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The Legacy of Military Solutions: Live by the Sword and Die by the Sword

Military solutions are presently paramount in American politics and the old martial maxim of living by the sword, and dying by the sword is a proverbial truth now haunting the Bush/Cheney administration. White House approval ratings are plummeting with the daily casualty reports from the dirty and deadly guerrilla war now exasperating the U.S. military in Iraq.

Demonizing and then attacking Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Iraqis was relentlessly hyped as a gloriously epic struggle for liberty and justice. Bush was cunningly cast by his political handlers as a gun-slinging global lawman who would seek out and slay all evil-doers who threaten the "civilized" world. Complicit in the charge to war was the United States' violence-peddling, corporate media. The big media organizations joined with Bush/Cheney and company in skillfully twisting and distorting our military aggression into acts of righteous retribution for terrorist attacks on innocent Americans.

The Bush administration hitched its wagon to the apocalyptic horsemen of the military/industrial complex by exploiting the fear and anxiety from the 9/11/2001 attacks on America into a gung-ho, global war on terrorism. The Washington warriors launched the greatest high-tech military force in world history against impoverished Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden, the alleged leader of the Al Qaeda perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks was headquartered and gained a quick "victory" that led to U.S. occupation of that country but failed to capture or kill bin Laden.

Incessantly fueling the fear of another attack on America, the emboldened White House imperialists immediately set their sights on the military conquest of oil rich Iraq, a decades old objective of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf area. Conjuring up mysterious weapons of mass destruction hidden somewhere in Iraq that threatened the U.S. and mendaciously making up an ominous link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, the Bushies launched a massive military invasion of Iraq, ignoring the advice and admonitions of its closest allies, the vast majority of nations, and millions of protestors for peace around the world. In a tribute to the successful fear-mongering of the administration a Washington Post poll in August indicated that 69% of the American people believed that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. After Vice-President reiterated the Saddam link to 9/11 to Tim Russert on Meet The Press, President Bush confessed that there "was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 attacks".

It is no wonder that military matters are dominating the news these days: General Wesley Clark announcing he will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination and immediately pulling ahead of President Bush in the polls; more and more soldiers, reservists and their families speaking out in opposition to the occupation of Iraq that is resulting in several attacks a day against U.S. forces in Iraq that are relentlessly killing and wounding our troops; U.S. Army recruiters crediting the slumping American economy with bolstering its efforts to recruit the 100,000 enlisted soldiers it needs this year; and veterans organizations criticizing the Bush administration for failing to back their efforts to allow veterans to collect disability pay without having it deducted from their retirement pay.

Only time will tell whether General Clark's military savvy will offer voters an appealing alternative to the monumental military muck-up of George W. Bush in these times of fear-mongering and martial madness. Interviews with former military associates of Clark indicate a tendency of the first-in-his-class at West Point military prodigy towards a sort of hubris and hyper-sensitivity that could become a liability in a presidential campaign.

As U.S. casualties mount in Iraq an increasing number of military personnel and their families are speaking out about Bush's duplicity that misled them into believing they would be received as liberators. Some of the major media that the Bushies snookered into over-hyping the necessity for attacking Iraq are beginning to report their anger at the prospect of fighting and dying for a cause based on innuendo and out-right falsehoods . Perhaps the media folks are seeking a bit of redemption for having aided and abetted the Bush administration in the misleading run-up to the war.

The Army Recruiting Command says the slumping U.S. economy is a boon to recruiting efforts that "so far" offsets concerns that the turmoil in Iraq could crimp new enlistments. The army alone has spent $321 million on support for recruiters; they now offer sign-up bonuses as high as $20,000, pay up to $50,000 in education expenses, and repay up to 465,000 in student loans. However, the sluggish economic recovery is further exacerbating the greatest loss of jobs since the great depression and the jobs issue was a major factor in making Dubya's dad a one- termer.

Certainly job loss and a losing situation in Iraq are indicators that the Bush/Cheney administration is in trouble, but now Knight-Ridder's military correspondent, Joseph Galloway has written that veterans' organizations are creating a "firestorm" in reaction to the retreat of Republican legislators and the Bush administration on their most critical legislative issue. Usually a strong Republican bloc, the veterans groups are adamant about Bush 's opposition to legislation they have long advocated to allow nearly 600,000 disabled veterans to receive disability payments without them being deducted from their retirement pay.

Seemingly without much real empathetic understanding of the peril confronting our troops now in-harms-way in Iraq, the Bush/Cheney cabal might just be facing the political legacy of its macho militarism-live by the sword and die by the sword!

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Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is

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