-- Carl von Clausewitz
Of all the facetious arguments for staying the course in Iraq, none is more morally or intellectually bankrupt than the one that says we must do so to honor our dead. As father of a Marine killed in Iraq Paul Schroeder puts it:
Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?
No one ever honored those killed in war, or made their deaths more heroic, by adding to their number. The Bush administration and its supporters know that. They're not continuing to send troops to Iraq to honor our casualties. They're sending our troops over there to achieve what they intended to accomplish from the outset.
The Tangled Web
A visit to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) web site makes it clear what Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and others were up to in the nineties. The neoconservative cabal had a clear vision of how they intended to establish a post-modern American empire once they could bring the GOP back into power. A key component of that vision was regime change in Iraq through armed invasion as a means of ensuring a steady flow of oil from the Middle East.
In September of 2000, the PNAC published a manifesto titled Rebuilding America's Defenses. This 78 page document reveals that even before the November election, current and former members of the Bush administration were already determined to occupy the Middle East even if Saddam Hussein were no longer in control of Iraq.
The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
But the neocons realized that the process of realizing their vision would "likely be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event--like a new Pearl Harbor."
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon gave them just the "catastrophic and catalyzing event" they were looking for.
Beware of Neocons Bearing Gifts
We may never know the true nature of the "intelligence failures" that led to the 9/11 attacks and the bogus assessments on Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda. A reasonable assumption questions whether that many supposedly smart people could possibly have made that many honest mistakes, but assumptions aren't proof.
Still, we should be wary of administration claims of intentions to begin a troop drawdown in Iraq. It could well be a feint, a stratagem designed to maintain a GOP majority in the House and Senate during the 2006 elections. If the administration maintains partisan control of Congress, we're likely to see a return to the administration's original plan.
By 2008, we'll have gone so far down the neoconservative path of never ending war and conquest that the religious right's God himself won't be able to step in and save us from the perpetual motion machinery of our national self destruction.