The Wrong Way Home

Random Lengths News | January 10, 2007
To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

President Theodore Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918, in the final year of WWI.

President George Bush in his address to the nation now seems poised to commit the next biggest blunder of his misguided war policy in Iraq–to “surge� more troops into an already losing conflict. As I recall this was the same rationale that President Lyndon Johnson used to escalate his failed attempt to win the Vietnam War– just send in more troops and we’ll turn the corner on this war! Yet time and again, with every denial by Cheney or Rumsfeld that this is not Vietnam, they pursue this same kind of solution as if they are trying to cleanse themselves and our history of that sullied era of political madness. The ghosts of Vietnam cannot be banished by repeating the mistakes of the past to justify the wrongs of the present, but they’re going to try anyway.

At issue is the fact that the war hasn’t been going well since the time Bush declared that it was over. Winning the peace, as it is called, is a strategy the US military just hasn’t mastered, because it entails occupying foreign lands for extended periods, which in current times, as in the past, has looked a lot like colonialism. Think of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines as successes in this realm. What our military has become expert at in the years between Vietnam and Iraq is controlling the media’s reporting, censoring if you will, both access to and reporting from the front lines– all embedded journalists and those wanting protection must file their stories through US military channels–and what we have not seen in Iraq is greater than what we have been allowed to see.

Yet, the great unwashed American public is not so easily fooled, even with watered down war coverage, some 70 percent (in the most recent poll) recognized that the war in Iraq was “un-winnable.� It’s only taken four years– so why the troop surge now?

In the early days of this war Lt. General David Petraeus of the US Army, understood what kind of battle he was engaged in “counter-insurgency.� In his new field manual by the same name, he states that the required troop levels need to be 20 troops for every thousand people in a given area. President Bush wants to surge some 20,000 troops back into Iraq, but by Petraeus’ own formula that would necessitate having 120,000 combat troops on the ground, there are currently 70,000 in all of Iraq. Even by adding the troops Bush requests the army is still 30,000 men short and this at a cost of an extra $100 billion. This by the way is just what is needed to secure Baghdad and no one is clamoring for upping the ante to $200 or $300 billion either.

Even to attain this first tier of troop surge would require calling back both reserve and national guard units for additional tours of duty, or restarting the draft, which would cause a further plummeting in Bush’s already abysmal 26 percent approval rating for his conduct of the war (in the latest Gallup Poll). Democrats in Congress should be mindful of this and take back their Constitutional powers to both declare war or not, which they technically haven’t done in this case, and to control the budget, which if you hadn’t noticed is getting a bit out of hand lately. Bush and company should simply be told NO at this point, in no uncertain terms! Are the Democrats Pelosi and Reed the ones to tell him?

What makes Bush’s position even weaker is that the Iraqi Parliament is now poised to consider one of the key and unique recommendations of the Iraq Study Group–the selling off of its nationally held oil rights to foreign interests. This would bring the accusation of “blood for oil� full circle, completely validating the “simplistic� “conspiracy theory� of early anti-war activists, and ultimately explaining the true reason to spend the extra $100 billion. Frankly, my sentiments are if the oil companies want protection then they should pay for it themselves. But selling off the key national asset of Iraq, which amounts to some 70 percent of its GNP, to foreign oil companies is probably the most destabilizing action for this propped up and hobbled pseudo–-democracy that I can think of. I am speaking about the Iraqi Parliament here, you understand.

Either Bush has sacrificed our soldiers for the war on terrorism or he has sacrificed them for the profits of the oil companies, you can’t have it both ways. But whichever way ends up being the truth it is now time to end this.

And it is Congress’ duty to exercise their balance of power to execute the will of the people not to prolong the profiteering of the corporations.

All I would like to ask is, Mr. President, what part of NO do you not understand?

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Founded in 1979 as a counterbalance to the conservative, corporate- owned daily paper, Random Lengths News draws on the rich history of the Los Angeles Harbor Area. The name harkens back to a description of the lumber that used to...
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