When will Americans hold the guilty accountable?
By Linda S. Heard
Journal Contributing Writer
Oct 5, 2006, 00:32
Imagine what would
happen to a corporate CEO who overspent his budget to the tune of billions.
Let's say he
couldn't account to the shareholders for billions more. And let's suppose he
initiated a project under false pretences that ended up causing workers and
passersby to lose their lives on a daily basis.
For one thing he
would be sacked and for another he would, without doubt, end up in jail.
Unless, of course, he had explained to the court that he was merely carrying
out the Creator's instructions in which event he'd probably end up in a
There is no one who
could get away with such behaviour unless they're someone who doesn't have a
boss and who is entirely above the law. Someone like US President George W.
Bush, for instance, who sent his country's troops into Iraq to look for nonexistent
weapons of mass destruction, to root out nonexistent al Qaida-related
terrorists and finally to award Iraq's citizens nonexistent sovereignty,
freedom and democracy.
There is a
difference of course. Whereas a company's board and shareholders would be
foaming at the mouth at the antics of such a charlatan, the people to whom the
president is answerable are woefully silent despite a mass of evidence that
proves his pet project was a terminal failure.
Setting aside the
dodgy dossiers, the forged Niger documents, the proven false reports that
Saddam Hussain had links to Osama bin Laden and leaked memos that show
intelligence was fixed around the objective, why is nobody screaming about the
findings of a slew of recently published reports on the status quo?
Why aren't American
taxpayers up in arms about the $505 billion of their money that has been spent
so far in Iraq? Why aren't American mothers and wives concerned about the 2,700
soldiers that have been killed to date, the 20,000 injured or the untold
thousands suffering from post-traumatic stress?
I won't even bother
to appeal to Bush devotees about the untold numbers of Iraqi dead or tortured,
bearing in mind the observation of George Orwell who wrote: "The
nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own
side but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
One can only
imagine they believe the president's message that it's all for a good cause. He
says as long as America stays the course in Iraq, the US will be safe. If we
fight the "terrorists" in Iraq then they won't come here, he says.
There's one small problem. A leaked classified National Intelligence Estimate
compiled by 16 US intelligence agencies states "The Iraq war has made the
overall terrorism problem worse."
More, a report from
the CIA indicates "Iraq has become a cause c�l�bre for jihadists,"
while a report from the Pentagon suggests "Iraq is tipping towards civil
These gloomy US
findings that contradict the official White House line come hard on the heels
of a report by the British think tank Chatham House that concluded the only
winner from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was Iran. This is because Iran's
main rivals, Saddam Hussain and the Taliban, were ousted thanks to the US-led
"war on terror."
Now Bob Woodward,
one of two reporters who exposed Nixon's Watergate scandal, has weighed-in by
publishing a book, titled State of Denial, that describes the Bush
administration as dysfunctional and fractured.
On the subject of
Iraq, Woodward is particularly illuminating. He claims that in 2005 Bush was
determined to keep US troops in Iraq and reports him as saying even "if
Laura and Barney [Bush's dog] are the only ones who support me."
In the dark
asserts the Bush administration has deliberately kept the American people in
the dark when it comes to the level of violence suffered by US troops. To
support this contention he cited a May 2006 intelligence assessment that the
Iraqi insurgency was proliferating even as Bush was boasting publicly of
The facts speak for
themselves. Iraq is in free fall. Iraqis are dying at the rate of over 100 per
day; 7,000 in August and September alone. More than 200,000 have been displaced
from their homes due to sectarian violence and threats. Some 60 percent of
Iraqis are without jobs. Those who are lucky enough to work are paid only $150
to $200 a month. Inflation is running at over 40 percent.
At the same time
the Iraqi government and the various groups are divided over the future of
Iraq. Many Kurds, including the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, seek an
autonomous Kurdish state that would include the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, protected
by permanent US bases.
Leader of the SCIRI
Party Abdulaziz Al Hakim would like autonomy for nine Shiite provinces, whereas
the firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is vehemently opposed to splitting
up Iraq, which would leave the capital and the area around it devoid of oil
But 75 percent of
all Iraqis are united on one issue. They want the Americans and the rest of
this sad circus to go now. And who can blame them? It's time to forget Colin
Powell's pottery barn rule "if you break it, you own it." Bush broke
Iraq into smithereens but the only ones who have any chance of piecing those
shards together are the Iraqis themselves.
S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes
feedback and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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