- New Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco),
is calling President Bush's invasion of Iraq a "stark blunder"
and says that his new scheme to send 21,500 more troops into the mess he
created is just digging the hole deeper.
- I wonder though.
- It seems ever more likely to me that this whole mess
was no blunder at all.
- People are wont to attribute the whole thing to lack
of intelligence on the president's part, and to hubris on the part of his
key advisers. I won't argue that the president is a lightweight in the
intellect department, nor will I dispute that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz
and that whole neocon gang have demonstrably lacked the virtues of reflection
and humility. But that said, I suspect that the real story of the Iraq
War is that Bush and his gang never really cared whether they actually
would "win" in Iraq. In fact, arguably, they didn't really want
- What they wanted was a war.
- If the war they started had ended quickly with the overthrow
of Saddam Hussein, that would have served their purposes, at least for
the short term. Bush would have emerged from a short invasion and conquest
a national hero, would have handily won re-election in 2004, and would
have gone on to a second term as a landslide victor. But if it went badly,
as it has, they figured he would still come out ahead. He would be a wartime
president, and he'd make full use of that role, expansively misdefining
his "commander in chief" title to imply authority over the Congress
and the courts, to grab power heretofore unheard of for a president.
- This, I suspect, was the grand strategy underlying the
attack on Iraq.
- If I'm right, there may have been method to the madness
of not building up enough troops for the invasion to insure that U.S. forces
could occupy a destroyed Iraq and help it rebuild, method to the madness
of allowing looters free sway to destroy the country's remaining post-invasion
infrastructure, method to the madness, even, of allowing remnant forces
of Hussein's to gather up stockpiles of weapons and even of high-density
explosives, so they could mount an effective resistance and drag out the
- So many apparently stupid decisions were made by people
who should clearly have been too smart to make them, from leaving hundreds
of tons of high explosives unguarded to cashiering all of Iraq's army and
most of the country's civil service managers, that it boggles the mind
to think that these could have been just dumb ideas or incompetence. (L.
Paul Bremer, for instance, who made the "dumb" decision about
dismantelling the Iraqi army, prior to becoming Iraq's occupation viceroy,
had headed the nation's leading risk assessment consultancy, and surely
knew what all the risks were of his various decisions.)
- I mean, we expect a measure of idiocy from or elected
leaders and their appointees, but not wholesale idiocy!
- This disaster has been so colossal, it almost had to
have been orchestrated.
- If that's the case, Congress should be taking a hard
look at not just the latest installment of escalation, but at the whole
war project, beginning with the 2002 campaign to get it going. Certainly
throwing 21,500 new troops into the fire makes no sense whatever. If 140,000
of the best-equipped troops in the world can't pacify Iraq, 160,000 aren't
going to be able to do it either. You don't need to be a general to figure
that out. Even a senator or representative ought to be able to do it. So
clearly Congress should kill this plan.
- Since it's not about "winning" the war, it
has to be about something else. My guess would be it's about either dragging
things out until the end of 2008, so Bush can leave office without having
to say he's sorry. But of course, it could also be about something even
more serious: invading Iran.
- We know Bush is trying mightily to provoke Iran. He has
illegally attacked an Iranian consulate in Iraq (an act of war), taking
six protected consular officials there captive. He is sending a second
aircraft carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf, and is setting up
Patriot anti-missile missile bases along Iran's western border. This buildup
has all the earmarks of a pre-invasion. All that's needed now is a pretext--a
real or faked attack on an American ship, perhaps, ala the Gulf of Tonkin
"incident" that launched America into the Vietnam War.
- The way I see it, either way the president is committing
treason, because he is sending American troops off to be killed for no
good reason other than for aggrandizing power he shouldn't have, and/or
simply covering his own political ass.
- Treason is the number one impeachable crime under the
Constitution, and we're at a point where Congress is going to have to act
or go down in history as having acquiesced in the worst presidential crime
in the history of the nation.
- Dave Lindorff is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of
The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George
W. Bush from Office (St. Martin's Press, June 2006). His work is available
at www.thiscantbehappening.net and Counterpunch.org