December 13, 2005
George Bush may be a lot of things &
and he has been called plenty of names &
s face it &
133; he is not likely to be considered a &
by the California governor anytime soon.
Stepping out onto a proverbial tiny limb hovering far above very thin ice, on Monday Bush carelessly and callously offered the world a couple of numbers providing a framework around which a legitimate argument could be built that obliterates the president&
s constant mantra of &
Saddam needed to be removed. He was a threat.&
Since the second U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 (the first was 1991 under daddy Bush), the U.S. has killed 30,000 Iraqis, according to the president. Well, &
more or less&
Bush added. The loss of American life he also put into perspective:
— "I would say 30,000, more or less, — have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence — against Iraqis," Bush said. "We've lost about 2,140 of our own — troops in Iraq."
The administration has deliberately kept the public in the dark regarding the number of Iraqi dead, scores of which are innocent civilians, because &
mistakes were made.&
And after the president&
s uncharacteristic departure from the War on Terror script, someone had to clean up the mess by offering an explanation that the president&
s numbers were &
How would you like a job like that &
133; cleaning up after the president?
On this occasion the janitor was White House counselor Dan Bartlett. He said Bush was not giving an official figure but simply repeating public estimates. Tell me again who this guy is and why should I believe him? Did I vote for this guy?
Still ... I can just imagine having his job.
Ladies and gentleman, please calm down. The president really didn&
t know what he was saying, or mean what he did say. It is tough enough being the leader of the free world and having to eat out all the time. You cannot truly expect the &
word to come from him, can you? We are preparing the official perspective and commentary of the White House as we speak. In the meantime, please enjoy the scrumptious refreshments we&
ve laid out for you. And under no circumstances should you pay attention to the man standing behind the podium with the presidential seal. It is there for display purposes only. Um, excuse me sir, when you are finished speaking &
which I highly recommend ought to be right this minute &
there are a few folks who would like a word or two with you!&
Who are those people that have the authority to advise the media and the American public that we need to disregard what the president says? And who are they that have the authority and power to chastise the president and admonish him for speaking out of turn?
Who are these un-elected folks?
The president said we killed 30,000 Iraqis since 2003 &
133; more or less. I&
m not quite sure what he meant by &
more or less.&
But the callousness of such a statement to a nation of Arab people who have been impacted by the daily attacks and counter attacks initiated by Bush and his father since 1991 is mind-boggling.
It is readily apparent that the president either isn&
t aware or doesn&
t care that the Iraqi people have no love loss for the United States government. The idea that we are &
in their backyard doesn&
t impress any of them either. Just ask some of the grieving widows, the orphaned children, or a few of the 30,000 &
133; more or less.
s imagined threat wasn&
t based upon &
received at the time, but rather received at the time. The question is who has the authority to order the president to do anything? That&
s an answer that will be revealed before the end of this commentary.
Iraq not only had absolutely no ability to threaten the U.S.; it remained under siege for more than a dozen years by the U.S. military before the 2003 invasion. Yet, the pretext for invading was to remove Saddam because he was a bad man, and &
Within a few weeks of the U.S. invasion in 2003, the media took a poll that showed more than 70 percent of Iraqis were against the invasion. Today, another poll taken by the media showed the numbers haven&
t changed a whole lot. A majority of Iraqis want us out of their country.
Nevertheless, the president is resolute:
— "I made a tough decision. And knowing — what I know today, I'd make the decision again," Bush said. "Removing — Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."
This statement above, and this statement alone, is enough for me. It says that we have a leader who, having full knowledge that Saddam Hussein does not possess nukes, and knowing that removing him from power would mean killing 30,000 Iraqis (more or less) and losing more than 2,140 brave Americans while being bogged down in a political and military quagmire in a hotbed region of the world for an indefinite period of time, would STILL make the very same decision again!
The only question I have left is &
133; where are those 535 elected representatives of congress?
s put them to the test. Would they support such a venture knowing everything they know today?
t they ALL speaking up?
Where are these &
who claimed that we needed to remove Saddam. Are they willing to stand with the president today &
133; knowing that we invaded a country for illegitimate reasons, based upon unproven allegations and a false foundation?
Are there leaders out there who will stand firm upon the premise that the U.S. ought to be sacrificing innocent lives in order to advance an agenda of regime change and democratization of the world through violence?
Let the leaders speak up!
In 2003, Bush drew a line in the sand and laid claim that either the nations of the world were with us or against us. Most stood on the opposite side of that line. America&
s invasion of Iraq was not only unpopular with the world, it was unpopular at home to such an extent that lies had to be concocted in order to garner just over half of the public support.
Therefore, when the president stands against the world &
133; when he stands against his own citizenry &
133; when he stands alone, perched aloft his &
133; there is no room for error.
There is no acceptable apologetic tone offering platitudes to a grieving public that mourns the loss of young brave souls that fought and died because they had no choice. There are no ends that justify the means by which the U.S. and Great Britain callously calculated the risk versus the reward, knowing there was no need, urgency or threat in Iraq in 2003 that did not exist to a greater degree every year prior &
133; dating back to the decade Saddam enjoyed the favorable support of our government.
