Thursday, September 02, 2010
The Terrorists Have Won
On May 1, 2003, President Bush pretended to fly onto an aircraft carrier that was pretending to be way out to sea, and provided a photo-op in his manly flight suit. He then stood beneath a huge banner reading, “Mission Accomplished,” and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. It was an expensive bit of theatrical folly. Bush didn’t land the plane, the aircraft carrier was only 30 miles off shore (requiring careful filming in order that the shoreline not be seen), all that manliness was probably enhanced, and the war was not over.
This week brought President Obama’s version of Mission Accomplished. Obama spoke to us from the newly refurbished Oval Office. (An office that Arianna Huffington called “the audacity of taupe.) This speech marked the official end of combat operations in Iraq, which is what Obama promised when he took office. Of course there are still huge numbers of troops left behind, and the second army we’ve been paying for (the mercenaries) are still there – but that wasn’t mentioned. Instead, Obama paid homage to George W. Bush’s patriotism. For starting a war of aggression based on lies, Bush and his chums should be standing before the ICC. Unfortunately, the Democrats lack the spine to take that sort of action. Obama mouthed glowing tributes to our military men and women, and told us it was time to move on – time to think about our economy.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a major impact upon our economy. Imagine where we might be if we weren’t spending $7.3 billion a month in Iraq alone? The cost of sending one soldier to Iraq for a year is $390,000. Thus far, the combined cost of both wars stands at approximately $900 billion. Did we accomplish anything in Iraq that justified these costs? Were those purple fingers worth all the lives that have been lost?
In Kan Bani Saad, a town north of Baghdad, we spent $40 million building a prison that the Iraqis didn’t want, and aren’t going to use. We’ve spent $4.9 billion to fix the power grid in Iraq – without any improvement. Most places still only have a few hours of electricity a day. A $5.6 million slaughterhouse being built in Basra had to be abandoned, because no one had bothered to ensure a source of water was available to wash away the blood. A sewage treatment plant for Fallouja was supposed to cost $32. 5 million. The cost is now up to $104 million, and is almost completed. Unfortunately the contract did not include pipes to connect the plant to the town. Those are only a few examples of the ways our tax dollars have been wasted in Iraq.
The silence on the topic of military waste or the bloated military budget is deafening. Instead, we have the deficit peacocks preening their concerns, even as they insist the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy be extended. The Congressional Budget Office finds that extending those tax cuts will increase the deficit, but that matters not to the peacocks, who insist these cuts will promote job creation. They haven’t so far. But, then, we also learned that supply side economics don’t work, either, which hasn’t stopped the GOP from trying desperately to return to the old trickle down. President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission (known to many of us as the Catfood Commission) led by the utterly reprehensible Alan Simpson is focusing on gutting Social Security, which has nothing to do with the deficit.
But hey, who cares about that? Barack Obama is a Muslim – haven’t you heard? And the terrorists want to build a mosque right on the holiest of holies: the “hallowed ground” at the site of the Twin Towers. The fact that it’s a community center to be built in place of a former Burlington Coat Factory a few blocks away from Ground Zero is not even mentioned in the hysterical media narrative. All manner of fearful leaders have spoken out against it, and there have been demonstrations. A black construction worker was attacked by a mob shouting “Muslim” at him. The new anti-Muslim hysteria has resulted in a stabbing, arson, vandalism, and some assaults.
The terrorists have won. Here in the land of the brave and the home of the free, we’re so scared that we won’t allow a community center to be built in New York City. We’re so scared that we’re going to mandate English is the only language that should be spoken in the USA. We’re so scared that anyone with brown skin is eyed with suspicion. A delegation of Pakistani military officers on their way to meet with US Central Command in Washington, DC were taken off their plane because a passenger panicked. After the officers were cleared, they decided to skip the meeting and go home. We have become a weak, fearful nation. When we compromise the values our country is supposed to stand for, and tremble in fear – the terrorists have scored an even bigger victory than they could have hoped for.
“Those who died in this war did not die for their country. They died for their government. They died for Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. And yes, they died for the greed of the oil cartels, for the expansion of the American empire, for the political ambitions of the President. They died to cover up the theft of the nation’s wealth to pay for the machines of death.” Howard Zinn
published as an op-ed in the Sept. 3, 2010 edition of the Conway Daily Sun
© sbruce 2010
Posted by susanthe at 8:34 PM