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


Anonymous said...

you are just anouther right winged hate spewing liberal who has never so much as thought of doing somethign for someone else, you sit there and complain all day about things you dont fully understand. However you have a web page and continue to practice your freedom of speech, a freedom that was not given to you by a reporter, but by a soldier who would gladley go to war to protect this right regardles of your political views.

DissedBelief said...

Thank you again Susan! Outstanding. I've been screaming at the TV & radio for years now with just this mantra! They have indeed won. Howard Zinn summed it up and when Obama attempted to say it, well, we all know the outcome. I feel that Obama has sold us out to the Republicans and their cronies who have happily spent our money without any reward whatsoever. We have made refugees and destitution out of Iraq. I laughed sarcastically when I read that Gates was insulted when he was informed that we are being compared to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and are viewed in the same light. The truth obviously hit a nerve. The racism in this country has deteriorated and it appears reversed to civil war standards. This coupled with the dumbing down of our educational system is a sure fire recipe for a nation that sounds like Palin, McCain and Dubya and behaves in like manner. We are seeing it happen before our very eyes and yet most are blind.

Anonymous said...

Susan it is great seeing people like yourself willing to be on the front lines of Peace in this world. If being for peace and the true safety of our troops runs counter to the sheep filled chant of the pro-war, pro-oil conservatives then sign me up for peace.

There are others like yourself working on the front lines, including two teacher on Cape Cod. Thank God we have people like yourself and Beth Verani.

Beth's story was summed up in this great column in the Cape Cod Times.

DissedBelief said...

The 11;42am Anonymous comment is obviously a joke due to lack of spelling and intellect. This also clearly indicates a genuine Afrikaner Broederbonder. We know what happened to them. Also, the latest breaking news describes the discovery of the rump sucking right winged spewing right winger dinosaurosurus which was hunted to extinction by herbivorous venom spewing liberal left T.Rex. When young, my reply to many male relatives ALL of whom were WWII POW's was that NO ONE ever fought or died for my freedom. This fantasy is another lame mantra by the right that its mindeless masses follow like zombies. And the right should bear in mind, that Mexican's and other central/south american citizens are seeking their freedom by attempting to find refuge right here. The right in this country don't wish them to have it - at any cost.

susanthe said...

anonymous #1 - "right winged hate spewing liberal?"


Is a soldier who goes to war "gladely" a soldier who freshens up a room with his presence?

Anonymous said...

Well said. Found this blog via