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Douglas O'Rourke: Of Patriots And Fools

Of Patriots And Fools

by Douglas O'Rourke

LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2004 ( -- As Americans celebrate their most somber Memorial Day in a generation, consider that while true patriots like Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Douglas Feith, Stephen Cambone, Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, and Ahmad Chalabi boldly and wisely worked to rush the country to war, tentative fools like Eric Shinseki and Thomas White urged needless caution.

Never heard of Shinseki and White? Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki and Army Secretary Thomas White, both decorated veterans of Vietnam ground combat, astutely warned the Bush people they were headed toward disaster. Mr. Rumsfeld brusquely fired them both. He also ignored a torrent of retired generals and policy pros advising against the whole adventure, including combat veteran and Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

A year later, as the body count rises and their poll numbers fall, the Bush patriots have wrapped themselves even deeper in the flag -- the same flag that each new Gold Star mother gets handed free from a grateful nation, as she tearfully buries her fallen son or daughter. AP reports that Warrior-President George W. Bush now has the very pistol Saddam Hussein was clutching when captured. This 'non-smoking gun' may prove to be the most tragic war trophy in U.S. history.

The Republicans invented an imaginary Iraqi A-Bomb, then dropped it on themselves.

Today's Operation Iraqi Freedom is the lunatic alternative to America's actual war on the people behind 9/11. That war is being fought on the cheap by an elite, under-supported, and nearly forgotten group of brave special forces troops in Afghanistan, and in a hundred back alleys around the world by our spies. The Iraq affair has robbed critical manpower and resources from that real terror war -- the one we must win to ever be safe. It's non-traditional and hard to package in a tidy photo-op. It requires dynamic tactics and leadership a lot smarter than this lot.

The Republicans have created a 'war' for their own purposes before. The Reagan folks invaded Grenada in October 1983, on three days notice, to divert attention from the horrible terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut which had killed 241 troops. They handed out more Grenada medals than there were men in the attack force, and Americans soon forgot about the dead Marines. Later, we quietly pulled out of Lebanon -- the mission a complete failure.

As it always does, history will sort out who was a patriot and who was a fool, but whatever the details, it will be a lesson for the ages -- an example of just what can happen when a super power is run by less than super people.

-- Dick Cheney, the Uber-Veep, earned almost as much from his Halliburton deal last year as from his day job as Shadow President. Time Magazine reports there's an e-mail floating around tying his office to the secret decision to award Halliburton fat no-bid contracts for much of the pricy work in bringing quagmire out of chaos in Iraq. He claims no conflict of interest but keep in mind that each time an Iraqi pipeline gets blown up, Halliburton makes money fixing it. The oil giant showed their appreciation by apparently then double-billing U.S. taxpayers for millions.

-- Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor has been missing of late from the public debate. She has a clear, scholarly rationale for every bad thing we've done in Iraq.

-- Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, and acknowledged father of the Bush 'War on the Cheap' doctrine. An Army report suggests as many as 25% of U.S. casualties are the result of inadequate support and equipment. He skillfully deflected the press in the run up to the war, but had no plan at all for what came next. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney think he's doing a 'superb' job.

-- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy to Mr. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, has been a consistent cheerleader for the war and a rabid critic of all those who opposed it. He's been markedly consistent in underestimating every aspect of the conflict, including even the number of Americans it's killed (by some 200) when he was interviewed last month.

-- Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, helped write the original 1992 position paper that formed the basis for the Bush war against Saddam. He has a tin ear to those subtleties that strain public opinion and is among the last of the true believers.

-- Douglas Feith, Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, apparently coordinated the awarding of the Halliburton contract for his boss, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz. As far as policy goes, he was one of those who thought 75,000 troops in Iraq were better than the 500,000 the Pentagon demanded. Our kids continue to die every day because they are too few.

-- Stephen Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, is one of the men behind our triumphant search for the dreaded Iraqi WMD. Note that it was the Reagan-Bush folks who originally provided the biological and chemical weapons to Saddam in the 1980's.

-- Richard Perle, Neocon champion and Pentagon advisor, was trying to defend the war plan and Ahmad Chalabi's actions as recently as this week. A major behind-the-scenes player, he pushed hardest for war, and continues to hype it on any TV venue that will light him up.

-- Eliot Abrams, of the National Security Council, was a major voice behind the war. He earlier distinguished himself as part of the Iran-Contra Scandal under Reagan-Bush. He was convicted of lying to Congress but Mr. Bush's Dad pardoned him. He and Scooter are top suspects in the outing by Bob Novak of Ambassador Richard Wilson's CIA agent wife.

-- Ahmad Chalabi, wannabe Iraqi savior, has compiled a tremendous record while advising the Bush people. Events have shown that every single thing he predicted and recommended was 100% wrong. You'll find his picture next to the word 'smarmy' in the dictionary. He's gotten millions of your tax dollars. He's still in Iraq, now hating the U.S. and poised to snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The Bush folks have a truly unique management style -- they want complete control without review, but then reject all responsibility for the results. Psychiatrists call that 'denial' -- the Republicans call it 'government.' It only plays well on Fox News, where big hair and lip gloss substitute for gravitas.

The actual 'conservatives' seem ready to dump these loser Neocons. Folks like Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Washington Times, and author Tom Clancy, stalwarts of the right, have come out against the war and the chicken hawks that orchestrated it. Mr. Clancy reports he almost came to blows with Pearl over the issue. Remember, the smart money never goes down with the ship. A nervous Republican Congress is also headed for the tall grass.

In a remark that went almost unnoticed in the press, Mr. Bush, in a clear jab at his father, claimed he had to invade, after America had 'cut and run' from Iraq in the first Gulf War. His parents must be so proud.

The Administration has played and lost a deadly word game, based around a classic fascist tactic:

dissent = disloyalty

caution = cowardice

criticism = treason

We can all sleep better at night knowing Mr. Bush is on the job. He seems very proud of the fact that he doesn't regularly read the papers or follow the news. Perhaps he should start. He may yet prevail in November if he can just get every single ignoramus in America out to the polls.

When it comes to running the USA, nobody is better than George W. Bush.

Now if we can just get 'Nobody' elected....


Douglas O'Rourke is a writer in California and can be reached via a href=>

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