The dirty little secret and a partial explanation of Bush’s rage at the notion of limiting our military involvement in Iraq is that Bush’s and the neocons’ basic strategy has been to establish permanent bases in the Middle East wherever they can — to be able to dominate the region and its resources (mainly oil) with military force.
The unfortunate catch here is that without a real war justifying a national draft the U.S. simply does not have sufficient military reserves to become such a permanent monster feeding on other people’s resources.
The oft repeated Bush claim that we are just giving the Iraqis time to order their own state (and the same logic applies to Afghanistan) is as phony as the lie that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Needless to say Israel is an understandably nervous side player in this game — presumably balanced between the impulse to make peace with its neighbors versus sticking with the warm blanket of U.S. military support and engagement against its enemies.Â The report from the AIPAC conference last month was that Cheney got the most enthusiastic applause from the 6,000 assembled delegates. Obama and Clinton held dessert parties after the main banquet.
I tell my Israeli friends that what I fear most is a pulling back by the American public from Israel along with the repudiation of the mad schemes of our Decider-in-Chief.Â I also share with increasing numbers the sense that Bush is not only the most incompetent president within memory, but also the most dangerous.Â He really seems to see our military as his personal ball team and any who are disloyal to it or to him are to be punished — we have seen examples of this with the dismissed federal prosecutors and whistle-blowers who have been left to swing in the breeze.Â The rats are jumping ship, but the captain still remains on board with his fingers dangerously near the launch buttons — one hopes that Iran will not be the next “evil” regime to be attacked.Â If so, we are in for some cold winters with heating oil and gasoline in very short supply.Â Hugo has a handle on Bush that is both clever and frighteningly accurate.Â Bush may see himself as Jesus’ warrior on the march, but there is another all too plausible explanation for the chaos he has been spreading.
The bottom line here is that the only way the Iraqis can cooperate to Bush’s satisfaction is to welcome aboard our military bases as a permanent center for our strategic domination of the region.Â The surge is designed to pacify Iraq,Â not to lead it to self-rule — which will most likely not be possible in the face of the escalating civil war.
Enough on this mess.Â May we survive the next two years.Â It could be worse.Â Bush could be assassinated or impeached and we would be left with Haliburton’s Cheney at the helm!Â Ed Kent]
What About Those Other Iraq Deadlines?
By LEON E. PANETTA
Instead of dividing over the strategy on the war, the
president and the Congress should make very clear to the
Iraqis that there is no open-ended commitment to our
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed KentÂ 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]