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Bob Zimmerman: Withdraw Before It's Too Late

Withdrawal Will Save Many Lives: Bring Our Troops Home

By Bob Zimmerman
Tiburon, California, May 10, 2004

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld calls the actions of our troops ''totally unacceptable and un-American.'' But, President Bush boasts we will ''stay the course'' in Iraq. His course, dubbed “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” is a dishonorable, murder-laden, failure; the Bush course is an endless minefield that yields nothing but the death, maiming, and the torture of innocents; in sum nothing but catastrophic human suffering. While our soldiers die in ever-increasing numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting to complete an ill-defined mission based on nothing more than Bush lies, Bush hits the campaign trail and laughingly thanks his hosts for an “excuse to get out of the White House.”

Retired Army general and former director of the National Security Agency under President Reagan William Odom says, “Iraqi anger at U.S. troop presence and the systemic murder and torture of innocent Iraqis has spun irretrievably out of control. The only way out is immediate withdrawal. Once you’ve done a stupid thing you don’t fix it by keeping at it. The only question is how long we’re going to wait to leave and what price we’ll pay if we try to stay.” The plan to invade Iraq was writ by Bush neocons long before 9/11. Bush then used 9/11 to pummel a terrified Congress into granting him the very war powers they must now revoke.

Bush neocons and apologists (Richard Perle, Joseph Lieberman, and others) lied to us about the Bush administration’s real ambitions and intentions. Their plan to invade Iraq was never about exporting democracy. Nor was it about conquering al Qaeda, or finding WMD, or to cure an imminent threat. These were gigantic lies to cover for their real intentions. Bush ordered the invasion to “one-up” his father who repeatedly warned that an American occupation of Iraq would produce nothing but horrors. The Bush neocons had different motivators. They sought personal power, war profits and cheap oil. They sought to fulfill their ambitions for global military domination and economic exploitation. (See the web-based Project for a New American Century).

By every reasonable measure—Bush admits it—the invasion of Iraq and the American torture of Iraqis are a bloody stain on America. This ungodly invasion is Bush-led fascism in action. The neocon prescription for peace is perpetual war. The neocons have threatened war with any group or any nation that stands against their hegemonic ambitions. War—in all of its hideously manifold forms—is an archaic festival staged by impotent, armchair, fools attempting to intoxicate their unexceptional lives. The weapons, the slaughter, the torture, the strutting, the lies, the mockery, the bravado are all pitiful attempts to breathe life into lifeless elites and the life-denying structures of government they now control. Strong nations shun war. Strong nations go to war only as a last resort or to end genocides. Truly strong nations do not invoke false propagandistic phrases like free trade, free markets, and economic globalization as cover to dominate weaker nations.

The former Soviet Union aggressively attempted to export communism. That hideous project came to a screeching halt when its leaders realized such ambitions were a foolish. But, sensing a power vacuum as the Cold War receded, neocons in and around the U.S. government decided to take up the Soviet folly, merely substituting the phrase freedom and democracy for communism. The Bush-led neocon folly must also come to a screeching halt.

Unfortunately, too many Americans are more like sheep than torchbearers for democracy. They are more concerned with narrow self-interests than with creating real conditions for peace on earth. Without thinking through the consequences of their actions, Americans elect mostly fools, cowards, and self-seekers to run the executive and legislative branches of our federal and state governments. They favor phonies like Bush or uneducated, celebrities like California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. They refuse to decode their lies. The more they are lied to, the harder it is for them to understand that just about everything the Bush neocons say is a lie.

Bush’s miserable record in Iraq shows that our soldiers are unsuited to assuring the security of the Iraqi people. Our presence in Iraq only ups the probability that Iraq will erupt into a lengthy, bloody, and unnecessary civil war. Americans must realize that democracy is not a commodity we can readily export or an ideology we can impose on other nations. Democracy must be home grown and nourished by citizen desire, sweat, and toil.

To begin on a path toward peace, Americans and the Congress must recant Bush fascism and the explosive dynamic it has created. We must immediately withdraw every American soldier and contractor from Iraq. We must reverse the seizure of Iraqi assets by western business interests. And we must pay proper reparations to the families of suffering Iraqis, to orphaned Iraqi children, and for reconstruction. The work of rebuilding and governing Iraq is Iraqi work, work that the United Nations and NGO’s can help with, but only to the extent that Iraqis opt for that help.

With these strategic initiatives, America will begin to demonstrate to a suspicious world that we are abandoning our unilateralist foreign policy and seeking to rejoin the world’s family of nations as a partner instead of a dictator. Our planet and its peoples are far too fragile to withstand another four years of Bush invoked “shock and awe.”

The myth that the American military is the only way to bring peace to Iraq, the Middle East, or anywhere else is as wrongheaded as the domino principle was in Vietnam and Bush militarism generally.

# # # # #

By Bob Zimmerman, author of The American Challenge:

Twenty-One Winning Strategies for the 21st Century

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