Monday, September 11, 2006

Leave it to Rumsfeld 

Just two days ago I showed a littel bit of how the pro-war crowd has highjacked the events of September 11th do justify their war in Iraq. Of course, what I showed was just one little sign at an event that was put on by a private organization (though clearly with government backing). So people could plausibly claim I was miscronstrueing that organization's views with those of the U.S. goverment and its leadership.

Leave it to Rumsfeld to come to my rescue. In an Op-Ed article published in today's Wall Street Journal he removed any doubt that the U.S. leadership tries to use the attacks of 9/11 as justification for their continued war of conquest in Iraq. Here is the first part of what he had to say:

We remember where we were that day.
At 9:38 a.m., the entire Pentagon shook. I went outside and saw the horrific face of war in the 21st century. Those present could feel the heat of the flames and smell the burning jet fuel -- all that remained of American Airlines flight 77.

Destruction surrounded us: smoldering rubble, twisted steel, victims in agony.

Last week, President Bush greeted the families of September 11 victims in the East Room of the White House and told them about the efforts to bring to justice those who attacked our nation -- and those who supported them. He said, "The families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. ... They should have to wait no longer." He announced that 14 high-level terrorists, including the man referred to as the mastermind of the attacks, have been transferred to the Department of Defense and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. There they will be treated humanely -- though their victims were not -- and, if and when the necessary legislation is passed by the Congress, prosecuted for their crimes, in accordance with law.

President Bush has reminded us that this enemy is still seeking new ways to attack us. He told us about captured terrorists who provided key information about planned attacks on buildings here in the U.S., and about al Qaeda's efforts to obtain biological weapons. Information the interrogators received from these terrorists has led to the capture of other terrorists, who have in turn led us to still more.

Yet, even with these victories in the war, President Bush reminded us that it is important to understand the nature of this enemy, and what it is seeking to do. The extremist movement that threatens us is not a reactionary force -- it actively looks for opportunities to acquire new and deadlier weapons, to destabilize governments, and to create discord among our allies and within our own country.

This enemy has made its immediate strategy clear in public announcements and in captured documents: to undermine the Coalition effort in Iraq, drive our forces out, and then use that nation as a base from which to destabilize the surrounding nations. [empahsis mine - ow]They seek to extend a hoped-for victory in Iraq to a broad part of the Middle East and even parts of Europe and Asia -- to restore an ancient caliphate.

Iraq is the linchpin in their effort. [emphasis mine]Osama bin Laden calls Iraq the "epicenter" of this war, and he believes that "America is prepared to wage easy wars but not prepared to fight long and bitter wars." When Gen. Abizaid, commander of Central Command, was asked what effect pulling out of Iraq would have, he said the extremists would become "emboldened, empowered, more aggressive." They will turn whatever part of Iraq they can control into a safe haven for terrorists, just as Afghanistan was before September 11. They likely will attract still more recruits, inspired by their "victory" over the West.

So there you have it - it is the same "enemy" who brought about the attacks of September 11th who the U.S. is fighting in Iraq. Funny, but just about every account I have read of the war in Iraq says 95% of the people fighting the U.S. occupation there are Iraqi's. Yet no Iraqi's, to anyones knowledge, were involved in the September 11 attacks. In fact, it turns out, the Saddam Hussien regime and Al-Qaeda didn't even get along.

Moreover, at first we were told we told the objective was to overthrow Saddam Hussien and his evil regime. That was accomplished - Hussien is in prison, his sons are dead, and the regimes top officials (at least the ones from the famous deck of playing cards) are almost all either dead or in jail. So that justification no longer works.

Then we were told we were fighting former Ba'athists hellbent on regaining power or at least fighting to the end ("dead-enders" Rumsfeld called them at the time though he doesn't use that term anymore as the only people looking like dead-enders now are him, Bush, Cheney and Rice). The problem with that rational for the war though is that it is hard to get people motivated to fight Ba'athists. Who cares about them? After all, they just want to take over Iraq, not the United States, and how many Americans are going to be willing to throw away their lives fighting over that place?

The reality is the U.S. government faces problem here. How can it convince average Americans that they should spend lots of money and spill lots of blood fighting over a country that is half a world away? The only way it can do that is to use the same methods it used before - convince people that there are lots of evil people in that country who if not suppressed there will come to the United States,attack Americans on their own soil and destroy their way of life.

Younger people may be forgiven if they think this is a unique problem and a novel solution, but it isn't. This is exactly what the U.S. has done before. Anyone remember the "dominoe theory"? The Vietnam war was fought under the exact same false pretense of "fight them there or lose our freedom here". The only difference is that then the enemy was international communism whereas now it is international terrorism. Only the names change, not the pretexts.

On the bright side, they can't keep this charade up forever. Sooner or later they will have to concede defeat and leave. And when they do, and when the U.S. still lives peacefully ever after, their lies will stand naked for everyone to see. Save for all the poor people who had the misfortune of being killed in this war before those lies could be seen for what they were.


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