Saturday, March 18, 2006

Three years ago. And again: FIGHT AGAINST ANOTHER WAR!

Three years ago today, we went to war in Iraq.

At the time we were told a lot of things. We were told that there were weapons of mass destruction, active and ongoing research into nuclear weapons, that Iraq had indisputable ties to al-Qaeda. The threat was said to be imminent, so much so that we couldn't even give Hans Blix the several more weeks he wanted to be able to actually find out whether Iraq had WMD. It is now known from the writings of Paul O'Neill, the Downing Street memo and other sources what many of us had suspected before the war: that the Bush administration had discussed an invasion of Iraq even before 9/11 and was dead set on invading Iraq, and anything that would prevent or slow that down was merely an obstacle to be circumvented or run over.

And one more thing that we were told, that the war would be a quick, short one, that it would be over in 'weeks.' And so, President Bush, ever the politician, made a landing on board an aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003 and declared 'the end of major combat operations.' The White House continued to paint a rosy picture of how well things were going and how everything was on schedule, and how any incidents were simply the product of 'Saddam dead enders,' until this lie was so obvious that they had no other choice than to correct it.

Now, we know that things did not turn out according to plan. And, it is true, that we cannot turn back the clock or undo the damage that has been done, whether the false roads we were led down were the product of deliberate deceit or bumbling incompetence (does it really matter which of these it was?) What does matter, and this I blogged on just a couple of days ago, is whether can trust this administration, especially in matters of war and peace. The evidence is that we cannot trust them. It is too late to prevent the last war, but we can prevent the next war.

Therefore we must stand up now and make it very clear that we don't support any proposed war against Iran. Do this by contacting your elected representatives, by speaking out in your community against any such war, and asking why we are building bases in Iraq, if our intention is truly to leave the country (and the fourteen military bases we are building in Iraq are enough so that not only does it signal our intention not to actually leave the place, but to use it as a base against-- well, there are only two places that we might be using Iraq as a base to invade, and Syria, a small country, wouldn't require that many Iraqi bases for support.)

Don't get into shouting matches with right wingers. They may try, as John Bolton did, to pull out the '9/11' justification. That is irrelevant. If they want to make the case why we should invade Iran, ask for proof. Ask for more than a bunch of meaningless quotes (they like to quote Ahmadinejad, but if you go back and look at the rhetoric or Ayatollah Khomeini himself-- he named the U.S. the 'Great Satan' in the first place-- Ahmadinejad, a politician who is playing to domestic politics as much as to an international audience-- is no more shrill.) There is no hard proof that Iran is in fact building a nuke, and even if they are, so what? The Soviet Union had nukes, by the thousands, but we waited long enough and the winds of freedom brought them down (despite Khruschev's line, 'we will bury you.') Why is Iran any different? They haven't provided long range rockets or other significant weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorists that they have contact with, so it is hard to see why they would hand out a nuke (I know it is hard to believe, but Ahmadinejad and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameinei, who is really the most powerful person in Iran, are not insane, and they know that giving terrorists a nuke (if they had one) would invite retaliation against Iran, and they are not such fools. They give Hezbollah enough second rate military equipment to enable them to be a thorn in the side of Israel, but they haven't provided them with any weapons (including poison gas, which Iran at least had on hand during the Iran-Iraq war) that would represent a clear escalation of that conflict.

And sure, Iran isn't a great place to live, but frankly it's a better place to live, especially if you are a female and value the right to vote, to drive a car, and to own property, than our 'allies' in places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the U.A.E. But whatever the internal situation there, it isn't up to US to fix everyone else's political problems.

I would hope that as we discuss the three years of the Iraq war, everyone who posts remembers to make the case that we are now beginning to hear the same things about Iran, and it is time to unite against an Iran war now, not wait until conservatives can get their act together and push through another resolution ahead of the election, as they did in 2002.


Anonymous said...

There is no hard proof that Iran is in fact building a nuke, and even if they are, so what?

Go ahead and keep your head in the sand. Let those who have the guts defend this country and the rest of the world.

Can you list any reasons that you would support war?

Eli Blake said...

Sure, Eddie. The same reason I support the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan-- they attacked (or in that case, harbored the people who attacked) us.

But the line that we are being fed on Iran sounds exactly like the line we were fed on Iraq. This is another case of George Bush and the far right crying wolf, so they can watch us come running.

dorsano said...

I haven't followed Iranian politics as closely as I've followed Iraqi politics (or our own)

but I find it odd that some are concerned about Iran and not at all concerned about say Pakistan.

Pakistan has nukes and does harbor al-Queda - both the organization and the ideology - the only difference is that the government is playing with both us and the extremists at the same time.

But - during the recent earth quakes - they did allow us to assist in a big way and our assistance made much more of difference in exposing the emptiness of al-Queda's ideology than the invasion of Iraq ever will.

Nixon went to China - Reagan negotiatied with the U.S.S.R - I suppose that I'm a naive liberal if I hope that this administration would at least try to work with Iran like it does Pakistan.


BTW - When President Reagan first entered into negotiations with the Soviet Union

A Congressman from Wyoming reprimanded him on the floor of the House and said that Reagan's actions would lead to the fall of the free world.

the Congressman is now our Vice President.

Eli Blake said...


Interesting observation about Cheney. And at the time, he was a small, feeble minded, myopic man, but today we are supposed to believe that he is a great thinker.

LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

Read the speech

Tell me where it says the war would be a short one?

dorsano said...

Read the speech

This is one where he tells us that invading Iraq is a measure of last resort.

dorsano said...

NPR's "Talk of Nation" discussed the Bush Doctrine today with the director of the American Enterprise Institute's program on advanced strategic studies and a White House Correspondent from the Washington Post.

I didn't catch the whole thing - I was curious to hear if either of the guests (or any of the callers) thought the same way I do.

I didn't find out if any of them are of like mind but even the AEI director, if you read between the lines, believes that the events surrounding the invasion of Iraq have pretty much defanged the Bush Doctrine - and the recent rework of the doctrine itself strikes a less beligerent tone.

No one expects war with Iran any time soon.

Eli Blake said...

Uh, Liberalismetc.:

Let me give you some quotes of what was thrown out by the administration prior to the war:

Feb. 7, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

March 4, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: "What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s," when its forces were routed from Kuwait.

March 11, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."

March 16, Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months." He predicted that regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle" and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside."

And this is what some supporters outside the administration but advising it said:

Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan administration official who serves on a Pentagon advisory board, said in a Washington Post column in February (2003) that the war would be "a cakewalk."

Richard Perle, who chaired that board, predicted that the resistance in Iraq would "collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder."

This was the rhetoric that we were subjected to before the war. We were told that the war would be over in weeks, and that the people would hail us as 'liberators' and that would be the end of it.

And despite the best efforts of conservatives to revise history to expunge these words, spoken in haughty disregard for reality, they are part of the public record, and will be there for all the world to see for as long as anyone wants to look at the history of this war.

We went in looking for milk and honey and found a bull and a beehive.

Eli Blake said...


I hope you are right.

And I suspect you are, because our army is spread so thin that right now we couldn't launch one. But that still brings back the question of why we are building so many bases in Iraq. Other than attack Iran, there is absolutely no reason why we would need fourteen military bases in Iraq.