July 11, 2005

Worse than Watergate

In the wake of the London bombings, the question of whether George Bush has made us more or less safe has raised its ugly head again, this time, I hope, for good. What can he say? Well, at least it wasn't in New York, right? It was "over there" and not here. If anyone still believes him when he says we are more safe because of his invasion of Iraq, they are as deluded as he is.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction reason was a lie. The uranium from Nigeria was a lie. The imminent chemical attack was a lie. The capability of delivering a nuclear attack in 40 minutes was a lie. The biological attack was a lie. The idea of bringing democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people is a lie.

The London bombs have brought the debate about "why they hate us?" once again front and center, some believing "they" hate our culture, our beliefs, our institutions, our democracy, our freedoms, while others believe it is what we do, our actions, that "they" hate. To believe that "they" hate us for who we are is a conceit which only serves as an apologia for our actions. The average Muslim ("they") could care less about our "way of life", our "freedoms", our "culture." What they do care about is the American march to dominion and its direct effects on them. What they do not like is our shoving "our way of life" down their throats. What they do not like is our killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi women and children. In contrast, Dick Cheney is still wondering why the Iraqi people are not placing flowers in our soldiers helmets.

Now we have a leaked memo, again, from the UK, this time revealing secret British troop withdrawal plans, so that half the British troops within three months will go home, and within six months, all will be home. While this plan is described as an "option", it is clear that significant British withdrawal is probable.

The Italians are leaving, and a British troop withdrawal would start an avalanche of other withdrawals, most notably the Australians and Japanese.

In the end, America will be alone in Iraq, hunkered down in a few huge military bases, and guarding oil pipelines as best it can.

Frank Rich calls the Iraqi war "Bush's invention." All the lying, crime and sleaze that entailed the Watergate scandal is eclipsed by Bush's invention and the lies that led to it. As Rich points out, Nixon didn't start Vietnam. But Vietnam, too, was also started partly based on a lie. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the President of the United States to take all necessary action to defend American interests in Southeast Asia, was based on a fake attack on two American destroyers.

During Watergate, as Rich points out, no journalist was jailed for not revealing sources, even though the Nixon administration threatened all kinds of realtiation. We now have the government jailing a woman reporter (Judith Miller) for refusing to reveal her source, rather than the male journalist (Robert Novak) who first wrote the story about the outed CIA agent, Valerie Plame (another woman who got screwed in this petty retaliation). Novak apparently made some secret deal with the government, so he stays free. It wouldn't do to have men like Robert Novak going to jail, would it? Especially someone who has been such a faithful shill for the Bush propaganda machine.

The Daily Star of Bangladesh and Tunis Hebdo (from Tunisia) are two moderate publications in the Muslim world which write regularly about the real reasons why "they hate us." Their point is that 9/11 has changed the world's view of America in ways no one could have predicted in the immediate aftermath. It was unimaginable in those days, during that zenith of worldwide support and sympathy, that it would only take a few short months for the arrogance and imperial actions of George Bush to destroy all the support and sympathy we had.

The bill of particulars against the Bush administration makes Watergate pale in comparison.

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