What an amazing load of crap Charles Krauthammer has written! At least I guess he wrote it. It sounds as if he might have had help from his friends at the White House. I think they sent him a draft, which he "polished up" by putting his name on it. I wonder if they send him bank drafts too.
We’ve seen this accusation by the White House of their opposition before, that we are racists who couldn’t believe Arabs could govern themselves democratically. It has always been baseless. It was fabricated by the White House and picked up by Mr. Krauthammer and others.
According to Krauthammer, Bush is too modest to make the “mission accomplished” mistake a second time, but Krauthammer himself is ready to call the voting in Iraq, the demonstrations in Lebanon, and other favorable events, the “initial flourishing of democracy” and to conclude that Bush was right.
I hope the Iraq invasion leads to a general shake-up in the Middle East and resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and democratization of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. It could. Who can predict which way it will go? But it’s kind of disgusting to see the administration claiming now that it invaded Iraq “to remove the man responsible for torturing, gassing and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis” or “to introduce democracy and freedom.” They gave us one set of lies before the war: weapons of mass destruction, imminent danger to us and our allies, connections with Osama bin Laden; now they are giving us another set, this one retroactively superseding the first. Will they ever tell the truth?
I think the truth is that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the oil-industry-oriented people running this administration were concerned about the security of the oil supply, which was looking shaky because of the threat of democratization of Saudi Arabia. Despite the irony in that, trying to make sure the oil supply can’t be cut off is a purpose I can respect. The world economy could be thrown into depression by an oil shock, and that could make a mess of the last part of our lives.
So they looked for a way to get a grip on the oil supply. Invading Saudi Arabia would have entailed at least a temporary interruption of its oil exports, and besides would have seemed unbecomingly ungrateful for the support the Saudi royal family has given the Bush family (as well as the U.S.) over the years, plus would have caused problems for the American oil companies running Aramco and would have decapitated OPEC. (The American oil companies don’t want anything to disrupt OPEC’s oil price maintenance. They made record profits last year and want to do it again. –See Greg Palast in “Harper’s.”) Iraq was ideal: second largest oil reserves, already on everyone’s shitlist for various good reasons, in OPEC but not its head, already a problem for oil companies (and Halliburton) trying to make a buck there. So the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq and set up a friendly regime, and the rest of the problem was just how to get it done. The means they chose were lying, bullying, and brute force, and therein lies the problem.
The lies have been revealed and have lost the administration its respect and credibility among informed Americans and in the world. The bullying has lost the country its international friendships and the support of all but a few similarly inclined nations. The brute force has, in addition to unnecessarily killing and injuring thousands, inspired a great flourishing of hatred for us both in the country we were hoping would be friendly to us and in Muslim countries worldwide. That last part has been bad for the “war on terror,” but that’s OK; the Bush administration would not like the war on terror to go away.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration has done it all incompetently. The lies were only effective because we trusted our leaders; we couldn’t believe they would lie about such important issues. (And Colin Powell had pictures, and a little glass vial, too, and he used to be credible.) Now the lies have been exposed. Chemical trailers, yellowcake from Africa, aluminum tubes that could only have been for gas centrifuges (well,… if they were bigger, thicker, not anodized, and not so handy for making rocket bodies). That’s not competent lying! Come on! The invasion itself went OK, though less destructive force was probably really needed. The occupation has been horribly botched: disbanding the Iraqi Army/Police, a stupendous and obvious mistake; leaving at least one warehouseful of military explosives for any and all to take away (where do we think all these EIDs come from?); cutting corners on armor; failing to do the restoration of power and water and other reconstruction at a decent rate; losing $9 billion just strangely unaccounted for; and, of course, revealing that we are no better than the “insurgents” with Abu Graib and Guantanamo and “extraordinary rendition.” (Were you relieved when Bush said we ask the countries to whom we “render” these poor sods not to torture them, because “we are not torturers?” Evidently there was some kind of mix-up recently in the case of the Canadian of Middle Eastern origin whom we arrested in NY, in transit to Canada, and sent to Tunisia—not his home country, ever—, and who came back weeks later, badly banged up.)
So what’s coming? An Iraqi democracy or a friendly Iraqi government? One or the other, not both. The history Bush doesn’t read would indicate that usually when we do this we get a friendly puppet regime for a while, and then there’s a revolution, and the revolutionary regime that follows, whether democratic or not, holds a grudge against us. I hope that doesn’t happen again. It would be like history repeating itself.
Well, anyway, I hope the friendly puppet regime will last long enough to avoid the oil crisis until I’m out of its reach. Too bad about the kids.