Bush’s last gamble

AS a major revolt in the Republican Party against President George Bush’s Iraq policy spreads, the White House has resorted to fanning grossly inflated fears of terrorism.

By Eric Margolis

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Published: Tue 17 Jul 2007, 8:56 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:13 AM

The president just made two claims not supported by facts. First, he insisted US forces in Iraq are fighting the same people who staged 9/11.’ Second, withdrawing US forces from Iraq, as the Democratic-controlled Congress is urging, means surrendering Iraq to Al Qaeda.’

These misleading assertions mark the latest steps in the Bush administration’s evolving efforts to convince Americans that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are all part of a global fight against Al Qaeda.

When marketers want to change the name of an existing product, they first place a new name in small type below the existing one. They gradually shrink the old name, and enlarge the new one until the original name vanishes.

That’s what’s been happening in Iraq. When the US invaded, Iraqis who resisted were branded Saddam loyalists, die-hard Ba’athists, or dead-enders.’ Next, the Pentagon and US media called them terrorists’ or insurgents.’ Invading Iraq was all about removing the tyrant Saddam, seizing weapons of mass destruction, humans rights and implanting democracy.

Then, a tiny, previously unknown Iraqi group that had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden appropriated the name, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.’

This was such a breathtakingly convenient gift to the Bush Administration, cynics suspected a false-flag operation created by CIA and Britain’s wily MI6. Soon after, the White House and Pentagon began calling most of Iraq’s 22 plus resistance groups, Al Qaeda.’

The US media eagerly joined this deception, even though 95 per cent of Iraq’s resistance groups had no sympathy for bin Laden’s movement. Watch any US network TV news report on Iraq and you will inevitably hear reporters parroting Pentagon handouts about US forces launching a new offensive against Al Qaeda.’

Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t even exist before 9/11, but that didn’t stop President Bush from trying to gull credulous voters. Polls show that in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, White House disinformation strategy has worked. Today, an amazing 60 per cent of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks.

This faux war is now costing a mind-boggling US $12 billion monthly, reports the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The Bush Administration has spent $610 billion dollars since 2001 on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This week, US Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff allowed he had a gut feel’ that an Al Qaeda attack on America was imminent this summer. At the same time, Washington was abuzz with leaked reports that Al Qaeda has reconstituted its strength.

The sixteen US intelligence agencies spend $40 billion annually, with another $15-20 billion in their hidden black budgets.’ Homeland Security spends $44.6 billion. In spite of these gargantuan expenditures, the best intelligence Czar Cheroff can come up with is gut feel?’ One suspects Chertoff’s worried stomach has far more to do with the growing Republican Party revolt against the president’s Iraq war than nebulous threats from Osama bin Laden’s loud but tiny group. Polls show the only area where Republicans still command popular support is the war on terror.’

After six years of conflict, 3,600 dead and 25,000 wounded American soldiers, expenditure of $610 billion, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans, collapse of Mideast peace efforts, and a Muslim World enraged against the US, nothing positive seems to have been accomplished by a leader who calls himself, the war president.’

As the White House ponders now an attack on Iran, recall the famed words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, one more such victory and we are ruined.’

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2007

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