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Adopting policy of war escalates cycle; more atrocities can be expected

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003

Things appear to be winding down in the Middle East theater. Now our warrior administration can proudly strut around with another feather in its hat, having proved to the world that America rules by force, not by diplomacy.

President Bush announced May 1 that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." Notice he didn't say, "the war is over," because that would mean POWs must be returned and Bush is not about to do that.

I'm sure POWs will continue to be held in limbo, just like the Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are still being held incommunicado, with no charges filed and with hearings denied them.

In his carefully crafted speech, Bush said, "We have removed an ally of al-Qaida." Remind me again of how Saddam Hussein, who had a secular, socialist ideology, was linked to a fundamentalist like Osama bin Laden because their mutual hatred of American imperialism isn't enough to make these two bedfellows.

For that matter, how has Saddam been linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001? Oh, that's right he hasn't been, despite how many times Bush chooses to bring it up.

It's OK, though, because we're America! Bush doesn't defer to any authority, and he doesn't accept the idea of offering evidence.

Proving the link is not important to Bush. What is important to him is that the American people simply believe there is a link. The Bush administration menaces the populace with an endless series of hobgoblins to whip the people into a terrified state, because it knows the best way to gain support is to have Americans fearing for their lives.

Then people believe we have to go to war to save the world from terrorism. However, to my knowledge, the United States is the only country that has been condemned for international terrorism by the World Court for its actions against Nicaragua in the mid-1980s.

For Washington, Iraq was guilty until proven guilty, but here we are with the war over. I mean major combat operations ended, and we still haven't uncovered any more weapons of mass destruction than chief weapons inspector Hans Blix did before the war began.

The weapons were insignificant anyway. The real war was about liberating the Iraqi people. As Bush said, "Saddam built palaces, while his people lived in poverty."

That completely contrasts the social system here in America, right? Wrong!

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 600,000 Americans were declared homeless in 2002. And, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, somewhere in America a woman is raped every two minutes, and every seven hours a child dies of neglect or abuse.

While we're on the subject of wealth, let's remember that, according to Bush, the war wasn't about oil either.

Iraq is the world's second largest crude oil reserve. Yet prior to the war, Iraq accounted for less than 1 percent of what the U.S. imported every day. Only someone ignorant of the easy-to-ascertain realities could think that no profit could be gained from the war.

Does it not strike anyone as odd that 41 members of the Bush administration are linked to the oil industry, and that both the president and vice president are former oil executives?

No? How about that Bush received $1.8 million in campaign funds from the oil and gas industry in 2000? Isn't it a weird coincidence that Halliburton, the company formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, was awarded the lucrative rebuilding contract in Iraq worth more than $600 million?

Bush stated, this was a, "new era of war" and he boasted of the, "highly accurate weapons," which kept "civilian casualties to a minimum." What war was this guy watching? Even those who watch "American Idle" with mindless enthusiasm should have questioned the logic of that quote.

If Bush seriously believes this statement, he should be writing the next screenplay for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, because his ability for fiction and fantasy far rivals most Holly-wood scripts out there.

To hide the civilian casualty totals, the American propaganda machine has been running full bore since before the war, which, as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells it, is exactly according to schedule.

Numbers currently are around 1,400 civilians killed and 5,103 injured. However, it's important to remember not just those who were literally murdered on the spot, but those that will still die as a result.

Now, before you war supporters get out your pens and prepare to lash me with ink for my heresy, let me make a few things clear so you can get back to your usual business of naysaying the Dixie Chicks.

Saddam Hussein was not a good man, and by no means could I or anyone else logically defend or justify this dictator's actions.

No one needs to write to inform me of the horrible atrocities he's carried out, such as those against the Kurds.

Coincidentally, Saddam was still strongly supported by the United States during 1988 when he used chemical weapons on "his own people."

Also, no one needs to write to call me "anti-American," since not only have I served in the armed forces, but also because the term is typically only found in totalitarian states where there is no distinction between state policy and society. Don't write about not supporting the troops either, because this isn't about that.

It's about not supporting the policy.

Adopting the policy of war was flawed in that it caused the loss of innocent lives and ignored the significant likelihood of future atrocities like the ones that occurred Sept. 11, 2001.

By reacting with extreme violence, the cycle of violence has been escalated. This can only lead to further atrocities, including those directed against America in which more innocent lives could be lost.

Joseph Robertia is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.



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