The Exorbitant Price of George Bush's
February 11, 2005
By Dennis Rahkonen
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has
weapons of mass destruction. - Dick Cheney, Vice President, Speech
to VFW National Convention, 8/26/2002
We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and
Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. - Donald Rumsfeld,
Secretary of Defense, ABC Interview, 3/30/2003
1,400 Americans, who clearly should have never been taken from
the joys of everyday pleasures with family and friends at home,
came back from Iraq in aluminum caskets because of the Bush administration's
audacious WMD lie. They're joined by many more young men and women
who've lost limbs, eyesight, hearing and sanity for the same shameful
Meanwhile, the medical journal Lancet reports that 100,000
Iraqi noncombatants - mainly women and children - have perished
since Bush's totally unprovoked, unjustified aggression began. Considering
Iraq's population, that's the equivalent of a 9/11 casualty count
every ten or eleven days, which should harrowingly haunt all conscientious,
Lying about the war didn't stop there, of course.
Remember the toppling of Saddam's statue, using U.S. troops and
"grateful Iraqi citizens" who turned out to actually be
operatives of a partisan activist group specifically brought in
for that stage-managed propaganda event? Recall, too, the incessant
claims by Rumsfeld that Iraqi insurgents are isolated "dead-enders"
who weren't supported by the Iraqi populace, despite a poll conducted
under the Pentagon's own auspices showing overwhelming Iraqi backing
for ending what's plainly a deeply despised occupation.
The lies have been constant, and utterly absurd. Vehicles well
known to be trucks for filling Iraqi artillery balloons were ominously
misrepresented as deadly bio-chemical machines. Short-range drone
aircraft - little more than enthusiasts' flying models - were hyped
as terror delivery systems threatening the continental United States.
And let's not forget the recent Iraqi election charade.
TAINTED IRAQI "DEMOCRACY"
Originally opposed to an election (preferring instead a rule-by-viceroy
type arrangement consistent with historical imperialism), Bush relented
to direct balloting only after being pressured by the influential
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Nevertheless, the vote was more
completely organized and controlled by a foreign occupier than elections
in Hungary and Czechoslovakia had been under the Soviets decades
ago. Washington indignantly called those elections "hoaxes."
In the time that's elapsed since initial reporting boasted an
allegedly huge voter turnout, the percentage of actual participants
has sharply declined, and the degree of American manipulation has
begun to be revealed:
Penned in Arabic across the helmet of a guard inside a polling
station Sunday were the words "My God, Allah." Without as much
as a second glance, voters in the crowded school courtyard queued
past the soldier, who wore a brown speckled Iraqi military uniform
and a scarf that covered his blond moustache...He was a U.S. Marine."
- Dionne Searcey, Newsday, Feb.4, 2005
But it all seems to have backfired.
With the Sunni boycott having been virtually total, Sistani's
Shiite grouping is the election's certain winner, by a wide margin.
Second place will probably go to a Kurdish ticket, or the list including
the Iraqi Communist Party. Bush's choice, interim prime minister
and longtime CIA asset Ayad Allawi, appears destined to come in
no better than third.
Having so vociferously billed the election as an impressive example
of democratic success, Bush will now have to abide by what the winners
want, or be decisively exposed as an egregious prevaricator and
hypocrite. And what they'll want is a one-way ticket for sending
all U.S. forces out of Iraq.
If Bush goes ahead with the de facto conquest plan that
the establishment of 14 permanent U.S. military bases and the world's
largest American embassy on Iraqi soil very plainly point to, not
only will his scant, remaining credibility be shot to pieces, so,
too, will American sons and daughters for bloody months and years
to come. Or however long it takes their parents to snap out of their
jingoistic, myth-based trance and face inescapable facts - and then
angrily protest to demand a complete U.S. withdrawal.
REHASHED FASCIST FALSEHOODS
George Bush invaded Iraq as immorally, illegally and as completely
without warranted reason as Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935.
Lies as preposterously fabricated as the WMD calumny were used by
Hitler to convince the German people that attacking Poland in 1939
was mandatory. (Polish troops had supposedly first raided German
border posts, and a radio station, but the attackers were actually
Nazi provocateurs wearing Polish uniforms.)
The price we pay for such monumental deceit goes well beyond immediate
death or traumatic, bodily and emotional injury. Bush is requesting
an additional $80 billion beyond the massive outlays that have already
made his dirty war the most socially destructive guns-before-butter
folly since Vietnam.
The resulting cost can be measured in everything from public schools
and community health-care facilities forced to close for lack of
funding, to potholes in residential streets that are simply left
to deepen. Bush speaks of reducing or eliminating 150 federal programs
that benefit countless ordinary citizens, which ought to trigger
mass unrest by those who'll be hurtfully affected.
Using scare tactics reminiscent of his WMD scam, he tells us Social
Security is "going bust" and must be privatized, which
has been a right-wing foot in the door for abolishing the vital
pension program since at least Barry Goldwater's day. Any potential
Social Security shortfall, which could easily be covered by removing
the cap on incomes above $90,000, is dwarfed by the staggering amount
being squandered on an un-winnable war, plus the mammoth tax breaks
Bush freely gave the rich.
The only crisis is one of will, and priorities.
INTO THE STREETS IN MARCH
Only those content with America being increasingly despised in
global eyes, as our domestic infrastructure goes to pieces - and
as the laughing children in their back yards face a grim future
of becoming shrapnel-perforated victims of imperialism's violently
ongoing, profiteering pipedreams - can keep supporting this dreadful
president's patently dishonest, intolerably costly policy.
They'll continue listening to xenophobic Toby Keith tunes as small
flags flap from their SUV antennae, while pretending to enjoy the
worst political brainwashing since the Nazi era.
But those who listen beyond the numbing white noise of misplaced
complacency will hear other sounds. There's a rumbling beneath us
that must be acknowledged. It's Paine and Jefferson furiously whirling
in their coffins over what's happened to proper American ideals.
There's the unified voice of international public opinion, which
we can ignore only at our infinite peril. Listen to what it says
about insufferable superpower arrogance!
Finally, the beginning whispers of personal conscience suggest
from deep within that maybe - just maybe - it's wrong for the mightiest
military on earth to attack a far weaker country for an entirely
We've come light years from the categorical rectitude of our anti-fascist
WWII role to a hideous present that could well have been conceived
by Machiavelli or Rasputin if they'd had the chance to watch Apocalypse
Now while under the influence of LSD.
Can we regain our senses and set things right? Will we quit demonizing
the rest of humankind and see the terrible evil glaring back at
us in the mirror? Or will unrelentingly stubborn denial slip us
down the skids to mutual oblivion, repeating Ancient Rome's fate?
If it's holy or patriotic sanction that we're waiting for to unlimber
our wholesale dissent, both are already in place:
Do not partake in any barren works of darkness. Instead, expose
them. - Ephesians 5:11
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
- Abraham Lincoln
George Bush's price isn't right. It's absolutely wrong, and excruciatingly
high. It's time to stop payment, beginning with the coordinated,
worldwide antiwar protests that will take place everywhere on March
19-20. Watch your local, alternative news sources for information
about the demonstrations in your vicinity.
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, WI, has been writing progressive
commentary and verse since the '60s. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.