16th September 02:49
U.S. Falling Into Bin Laden's Trap
U.S. Falling Into Bin Laden's Trap
Bogged Down In A Guerrilla War, Iraq May Be George Bush's Little Big
by Eric Margolis
Here in Canada's "make love, not war" capital, I am reminded of a
French reader who asked me last week, "Why was Bill Clinton impeached for
making love, while George Bush goes unpunished for making a war over fake
Excellent question, monsieur.
Asked on TV this week about steadily mounting attacks on U.S.
occupation forces in Iraq, President Bush narrowed his eyes, and hunched
forward aggressively - thrilling his ardent fans from Biloxi to Paducah -
and growled, "Bring 'em on!" - a call to battle worthy of the famously
dimwitted American general, George Armstrong Custer who, like Bush, knew
what he knew and didn't need advice.
Listening to such adolescent boasting from a man who never heard a
shot fired in anger outside of downtown Washington, D.C. made me gag. Bush,
let's recall, dodged real military service during the Vietnam war by making
occasional appearances at the Texas Air National Guard. Watching him play
John Wayne at Iwo Jima for the benefit of his adoring core voters, some of
whom believe Elvis is still alive, made me realize how much American
politics has been debased by the double whammy of catch-me-if-you can Bill
Clinton and truth-deprived George Bush.
I know a real Marine when I see one. My father served in the Pacific
in the renowned 5th Marine Amphibious Division, and fought at hellish Iwo
I mention these points because I am appalled watching Bush and his
neo-conservative handlers pursue an imperial war in Iraq that will kill or
wound growing numbers of American GIs and turn Iraq into the ugly twin of
the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. Decent, honest, good-natured
American soldiers are now being turned into a colonial occupation army. All
colonial wars - Algeria, Chechnya, Kashmir, Aceh, Palestine - are similar.
Occupying forces in these dirty wars become brutalized, sadistic and
cynical. Look back at Vietnam.
I shudder watching American GIs kicking down doors of civilian homes
in the dead of night, threatening screaming children with their weapons,
hooding suspects, firing into crowds of demonstrators, and calling air
strikes on villages.
As night follows day, this nasty war will lead, as all colonial wars
do, to torture, masked informers, reprisals against civilians, secret
executions. That's what happened in Indochina. Just last week, Amnesty
International sharply rebuked the U.S. for brutalizing and humiliating
White House propaganda
Bush's claims that mounting attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq are the
work of Saddam Hussein loyalists and "terrorists" belong in the same trash
bin as White House propaganda about weapons of mass destruction. Yes, there
are some Baath party loyalists fighting U.S. occupation, but so are many
more ordinary Iraqis who are reacting as would any other proud people to an
invasion of their country.
George Bush has well and truly stuck the U.S. into twin quagmires in
both Afghanistan and Iraq. These ongoing guerrilla wars, and their
logistical support, now tie down some 175,000 men, fully one third of total
U.S. ground forces. Back in the 1980s, Osama bin Laden preached that the
only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world was to bleed it in a score
of small guerrilla wars. Bush, who now threatens to attack Iran, is falling
right into bin Laden's strategic trap. Bravo, Mr. President.
Iraq is not Vietnam, but we see disturbing reminders of America's
Indochina debacle. The U.S. pro-consul for Iraq, Paul Bremer, just requested
more troops - shades of Gen. William Westmoreland.
Roads in Iraq are increasingly unsafe. Attacks against U.S. military
forces are both of the spontaneous amateur kind, and organized assaults by
former military men. Corruption, civic collapse and political chaos hang
over everything. The Iraqi oil that was supposed to pay for this Bush
colonial adventure, and enrich powerful Republican corporate political
donors, is barely being pumped due to sabotage.
Faced by the growing messes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush
administration is trying to emulate its role model, the late, unlamented
British Empire, by hiring mercenaries to do the dirty work in Iraq.
Washington is offering billions to India and Pakistan to send 15,000 troops
each to pacify Iraq's unruly natives.
No one in the West will care if Indian or Pak mercenaries kill Iraqis
or burn down their homes.
Other nations like Poland, Italy and Bulgaria are being pressured or
bribed to send token forces to help pull Bush's chestnuts out of the fire in
Iraq. Canada has been browbeaten into sending troops to increasingly
dangerous Afghanistan where they have no useful mission other than
protecting the widely detested regime of U.S.-installed puppet ruler, Hamid
The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the uglier the guerrilla war will
get. And the more Americans will realize they were led into this needless
conflict by a second George Custer manipulated by a cabal of
neo-conservatives whose primary loyalty is not to the United States.
Copyright © 2003, CANOE