There is no excuse.
And today, Bush callously traces over that line in the sand that he drew earlier. This time he is saying to American political leaders, &
you are either with me or against me.&
I will be watching and listening for the response from every single member of congress. After all, when the Founding Fathers established three branches of government, it was done so for ensuring a balance of power. At this moment, there is no greater power being wielded than what is beaming out of the White House.
Bush has willingly sacrificed more than 2,140 American lives and plans to sacrifice more. He has willingly sacrificed 30,000 Iraqi lives (more or less) and plans to sacrifice more (not less).
Bush has unequivocally stated that knowing all he knows now, he would do exactly the same thing.
It is time to hear from the rest of our leaders. Knowing all they know now, are they willing to sacrifice an unknown number of American troops and a substantially higher number of Iraqis for an unknown agenda, an unknown purpose, an unknown foundation, an unknown future and the very real risk of escalating this invasion into a full scale war with the whole of Islam?
If the insurgents can attract 100,000 Muslims a year, can they not afford a casualty rate of 30,000 (more or less) every other year?
Americans ought not accept the propaganda promoted in the West, but rather listen to the words reverberating throughout the Middle East. When you hear their words, you know why they fight &
133; even as we search for a reason for being there.
Bush offered us a glimpse into the understanding of the militant Muslim battling our troops. He said:
— "Success will help the image of the — United States. Look, I recognize we got an image issue, particularly when — you've got Arabic television stations &
that are constantly just pounding — America, saying `America is fighting Islam,' `Americans can't stand Muslims,' — `This is a war against a religion.'"
t understand what Muslims instinctively know. And that is why he fails to see their point of view. To the Muslim, religion isn&
t merely a belief of how things came to be on earth. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, comes with an instruction book that provides a foundation of principled understanding, which serves as a basis for directing every decision of one&
s life. In the case of Islam, that book is the Quran. It provides the path upon which Muslims must walk, and the method of returning to that path, should a Muslim stray due to human tendencies and temptations. It provides introspective on oneself and outer perspective on one&
s environment and the world. It affects every aspect of life, including family, friends and co-worker relationships, business, education and government. It offers answers to questions regarding life beyond death. It is the faith that a Muslim lives for. If Bush takes away the faith of Muslims, he destroys their way of life. And it is their very life for which they fight.
Bush cannot understand the Muslim media and the Islamic call to jihad in Iraq, given his peripheral understanding of even his own professed faith. And because of his ignorance of the Middle East region, as well as a callous disregard for the faith that encompasses much of that region, he places all of America at risk.
If Muslims in Iraq are indeed given true freedom of choice, they will invariably choose to be governed according to their religious beliefs. They will choose the Quran &
133; not democracy. Bush need look no further than Iraq's neighbor, Saudi Arabia, whose constitution is the Quran. How then, can he believe that a neighboring Muslim nation would abandon its faith and choose a western concoction that provides secular governance over religious peoples?
In an astoundingly ignorant statement, Bush offers:
— "We've got to, obviously, do a better — job of reminding people that ours is not a nation that rejects religion," — he said. "It's difficult.
Muslims are not reassured by American propaganda. Americans are.
Furthermore, it is disingenuous for Bush to pretend that America&
s government does not reject religion. Yet, he does so because he believes that a government that allows religious practices isn&
t against religion per se.
He is woefully mistaken.
s judicial branch of government has taken direct aim at religious moral values and its practices, beginning with the schools throughout the 20th century, and most recently ruling that parents have no legal authority or recourse regarding the information to which their children are exposed in government schools (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals). Most Americans are aware of the cultural battles being fought in this country and the political power that opens and closes the doors of progress on both sides.
It is our government that makes laws opposing the religious beliefs of the people. It is our government that makes court rulings opposing the religious beliefs of the people. It is also our government that maintains a position as a secular entity, which in and of itself is a position opposing God. Additionally, it was our government that adopted the belief that the age of the earth was an astronomical number &
133; give or take a few billion years as a margin of error. This belief is now what passes for fact while religion is regarded as fiction. These are just some of the reasons Muslims plainly see as evidence of what a secular government can do to a religious society ... even in a so-called free country.
Aside from the government, our culture has evolved into one that is hedonistic and overtly sexual without the context of moral values. It is our government that promotes a variety of measures in which children and teens may &
engage in out-of-wedlock sexual intercourse. Morals aside &
because government does not and cannot teach moral values &
government promotes many things that are in direct opposition to religious morals.
For Bush to lay claim that the U.S. government doesn&
t reject religion is merely to put on display a total ignorance of what a Muslim believes. Or, for that matter, he is apparently ignorant of what Christians and Jews believe as well ... and the perspective of the religious community at large.
s government does indeed reject religion, while it promotes ever-evolving and ever-changing sets of data that is widely regarded as &
fact, thereby implying that truth is inherent in science (which changes), not religion (which remains constant).
