|THE RICHARDSON REPORT and As I See It... 7-7
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the opinions of The New Citizens Press.
By Gwen Richardson
Recently, General David Petraeus and Ryan C. Crocker, the American envoy to Baghdad, testified before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees to provide an update on the status of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The news was not encouraging.
Petraeus called American progress in Iraq "fragile and reversible," implying that the presence of our 140,000 troops is the only factor keeping the country from collapsing into complete chaos. He and the Bush administration seem to be mystified as to why the puppet government we installed, headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki, cannot take command of the bureaucracy and the situation on the ground.
The fact is that if Malaki and his allies had the cojones to run the Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein and the Sunnis would not have dominated it in the first place. No indigenous people will respect a puppet government installed by an occupying force, nor should they, and the Iraqis are no exception. The Bushites clearly need to read their history books or simply use common sense.
Yet, if Bush and his advisors had used common sense, they wouldn't have invaded Iraq to begin with. After 9/11, they were clearly dubious about any leader who might have the potential to be a terrorist threat, but the seeds were sown for an Iraqi invasion long before September 2001.
Neoconservatives like William Kristol and Robert Kagan had been advocating for the overthrow of Hussein's regime for years. In a New York Times commentary in January 1998, Kristol and Kagan wrote: "Saddam Hussein must go," chiding the Clinton administration for not being aggressive enough with the Iraqi leader. The only way to achieve the objective of ensuring that Hussein never again used weapons of mass destruction -- which we now know that Hussein did not possess at the time of the U.S. invasion -- argued the two neocons, was to "remove Mr. Hussein and his regime from power."
Although unsuccessful in getting Clinton to do their bidding, Kristol, Hagan and other neocons continued to beat the drums for unilateral intervention after George W. Bush was elected in 2000. Then came 9/11 and the horror of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil killing thousands of innocent Americans.
With the American people still frightened about the potential for more terrorist attacks and the short-sightedness of Bush and his comrade Dick Cheney, who believes it's okay to go to war as long as he can be granted deferments to avoid wearing the uniform himself, neocons now had their opening. They knew there was no evidence whatsoever linking Hussein to the 9/11 attacks, but they apparently didn't care. Bush and Cheney orchestrated something that had previously been antithetical to U.S. foreign policy -- they invaded a country which presented no threat to the U.S. and overthrew the leader of a sovereign nation.
That's why Bush and his cronies have continued to sing a different tune every few months as to the reasons why we are in Iraq: Freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people; to create stability in the region (which, by the way, we destabilized with our occupation); to rid the region of Al Qaeda and its radical Islamic extremist terrorist sympathizers (which, by the way, were also not present in Iraq until we invaded); and, now, to keep Iran from having a more powerful role in Iraq (again, a result of our invasion). Five years, 4,000+ American military lives and nearly $1 trillion later, we are now stuck in a quagmire in Iraq because our political and military leaders are too proud to admit a mistake. There is no shame or dishonor in erring, but refusing to admit that a mistake has been made and then telling repeated falsehoods to continue this fraudulent war only compounds the original sin. In the Bushites' warped minds, to withdraw will admit defeat so we have to figure out how to win an unwinnable war that should have never been waged. And anyone who deigns to criticize our government's military malfeasance is quickly labeled "unpatriotic."
Meanwhile, the American body count continues to rise; our debt to the Chinese, who are financing this war, continues to mount; and America's image around the world continues to deteriorate. To make matters worse, now Bush, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman are rattling their sabers and threatening a pre-emptive strike against Iran.
The Bible says: "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Bush, who confesses to have had a religious conversion years ago, and America's next president might do well to study the book of Proverbs before continuing on this ill-advised course of military aggression against countries that are not threatening the United States.
Gwen Richardson is an entrepreneur and author based in Houston, Texas. Her new book is titled Why African Americans Can't Get Ahead: And How We Can Solve It With Group Economics. Richardson is currently writing a book about the 2008 presidential election.