Thursday, May 10, 2007


By Ivan G. Goldman
During the Vietnam War. G.I.s safely walked the streets of Saigon without sidearms. Their biggest worry was getting short-changed by a bartender. But after four years of war in Iraq, the capital city of Baghdad remains so dangerous that our diplomats must wear body armor inside the embassy compound, even though it’s a compound within the compound of the Green Zone.
Meanwhile Prince George and Shotgun Cheney build a hush-hush network of “enduring” military bases there so that the U.S. can hang on to their fanciful oil gains for generations to come. Will the next president accept the gift? We can’t say for sure, but when Daddy Bush built similar bases in Saudi Arabia, his successor Bill Clinton made no move to dismantle them.
Ironically, it was Bush Junior who pulled us out of Saudi territory in favor of moving into Iraq behind the smokescreen of a cock-and-bull story about WMD and Saddam links to Bin Laden. At the same time The Decider built up our force in Kuwait.
The U.S. has behaved like an armed psychotic child in Iraq, tearing down Saddam's despotic structure and replacing it with an anarchy of warlords and bandits, including some American corporations and their private armies. All around there is death, torture, pillage, driving nearly 2 million of the 25 million Iraqis to other countries. Most were members of a middle class that was already too small.
Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland reported on AlterNet this week that more than half the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation, with 144 lawmakers signing a legislative petition calling on the U.S. to set a timetable for withdrawal. The petition was sponsored by the majority Shias and of course ignored by the Bush Administration, which calls timetables a recipe for defeat. The administration also ignored polls in Iraq showing most Iraqis consider it a righteous act to kill U.S. troops. Big U.S. media paid no attention to the recent legislative action, but that wasn't necessarily by design. Iraq is so dangerous, getting the facts is a death-defying business.
While the occupation steadily deteriorates, our administration tells us, after four years of failure, that everything is spanking new so we must give it a chance to work. New strategy, new general, new troop level, same old bullshit -- all designed to keep this thing going so the architects of disaster can blame whichever future president shows the good sense to get us out of there.
Meanwhile our troops, flesh-and-blood chess pieces moved about by fools and lunatics in Washington, live in gray defensive bubbles that, thanks to the new offensive strategy of General Patraeus, grow more porous, placing them in greater danger and promising to raise the casualty rate. Read between the lines of Patraeus’ recent statements to Congress and you see he’s telling them the truth about it, but diplomatically.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, made the same forecast even more forthrightly over the weekend. U.S. deaths now number 3,381, according to the reliable
What should we do about all this? The Founding Fathers would already have taken their muskets off the wall. But we dwell on Paris Hilton and American Idol contestants while our government continues killing people we really don't want killed and wasting the lives of our troops in the process. Because after all, these are more civilized times.

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