Sunday, January 20, 2008


“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Can’t buy me, no, no.”


End George W. Bush’s gratuitous imperial occupation of Iraq if you want to stimulate the American economy.

Right now that occupation chiefly stimulates its corporate investors and the Pentagon.

Stop the death machines from destroying more and more life.

End the occupation of Iraq.

The occupation has killed and injured too many Iraqi civilians and American soldiers.

The invasion and occupation have caused millions of Iraqi citizens to lose their homes.

The occupation has destroyed far more than Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship ever did.

The pre-emptive war was a lie.

The pre-emptive war and occupation have bred more terrorism.

George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Yale.

Now he’s a cheerleader for Osama bin Laden.

George W. Bush has propagated millions of Muslims to become "terrorists".

But the military-industrial complex is a big business.

It needs its perpetual customers.

Terrorists are good for its business.

The people of Iraq who resist are called radicals, insurgents and terrorists.

But they die from the bombs of both Al-Qaeda and America.

The occupation is wrong.

Do you want to stimulate the economy?






Informed Comment

Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Iraq is Still a Bad Bargain

Andrew Bacevich eviscerates the Iraq War party with this passionate and clear-sighted essay on 'the Surge to Nowhere' in WaPo. He points out that the real motivation behind last year's troop escalation was to avoid popular outrage building in the US electorate to the point where the troops were pulled out. He observes that the argument for the 'success' of the 'surge' is purely a tactical one. When viewed from the vantage point of grand strategy, the Iraq War is as much a failure as it has always been.

If someone came to you six years ago and said that for only $2 trillion, you could have for your colony a burned out country, a failed state, and a semi-permanent incubator of terrorism and hatred against the US, would you have ponied up the money? That's what you've got, and that is what it cost you. Detroit could have used some of that money. New Orleans could have used some of that money. Appalachia has lots of schools that need to be painted.

The argument could be made that Israel is safer with Saddam Hussein out of power. But that argument does not hold water. Current Iraqi leaders such as Muqtada al-Sadr and Adnan Dulaimi are not less anti-Israel than Saddam, and it turns out he did not have WMD with which to attack Israel anyway. The Shiites of Iraq will certainly side with Hizbullah against Israel, which may actually mean that Israel is less secure now than before. Moreover, to have substantial turmoil on their doorstep just cannot be good for the Israelis.

You could argue that US petroleum corporations are now well placed to bid on Iraqi oil development. But what with doomsday cults planning a takeover of the petroleum facilities, it will be some time before it is safe for US corporations to operate in Iraq. China and Holland (Shell) are being looked upon favorably by the Iraqi government as investors.

And anyway, if the US government had thrown the $2 trillion and more that Iraq will end up costing at green energy development, both we and the earth would have been far better off. At a time when the US military is paying 60,000 Sunni Arab Iraqis $300 a month each not to fight us, it is pretty hard to justify letting the US working class sink, without any government help, into penury and homelessness in the face of the mortgage crisis and the recession. The Iraq War may or may not be good for Houston. It is certainly bad for Iraq and for everyone else.

The current round of optimism about Iraq in the Washington press corps will eventually falter against the country's hard realities, just as have previous such rounds. Or maybe worrying about Iraq and continued US troop deaths there is so yesterday for the punditocracy in DC.

The optimism is a planted story, a sleight of hand produced by looking at tactics rather than at strategy, or by making comparative statements (Iraq has less violence today than it did in the volcanic period a year ago) which obscure absolute reality (Iraq is very unstable and dangerous).

What the snake oil merchants like Fred Kagan and Bill Kristol (both of them hard right Zionists) are really saying is that if you just give them $2 trillion more, boy do they have a deal on a neo-colony for you.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice-- can't get fooled again.

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