Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Phony Policies of Bush and Cheney

Has it dawned on enough Americans that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with the 'war on terrorism' and certainly nothing to do with 9/11? For regular readers, I apologize but when 50% of Americans get pulled in once again by the PR campaign of the Bush Administration, it's worth repeating again: Iraq had no significant WMDs; the only WMDs found in Iraq in the last ten years were largely useless leftover items from the 80s that were more or less found in lost, forgotten corners. Wouldn't it be absurd if Italy and Germany went to war with the US every time they find ordnance left over from our bombing campaigns of the 1940s?

Saddam Hussein also had no association with al Qaida. One of the more dishonest aspects of Bush's foreign policy is the tendency to throw everyone into the same basket. Sunnis are not Shiites. Kurds are not Arabs. Secular Muslims have different concerns than religious Muslims who have different ideas among themselves of what kind of government or society they want. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld went to war pretending it's all the same and it clearly is not. But it makes it very convenient when it comes to confusing Americans for political gain.

Thomas Friedman, who supported the Bush Administration a bit too long, is coming up with some of the better arguments against the administration as the Iraq fiasco becomes increasingly clear. Here's an excerpt from his column in The New York Times:
Not only is there no honest self-criticism among Republicans, but—and this is truly contemptible—you have Dick Cheney and Friends focusing their public remarks on why Mr. Lamont's defeat of Mr. Lieberman only proves that Democrats do not understand that we are in a titanic struggle with "Islamic fascists" and are therefore unfit to lead?

Oh, really? Well, I just have one question for Mr. Cheney: If we're in such a titanic struggle with radical Islam, and if getting Iraq right is at the center of that struggle, why did you "tough guys" fight the Iraq war with the Rumsfeld Doctrine—just enough troops to lose—and not the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force to create the necessary foundation of any democracy-building project, which is security? How could you send so few troops to fight such an important war when it was obvious that without security Iraqis would fall back on their tribal militias?

Mr Cheney, if we're in a titanic struggle with Islamic fascists, why have you and President Bush resisted any sreious effort to get Americans to conserve energy? Why do you refuse to push higher mileage standards for U.S. automakers or a gasoline tax that would curb our imports of oil? Here we are in the biggest struggle of our lives and we are funding both sides—the U.S. militasry with our tax dollars and the radical Islamists and the governments and charities that support them with our gasoline purchases—and you won't lift a finger to change that. Why? Because it might impose pain on the oil companies and auto lobbies that fund the G.O.P. or require some sacrifice by Americans.

If Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, who make up a new excuse for their wars about every six months, were serious about what was going on, there would be a draft, a major and serious energy program, and no sweetheart tax cuts for the wealthy. What Bush has brought us in the last five years is a politicized foreign policy instead of a foreign policy designed to advance our long-term interests. They would also not be cutting corners on homeland security or handing our ports over to foreign companies. Nor would they be neglecting so many tools in the foreign policy tool kit including face-to-face talks with people we don't like.

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