Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Norman Solomon: Bush's Option to Escalate the War

Bush's Option to Escalate the War in Iraq


By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/082205Q.shtml

Monday 22 August 2005

The Bush administration may ratchet up the Iraq war.

That might seem unlikely, even farfetched. After all, the president is facing an upsurge of domestic opposition to the war. Under such circumstances, why would he escalate it?

A big ongoing factor is that George W. Bush and his top aides seem to believe in red-white-and-blue violence with a fervor akin to religiosity. For them, the Pentagon's capacity to destroy is some kind of sacrament. And even if more troops aren't readily available for duty in Iraq, huge supplies of aircraft and missiles are available to step up the killing from the air.

Back in the USA, while the growth of antiwar sentiment is apparent, much of the criticism - especially what's spotlighted in news media - is based on distress that American casualties are continuing without any semblance of victory. In effect, many commentators see the problem as a grievous failure to kill enough of the bad guys in Iraq and sufficiently intimidate the rest.

(Bypassing the euphemisms preferred by many liberal pundits, George Will wrote in a Washington Post column on April 7, 2004, that "every door American troops crash through, every civilian bystander shot - there will be many - will make matters worse, for a while. Nevertheless, the first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence.")

A lot of what sounds like opposition to the war is more like opposition to losing the war. Consider how Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin concluded a piece on Sunday that disparaged Bush and his war policies. The column included eloquent, heart-rending words from the mother of a Marine Corps Reserve member who died in Iraq early this year. And yet, the last quote from her was: "Tell us what it is going to take to win, Mr. Bush." In a tag line, the columnist described it as a question "we all need an answer to."

But some questions are based on assumptions that should be rejected - and "What is it going to take to win?" is one of them. In Iraq, the US occupation force can't "win." More importantly, it has no legitimate right to try.

While leveling harsh criticisms at the White House, many analysts fault Bush for the absence of victory on the horizon. A plaintive theme has become familiar: The president deceived us before the invasion and has made a botch of the war since then, so leadership that will turn this war around is now desperately needed and long overdue.

Some on Capitol Hill, like Democrat Joseph Biden and Republican John McCain in the Senate, want more US troops sent to Iraq. Others have different messages. "We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Chuck Hagel said on Sunday. He lamented: "By any standard, when you analyze two and a half years in Iraq ... we're not winning." But a tactical departure motivated by alarm that "we're not winning" is likely to be very slow and very bloody.

In the Democratic Party's weekly radio address over the weekend, former senator Max Cleland said that "it's time for a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy to get out."

Cleland's statement may have been focus-group tested, but it amounts to another permutation of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism." All the talk about the urgent need for a strategy to win in Iraq amounts to approval for more US leadership in mass slaughter. And the United States government does not need a "strategy" to get out of Iraq any more than a killer needs a strategy to stop killing.

"It is time to stand back and look at where we are going," independent journalist I.F. Stone wrote. "And to take a good look at ourselves. A first observation is that we can easily overestimate our national conscience. A major part of the protest against the war springs simply from the fact that we are losing it." Those words appeared in mid-February 1968. American combat troops remained in Vietnam for another five years.

It matters why people are critical of the US war effort in Iraq. If the main objections stem from disappointment that American forces are not winning, then the war makers in Washington retain the possibility of creating the illusion that they may yet find ways to make the war right.

Criticism of the war because it isn't being won leaves the door open for the Bush administration to sell the claim that - with enough resolve and better military tactics - the war can be vindicated. It's time to close that door.

*************

Norman Solomon is the author of the new book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. For information, go to: WarMadeEasy.com.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news