfeld has tacitly admitted that. Whatever opportunity there might have been following the initial invasion has been swept away by the abusive treatment of detainees, the wanton slaughter of civilians, and the systematic destruction of Iraqi society.
The war has entered a period of retrenchment; with both sides, firmly committed to their own objectives, doing whatever is required to win.
The news from Iraq is invariably tragic. The incidents of civilian deaths are up dramatically since the elections and there’s no sign of them relenting in the near future. Similarly, the militia violence and the massive detentions are trending upward and are likely to increase. Casualties among American servicemen have reached a new high at 1873 with the Marines taking the brunt of the losses. The Army Surgeon General reluctantly released a report confirming that 30% of the soldiers returning from Iraq are suffering from mental disorders. Also, the incidents of suicide among veterans are up markedly; a distressing omen of things to come. The US will harvest another generation of troubled veterans whose lives were ruined in a war of choice.
The number of suicide bombers has peaked in post-election Iraq, with hundreds, if not thousands of young Jihadis swarming to Iraq to fight the American occupation. It has become the cause celebre among Arab nationalists and is fueling a resurgence in Muslim unity. This revival, though still in its infant stage, will undoubtedly flourish as long as the United States occupies Iraq with combat troops and military bases.
Recent polls verify that the public fully grasps the connection between Iraq and the bombings in London. Since the subway attacks, reports from Chatham House, respected terror-experts, and even statements from one of the bombing suspects, confirm that Iraq has become the rallying cry for Islamic fighters. There’s no doubt that it will provide the primary breeding- grounds for the next generation of terrorists.
The "clash of civilizations" that both Bin Laden and George Bush so devoutly sought appears to be materializing. America’s unholy war has moved us all closer to a decades-long conflict and a reshaping of the geopolitical landscape.
The incidents of violence against Muslims in England are up 600% since 2004, and the Blair government and establishment media continue to fuel the public fear of radical Islam. It’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s a strategy to polarize the Muslim community and, in doing so, undermine long-held commitments to basic civil liberties. What is perceived to be a struggle between the West and Islam is, in fact, an attack on the fundamental protections and human rights afforded by the rule of law.
According to recent polls, Bush’s credibility on the issue of the war has dropped precipitously. A clear majority no longer believe that Bush is honest or has a clear plan to resolve the conflict. The majority of American’s also believe now that the war itself was a mistake. Mr. Bush’s personal handling of the war has slipped 19 percentage points in just two months; a telling indication of the public’s overall fatigue with the bad news from Iraq.
The Bush administration has tried to emphasize the importance of Iraq in the broader war on terror. It is a critical part of their public relations plan, but it is hopelessly flawed. For one thing, most Americans now believe that they are less safe from the threat of terrorism than they were before the war. The London bombings, and the very clear statement from bin Laden’s lieutenant al-Zawahiri, make it quite plain that Islamic extremists have been radicalized by the American invasion of Iraq and are prepared to strike back at civilian targets in the US and England.
Mr. Cheney’s original prediction of a "50 year war with terrorism" is looking to be astonishingly accurate. America’s conflict with the shadowy enemies of imperial policy is continuing in full force with no end in sight.
It’s a war that America cannot win.
Even if the Bush and Blair administrations continue on their present path of savaging civil liberties and militarizing their respective countries, their vision of the new world order is completely unrealistic. Critical oil pipelines are strung-across every continent. These are the empire’s arteries; the life’s-blood of the world economy. No army in the world can protect these crucial assets. With oil now surging at nearly 70 dollars per barrel these pipelines and facilities will become the natural target of terrorist attacks; thrusting the world towards economic Armageddon. The best strategy is the perhaps the most improbable; a negotiated settlement, redressing grievances, and a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Muslim lands.
In other words, justice.
Reflective people will wonder in the days ahead, how the US detached itself from its basic principles and willfully engaged in this appalling crusade. Typically, we’re told that the driving forces behind the war were either oil, Israel, or the desire to project US military power into the Middle East. All of these are true to some extent, but they sidestep a more elemental point; the dramatic and fundamental imbalance in the distribution of power.
The pathological devotion to military strength among American elites has created a menacing colossus that endangers the entire world. It was only a matter of time before the lethal tools of the superpower would be put to use for destructive and self-aggrandizing purposes.
Iraq is the inevitable outcome of such awesome species-threatening power in the hands of a few men.
As American leaders now begin to brandish nuclear retaliation against Iran and promise to continue their disastrous strategy in Iraq, we can see the beginnings of a shift in the political sensibilities of the American people and in the world at large. The present paradigm, built on the exigencies of a gluttonous military, has plunged the world into chaos and threatened the species with environmental devastation. The US Military was built for aggressive war; a mission it has pursued almost without pause for the last 200 years. It is at the very center of our global malaise and dismantling it is everyone’s responsibility.
Courtesy & Copyright © Mike Whitney