“For misleading the
American people and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus
in 9 BC … Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from
office, put on trial.”
-- Martin Van
Creveld, Israeli Military Historian
“Five to seven
years. No less. In five to seven years, Iraqi army is OK.”
-- Iraqi Army
Officer, San Francisco Chronicle 3/16/06
15 February 2003, I joined the largest worldwide protest in history on the
streets of San Francisco. I carried a simple sign reading: BUSH/ENRON/WWIII.
33 days later, without United Nations approval, our president christened
the invasion of Iraq with the infamous Shock & Awe campaign.
Three years later,
we are more shocked than awed.
The president issues yet another call for perseverance in the war effort.
As yet another offensive is unleashed upon the inhabitants of the Sunni
triangle, he asks for American patience and Iraqi unity against the
resistance. The truth is the Iraqi resistance is the only cause that can
unite the Iraqi people.
Meantime, Senator Dianne Feinstein charges that the war is more difficult
now because of the administration’s incompetence. One more round of a
familiar Democratic refrain: More troops, better planning, better
equipment and more allies to prosecute an immoral war.
The truth is the war in Iraq was doomed to failure from the very moment
Congress handed the president a blank check and a loaded gun to initiate
the doctrine of preemptive strike. Would we really be better off now if we
had sacrificed more soldiers and punished the Iraqi resistance with even
greater deadly force?
Message to Senator Feinstein and her war-loving friends: The problem is
not the efficiency of the killing machine; it is that the cause is morally
The truth about Iraq is: We have become the front line of the Shiite
militias. Of course they want us to stay and secure a Shiite government.
When the mission is complete and the Sunni resistance is crushed, they
will give us a choice: Leave or face a new resistance. They will seize
control of the resources we have contracted to international corporate
profiteers and they will take possession of the monstrous military
installations we have constructed for permanent occupation of the oil
fields. They will form a new alliance with Iran, establish a variation on
Shari’a law, and say goodbye to their former allies. (If you believe that
Russia, China or even India will take our side in the new equation, you
may well be catastrophically wrong.)
If we refuse, we will be compelled to pick up the pieces of the Sunni
resistance, change sides and fight alongside the same soldiers we
currently condemn as terrorists.
The truth about the Iraqi resistance is: There are no terrorists -- none.
Even if we accept the neocon definition of terrorism (which conveniently
exempts sovereign nations -- otherwise, Shock & Awe would be the operative
model), an act of terrorism requires the intent to terrorize. In Iraq, the
intent of roadside or suicide bombs is not to terrorize the most powerful
military force on earth but to exact a price on the enemy occupiers and
Whether we accept it or not, the Iraqi resistance is engaged in a civil
war because the occupying nation has taken sides. If we had been told
three years ago that we would sacrifice American blood and treasure to
establish Shiite rule in Iraq, we would have had no part in it.
All this lip service to the cause of democracy is a charade, a deadly
farce, and a perversion of American ideals.
Democracy is not a cause for war. Like foreign occupation, it is a cause
for rebellion from within. Democracy in America has a very different
meaning than democracy in Iraq. In America, it means that two parties
controlled by the same corporate interests alter the rules of the game
until the majority will of the people is virtually obscured. Democracy in
Iraq means total Shiite dominance and inevitable civil divide.
You do not impose a state of war on any nation for any reasons other than
a real, direct and imminent threat or an ongoing process of ethnic
cleansing or genocide. (Clearly, this was not the case in Iraq where the
vilified dictator is facing trial for crimes committed fifteen years
before the invasion.) If your only reason for war is to change the form
and nature of government, you have denied the people the fundamental right
of self-determination -- a right that includes the choice between peace
Any reasonable criteria for justified war would disallow the invasion of
Iraq, an aggressive act of war perpetrated by a deceptive, corrupted and
ideologically driven administration. (Such criteria would also
preemptively prohibit an act of aggression against Iran, a nation
infinitely more threatened than threatening.)
We may not favor the form and nature of any number of governments around
the world but it is not for us to determine by military means which will
stand and which will fall. We have embraced far too many despots to defend
such a distinction as grounds for war.
As the Bush administration continues to promote its dark doctrine of
military supremacy and preemptive strike, at this juncture of
international affairs, there is not a single nation on earth less peaceful
and more threatening than our own.
The truth about Iraq is: We were wrong at the inception of the war; we
have been wrong for three years, and we continue to be wrong today.
It would be the first time since the Bush administration took office that
it appealed to the international community without a covert agenda. As
citizens of a nation that has willfully violated the cardinal principle of
international conduct through aggressive war, we should request that a
neutral body negotiate a simultaneous truce between the warring factions
(Shiites and Sunnis with Kurdish engagement) and the withdrawal of all
occupying forces. The only acceptable condition of withdrawal is the
safety of our soldiers and their replacement by a legitimate peacekeeping
Save for a continued occupation, all options should be on the table,
including shared oil revenues and civil divide.
We have inflicted great harm upon the world and we have paid a great price
yet our sacrifice is little when compared to what the people of Iraq have
endured -- even if we allow for the demise of a ruthless dictator.
We are not miracle workers; we cannot change water into wine. We cannot
transform the sands of Arabia into a democratic Garden of Eden and we
cannot expect to profit from our gross and criminal misdeeds. We can only
hope to make amends.
Let us begin by ending the occupation and beginning the long process
of transforming our own political system so that disasters like the
presidency of George W. Bush never happen again.
is the author
of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman
Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City
The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the
Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others.
Visit his website:
Other Articles by Jack
* Barry Bonds
and the Steroids Saga
* Defiling the
Grave of an American Hero: The Censoring of Rachel Corrie
* Starving the
Beast: Programmed Ineptitude
Constitutional Suspension: An Abdication of Democracy
* Right and
Responsibility Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed
* Open Letter
to Cindy Sheehan: Challenging the Pro-War Democrats
* The State of
the Union: A Stumbling Illusion of Strength
Presidential Power Grab
Pillow: The West Virginia Mining Disaster
* Pataki &
Bloomberg: How to Bust a Union
Imperial President and the NSA Spying Scandal
* France and
the Burning Embers of Repression
Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
* The Agnew
Factor: Clearing the Impeachment Path
* Iraq and
New Orleans: The ABCs of Police Lawlessness
* The Age of
Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster
* No Tears
for Rehnquist: The Legacy of a Chief Justice
Tolerance: Bush Gets Tough as New Orleans Suffers
* Hugo Chavez
and the American Slug: Pat Robertson’s Call for Assassination
* The Lie of
a Strong Economy (Beneath the Towers of Avarice)
Again: Major Party Turnabout
* The New War
Candidate: Major Paul Hackett for Congress
* Free Judy!
The Fine Art of Calling a Bluff
Blackmail: The Betrayal of Democracy in Haiti
* Blame the
Democrats & Move On: The Federalist Court
the Wind: The Inevitable End of the Iraqi Occupation
* London and
Madrid: Reflections on the War on Terror
Miller: The Anti-Hero
Scherzo: The Last Waltz
* The Last
Throes: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Bush -- US Out Now!
* Recall the
* The Gates
of Hell: Occupied Iraq
* May Day:
The Rise & Fall of the Middle Class
* The Papal
Aristocracy: Confessions of a Nonbeliever
* No Citizen
* A Marine
Comes Home: The Untold Story of War
Compassionate Leader -- In a Time of Crisis
Defense of Barry Bonds
Dan? Rather Not
Went to Canada...& Johnny Got His Gun