presents The Angry Liberal
September 26, 2002
Bush and Iraq: Wagging the Whole Damn Planet
by The Angry Liberal
"Give me a dictator to attack . . . and a crisis to hide behind . . . and I will tip the Senate."
George W. Bush*
For the past several months, George W. Bush has been in big trouble. After watching repeated bombings of what appeared to be barren hills and tight shots of dazed Afghans staring at piles of rubble where their homes once stood, Americans were losing interest in the "war" on terrorism. This could spell disaster for the Bush administration and Republicans. After all, if voters aren't distracted by armed conflict, they might start to think about the state of America. Issues like the economy, corporate corruption, pollution, and prescription drug costs might begin to creep back onto the American Top 40. Bush has already dealt with the economy as much as he cares to, firing his tax-cut pop gun in the air and declaring victory. Bush is up to his eyeballs in the corporate corruption scandal, having a long personal record of sleazy business dealings and a history of investigations of both himself and others in his administration. Bush's campaign is well-financed by polluters who can't sleep through the night unless their goal of destroying all life on earth by the end of the century is met. And affordable prescription drugs would cost Bush's friends in the drug industry a fortune, as well as prolong the lives of old people who would want their Social Security trust fund cash. Since Bush blew the trust fund on his rich friends in the form of tax cuts, there's nothing left to give these geezers. The point is that without a crisis to distract us Americans from our real problems, Bush and the Republicans who are up for re-election have a lot less than nothing to run on. They support positions that aggravate most of American's real problems. So what's a president to do? If only there were another war to "unite" (read: distract) the country . . .
Friends, I give you the manufactured crisis of the century. Take a scumbag dictator who's been on a very short leash for a decade, add a pinch of terrorist rhetoric, and allow the mixture to simmer in the hot summer sun for a couple of months in the heads of uneasy Americans, and voila! Saddam Hussein must be stopped! Again! Of course nobody is sure exactly what it is we must stop him from doing, but who has time for little details like that when we are preparing to go to war?
Speaking of details, let's discuss a few of them that have been completely overlooked up to this point:
Saddam supports al-Qaida, doesn't he?
Despite the Bush administration's best efforts to find it, there is no known evidence of a direct connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. I'll repeat that: There is no known evidence of a direct connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. Bush says he has some, pointing to Joe McCarthy's famous briefcase. Just for the record, indirect connections won't do it here, folks. Don't get suckered by a scenario in which Saddam Hussein's pool man once dated Osama bin Laden's hairdresser. If we want to build a case of terrorist connections based on association, we would be bombing Crawford and Kennibunkport before we bombed Baghdad. Does anybody in America really think that if Dubya actually had evidence of this connection, he would hesitate for a minute to make it public? Fat chance. If Bush had anything on Hussein, we'd be watching a live shot of Christiane Amanpour in a flak jacket on CNN right now. The problem for Bush is that lying about specific information has fallen flat as of late. Remember when State Department official, John Bolton, accused Cuba of developing a program to manufacture biological weapons? Former President Jimmy Carter shot that fabrication down the next day. It's better to just lie about having evidence than to make up a specific charge that can be checked out. Bush has evidence, he just can't share it with anybody.
Yeah, but what if Iraq has a nuclear bomb?
This wouldn't be a good thing. But the Bush administration has no evidence that Hussein has nuclear capability. The Institute for Strategic Studies issued a report a couple of weeks ago stating the following:
"Baghdad retains a strong interest in developing nuclear weapons, but it seems unlikely that Iraq has produced, or is close to producing, nuclear weapons from indigenously produced nuclear material."
The same report claims that Iraq could build a nuke "within months" if it could obtain refined nuclear material. The funny thing is that just a year ago, the Bush administration was so unconcerned with this prospect, it planned to cut spending on the cooperative nuclear security programs with Russia and the other independent states of the former Soviet Union by $100 million, or 32%, over the FY '01. That's right, Bush's FY '02 budget contained a 32% cut in the programs that keep Saddam Hussein from purchasing or stealing the very bomb-making materials that Bush is now willing to go to war over. After September 11, the Bush clowns quietly restored the funding cut and sent Condoleezza Rice around the country to lie about it. But one fact is certain: there is no evidence that Iraq will have a bomb anytime soon.
But we don't know that for sure!
Right you are! This is why we should send U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq. Hussein has indicated his willingness to accept the inspectors without conditions. Although he is probably just stalling, we should call his bluff and send the good guys back in. If there are any problems, we' ll talk about military action at that point. This process doesn't appeal to the Bush administration, though. They are no longer interested in simply verifying that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. Inspections or no, they want Hussein gone. Bush's flock of chicken hawks is giddy over the prospect of killing tens of thousands of Iraqi conscripts and thousands of Iraqi civilians because Bush doesn't like the man who rules over them. The misery that George W. Bush can't wait to inflict upon the Iraqi people is unimaginable to Americans. Is there any decent person in America who wouldn't want to explore every other avenue before unleashing the world's most efficient killing machine on another country? The answer to this question is clearly "No." The scary implication is that if recent polls are to believed, America is running out of decent people.
So if we don't have any evidence that Saddam Hussein is involved with al-Qaida, is close to developing a nuke, or will hamper the U.N. inspection teams, why do we need to overthrow him?
Bush's implied answer to this question is simple: Who cares? Whether we kill fifty thousand Iraqis or stop short of war is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Americans are talking about nothing else. Remember the crumbling economy? Corporate corruption? Pollution and climate change? Prescription drugs? Neither does anyone else. We're all way too busy with talk of war to worry about real issues, and Bush knows damn well that Republicans do better in elections when there is a war to worry about.
After al-Qaida's attack on the USS Cole, Republicans spun President Clinton's response attack as a ploy to change the subject from Monica Lewinsky. Right now, friends, George W. Bush is not merely "wagging the dog" with talk of war. He's wagging the whole damn planet.
In the last 24 hours or so, the Bush folks have started to make references to evidence that connects Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida. This effort includes Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talking about "solid evidence" of members of al-Qaida traveling to Baghdad. In addition, Rumsfeld said this:
"We have what we believe to be credible information that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe-haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal non-aggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al Qaeda have sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities."
I love the use of the word "discussed" here. No talk of an agreement, just discussions. No meetings or agreements about weapons changing hands, just al-Qaida attempting to make contact with somebody inside Iraq who could be helpful. Should Americans support the wholesale slaughter of Iraqis on evidence of travel records, discussions, and attempted contacts, alleged by an administration that has been pushing for the attack for months? Hardly. I'll believe actual evidence exists when it is presented by a third party, not simply described by a group of Republican hacks trying to influence an election and avoid discussion of the economy.
So how long will it be before the Bush administration backs away from this "evidence?" I'm sure they're hoping these embarrassingly thin accusations will satisfy those of us who are skeptical, at least until the invasion begins. Place your bets, America!
*Alright, Bush never really said this, but I'm sure if it appeared on a teleprompter, he'd rattle it right off.
Write The Angry Liberal at: email@example.com
© 2002, The Angry Liberal
otherwise noted, all original