During his term in office, President Bush has pressed for war and more war. On January 20, 2001, Bush came to office with the neo-con playbook, calling for knocking off hostile governments101x102. Days later, Bush’s National Security Council (NSC) discussed an attack on Iraq – around a map showing how Iraq’s oil fields would be carved up afterwards103.
On September 11th, 2001, after the terror attacks of that day (9-11), Bush said that he ordered an investigation “to find those folks who committed this act104.” But in a speech nine days later, he announced a “war on terror” against not just the al-Qaeda organization, which he named as the likely 9-11 culprit, but also against “every terrorist group of global reach” and “nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism105.”
In November, 2001, after the CIA led Afghan fighters and the U.S. military in a quick rout of al-Qaeda and the Taliban government, Bush told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to make war plans for Iraq106. In the 2002 state of the union speech, Bush named the militias of Hamas and Hezbollah, which are enemies of Israel, as targets of his “war on terror”, and named an “axis of evil” made up of North Korea, Iraq and Iran107, even though Iran had helped topple the Taliban108. In the summer of 2002 the U.S. began bombing Iraq to take out military communications and defenses109, and Bush (unconstitutionally) took $700 million that Congress allotted to the war in Afghanistan and used it to prepare for war in Iraq110. In September a White House propaganda campaign using false claims of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) led Congress the next month to vote Bush war powers in Iraq111x112x113. In March 2003, Bush forced out U.N. inspectors, who had reported the Iraq government was fully cooperating with their search for WMD114, and ordered an invasion of Iraq115.
Within weeks the U.S. military knocked out the Iraq government116, but U.S. leadership had not readied a plan to secure the country, and massive looting and chaos followed117x118. Through the next three years of high unemployment119, crippled infra-structure, the U.S. torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib (started by Rumsfeld)x120x121 and the sacking of Fallujah (ordered by Bush)x122, attacks on U.S. soldiers persisted and attacks between religious sects grew to the level of civil war123. Today the great majority of Iraqis want the U.S. military to leave the country, and most support attacks on American soldiers124. An April 2006 CIA report determined that the occupation of Iraq was “fueling the spread of the jihadist movement125x126.”
In July 2006, after finding Bush’s hint to attack Syria to be “nuts“x127x128, Israel instead attacked Lebanon. Bush refused to support a cease fire, until Israel was done with its attack, but the operation failed to take out its target, Hezbollah, and instead raised the militia’s standing within Lebanon129.
After his short stint as the first U.S. administrator of Iraq, General Jay Garner visited the White House, and Bush asked him jokingly, “You want to do Iran for the next one130?” Today some in the White House want to double the Iraq bet by attacking Iran – a move that would practically unite the Iranian and Arabian populations in rage against the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has said that he would find a way around any ban against attacking Iran that Congress might pass131.
During Bush’s term, few majority Republican Congressmen stood against his warring, but many Democratic Congressmen did – voting against giving Bush Iraq war powers, holding hearings about war profiteering, and pressing for the investigation of cooked intelligence reports during Bush’s campaign to sell war against Iraq132x133x134x135. This month Americans voted to put the Democrats, who in general campaigned on getting out of Iraq136, in charge of Congress, which, by the U.S. Constitution, holds the sole power to declare and fund war – or not.
‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’ The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.
This ‘American grand strategy’ must be advanced for ‘as far into the future as possible’, the report says. It also calls for the US to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ as a ‘core mission’.
102 ‘Letter from PNAC to President Clinton’ January 26, 1998 “Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.”
bq.In Ron Suskind’s The Price of Loyalty, O’Neill described the first NSC meeting at the White House only a few days into Bush’s presidency. An invasion of Iraq was already on the agenda, O’Neill said. There was even a map for a post-war occupation, marking out how Iraq’s oil fields would be carved up.
O’Neill said even at that early date, the goal of invading Iraq was clear. The message from Bush was “find a way to do this,” according to O’Neill, who was forced out of the administration in December 2002.
104 ‘Bush puts government on highest alert’ By Tom Raum, Associated Press, 2006-09-11 “I’ve ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.”
