Published on Friday, July 15, 2005 by the Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Americans Need to Escape from Bush's Dream World
By R. Tom Arbogast
In my imagined dream, President George W. Bush in his nationwide speech recently admitted he ordered the attack on and invasion of Iraq for the wrong reasons and that it was a terrible mistake for which he apologized."I had the strangest dream last night ..." Those are words to an old peace song that imagines a day when all the peoples of the world had laid down their arms and agreed to fight wars no more.
However, in my imagined dream President George W. Bush in his nationwide speech recently admitted he ordered the attack on and invasion of Iraq for the wrong reasons and that it was a terrible mistake for which he apologized. He sought redemption by asking all Americans to unite with his administration and allies to stop the occupation and bring the troops home on a definite and reasonable timetable. Then he agreed to let the Iraqi people build what will be their own democracy.
Bush agreed that other willing countries could assist under the leadership of United Nations peacekeeping forces. He also said the United States would close the military bases that are under construction in Iraq.
As we all well know this dream did not become a reality. If it had we would probably all be in complete disbelief given Bush's track record of deceiving Congress - it is hard to trust someone after their lies led our country into this unfortunate and immoral war that is so horrendously costly in human, financial and material terms that will be a terrible burden for future generations.
Actually, Bush offered nothing new for an exit plan in his recent speech, except to state again we would finish the job in this war on terrorism - and to suggest that the "job" would have to be done in Iraq because that is where he wants to make his stand.
Apparently, the president still believes that Americans will fall for the lie that the attack on Iraq was about fighting terrorism - or finding weapons of mass destruction or tracking down Osama bin Laden and anyone else involved with the 9/11 attacks - rather than getting control of Middle East oil. And he certainly hopes Americans won't wake up to the fact that the invasion and occupation of that country have turned it into a breeding ground for even more terrorists. But the truth is that Iraq has now become a field of opportunity for foreign terrorists.
Rather than this insane war, the administration could have employed a modern counterterrorism model that sees terrorism as a deadly pathology that grows out of religious or ethnic rage that must be isolated and excised, as Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times suggested in a very wise column on July 5, 2005.
In Bush's recent address he did ask the rhetorical question, "Was it worth it?" To which he replied, "Yes."
My reply to that question, however, is a vehement and resounding "No!" And recent polls are showing that a majority feel the same way about Bush's war.
How can the president say this invasion and occupation are "worth it," given the horrendous costs of more than 1,700 American service personnel killed, many more injured or maimed for life, the huge number of Iraqi civilians killed and wounded, the devastating material and infrastructure damages to Iraq, and the huge costs to U.S. taxpayers, which already exceed $300 billion?
Maybe Bush justifies these costs by the regime change of bringing down Saddam Hussein (one of the world's many tyrants), as well as by playing on the public's fears of more attacks like the London bombings.
There is no question that we need to protect our homeland. But we could better do this by ending our military occupation of Iraq to lessen the Iraqis' rage toward the occupiers of that land.
My heart cries out in sorrow every time I watch PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" on weekday evenings showing the handsome faces and names of our servicemen and women just killed in Iraq and I grieve for their families. When and how will this quagmire ever end?
Perhaps it will happen when more Americans wake up from the dreams that Bush has planted in so many of our heads and start looking at the cold, hard reality of the disaster he has created.
© 2005 Capital Times