CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN...
January 5th was the bloodiest day in Iraq since Bush's illegal invasion of that hapless nation in March 2003. Suicide bombers plunged into crowds in restaurants, marketplaces, even a funeral procession -- killing as many as 140, and injuring many more. Eleven US servicemen were killed.
Eleven Americans blown to bits in one fell swoop. One might expect their president to call for a day of mourning, perhaps an hour of prayer, a moment of silence -- or to at least acknowledge such a devastating loss. But no. Not this president. Such an admission might make the lurking plotters and planners out there think he is weak; that his will, his resolve to spread freedom, can be broken.
In a show of strength, Bush responded by suddenly summoning all living secretaries of state and defense to the White House for a skull session and photo op on what to do in the Middle East before he is completely overtaken by even more catastrophic success. To "catapault the propaganda" that he's willing to share the glory, Bush said he would "listen and take to heart" any suggestions offered, even from Democrats.
Except for an exit plan, of course, and any suggestions of how to better equip or protect the "troops" who are thrown into an exploding nightmare where it's every man for himself. Those of us who know that Bush is raving mad, destructively impulsive and totally incompetent suspect he was lining up former heavyweights to give the impression that he had bipartisan support for his folly, and to take the blame when the melt-down comes.
Thirteen former cabinet members showed up to sit through a 40-minute briefing on the successes in Iraq given by Bush, by General George Casey, CENTCOM honcho, and by former Unocal officer, AIPAC co-founder, Afghanistan ambassador now Iraq ambassador Zalmay Khalizad. Bush allowed less than 10 minutes for questions or comments from the 13 members before they were rushed into the Oval Office for a "family" photo, then herded into another room to sit through another briefing by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. As soon as the cameras were turned off, the meeting was over and Bush, Rice, Cheney and Rumsfeld fled, leaving the former VIPs to find their own way out. It was a pitiful sight, and I can't help thinking it served them right for allowing themselves to be used in such a shoddy way.
This "meeting" was nothing but another PR trick in Bush's announced campaign to whip the public back into line behind his "strategery" for winning the war and to con people into believing he plans to eventually bring what is left of our ground troops home. Patricia Martin, writing in the World Socialist Web Site, said the whole affair was a cynical charade to legitimize the Iraq war.
Martin said, "according to former defense secretary James Schlesinger, a fervent supporter of the Iraq war, Bush from the beginning precluded any discussion of the decision to invade and occupy Iraq, focusing instead on what should be done now to insure success for the US occupation regime." Martin noted Schlesinger's jaded remark, "Needless to say...there was little debate, given the implied ground rules."
Perhaps that is why foreign policy heavy hitters such as Henry Kissinger, state secretary under Nixon and Ford; Caspar Weinberger, defense secretary under Reagon; and Warren Christopher, first state secretary under Clinton, chose not to play Bush's sordid little game and did not attend.
The only sign of life in the meeting, according to the New York Times, was when Madeleine Albright, Clinton state secretary, grew a bit restive after nearly an hour of listening to how well things are going in Iraq, suggested that perhaps Bush's war on Iraq was sucking all the energy out of other issues just as important.
Albright asked Bush "whether he had let nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea spin out of control, and Latin America and China policy suffer by benign neglect." Bush shot back, "I can't let this comment stand," and told Albright testily that his administration "can do more than one thing at a time."
But the good news could be this is Alexander Haig's last chance to be "in charge." Haig will probably jump at it, even though he knows that he and his renowned counterparts are being set up as "patsies" for Bush's great madcap adventure in Iraq. This mess is so big, it's going to take more than a "few bad apples" to cover it up. I can just hear Bush now -- "I asked them what we should do, and they all agreed that I was doing a heckuva job, and we should stay the course. Hey, don't blame me. They had the same information I had..."
But the media mostly loved it. Associated Press writer Jennifer Loven crowed, "He (Bush) gambled that one-time high-level public officials, when personally summoned by the president, would resist temptation to be too critical. He was right."
Loven assured us that Bush got support for his mission -- along with a few concerns -- and the right to claim that he was "reaching out."In his statement to the media, Bush said, "Not everybody around this table agreed with my decision to go into Iraq. I fully understand that. But these are good solid Americans who understand that we've got to succeed now that we're there. I'm most grateful for the suggestions they've given."
One "constructive idea" the secretaries broached, according to the White House, was to make sure that the military, not politicians in Washington, are determining troop levels in Iraq and making other on-the-ground calls. Does anybody doubt that the secretary who came up with this bleak plan was none other than Donald Rumsfeld himself? Which, of course, means that it's business as usual, and the troops won't begin to come home until Rumsfeld says they can...
Meanwhile, the Green Zone in Baghdad finally has all the theaters, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and golf courses it needs, so Bush is cutting off the promised reconstruction money for Iraq. Except, of course, for the new billion-dollar embassy that will be more secure than the Pentagon. According to the UK Mirror, "The embassy will be guarded by 15ft blast walls and ground-to-air missiles and the main building will have bunkers for use during air offensives."
It gets better. "The grounds will include as many as 300 houses for consular and military officials. And a large-scale barracks will be built for Marines who will protect what will be Washington's biggest and most secure overseas building." The source also said that the Bush administration has plans for four super bases across the country.
It doesn't matter if the crusty old New World Order patsies knew Bush has no intention of leaving Iraq until the last drop of oil is sucked from the region when they wandered out of the White House. Bush doesn't care what they think, so it also doesn't matter whether they advised against it if they did know. All 13 of them in their day were driven by the same greed and lust for resources in the Persian Gulf, coups, assassinations and supporting torture regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein. One -- George Shultz -- was the man behind the Iran-Contra curtain. Another -- James Baker -- orchestrated a stolen election and the ensuing assault on the US Constitution.
That old adage must be true -- when you're in as deep as every single one of them is -- you can't go home again.