|May 1, 2006|
If 'By Their Fruits ...'
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
By John R. Bomar
Can anyone doubt that the war in Iraq has proved to be Osama bin Laden’s sweetest dream come true? In his book on the run up to war, Richard Clarke, who was the counter-terrorism czar at the White House, immediately recognized this potential risk of an Iraq invasion. He recounts envisioning bin Laden sitting somewhere in a cave actually “willing George Bush to invade Iraq.” Clarke knew that such a misadventure would play right into the hands of the extremists: It would allow them to portray the US as an out-of-control Great Satan with a personal vendetta against the Islamic world and unquenchable thirst for their oil. Bush’s verbal faux pas using the word “crusade” to describe the effort only heightened the propaganda gift to the extremists.
Mr. Clarke and other knowledgeable war critics correctly foresaw our present dilemma: the US treasury spent, and bleeding rivers of red ink; our credibility and respect lost to the world; our military stretched and overextended while fighting on two fronts; near civil war in Iraq; an unfinished job in Afghanistan; deep and serious divisions in our body politic; and immense international distrust of the intentions and motives of our nation. And worst of all, a great strengthening of the forces of international terrorism.
In his recent dialogue in The Nation, former head of the Middle Eastern Division of the CIA, Paul Pillar, reveals in substantial ways the abusive and deceptive tactics used by the Bush administration in their manipulation of intelligence to sell the war on Iraq, and recently confirmed by his counterpart in Europe on "60 Minutes." Mr. Pillar also describes Mr. Bush’s complete disregard of cautionary warnings about the post war conditions in Iraq, conditions now proven so sadly true. Pillar’s confessions only confirm what many have already begun to accept: we were lied to in justifying the war in Iraq, the intelligence was indeed “cherry-picked,” ignoring the multitude of contrary assessments regarding WMDs, and the administration was ignorant of or did not care about potential post-war Iraqi civil strife. So obsessed was Mr. Bush to make war on Saddam Hussein that he willingly played us for fools and went in half-cocked with insufficient troops to manage the post-war environment.
And the larger war on international terrorism? We are losing by leaps and bounds. Who in their right mind can argue that invading Iraq has made us safer at home? Despite Mr. Bush’s vain attempt to portray Iraq as in the forefront in the struggle against international terrorism -- which only compounds the core dishonesty that characterized his preemptive invasion -- most now concede that the war has strengthened the Islamofascist movement in unprecedented ways. Sure, Iraq has become somewhat of a magnet for those in the Middle East who would actively make war against us, but the opportunity we handed them was of our own making. By almost universal agreement it is now accepted that we have actually strengthened the true terrorists and the aura of Osama bin Laden by creating a “breeding and training ground” in Iraq.
World opinion does matter. In many ways it provides a mirror by which we may see ourselves. Right now we hold the lowest position ever, even worse than the terrible days of Vietnam. We have been disgraced and humiliated in the eyes of the world under Mr. Bush’s blundering helmsmanship.
All military commanders are held to the high standard of outcome and effect, it is the price they pay for the life and death power given them. By this measure Mr. Bush has been a miserable failure bordering on incompetence if not dereliction. We are weaker now than at any time in recent history. We have squandered the good will afforded us after the events of 9/ll and thrown away our punch on a tin pot dictator who posed absolutely no threat to us whatsoever. We are bogged down in a foreign land half a world away that is perhaps quickly approaching a state of civil war. We have handed the terrorists a propaganda bonanza on a silver platter and multiplied the hatred and resentment toward us in the Islamic world to immense proportion. Many argue that the recent success of extremists in Palestine and Iran are a direct result of our Iraqi invasion; sweeping the floor from underneath the moderate/progressive voices in the region.
If “by their fruit ye shall know them,” then the present realities for the United States speak of leadership that has utterly failed in its duty to lead with wisdom, prudence and forethought. From the missed opportunities to identify and thwart the airborne attacks of 9/11, to the missed opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora, to the lies that preceded the trumped up war in Iraq, to the unwitting strengthening of our real enemies, to the bankrupt treasury and deep divisions within the US, this administration’s legacy will be one of fatal misjudgments, arrogant and short sighted priorities, reactionary jingoism, and delusional incompetence.
Bitter fruits indeed.
John R. Bomar
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Dr. John R. Bomar, who served in Vietnam, is a student of history and decorated former member of the Army Security Agency, a branch of the National Security Agency.
Interested in contributing an article to BuzzFlash? Click here for more info.
Articles in the BuzzFlash Contributor section are posted as-is. Given the timeliness of some Contributor articles, BuzzFlash cannot verify or guarantee the accuracy of every word. We strive to correct inaccuracies when they are brought to our attention.