106 ‘Lie by Lie: The Mother Jones Iraq War Timeline (8/1/90 – 6/21/03)’ date 11/21/2001 According to Bob Woodward’s “Plan of Attack”: “President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, ‘What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.”’ Woodward adds that, immediately after Rumsfeld and [General Tommy] Franks work out a deal under which Franks can spend any money he needs. “And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible.”
Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld — including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed — operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities.
…North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens — leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections — then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. …
108 ‘Iran helped overthrow Taliban, candidate says’ By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY, 2005-06-09 “James Dobbins, a former State Department official who worked with diplomats from Iran and other Afghan neighbors to create the first post-Taliban government, says the Iranians “were equipping and paying the Northern Alliance. Russia and India were also helping, but at the time, Iran was the most active.”“
American air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq’s military command and control system before the Iraq war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied air war commander.
Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein’s government used to transmit military communications, as well as airstrikes on key command centers, radars and other important military assets.
The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaign against the Baghdad government.
Indeed, one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said.
”Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward.
“Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn’t know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this.”
111 ‘Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence’ By Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writers, Sunday, August 10, 2003, Page A01 “The escalation of nuclear rhetoric a year ago, including the introduction of the term “mushroom cloud” into the debate, coincided with the formation of a White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, a task force assigned to “educate the public” about the threat from Hussein, as a participant put it.”
112 ‘Marketing Iraq: Why now?’ By William Schneider, CNN, September 12, 2002 “Why did the Administration wait until September to make its case against Iraq? White House chief of staff Andrew Card told The New York Times last week, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.’‘”
U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix said he was encouraged by the Iraqi cooperation as his inspectors checked out sites designated as suspicious by Washington but found nothing. According to Blix, the Bush administration then forced the U.N. inspectors to leave in mid-March 2003 so the invasion could proceed.
“Although the inspection organization was now operating at full strength and Iraq seemed determined to give it prompt access everywhere, the United States appeared as determined to replace our inspection force with an invasion army,” Blix wrote in his book, Disarming Iraq.
115 ‘George W. Bush: Initial Military Operations in Iraq’, 2003-03-19 “On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign,” Bush said.”
In the Pentagon’s scenario, the responsibility of managing Iraq would quickly be handed off to exiles, led by Chalabi—allowing the U.S. to retain control without having to commit more troops and invest a lot of money. “There was a desire by some in the Vice-President’s office and the Pentagon to cut and run from Iraq and leave it up to Chalabi to run it,” a senior Administration official told me. “The idea was to put our guy in there and he was going to be so compliant that he’d recognize Israel and all the problems in the Middle East would be solved. He would be our man in Baghdad. Everything would be hunky-dory.” The planning was so wishful that it bordered on self-deception. “It isn’t pragmatism, it isn’t Realpolitik, it isn’t conservatism, it isn’t liberalism,” the official said. “It’s theology.”
One day during the war, Albert Cevallos, at the time a contractor with the United States Agency for International Development, was standing with a group of civil-affairs officers at the Iraq-Kuwait border. One officer asked him, “What’s the plan for policing?”
Cevallos’s job was in the field of human rights. “I thought you knew the plan,” he said.
“No, we thought you knew.”
“Haven’t you talked to ORHA?”
“No, no one talked to us.”
Cevallos wanted to run away. “It was like a Laurel and Hardy routine,” he said. “What happened to the plans? This is
like the million-dollar question that I can’t figure out.”
The economic cost of the looting was estimated at twelve billion dollars. The ruined buildings, the lost equipment, the destroyed records, and the damaged infrastructure continue to hamper the reconstruction. But on a more profound level the looting meant that Iraqis’ first experience of freedom was disorder and violence. The arrival of the Americans therefore unleashed new fears, even as it brought an end to political terror.
[CNN correspondent Martin Savidge] said the scattered attacks on the Marines point to a “sense of lawlessness” that hangs over Baghdad despite the massive presence of coalition troops in the capital.
