Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
There’s a real alternative in Iraq. And it isn’t more troops, George.
by GREG PALAST
George W. Bush has an urge to surge. Like every junkie, he asks for just one more fix: let him inject just 21,000 more troops and that will win the war.
Thursday, January 11, 2007–Been there. Done that. In 1965, Tom Paxton sang,
Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn’t really war,
We’re sending 50,000 more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese.
Four decades later, Bush is asking us to save Iraq from the Iraqis.
There’s always a problem with giving a junkie another fix. It can only make things worse. Our maximum leader says that unless he gets to mainline another 21,000 troops, “Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” and terrorists “would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people.”
Excuse me, but didn’t we hear that same promise in 2003? Nearly four years ago, on the eve of invasion, this same George Bush promised, “The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.”
Instead of diminishing the threat from terrorists, Bush now admits, “Al Qaeda has a home base in Anbar province” — something inconceivable under Saddam’s rule.
Four years ago, Bush promised us, “When the dictator has departed, [Iraq] can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.” Just send in the 82d Airborne and, lickety-split, we’d have, “A new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”
Well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Here’s my question: Who asked the waiter to deliver this dish? Who asked for the 21,000 soldiers?
We know the U.S. military didn’t ask for the 21,000 troops. (Outgoing commander General George Casey called for a troop reduction.)
We know the Iraqi government didn’t ask for the 21,000 troops. (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is reportedly unhappy about a visible increase in foreign occupiers).
So who wants the occupation to continue? The answer is in Riyadh. When the King of Saudi Arabia hauled Dick Cheney before his throne on Thanksgiving weekend, the keeper of America’s oil laid down the law to Veep: the U.S. will not withdraw from Iraq.
According to Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi who signals to the U.S. government the commands and diktats of the House of Saud, the Saudis are concerned that a U.S. pull-out will leave their Sunni brothers in Iraq to be slaughtered by Shia militias. More important, the Saudis will not tolerate a Shia-majority government in Iraq controlled by the Shia mullahs of Iran. A Shia combine would threaten Saudi Arabia’s hegemony in the OPEC oil cartel.
In other words, it’s about the oil.
So what’s the solution? What’s my plan? How do we get out of Iraq? Answer: the same way we got out of ‘Nam. In ships.
Read the rest of it here.