Coward Bushs "doctrine" turned on head, US isolated

Discussion in 'Politics' started by TigerO, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. TigerO


    Bush, a despicable coward if ever there was one, who never even grazed a knee in defense of his country, but who in typical cowardly-arm-chair-warrior fashion never lost any sleep for having been responsible for the totally purposeless death and mutilation of tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US soldiers for nothing but lies over an alleged threat no one but the neo-cons ever saw, and who totally ignored the real threat emanating from terror, is finally being forced to live up to the dismal chaos and explosion of terror that his corrupt and evil policies caused.


    "The Bush doctrine has been turned on its head

    The invasion of Iraq has frustrated the fight against terrorism, writes Paul McGeough in Baghdad.

    It is late at night and there is gunfire out in the city, but Baghdad is eerily quiet for the first anniversary of the start of the war.

    The loudest noise came from Washington: George Bush's troubled plea for unity in the face of world terrorism. Disagreements "among old and valued friends", he said disingenuously, "belong to the past".

    Bush is working to corral his postwar coalition in Iraq. But, as it frays at the edges, British diplomats are working up a new attempt to legitimise the Iraq campaign with a proper United Nations mandate. Consider:

    The Spanish are pulling out unless the UN takes over, and President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland says he was "taken for a ride" by the US on Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

    The Koreans have baulked at moving 3000 troops to Kirkuk in the north of Iraq, because they fear for their security; and when the Japanese arrived in the south - to protect the Iraqi people - they promptly wrote a cheque for $US95 million ($126 million) for the local tribes to protect them from the Iraqi people.

    Honduras is sticking with its plan to withdraw 300 soldiers in July, and when Bush recently met the Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende pointedly refused to say how long he would leave his 1300 troops in Iraq.

    Small beer, perhaps. But it is all symptomatic of rising anger and tension among the old and valued friends at the insistence of Bush - who may well be judged by history to have been the ventriloquist's doll for the ideologues around him - that his very necessary war on terrorism did not need to be swamped by war and its uncertain aftermath in Iraq.

    But the old friends just get bolshier. The French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, was straight up in his assessment of the first year. "The war in Iraq was a mistake, I would even say, a blunder. We cannot fail to see that there are two centres that feed terrorism today: the first is the Middle East crisis, the second is Iraq."

    Right behind him was the European Commission President, Romano Prodi. "It happens in Iraq as elsewhere - Istanbul, Moscow, Madrid. The terrorism that the war in Iraq was supposed to stop is infinitely more powerful today than it was a year ago."

    There have been at least as many terrorist operations in the past year as there were in the previous 12 months, and that is with an estimated two-thirds of al-Qaeda's known leadership dead or behind bars.

    The arch villain - Osama bin Laden - remains free and his terrorist organisation has morphed into something even more dangerous than what existed before the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

    Previously, bin Laden's lieutenants went out into the world, buying into terrorist plots they thought to be worthwhile investments. Subsequently, the Bush Administration, with echoes from Tony Blair and John Howard, has enhanced the myth that it is all - and only - bin Laden's work.

    What seems to have happened is more insidious.

    The notion of a bin Laden chain of command has been superseded by a sort of McDonald's of terrorism, franchise cells and groups that want to be like al-Qaeda, carrying a torch for the man in the cave without ever receiving direct orders. The word simply goes out in the Arab media and it is absorbed - war against the US. And when they strike, they pack the punch by claiming that it was done in the name of al-Qaeda.

    The CIA director, George Tenet, told the US Senate as much this month when he said: "A serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future, with or without al-Qaeda in the picture."

    And Blair's special representative for Iraq, Jeremy Greenstock, almost as though he was surprised by the outcome, applied the Tenet dictum to Iraq when he warned of the damage to the country and its people from terrorism. "Something new has grown in this area. It has happened in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Colombia, in the Middle East peace process and now it's threatening Western Europe - it's already happened in Madrid.

    "Iraq is a now a theatre where they're trying to maximise this damage."

    Between them, it is an admission that the war in Iraq has helped al-Qaeda and its followers.

    The hotel from which I write, The Palestine, was crowded with the first of the foreign fighters to arrive in Iraq in the first week of war last year. They have long since fanned out around the country and they are thought to number several hundred, working with the desperate and the nationalist in Iraq to capitalise on Arab anger as they challenge the Western invasion of a Muslim country and, at the same time, attempt to split the Bush coalition.

    In Iraq and elsewhere, they have turned the Bush doctrine on its head. Just as Bush went after the terrorists and those who harboured them, and threatened those who would not support him, the terrorist attacks in Iraq and beyond have been against those who have helped Bush.

    The protest marches around the world this weekend and the fraying at the edges of the Iraq coalition, especially the outcome of the Spanish election, raise a dire question: is terrorism winning over democracy?

    Superficially, maybe.

    But something more fundamental is happening, something very democratic: leaders are being held to account, because the Bush case for war in Iraq has been proved to be a lie that was supported by Blair and Howard.

    We were told the war was to get rid of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction - they did not exist. It was to save us from the link between Saddam and al-Qaeda - there was none. This was to be a quick war - the soldiers were to be welcomed with songs and flowers, but they will be stuck here for years to come and it might be a civil war that gives birth to the new Iraq - not Bush's liberation.

    Some good has come of it all - Saddam is gone and Libya has come into line. Syria is nervous. But North Korea and Iran still play nuclear hardball, and the Palestine-Israel stalemate continues to pollute daily life right across the Middle East. And US military resources and world attention have been distracted almost totally from the fight against terrorism.

    The goal of freedom for all is fine, even if Bush came to it for the Iraqis 13 years too late and only after the rest of his spurious case for war fell apart. And it is not enough to drape the country in the flag; to insist that "we must support the troops" by not debating why they are here; and to have the aimless ra-ra of the State of the Union address. That is the sort of theatre Saddam engaged in.

    Enough has leaked from the White House to confirm that the war was a decision made before it was justified. This weekend there was more evidence - Richard Clarke, Bush's counter-terrorism co-ordinator in September, 2001, told American 60 Minutes that within 24 hours of the attacks the Administration was convinced that al-Qaeda was responsible, but the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had complained that "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq".

    Rumsfeld obsesses about uncertainty. As explained to The Atlantic Monthly by one of his deputies, Douglas Feith: "the need to deal strategically with uncertainty; the inability to predict the future; the limits on our knowledge and the limits on our intelligence". That's a windy way of saying that the end justifies the means.

    But people are not as stupid as the White House would like. Just as Spanish voters saw what their government was doing - using the Madrid bombing for an election-eve smash at ETA, the Basque separatists, when everything pointed to al-Qaeda - the brutalised people of Iraq are the same.

    They are indeed grateful to be rid of Saddam, but they loathe this occupation; they deeply resent the security crisis it has visited on them; and they feel humiliated by it. And they openly mock the superpower that said: "It'll all come right."

    The US in Iraq is still demonstrating what it cannot do, not what it can do. Already it is retreating to the safety of its "hard" bases and talking up the competence of Iraq's incompetent new security and emergency services - which have had less training than the security staff at your local Target store - so that it can foist the mess on them when sovereignty is handed over on June 30.

    But the US is so entrenched in Iraq that it is hard to see it being able to devote its full resources to fighting terrorism any time soon."