Looting continued, Savidge said, though it was not clear whether there was much left to take after two days of residents ransacking government offices, presidential palaces, homes of former ruling Baath Party officials and other sites, including hospitals.
The tremendous amount of weaponry remaining in Baghdad is keeping disposal teams occupied.
“[There are] mortars, bombs, [rocket-propelled grenades], rockets of all sorts and tons and tons of ammunition,” Savidge said. “Literally, you can find it lying in the streets.”
According to Savidge, disposal is haphazard, usually taking place in the afternoon and marked by loud booms.
QUALITY OF LIFE INDICATORS
- Iraqi Unemployment Rate – 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
- Consumer Price Inflation in 2005 – 20%
- Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition – 25% in May 2006
- Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq, 2003 – 100,000
- Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq, as of Aug 2006 – 500,000
- Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 – 40%
- Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion – 34,000
- Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion – 12,000
- Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion – 2,000
- Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity – 12.1
- Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity – 8.6
- Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems – 37%
- Percentage of Iraqi Homes with Access to Piped Water – 78%
- Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated – 22%
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.
“The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is accomplished,”“ she told Saturday’s El Pais.
Rumsfeld also authorized the army to break the Geneva Conventions by not registering all prisoners, Karpinski said, explaining how she raised the case of one unregistered inmate with an aide to former U.S. commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
“We received a message from the Pentagon, from the Defense Secretary, ordering us to hold the prisoner without registering him. I now know this happened on various occasions.”
Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” security threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine security threat be kept imprisoned. Prisoners have the right to appeal any internment decision and have their cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in Iraq remained in custody month after month with no charges brought against them. Abu Ghraib had become, in effect, another GuantÃ¡namo.
122 ‘Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop’ By Robert Parry, September 14, 2004 “A flip-flop by George W. Bush worsened the military-political debacle in Fallujah last April when the Bush administration overruled the Marine commanding general twice, first ordering him to undertake a retaliatory assault against the rebellious Iraqi city and then abruptly reversing direction three days later.”
The threat of civil war lurched closer in Iraq Saturday as a suicide bomb killed four people … Insurgents suspected to be Sunni killed 215 people in the attack on the Shiite slum, as mortars and five car bombs were deployed in the deadliest attack so far in the war. … A suicide car bomber attacked a checkpoint near Fallujah on Saturday, killing a U.S. soldier and three Iraqi civilians. Nine civilians and an American service member were wounded, the coalition said. … “A U.S. marine also died Saturday from wounds received in a fight in Anbar province on Friday. … At least 72 insurgents and two American officers were killed in more than 40 hours of fighting during a pitched battle last week in Turki, in Diyala Province, near the border with Iran. … Police said that gunmen forced their way into two Shiite homes and killed 21 men in front of their families. In fights in the same region, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 58 insurgents. … Police said that they killed 36 insurgents and wounded dozens of others in clashes elsewhere in Diyala Saturday. U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 22 insurgents and a civilian in raids north of Baghdad Saturday, and destroyed a factory churning out roadside bombs, the military said. According to police and witnesses, insurgents bombed and burned four mosques and torched several homes in Baghdad’s mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Hurriyah Friday, killing as many as 25 Sunnis. The U.S. military said Saturday that Iraqi soldiers who secured the town found only one burned mosque, however. They were unable to confirm accounts that six Sunni Arabs were dragged from Friday prayers and burned to death.
The survey by much-respected World Public Opinion (WPO), taken in September, found that 74% of Shiites and 91% of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year.
By a wide margin, both groups believe U.S. forces are provoking more violence than they’re preventing — and that day-to-day security would improve if we left.
Support for attacks on U.S. forces now commands majority support among both Shiites and Sunnis. The report states: “Support for attacks on U.S.-led forces has grown to a majority position—now six in ten. Support appears to be related to widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the U.S. government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq and would not withdraw its forces from Iraq even if the Iraqi government asked it to. If the U.S. were to commit to withdraw, more than half of those who approve of attacks on US troops say that their support for attacks would diminish.”
Nearly every opinion poll in the U.S. has shown that roughly 6 in 10 Americans also back a withdrawal within a year.
