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July 19/05-Iraq a distraction

OPINION     July 19/05

          Iraq A Distraction

    There are those who still insist that Iraq was not, and is not, a distraction from the war on terrorism, and that the European bombings are not the result of the invasion of Iraq. And they are wrong. Or mostly wrong.

     For it’s true when they say that the conception and planning of 9/11 took place back in the 90s when a somewhat less aggressive America intervened in favor of the Muslims of Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovar. And, so, considering we did these nice things for the Muslims, why did they repay us with 9/11? Well, it is said, they simply hate our guts.  So if the invasion in Iraq did not stir up and provide an extra sparkplug for Islamic young bloods to think radically and engage in anti-American violence, then what did? It was only, they say, because of the shackling of the minds of Islamic peoples by oppressive and corrupt leaders, secular or fundamentalist, resulting in a festering hatred which is easily redirected outward past the vast cultural divide toward the west, in particular the great Satan America. And they just hate us, Bush says. “They just hate our freedom.”

    Well, yes, I would agree, our very culture--the freedom of our women, our consumption of alcohol, our sexual explicitness, our infidel religions or total lack thereof--is an affront to fundamentalist Muslims; and our freedom to self-express is a major threat to dictators. And it’s true, our corporate/political/military overreach in different parts of the world while hypocritically supporting dictators in the name of our national interests, is well documented, and for decades has been spoon-fed as Godless imperialism to angry young men in mosques by fire breathing clerics. All true, but the fact is, Iraq did play into the hands of the preachers of hate; it did, and does, provide the additional squirts of fuel to an already fiery group of potential insurgents and suicide bombers. 

  And, sorry to insist, the truth remains--Iraq is a distraction, and a bottomless pit into which we have poured American lives and billions of dollars, in spite of the fact there were no hidden WMDs or imbedded al-Qaeda terrorists. Fighting the terrorists in Iraq so as not to fight them in America, no matter how often Bush/Cheney say it, is a total fiction. The uranium for weaponry supposedly sought by Saddam in Niger, that Bush referred to so dramatically during his state of the union speech, was shown by Joseph Wilson to be false--a lie, not a mistake, which was repeated anyway by Cheney; all of which was followed by Karl Rove and another yet-unknown source, talking respectively to Novak and Cooper about Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, being with the CIA (in actuality an undercover agent); and while Rove, as he claims, might merely have replied to questions, and might not have mentioned her by name, it is fair to suggest that he and the Bush administration were anxious to slam Wilson for his NY Times Op Ed piece, his disagreement with the infamous 16-word lie delivered by our president in his speech. And we went to war with shock and awe.  

      Democracy for the Middle East was the last desperate cover in a long line of the evolution of lies for a trumped up war, democracy almost like an afterthought--yeah, whew, this is good--democracy--when in fact it was Bush’s vendetta and Cheney’s yearning for Iraqi oil for his pals; oil which we have yet to significantly tap because our thinly spread troops are unable to protect the sources. This war distracts us from the reality of Afghanistan where we should have concentrated our volunteer military; this wilderness place where our special forces are spilling their blood, where we are unable to control an exploding drug trade, the likes of which would scare the pants off our narcotics policemen--this poppy cultivation that has more then tripled to a size never before seen. A place where we can’t prosecute an anti-drug campaign because the Pentagon fears, with too few troops, it might trigger a retaliatory a war with the Afghan warlords who are becoming rich as kings from drugs, a retaliation which might result in the destabilization of the Kabul government, such as it is.

    Iraq distracts us from the reality of what will be our expanding requirements for home security; from the need for national guardsman that are currently filling the combat ranks in Iraq, when they should be on their home turf protecting our borders and supplementing a police force in securing our mass transit. Distracts us from the billions of dollars being used to fight the terrorists there, when we should be using these funds to better prepare ourselves to fight them here, with whatever new and expensive security technology that needs to be developed. For instance: to check each and every ship’s container that is off-loaded onto our docks and transported overland; to install security cameras on every subway platform; to secure us from whatever home grown sleeper cells that may exist, by an expanded training of Islamic speaking infiltrators; to provide investigators--perhaps Israeli trained--at our air terminals, to carefully interrogate some of these incoming second- generation British and European Nationals in possession of legal passports and visas, who might be intent on doing us harm. Plus whatever my lack of security expertise prevents me from describing, but you get the message.

     It has been noted: this “war on terror” is being fought by a mere 0.5 percent of our mostly youthful population, a group who have no say in policy, whose flag-draped coffins are rarely in sight; while the adult people who do have a say make certain their own offspring are kept a good distance from harm’s way. The Bush administration is closed, secretive and vindictive, and those within who dissent are shoved aside or fired. And those who might have to fall on their swords for Bush’s misdeeds will no doubt be rewarded post resignation with corporate opportunities. We can’t cut and run after so much loss of life, we’re stuck; and we’re distracted from thinking  of our huge deficit and the fact that it's being supported in a major way by the Chinese buying billions of dollars of our fed bonds, that we'd be in very deep do-do if they started nuking us by heavy selling; distracted from wondering how different it might have been if we had focused mainly on Afghanistan and American borders.

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