Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Endgame in Iraq?

For the President and many members of Congress to insist that it is to support our troops that the war in Iraq must be re-funded, is to compound the deceptions that began this illegal futile bloodleeting without any end in sight. It is a shameless effort to hide behind the backs of the soldiers who risk their lives for lies. The troops are being made the human shields of the politicians.

We must not permit the Great Deceiver to frame the issue or we deceive ourselves. The truth is that the $100 billion that Bush wants from Congress is not for the troops but for his policies, which the American people voted against last November.

Part of that money is to pacify Afghanistan, which also is burdened by civil strife in addition to a bumper opium harvest, and where the US seems no longer to be pursuing its original target--Osama bin Laden.

The commander-in-chief says that he listens only to the generals in the field, but he cashiers them when they don't tell him what he wants to hear. This began with Gen. Shinseki, who told him before the war that twice as many troops would be needed as then Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld insisted were sufficient for his cut-rate invasion.

More recently Generals Casey and Abizaid were brought home when they told Bush that more troops were not needed and the war couldn't be won because the Iraqi troops wouldn't do what we wanted, like show up.

Gen. Petraeus, the new commander, was appointed because he agreed to lead a "surge" that would require half as many troops as he said would be needed for counter-insurgency in the new field manual he authored. Now we are witnessing surge-creep: requests for more troops and more time.

How long will soldiers and many more civilians be killed for Bush's illusion of empire and the careerism and partisanship of members of Congress who fear they may be blamed by voters in 2008 for "losing" Iraq or for increased violence there should our troops leave before they have "won"?

Although the violence can hardly get worse that it is now, Washington keeps insisting that our troops are necessary to restrain the brutality while Iraqis blame the US for provoking it.

Our leaders don't get it or don't care: thousands of human beings--each one a universe who has only one life to lose--are being forced to die for Washington's deceit.

In fact, we are witnessing what could well be the endgame of the US Iraq adventure. It could result from the refusal of Congress to give Bush the money he wants without strings attached.

This could occur during the next few weeks when Bush vetoes the bill that Congress sends him, as he has promised, and no new combination of money and conditions under which it is to be spent can be cobbled together which he would approve. Both sides are diging in deeper.

Bush says he must have the money by April 15 or the military "will face significant disruptions." The non-partisan Congressional Research Service says the Pentagon could pay for operations until July. The stalemate between Congress and Bush means no money to continue the war and occupation: End of Bush's plans for permanent US bases in the Middle East to control the world's chief oil-bearing region: End of empire.

There would be bitter recrimination all around, much of it deserved. But American politics would finally be forced to get real. Terrorism, by both sides, low-tech and high tech, might begin to subside. And thousands of lives would be spared.