Simon Jester wrote:
A tip for liberals, moderates, libertarians, and traditional conservatives on this forum: any criticism of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld will be denounced as a "rant," or "crazy," in any forum their supporters frequent, including the floor of the United States congress. Most of them are quite sincere in their beliefs, so it is best to politely ignore the insult and carry on.
Nah, I don't like those guys either. I just don't froth as much when I complain about 'em.
So, which part of the paragraph was "froth?" "the crooked contractors"
-- Every impartial report and study on this subject has detailed corruption and war profiteering on a scale not seen in American wars since the days of Simon Cameron (Secretary of War, of whom Lincoln said, "the only thing he won't steal is a red-hot stove.")"The oil companies"
-- The influence of the oil companies on American policy in the Middle East has been well documented over the years. The only question is how strong it has been.
I personally supported the first war in Iraq, and was not worried about oil company influence. President George H. Bush felt he could not let a cold blooded invasion of a friendly country go unanswered, but it also imperative that half the world's oil supply not fall under the control of a tin-pot dictator. Oil isn't just about corporate profits. As a fuel source, it is a life and death matter for a couple of billion people.
On the other hand, the Neocon plan to "democratize" the Middle East by military force was never practical or even plausible. It depended on all the "bad guys" folding up and not resisting, like cheap movie villains when American power smacked them done. Nationalism and religion were not taken into consideration. It was ridiculous, but the oil companies supported it, and advised Bush and Cheney, both former oil company executives, on both their energy and foreign policy plans, both of which involved invading Iraq from the first day of the administration. From Bush's point of view, why would he do anything else? These were his friends and people whose advice he trusted. He considered the policy establishment in Washington his enemies and still does, per recent accounts, in spite of Cheney's continuing purge off independent opinion. "plenty of blood on their hands"
-- When the Vietnam War went bad, Lyndon Johnson had the moral grace to lose sleep over it, and like Lady Macbeth, was known to walk through the White House muttering about all the men who had died because of his decisions. By the traditional moral beliefs of modern democracies, leaders are responsible for the lives of soldiers they send to war, and they are expected to make choices that minimize suffering and death. The people who advise these leaders are morally implicated. They are not free of guilt if war policy is foolish, self-serving, or based on greed rather than national interest. "8 or 9 billion dollars of blood-stained money."
-- This is the amount that we know
is missing. The congress has more then once tried to send inspectors to find out what happened to it. President Bush has used signing statements and bureaucratic maneuver to prevent any investigation.
The only plausible way we could have prevented a nationalist reaction to our occupation of Iraq was to execute a successful rebuilding plan. Our policy in that regard was handicapped by stupid decisions (one foreign observer noted, "the Americans don't seem to know how
to conquer a country," and that was before the situation really
went south and the insurgency began.) Our badly executed policy was further crippled by corruption and waste. Again, every report created outside the administration and its network of supporters agrees on this. Therefore, everyone involved in corrupt practices has made the situation worse than it might have been, and Americans and Iraqis have died because of their actions.“the blame for the entire fiasco still falls on Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.”
– They made the decisions, they ordered the invasion, they issued the doctored intelligence to everyone else who might have argued against the war. They appear to have even fed bad information to the administration’s most devoted Republican followers in the congress. “Their arrogance and simple-minded nationalism got us into Iraq”
– Gary Kamiya in Salon, paraphrasing David Susskind, describes it this way:
[Susskind] argues persuasively that the war, above all, was a "global experiment in behaviorism": If the U.S. simply hit misbehaving actors in the face again and again, they would eventually change their behavior. "The primary impetus for invading Iraq, according to those attending NSC briefings on the Gulf in this period, was to create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States." This doctrine had been enunciated during the administration's first week by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who had written a memo arguing that America must come up with strategies to "dissuade nations abroad from challenging" America. Saddam was chosen simply because he was available, and the Wolfowitz-Feith wing was convinced he was an easy target.
This is the simplistic sort of nationalism that caused all those sophisticated European leaders to stumble into World War I. Since we’re better than everyone else, and they’re all cowards and weaklings, we’ll just hit them hard and they’ll fold up and do what we want.
“Cheney and Rumsfeld . . . they've botched every major strategic decision of the war.”
– The initial operation against Saddam’s army went well. It is hard to find a policy decision since then that hasn’t done more harm than good. Possibly Bremer’s rushed creation of a provisional government help delay the onset of civil war, but the elections and the actions of the current government have squandered any advantage that might have been gained.