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by Max Boehnel
Friday, Mar. 31, 2006 at 5:25 AM
American legitimacy is undermined. Hardly anyone believes in American morals any more. American credibility was shattered.. The present rests on errors of the past, lies and crimes. The Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy with the Iraq invasion.
“WE ARE IN A CHAOS”
“Operation Iraqi Freedom” seems to be undermining the US government after three years
by Max Boehnel
[This article published in the German-English cyber-journal Telepolis, 3/20/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/22/22283/1.html.]
Three years after the Iraq invasion (1), the Bush administration made a series of speeches to calm the increasingly skeptical American public and give reason for optimism. However the greatly publicized “Operation Swarmer” that began in the middle of March hardly tore anyone from his or her seat – except for the media that jumped on the PR-train [Media spin fails (2)].
US president Bush declared on the evening of March 19, 2003: “My fellow citizens, at this hour, American coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”
On Monday, US president George Bush believed he could discover “signs of a hopeful future.” The US had “a comprehensive victory strategy.” In the middle of the week, he added to the fire with a new version of the preventive war doctrine that in its text attached more importance to diplomacy but in its substance emphasized again the US unilateral striving for hegemony [The greatest threat comes from Iran (3)]. Only stale confessions and staying-the-course slogans are left. Never without drastic comparisons, Pentagon head Donald Rumsfeld in the Washington Post (4) even equated the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion with the time just before the victory over Nazi Germany.
“Consider that if we retreat now, here is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum – and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis.”
The latest poll results (6) show that the American public in no way believe they stand right before a global historical turn of an era. Three years after the invasion, the Bush administration finds itself at another all-time low in the polls.
Washington is obviously trying to help its republican colleagues in Congress before the Congressional elections in the fall – unsuccessfully. At the beginning of Bush’s latest PR-offensive, a joint poll (6) by CNN, USA Today and Gallup discovered that 57 percent of the interviewees regarded the war as a mistake. Nearly two-thirds think that the “striving for democracy and order” in Iraq has failed. Only one of three interviewees believes the government has a victory- or withdrawal strategy.
Another poll (7) this week from the NBC TV station and the “Wall Street Journal” revealed that only a third rate Bush’s work as good. 58 percent believe the president in the long term will not be able to work himself out of the poll cellar. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) plead for a troop reduction in Iraq. Survey experts – whether near to democrats or republicans – share the opinion that all the problems of the unpopular Bush administration can be ultimately referred back to the Iraq war. Even advisors of the White House admit that the attempt to concretize political initiatives from Bush’s New Year address was later nipped in the bud one-and-a-half months later.
The third anniversary is occasion for the US media to discuss numbers, poll results and opinions (8) that are in no way flattering for the Bush administration. On Thursday, the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq stood at 2311. Calculations (9) have shown that 20 civilians died daily of war-related injuries in Iraq in the first year of the war, 31 in the second year and 36 in the third, not including March. The number of killed civilians in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion is staggering.
The tax monies for direct costs like military operations and “reconstruction” amount to 8 billion (10). The repayment costs for the debts are not included in this total. At the beginning of 2006, the economists Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes made a cost estimate in the case of a troop withdrawal between 2010 and 2015. The war would cost between one trillion and 2.2 trillion dollars [Corrosive calculation with the Iraq war (11)]. The monthly costs are around .6 billion.
Given these astronomic numbers, a relative calm still prevails in the American public because the Iraq war and the dead on the American side are abstractions. Only a tiny minority knows a soldier deployed in Iraq or the soldier’s family. “Business as usual” rules the daily routine. A war-related state of emergency in the whole country does not exist. In its latest issue, the leftist weekly “The Nation” (12) concluded that the consequences of the Iraq war are now being felt for the first time after three years.
In the television news, the third anniversary of the invasion is only seen in one-minute news bites. Background reports are faded out. Nevertheless prominent persons speak out again and again behind the scenes. Former national security advisor under president Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski said recently: “We are in a chaos. American legitimacy is undermined. Hardly anyone believes in American morals any more. American credibility is shattered.” The Bush administration, Brzezinski said, is “unable to form a clear judgment or develop alternatives because the present rests on errors of the past, in some cases on lies and in others on crimes.”
Neo-conservative war-mongerers of the past are also shocked about the reality and slogans of the Bush administration. The most prominent “neo-con” who recently said he was ashamed of having been a neo-con is professor Francis Fukuyama, one of the members of the Project for a New American Century (13) that ideologically prepared the Iraq war. In the New York Times Magazine, Fukuyama wrote (14) the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophesy with the Iraq invasion.
Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, training ground and base of operations for Jihad terrorists with lots of American targets.
Neo-conservatism, Fukuyama says, as a “political symbol and system of thought has become something I can no longer support.”
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