“One day people will look back at this moment in history and say, ‘Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come.'”
That's what President George W. Bush had to say on Monday to mark the 4,000th death of an American military servicemember in Iraq, adding that the United States must win in Iraq to ensure that those 4,000 men and women didn't die “in vain.”
But when the president speaks of “peace,” what does he mean? In Iraq? In the U.S.? Both? It was a typically vague statement from the Bush administration, which for five years now has been describing complex geopolitical warfare using overly simplistic terms, attempting to deceive the American public and the rest of the world along the way.
Whether he's talking about peace in the U.S. or Iraq, the comment is as absurd as much of what comes out of Bush's mush-mouthed gob. There was peace in Iraq before Bush attacked it—albeit uneasy and supervised by one of the globe's numerous tyrants—but there is not peace there now. And there was never a threat of anything but peace in the U.S. by anyone remotely connected to Iraq.
But the facts don't matter to Bush and sidekick Dick Cheney, who refuses to let go of the claim that if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq before achieving victory (whatever that is), the enemy (whomever that is) will follow us home and kill us in our sleep. He repeated that crazy talk, again offering no logic to support it, in an interview last week with ABC News' Martha Raddatz.
“A lot of men and women sign up because sometimes they will see developments,” Cheney also told Raddatz. “For example, 9/11 stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country.”
Here, he's once again conflating two wholly separate things—the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Iraq—because he also said that death No. 4,000 “obviously brings home, I think, for a lot of people, the cost that's involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.” And he seems to be basking in opportunism; Sept. 11, 2001, gave Cheney and his band of neoconservative warmongers the political cover they needed to do what they'd wanted to do for years prior: topple Saddam Hussein and prop up a new regime that would serve U.S. economic and military interests in the region.
It was an ideal situation: A wave of patriotism following the attacks compels Congress to fall in line behind plans to send to war a new crop of patriotic troops, who believe the lies about Iraq being responsible for the murder of more than 3,000 people on U.S. soil. So it didn't really matter to Cheney that Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer turned an efficient invasion and regime change into a bloody civil war; he and Bush had their captive troops, and they had the authority to unilaterally and indefinitely extend the contracts of the troops who so enthusiastically enlisted. He absolves himself and his boss of responsibility by noting several times in the Raddatz interview that these young men and women volunteered. So screw 'em, right, Dick?
Meanwhile, Bush, Cheney and their surrogates, including John McCain, are now telling us last year's increase in troops in Iraq has miraculously solved the awful security problem there, when the truth is far more complicated:
Neighborhoods had already been segregated amid the civil war between Sunni and Shi'a, and the U.S. military began paying Sunni insurgents to join the fight against the foreign fighters that flooded the country once the invasion created a security vacuum and established the safe haven for terrorists Cheney and Bush say pose such a threat to the United States.
It's amazing how the president and vice president are allowed to continue to tell this vile circular story.
They should have been impeached two years ago for lying to the American public in order to launch an illegal war.
Instead, they're going to be allowed to shuffle merrily out of the White House, leaving behind an occupation that we can't maintain because we can't keep sending the same 150,000 people over there—an occupation that has killed 4,000 Americans and physically and/or psychologically injured tens of thousands of others, has killed nearly 90,000 Iraqi civilians (according to Iraqbodycount.org) and maimed countless others, has forced an estimated 5 million to 6 million Iraqis to abandon their homes and has cost us $3 trillion, according to one estimate. Amid all that, there's no hope in sight for a long-term political resolution in Iraq.
The only silver lining is that if or when American No. 5,000 dies over there, neither Cheney nor Bush will feel compelled to feed us their bullshit commentary.
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