Persian Gulf of Tonkin
By: Brian Rehak - 06/10/03
When first we met 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,' we were told by Mr. Bush that we HAD TO INVADE IRAQ IMMEDIATELY because Saddam Hussein was about to make use sell mail ship drop spray a wide and rich collection of chemical, biological, AND nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
The salient fact that Reagan-Bush and the Europeans gladly sold Saddam his WMD technology back in the 1980s was not brought up in mixed company.
Mr. Bush was having trouble selling the War, so Mr. Powell showed our 'non-proof' to the United Nations in a much-hyped made-for-TV Adlai Stevenson 'Cuban Missile Crisis' moment, but the pansy cowards REJECTED US!
The Administration took out its anger on the French and all those Peacenik Hollywood Limousine Gay Liberal Elitist Media Traitors!. Not to be outdone, a proud Republican Congress renamed the spuds on Capitol Hill, 'Freedom Fries.' 'Black List' became the new black.
Fox News and all the nut right radio voices raised the alarm. The Barbarians were at the gate!!! Oddly enough, many Iraqis later said the same thing of us.
In reality, a lot of good people who normally admire and trust America looked intently at Mr. Powell's Iraqi WMD presentation in the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 and realized that thanks to our hyper-advanced technology, we proved beyond ANY doubt that we had absolutely NO solid evidence, and we had the secret photos to prove it!
Then the Bush Wranglers took command! The order: SPIN WAR!
Screw the U.N.! Screw the Frickin French! Sean Penn is a sissy boy! ATTACK! Cry havoc and loose the dogs of Rumsfeld!!!
We MUST act to bring peace to a waiting world and drive out the dictator! We MUST bring American-style Democracy to the poor oppressed Iraqi People. They'll greet us as liberators, like when we took Paris in WWII. Damn, the PRIDE IS BACK! We're on a CRUSADE FOR DEMOCRACY! Roll Country Music! Cue FIREWORKS!
Our bombs may turn out to be smarter than the folks who insisted we drop them.
They promised us SHOCK & AWE and damn if we didn't get it.
SHOCK, that after we trashed the country and all these people died on both sides, the WMD and Saddam are both still missing inside Iraq, along with a lot of precious artifacts, and the Bush Administration's dwindling credibility.
AWE, that maybe the entire rest of the World just MAY have been 'partially correct' in suggesting we were acting in haste and Mr. Wolfowitz just MAY have devised the WRONG Neocon Chicken Hawk Sure Fire 2004 Victory OP PLAN? You want to bet this staffed out a lot better than it's going? Ari picked a good time to book.
There is shock, and awe, and great sadness. Across Iraq, still strewn with thousands of weapons and munitions, a lot of really pissed off 'Free Iraqis' are showing their gratitude to Mr. Bush by killing our kids, and our kids are killing them back. They are starting to hate us. For which Bush concept of 'Iraqi Freedom' are all these new people now dying? Fake foreign policy still causes real deaths.
The Iraqis are fighting back because the Bush Administration apparently wants to dictate their civil government, control religious thought, structure their economy, set the makeup of their courts, exploit their mineral wealth, limit their press freedoms, and thwart the political will of a majority.
They want to run Iraq just like Neocon America!
Except, they also want to control all the GUNS. The NRA is not big in Baghdad, and apparently guns DO kill people. Iraqis have until June 14 to hand in their heavy weapons, or face a year in jail. Could this mean AK-47's are really dangerous in civil hands?
Ever notice how a dumb idea is still dumb no matter how many people drink a beer to it? "Gulf War II: This time we mean it!"
A lot of very satisfied GOP WAR supporters watched Fox News at the sports bar and high-fived each other with every missile strike. They are the backbone of today's Republican Party. Call them, the 'Ignorati.' They are SURE one of the Teletubbies is gay. They are at once pro life and pro death penalty. They know Satan is real, and global warming is not. They await 'The Rapture.' They view poverty as a character defect. They can't be distracted by the facts. They love Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and wanted America to kick some Camel Jockey Ass! HOORAHHH!
One dares not inflame the Ignorati, lest they get 'DIXIECHICKED.' Getting Dixiechicked is just like when an old business associate uses the massive national media power you gave him to trash somebody you don't like. But that would be wrong...
The KEY to the Ignorati's favor is they always need somebody to HATE. A-RABS are easy to hate, and damn if everybody doesn't hate the French. Without blind hatred, being ignorant loses a lot of its appeal as a lifestyle.
So Bush gave them GREAT 'non-reality TV' -- "Troops Gone Wild: Baghdad," and THE PRIDE WAS BACK. Every time a two billion dollar B-2 dropped a smart bomb on a mud hut, the Ignorati CHEERED! Desert camo clothing sales were off the chart. Manhood was back in season.
They LOVED our Iraqi 'non-victory,' but were soon ready to chase 'the next big thing,' The Ignorati are easy. Sometimes it's as simple as landing a jet on an aircraft carrier, or doing a tax cut, or having Fox News shift to a nice gooey murder, and the rest of the 24/7 media blindly follows, because Fox may not be a lot of things, but it IS Number One. This is not to be confused with 'Number Two,' which some folks think it also is.
Along the Potomac, the 'Beltway Centurions' are still basking in the afterglow of big poll numbers as they help the 'Ignorati' celebrate our wonderful 'non-victory,' and the first bright days of the great postwar 'non peace.' As Mr. Bush retains his edge in the opinion polls, it appears 7 in 10 Americans would rather be lied to by a Republican.
The U.S. economy has lost 3.1 million jobs under Bush, much of it from corporate greed, but the Reverend Mr. Ashcroft, is busy making sure the critical Martha Stewart case doesn't suffer by wasting DOJ resources on Enron or Bush supporter Ken Lay. It's June, and their dreams turn to moving Clarence Thomas up to Chief Justice.
