SINKING IN THE IRAQI QUICKSAND

Created: Saturday, 21 May 2005 Written by monsveneris
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Official statements erupting from that sodomised symbol of U.S. democracy the White House sound even more delusional than those of a certain cheerful former Iraqi media spokesman during the blitzkrieg on Baghdad.

But the participants of the Bush coup d'état have never let reality interfere with their twisted view of the world. Sorry, Ms. Rice, but the Iraq War Didn't Come to Us
by G. Jefferson Price III
(Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 by the Baltimore Sun)

Somebody must have slipped an old script into Condoleezza Rice's hands while she was so busy getting packed into body armor for her surprise visit to Iraq on Sunday.

Some of the first words out of her mouth to U.S. troops there were: "This war came to us, not the other way around."

Huh? The Iraq war did not come to us. We brought the war to Iraq.

Remember "shock and awe," the war cry of President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz (now a banker, thank God)? Ms. Rice was part of the shock-and-awe team back in those halcyon days when they all were lying to America about why we had to go to war against Iraq and just about everybody believed them.

Well, almost everybody. Saddam Hussein believed them. He was just as delusional on the issue of weapons of mass destruction - the main justification for the war we brought to Iraq - as was President Bush.

Here's what Mr. Hussein was not delusional about. He knew very well that he had nothing to do with al-Qaida's 9/11 attacks.

That war was brought to America by another madman sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden. It's the only war that "came to us," and while substantial strides have been made in breaking his terrorist network, he is still free. And by the looks of events in the last couple of weeks in Afghanistan, he and his Taliban supporters still have a following.

But our chief focus of attention these days is not Osama bin Laden, it is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a bin Laden acolyte who has been making life deadly for Americans and any of their supporters in Iraq. And the truth is, we brought Mr. al-Zarqawi to Iraq.

Having brought our shock and awe to Iraq, America created an environment that was attractive not only to Mr. Hussein's Sunni loyalists. The environment attracted any hater of America who could get himself (or herself) into Iraq to wreak havoc against America and Iraqis who support the invasion, many of them paying the price for just trying to get a job.

More than 1,600 American servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq since the war started; most of them died after Mr. Bush declared that major hostilities were over. More than 10,000 have been wounded. Countless scores of thousands of Iraqis, many of them noncombatants, have died since the war began and afterward.

The Bush administration's conduct in making its case for war and the conduct of some men and women under the command of Mr. Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have done a huge amount of damage to America's reputation. They also have provided a recruiting tool for America's enemies.

That's why there are so many foreigners doing so much damage in Iraq. Between them and the indigenous insurgents, there seems to be an endless supply of people who want to kill Americans and any Iraqis who are cooperating with them. They also seem to have an endless supply of weapons.

If Secretary of State Rice could have been more candid about who brought the war to Iraq, she might have been able to assert with greater authority her challenge to Syria for allowing insurgents to pass through its border with Iraq.

But having stated that America did not bring the war to Iraq, her assertion that "Syria is badly out of step with the region" rings hollow.

The insurgents aren't just coming through from Syria. They're coming in from all over. Why? Because we're there.

When the history of America's adventure in Iraq is written with the better vision of hindsight, the argument may be made that it was better to have fought our enemies in faraway Iraq than to have to fight them in America. But no honest historian will agree that Iraq brought the war to America. It was the other way around.

G. Jefferson Price III is a former foreign correspondent and editor of The Sun.

© 2005 Baltimore Sun


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