Wednesday, July 02, 2003
An ever-lengthening number of articles recently have noted the great inadequacy of our efforts in post-war Iraq. Many of them have focused on the guerilla-style attacks on our troops, the impossibility of the mission they've been given and the growing number of coalition soldiers who have been killed since Bush declared the war "over" May 1, and have concluded that this is a job being done in completely half-assed fashion. And even as Rumsfeld and Bush are assuring us that what looks, smells and tastes like a quagmire is nothing of the sort and that we have sufficient military personnel in Iraq to do the job, the U.S. overseer in Iraq himself is requesting significantly more troops.
Now, at a certain level we could chalk this up to typical Bush abdication of and detachment from his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief (this is a President who, after all, doesn't even know who's in charge of the fruitless Iraqi WMD search. Eliminating the WMD, you may recall, was the main reason we had to go to war now). This would, of course, be sufficient reason alone to boot the man. Unfortunately, there's likely another, darker explanation for why our soldiers aren't getting the support they need to keep them from dying:
'We have a responsibility, a stewardship,' [Richard] Perle told a forum of the American Enterprise Institute, 'not to turn [Iraq] over to institutions incapable of seeing this through to a successful conclusion ... the last thing the Iraqis need is French statism or German labour practices.'
[James] Woolsey told a conference organised by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton: 'The United States is going to do this alone.' In his audience were executives from Halliburton (of which Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO until he took office in 2001), as well as from Kellogg Brown Root (the Haliburton subsidiary already handsomely contracted in Iraq), the construction giant Babcock International, and Goldman Sachs. The military contractor DynCorpa, also present, was already signed up for a $50m contract to organise law enforcement in Iraq.
Yep, folks, you read that right. The right-wing whack-job ideologues who shape this administration's policies are sacrificing American lives so Iraqis won't be "contaminated" by notions like fair labor practices, which foreign help might inadvertently bring.
And if that doesn't get you hopping mad, let me note my firm agreement with the outrage Milt has expressed on our main site regarding the over-the-top callous disregard for the welfare of American troops our ernstwhile Commander-in-Chief demonstrated with his latest attempt at bravado:
"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."
This stupidly macho, insensitive statement, considering the continuing deaths our forces are seeing, speaks for itself. President Bush is, quite simply, requesting more attacks on U.S. troops -- at the least, an extremely irresponsible, heartless thing to say. And many are none too pleased:
"I am shaking my head in disbelief. When I served in the army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander -- let alone the commander in chief -- invite enemies to attack U.S. troops," [New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg] in a statement.
No doubt the right wing press, as always, will attempt to spin this as an unfair partisan attack on Bush. For those with a modicum of concern for the country and our troops, however, this should be the final nail in the coffin. Let's broadcast this one far and wide.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Via Atrios, we see this excellent Washington Post article regarding the Bush Administration's deliberate doctoring of an EPA report regarding Bush's so-called "Clear Skies Initiative". It seems the findings that a more effective proposal that would cost about the same are being suppressed.
And people are still skeptical that this administration would have lied about pre-Iraq war intelligence? It would seem that this administration can do nothing without misleading the American People. Let's be clear: this isn't about spinning a policy to put it in the best light. This is witholding important scientific evidence -- relevant information -- that it is the job of the EPA to produce, and that we need to make judgements regarding policy that affects our lives and those of our loved ones.
And to those who claim this is standard fare for Presidents, please find me an example of when President Clinton did anything remotely similar. When this administration encounters uncomfortable but important facts, it makes sure the public simply never sees them -- every time.
We're sure this sort of thing doesn't bother right-wingers -- one doesn't want truth to get in the way of ideology, after all. But what about the rest of us? Isn't it time to restore honesty and integrity to the Oval Office?