“This affair is between Israel and the state of Lebanon,” Adam said. “Where to attack? Once it is inside Lebanon, everything is legitimate — not just southern Lebanon, not just the line of Hezbollah posts.”
Earlier, Israel’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, told Israel’s Channel 10, “If the soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.”
George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers saw the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah as an opportunity to expand the conflict into Syria and possibly achieve a long-sought “regime change” in Damascus, but Israel’s leadership balked at the scheme, according to Israeli sources.
One Israeli source said Bush’s interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered “nuts” by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush’s hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.
After rebuffing Bush’s suggestion about attacking Syria, the Israeli government settled on a strategy of mounting a major assault in southern Lebanon aimed at rooting out Hezbollah guerrillas who have been firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel.
In an article on July 30, the Jerusalem Post hinted at the Israeli rejection of Bush’s suggestion of a wider war in Syria. “Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria,” the newspaper reported.
[T]he month-long war has failed to achieve its goals of destroying Hezbollah forces in south Lebanon or intimidating Iran and Syria.
Instead, Hezbollah guerrillas fought Israeli troops to a virtual standstill in villages near the border and much of the world saw Israel’s bombing raids across Lebanon – which killed hundreds of civilians – as “disproportionate.”
Now, as the conflict winds down, some Israeli officials are ruing the Olmert-Bush pact on May 23 and fault Bush for pushing Olmert into the conflict.”
For his part, Bush spent July and early August fending off international demands for an immediate cease-fire. Bush wanted to give Olmert as much time as possible to bomb targets across Lebanon and dislodge Hezbollah forces in the south.
But instead of turning the Lebanese population against Hezbollah – as Washington and Tel Aviv had hoped – the devastation rallied public support behind Hezbollah.
“It’s a classic case of ‘failure forward,’” a Pentagon consultant said. “They believe that by tipping over Iran they would recover their losses in Iraq—like doubling your bet. It would be an attempt to revive the concept of spreading democracy in the Middle East by creating one new model state.” … “The former senior intelligence official added that the C.I.A. assessment raised the possibility that an American attack on Iran could end up serving as a rallying point to unite Sunni and Shiite populations.” …“According to the Pentagon consultant, “The C.I.A.’s view is that, without more intelligence, a large-scale bombing attack would not stop Iran’s nuclear program. And a low-end campaign of subversion and sabotage would play into Iran’s hands—bolstering support for the religious leadership and deepening anti-American Muslim rage.””
For the past six years of the Bush presidency, Waxman and other Democrats say, the Republican-controlled Congress, which reconvenes today for a lame-duck session, was more cheerleader than investigator. Congressional committees failed to scrutinize the administration’s actions on Iraq, energy policy, the war on terrorism and many other issues. They say committee hearings were little more than GOP infomercials.
“The Republican leaders of the Congress decided they were Republicans first and leaders of a branch of government second,” Waxman said in an interview. “They thought they were doing the Bush administration a favor by not asking questions that might embarrass them.”
Some Senate Republicans, particularly Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Armed Services Chairman John Warner of Virginia , have challenged the administration, but House leaders have shown little interest in oversight.
“It hasn’t been absent, but it’s been minimal,’’ said Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
- Party: Yes – No – Not Voting
- Democrat: 80 – 126 – 1
- Republican: 216 – 6 – 2
- Independent: 0 – 1 – 0
- Party: Yes – No – Not Voting
- Democrat: 29 – 20 – 0
- Republican: 49 – 1 – 0
- Independent: 0 – 1 – 0
134 ‘Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing – An Oversight Hearing on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in U.S. Government Contracting in Iraq – Bunnatine Greenhouse, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ June 27, 2005 – pdf
Democrats want to move us in a new direction – ensuring that 2006 is a year of significant transition with Iraqis assuming responsibility for their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.
There are only two directions to take in Iraq: Bush’s plan of staying the course to let a future President to sweep up after, or the Murtha plan to change the direction of that course. Rep. Pelosi has joined with Rep. Murtha in calling for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq to make our country safer, our military stronger, and the region more stable.
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