t r u t h o u t | Opinion
Saturday 31 May 2003
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz revealed that weapons of mass destruction were the diplomatic reason for the War on Iraq. This statement simultaneously explains why the Bush administration is so horrible at diplomacy, (they don t even know the definition) and why every country in the world except the U.S. and Israel had public majorities that opposed the war. Legions of foreign intelligence agencies, from China to France to Russia to Germany, reported that Iraq was no threat, had no terrorists, and most importantly had no weapons of mass destruction. Understandably, the leaders of these countries opposed the war, and the citizens protested in the streets. It appears the Bush administration was well aware of these facts, but proceeded to use diplomacy to convince the American people, and anyone else without shouting distance, that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and its allies. Unfortunately for Mr.
Bush, this deception left a trail.
Before the war and in his address to the United Nations, Colin Powell asserted in no uncertain terms that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled massive amounts of chemical and biological weapons and was prepared to use them at the first available opportunity. Vice President Dick Cheney went so far as to say that, he (Saddam) has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. Ari Fleischer also promised reporters on multiple occasions that weapons of mass destruction, are what this war is about. And in an interview with Al Jazeera, Donald Rumsfeld plainly stated that the war, is about weapons of mass destruction. It is unquestionably about that.
Somewhere along the line, this rhetoric came to a grinding halt. Several weeks have now passed since the end of the war, and WMD s have yet to be found in Iraq. Specialized teams of engineers, scientists, and intelligence agents have been searching for these weapons since the outbreak of war, yet have been unable to locate even the slightest trace of chemical and biological weapons. (Nuclear weapons were essentially dismissed as a possibility sometime before the war.)
In the greater scheme of things, the War on Iraq was assumed to be part of the much larger War on Terrorism. It is disappointing, then, to learn that the U.S. military occupying Iraq has not found any terrorists, weapons for terrorists, money for terrorists, or any possible connection between Al Qaeda and the now dissipated government of Iraq. If the War on Iraq was a remedy for the growing threat of terrorism to the U.S., one could easily conclude our mission was a dismal failure.
Moreover, Saddam Hussein s military provided hardly any resistance to U.S. forces when the invasion began, thus proving that Iraq posed no danger to the U.S. or any of its allies. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) stated, What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S. Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift an airplane against us. Iraq's threatening fleet of unmanned drones about which we heard so much morphed into one prototype made of plywood and string. Their missiles proved to be outdated and of limited range. Their army was quickly overwhelmed by our technology and our well trained troops.
The rebuilding of Iraq is also developing into a significant embarrassment for the Bush administration. In a Senate meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-CN) said, "It is very hard to fathom what the administration's strategy is with respect to the immediate stabilization of the situation, let alone the longer-term reconstruction of Iraq." Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-IN) head of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated, "The planning for peace was much less developed than the planning for war." Sen. Chuck Hagel, (R-NE) also remarked, "we may have underestimated or mischaracterized the challenges of establishing security and rebuilding Iraq."
A great deal of animosity is also evolving out of a disastrous situation in Afghanistan, where the last few weeks have yielded a great deal of unfortunate news. A British aid worker recently reported that, The country is on its knees: roads, bridges, tunnels, schools, homes, hospitals, and farmlands are reduced to rubble and dust. Only 5% of the rural population have access to clean water, 17% have access to medical services, 13% have access to education, 25% of all children are dead by the age of five. In addition, Afghanistan has now regained its title as the world s largest opium producer. Opium, according to the Bush administration, provided enormous funding for some of the terrorist organizations responsible for 9/11. The Taliban have also recently taken responsibility for several killings involving U.S. soldiers, Afghan soldiers, and Afghan civilians. Amazingly, as of today, the United States military controls just one city.
In the interim, the Al Qaeda terrorist network has reorganized its command structure and is flagrantly boasting that it is stronger than ever before. Jonathan Stevenson, senior fellow for counter-terrorism at London s International Institute for Strategic Studies said, The US war on Iraq gave Al Qaeda the opportunity to reinvigorate its weakened terrorist network with new recruits and more funding. The Iraq war clearly increased the terrorist impulse. Paul Wilkinson, head of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence also stated, The political masters in the US and Europe underestimated the extent to which bin Laden would use the war in Iraq as a propaganda weapon to rejuvenate the movement and attract more funds. As far as the war against Al Qaeda goes, it possibly has been counterproductive. We face turbulent times ahead.
Recent events suggest this line of reasoning is legitimate. Saudi Arabia and Morocco were rocked by terrorist bombings last week, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is continuing to produce incessant terrorism from each side. The Pentagon has also reported that Al Qaeda leaders are coordinating terrorist attacks from Iran; regime change is now under consideration. Furthermore, Osama bin Laden continues to traverse the world as a free man. Saddam Hussein, the anthrax killer, and the senior leadership of Al Qaeda are also evading the resolve of Mr. Bush. And for whatever reason, the Homeland Security Department has recently raised America s terror alert to high.
Taking into account present circumstances, it appears that the U.S. is, by any logical standard of measurement, losing the War on Terrorism. Just a brief review of events from the world stage should provide even the most credulous American with incontrovertible proof that the world is not a safer place since Mr. Bush took office. The international community, and specifically the Arab world, has never been more candid about their contempt for US policy.
All things considered, it now appears that the gigantic chore undertaken by the United States Military, the State Department, the Pentagon, and U.S. intelligence agencies to invade and occupy Iraq has not yielded one single victory in the War on Terrorism. Mr. Bush s strategy to combat terror was undoubtedly doomed to fail from the beginning. Military force was his one and only answer to the events of 9/11, and despite massive increases in defense spending and a budget-busting war in Iraq, America has nothing to show for its efforts in the War on Terrorism. These immense costs, coupled with Mr. Bush s trillion-dollar tax cut package, are directly responsible for what is now the biggest budget deficit in United States history.
As America s economy continues to nosedive, the gap between the haves and have-nots will most assuredly widen. Concurrently, less and less funding will be delivered to places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where our failure to establish a structured government system is producing perpetual criticism from the United Nations. As these countries and the surrounding areas continue to suffer, Al Qaeda will assuredly prosper. Fueled by disdain for U.S. international policy, new recruits for the terrorist networks of the world will join the fight against what they believe is an ungodly, aggressor nation. Our government, and specifically the Bush administration, bears responsibility for this upheaval. If immediate steps are not taken to ameliorate the suffering caused by U.S. led military combat, the current international unrest will prove to be only a glimpse of things to come.