This view is very unpopular among Muslims in the Middle East.
Sayyid Qutb, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization comprised of more than 70 groups worldwide, offered this analogy:
— Athens represents science and reason while — Jerusalem represents God and religion. The two are always in conflict and — cannot co-exist together. One will win out over the other. In America, the — sad truth is that science and reason have annihilated God and religion.
Qutb observed America from up close. He received a Masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1950 before leaving the U.S. to return to Egypt and write books that continue to provide a prominent influence in the thinking of many highly educated militant Muslims today.
Bush is wrong if he believes that America can win the war of propaganda in the Middle East.
Additionally, there is historical truth to support the Muslim perspective toward the United States as well.
Muslims in the Middle East are far more aware of the involvement of the United States government in undermining the government of Iran in 1953 and ruling that nation for 26 years.
Muslims in the Middle East are acutely aware that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in an invasion of Iran in 1980, supplied him with military technology, weaponry &
133; even chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD&
s) according to a Senate Finance Committee investigation report.
Muslims are also aware that the United States subsequently supported Iran at the very same time it supported Iraq, thereby pitting two Muslim oil-producing nations against one another and escalating a war that lasted eight years and killed more than 1,000,000 Muslims.
Muslims are also aware that as late as July 1990, George Bush (41) was courting Saddam Hussein, knowing all that he knows today, and yet in October 1990, that same Bush uttered two words that sent 400,000 U.S. troops flooding into Saudi Arabia. Those two words were, &
, George Bush (43) is keenly aware of the history his own father set in motion. He is aware that his dad was vice president under Ronald Reagan and was involved in the established relationship with Saddam Hussein. Bush (the son) is aware that his dad was once head of the CIA and despite having full knowledge of who Saddam was, decided to maintain friendly relations with him even after Saddam&
s use of chemical weapons ...
even after his torture and rape of citizens ...
even after his murder of political enemies &
even up to one week before Saddam invaded Kuwait.
s dad didn&
t see any reason to remove Saddam &
133; even after he invaded Iraq in 1991.
"Saddam is a bad man."
We've heard that from both Bushes now.
Okay, yes he is.
And nothing has changed
in that regard from the time he attempted his first assassination at age 19, to the time he married his cousin and murdered her brother.
Nothing has changed since his imprisonment and subsequent participation in a coup that toppled the government and elevated him to second-in-charge.
Nothing has changed since he wiped the nation clean of all political enemies and toyed with the Kurdish people.
Nothing has changed since his invasion of Iran in 1980 and his subsequent use of chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) upon the Iranians and Kurds.
Nothing has changed about Saddam ... yet he enjoyed a decade of support from the U.S. government (namely Reagan-Bush administrations) that we provided him when he was at his worst. But as long as he was killing Muslims we seemed mildly amused at worst, and mildly irritated at best.
So, how did Saddam become a threat to the United States?
Did he ever attack us? No.
Did he have missiles with the range to reach the U.S. and the ability to carry a payload of nuclear weapons? No.
What was Saddam's big mistake with the U.S. government, given that we were kissing his feet on July 25, 1990 and a week later casting aspersions upon him on August 3, 1990 (the day after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait). Surely, we had no treaty or concern with Kuwait, as ambassador April Glaspie reminded Saddam that the U.S. had "no opinion" on Arab-Arab conflicts ... just days before Iraq's pending invasion.
Saddam is guilty of a lot of things, but being a threat to the U.S. isn't one of them.
And the U.S. is also concerned about a lot of things, for sure ... but the Iraqi people don't rank high on the list. At least they didn't throughout the entire time our government placated Saddam (1980-1990). And certainly if the "liberation" of the Iraqi people from a tyrant was at the top of our invasion list, that would have been made plain to Congress and the American public from the outset.
Instead, we were told that Saddam was a bad man ... the same thing we continue to hear today.
If anything, Saddam was a patsy and a scapegoat
who attempted to play ball in the big leagues and got crushed in a game of global chess against Bush Sr., who then sent his son in to recover control of oil in the Middle East that was lost after the fall of Iran and subsequent loss of control over Saddam.
Today, we have a president who stands firm in his resolve that he did the right thing.
The truth is that Bush absolutely did do the right thing &
133; if you are a son obeying your dad's commands.
But if you are a president, sending innocent brave men and women across the world to fight for illegitimate reasons, then you are wrong &
133; and completely responsible for the loss of 30,000 Iraqi lives (more or less) and the loss of 2,140 troops (plus all that are to come in this conflict).
And now it is up to congress to either stand with the president or against him. The State of the Union address is approaching (early January) and the courage and cowardice of political leaders will be on full display.
My only regret is that I won&
t be able to watch the president&
s speech with governor Arnold Schwarzneggar, so he can point out all of those &
standing and sitting like trained school children, while another young Marine in Iraq takes a bullet because congress was too afraid to bring him home.
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