It would be un-American to sully this proud moment, but slowly, defiantly some folks on both sides of Congress are starting to ask some very untidy questions of the Bush Administration and the U.S. Intelligence Community about why we went to war at all. They speak for our dead kids.
Odd to see the words 'Intelligence' and 'Bush Administration' in the same wire story.
The finger pointing is already starting. What did Bush know, and when did he misstate it? Retired spook talking heads from DIA, NSA, and CIA are busy defending turf. The Intel was cooked! The Bush Spinmeisters were all over the Sunday talk shows, saying the still-missing WMD we HAD to invade Iraq for are...well, no big deal... Saddam is gone! Get over it!
Could the Republicans just be profiting from other people's misery as always? Maybe it WAS only about oil? Would the Cheney-Halliburton Administration dare openly mislead us?
We HAD to go in. We HAD no choice. World Peace was at stake! If we didn't stop them here, now, they'd poison the whole region and the World would be drawn into NUU-CUU-LAR WAR! Such was the Administration's power that we all supported the President. To question our holy right to kick ass was to risk mayhem in any cowboy bar in the land. We're behind you, Mr. President!!! The year was 1964. The President was Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973).
'Gulf of Tonkin' is seldom heard today, but it dominated and tore apart two generations in this country. We HAD to go in there, too....
On the afternoon of August 2, 1964, the US Navy destroyer Maddox (DD-731) was off of North Vietnam, near Hon Me Island in the Gulf of Tonkin on a secret DESOTO Intelligence patrol in support of U.S.-backed coastal interdiction raids. The U.S. was not officially at war. Three North Vietnamese torpedo boats reportedly came out from Hon Me and attacked the Maddox unsuccessfully, though one machine gun bullet did hit the destroyer. This was the "first attack."
The Maddox then left the Gulf of Tonkin, but came back on August 3, accompanied by another destroyer, the Turner Joy (DD-951). On the night of August 4, radar operators on Turner Joy reported 'torpedo boats' attacking and both ships fired hundreds of rounds in a confused and frantic night surface action. This was the "second attack."
On August 5, following Johnson's orders, planes from the US aircraft carriers, Ticonderoga and Constellation, carried out retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam. At Johnson's insistence, an inflamed Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, otherwise called Joint Resolution of Congress H.J. RES 1145, on August 7, 1964.
It begins, "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."
The document became an excuse, and a blank check.
About sixty thousand dead American kids later, Richard Nixon declared 'non-victory' and we ran away. The long-suffering Vietnamese people finally threw off their foreign oppressors and set to installing some dandy home-grown ones. It later surfaced that perhaps there was no actual torpedo boat "second attack" that dark night in the Tonkin Gulf. Things were 'confused.' People who were there are not sure today what the hell happened. Would the Johnson Administration dare mislead us?
The honored dead whose names give sweet majesty to the Vietnam Memorial can never know all their brave young sacrifice might have spun from a lie. At least those guys got a Wall. While today's Iraqi vets are serving in harm's way, the Republicans last week cut a tax credit that would have greatly benefitted low paid enlisted people with kids.
When questioned during a Cabinet meeting today about our complete failure to find any Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction in the two months since we 'took' Baghdad, a defiant Mr. Bush was quoted by AP, "I am absolutely convinced that with time, we'll find out they did have a weapons program."
Program? What about the actual WMD? We HAD to invade?
When asked if his credibility is at stake, Bush said, "The credibility of this country is based upon our strong desire to make the world more peaceful, and the world is now more peaceful after our decision."
Your concept of 'peaceful' depends if you're a forever-rich Texas Oil Guy in a neat government job, or just some nameless brave American PFC playing, "Survivor: The Tigress" for real.
Last night in our new 'Free Iraq,' at a traffic checkpoint near Qaim, two people with pistols got out of their car and killed one more American soldier. Since Baghdad fell on April 9, 39 U.S. troops have been killed by hostile action and 41 have died in accidents, bringing deaths in 'Iraqi Freedom' to 182. Eighty of our best and brightest have fallen SINCE Saddam's statue was toppled. For WMD? For Halliburton? For what, exactly?
Meanwhile, officials at the looted Iraq Central Bank began printing millions of 'Saddam Dinars' last week to ease a crisis over bogus 10,000-Dinar notes. Bad planning has forced Iraq's U.S.-led administrators to print new banknotes with Saddam's smiling face still on them. Perhaps they couldn't find an engraving of David Lesar, Halliburton's current CEO.
Consider the poor North Koreans in all this. They are the next carnival act in the Bush Show. They yearn to lose a war to America just to cash in, but up against these folks, they might just win. Then where would we be?
Since the Bush Administration fell so in love with 'Shock & Awe,' a concept introduced in the popular Nazi Magazine, "Signal," perhaps it's fitting to label the current Bush Iraqi combat situation in equally Teutonic terms.
'Sturm und Dung' might work. No, let's call it, 'Schysskriege.'
The modern concept of Schysskriege depends on the folks who blindly support the war being no smarter than those who rule them. It seems to be working here perfectly. Thank God Mr. Bush didn't listen to those timid souls who insisted we continue to search for the Iraqi WMD before actually starting a religious war we can't now stop.
Our favorite Roman historian, Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), speaks to the Bush people once more, "Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty."
Empires are so predictable.
Brian Rehak, a contributing writer for Liberal Slant, is based in Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com
Back to: Liberal Slant
The views expressed herein are the writers' own
and do not necessarily reflect those of Liberal Slant
LIBERALSLANT Web Publications.
All rights reserved. firstname.lastname@example.org