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The Beginning of the Beginning of the End

The moment when the U.S. lost the war in Iraq has now passed, and no doubt, like the failure in Vietnam, many more memorable iconic images will arise. Unfortunately, this does not mean the end of the killing, which will no doubt continue for years.

The naked little girl, skin peeling from her body, running from the black smoke-filled sky as the result of an American napalm raid, and the summary execution of a Viet Cong fighter in the streets of Saigon by a police officer, are two of the many hundreds of images and incidents which signified that the Vietnam War was unwinnable.

The horrific images of American security guards (read mercenaries) being killed, dismembered, burnt and hung, and the inevitable response by the Americans was the point from which the defenders of the invasion of Iraq had nothing but quicksand to stand on, and the more they wriggle, the faster they will sink.

The Americans have demonstrated an obvious, but generally unspoken 'given' about the war, namely, that Iraqi lives are much less important than American lives. This has been obvious, but not well documented since the war began. One may read (though less and less these days) the count of the U.S. forces killed in Iraq, but there is no running count on Iraqi deaths. The retaliation in Fallujah for the deaths of the US contractors has magnified the relative importance of Iraqi versus US deaths. Hence the slaughter of more than 450 (how many more yet to be revealed?) iraqi residents of Fallujah. One can reasonably assume that the women and children bleeding in the streets had little to do with the attack on the four Americans. This then, in large part is what the U.S.'s whole revenge mentality which brought on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the result of 9/11 is about. While the Afghan venture was both justified and ultimately successful, (though the follow-up, perhaps because of an obsession with Iraq seems inadequate) the invasion of Iraq was always questionable. Some of the media are now discovering that lies were told. Millions who marched around the world over a year ago, knew that all the time.
The other crucial revelation in the past few days, is that a month before 9/11, Bush was given a 'brief' pointing out the likelihood of an attack within America by Bin laden's al Qaeda. It's title? 'Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.' This brief, and Bush's apparent non-response to it, ought to be his death-knell. He can't possibly argue that he had sufficient justification for the invasion of Iraq through his intelligence sources, while insisting that he had insufficient reason to act on specific information relating to an attack on American soil. Condoleezza Rice argues that the information related to airplane hijacks, but not to using them as weapons. One would think that preventing hijacks would have been a reasonable defence against the 9/11 disaster. To put the defense that the specifics of the attack were not spelled out in the brief, and that therefore the Bush administration was not derelict in their duty, begs credulity.

To have overreacted as they did in Fallujah, to the extent that the US forces were forced by their own appointed interim governing body to withdraw, while at the same time being forced, for the first time since the conflict began to mention the word 'negotiate' was a fatal turning point for the Americans. It showed that there is a limit to the excusable amount of punitive aggression a country can extract from innocent protagonists. Perhaps more importantly, it has happened when the spidery web of deceptions, lies and evasions spun by the Bush administration are being 'straw broomed'. The danger for Bush and his cronies is that the straw broom may be replaced by a giant vacuum cleaner, that will suck away GWB's defences, and will leave him, knobbly-kneed and naked on his desk, still insisting he is clothed in shining armor. At this point, only the most fervent will continue to believe. Like the poor, the gullible are always with us.

Posted: Thu - September 21, 2006 at 04:52 PM      
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