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Published in the 1-15 July 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Chickens are coming home to roost for Bush

By Karamatullah K. Ghori

The Milli Gazette Online

In a recent interview with the celebrated television talk host, Larry King, Dick Cheney, whom many in U.S. regard as the Presidency's eminence grise, claimed, with a straight face, that the insurgency in Iraq was in "its death throes". 

Cheney's bragging about the anti-American insurgency in Iraq being, in his fertile imagination, on its last legs was about as true as his and Bush's bombastic before the Iraqi invasion, more than two years ago, that Saddam possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. 

But while Cheney was into his favourite sport of misleading, and lying to, American people, the U.S. military was holding an emergency conclave at its desert base in California, Fort Irwin, of top commanders and munition experts to desperately seek ways of combating the insurgency's increasingly sophisticated methods in detonating lethal explosive devices.

According to a front page report in the New York Times of June 21, the insurgents are not only mounting an ever greater number of attacks on the American occupation forces in Iraq-more than 700 in June alone-but are becoming amazingly sophisticated in their use of improvised explosive devices (I.E.D). These devices now use infra- red detonators to set off the explosive charge, as against ordinary, electrical signals. The infra- red detonators can evade 'jammers' deployed to delay the charge because they use light waves to send the detonating signal to the explosive charge.

The insurgents' new sophistication in explosives is obviously raising the stakes for the occupation forces in Iraq. It is not only posing a serious hazard to the American military's armored vehicles but equally taking an increasing toll of lives. For instance, in May 31 American soldiers were killed in explosive devices detonated under their armed vehicles. But the toll has gone even higher in June: up until now, 38 soldiers have been killed by I.E.Ds set off by remote control by the insurgents. 

It is fairly obvious that neither the formation of an elected, and 'democratic', Iraqi government, nor the massive military operations, ruthlessly conducted by the Americans along the border with Syria to stunt the alleged infusion of insurgents, has been successful in denting the insurgency. More than a thousand Iraqis have been killed in the suicide, or remote controlled, attacks mounted by the insurgents with unflagging determination since the new government was formed. The American military, even though immorally shrouding its casualty toll, has also been forced to admit that the insurgents are showing a renewed vigour and sophistication in their attacks, and thus inflicting a heavy toll on the occupation troops. This stark reality scorns Dick Cheney's habitual lying on the situation in Iraq. 

On the other hand Gitmo, as the American press and media like to refer to the prison camp at Guantanamo, in Cuba, is becoming an increasingly indefensible proposition for the Bush administration just as Abu Ghuraib in Iraq is.

Gitmo's description by the Amnesty International as "the gulag of our time" seems to have touched a sensitive chord amongst liberal Americans who needed a stirring frame of reference like this to galvanize them against the strident neo cons calling the shots under Bush. There is now a rising chorus of opinions calling for a shut down of the embarrassment that Gitmo has become for United States.

Former President Jimmy Carter, who has never been hesitant to speak up against the excesses of the Bush cabal dragging America into infamy at an alarming pace, has taken the lead on the demand for Gitmo's earliest closure. Senator Joseph Biden has described Gitmo as the best advertisement for the recruitment of new volunteers of terror, and even an influential and highly respected Republican senator, Chuck Hegel, has also demanded the shutting down of Gitmo.

But Bush and cohorts, cut from the same cloth, are not known for listening, or honouring, contrary opinions on any issue or initiative of theirs, much less on wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

So the defenders of the oppression mounted by the administration at Iraq, or in Afghanistan, or at Gitmo have come out fighting in the media in defence of their diabolical policy of torture and oppression in the name of defending freedom.

One such opinionated defender of Gitmo, Chairman of the U.S. House armed services committee, Duncan Hunter, appeared on TV to castigate Amnesty for comparing Gitmo with Gulag, but ended up making an utter fool of himself.
In a theatrical performance befitting a third rate actor, Hunter waved some fruit and a chicken leg at the viewers of the programme and hectoring all opponents of Gitmo claimed that the 500- plus Muslim inmates sequestered there " have never eaten better…they've never been treated better, courtesy of the American tax-payers."

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, two principal architects of the Iraq War and the invasion of Afghanistan, also rose to the occasion and made TV appearances swinging their stout clubs in defence of Gitmo.

Cheney, who can always be counted on to come up with most bizarre and inane of logic to defend and promote his master's policies, made the fantastic claim that the torture den that Gitmo is cannot be closed down because it is holding "bad guys".

Rumsfeld, not to be left behind by the man who once was his deputy, looked even sillier in insisting that Gitmo couldn't be shut down because the American tax-payers had invested $ 100 million to build the Gitmo 'facility' and another $ 90 million were being spent yearly to maintain the American Gulag. 

It is almost a foregone conclusion that Gitmo will not be closed down as long as the Bush cabal is in control of the U.S. and all that it stands for under a group of self-righteous zealots who can't imagine that they may have been guilty of a massive swindle in the name of protecting America and spreading freedoms.

The self-righteousness of the Bushites is well evidenced in the fact that no one of any consequence or position in the armed forces, or the Pentagon has ever been charged for presiding over massive abuses of the hapless prisoners' rights, be that at Abu Ghuraib, Aghanistan or Gitmo; only small fries have been hauled up for show trials and punished lightly; most have just been reprimanded or made to leave the service through forced demotion.

Another perspective to the Bush hawks' appalling sense of being always in the right was furnished recently by a military defence lawyer in his appearance before Congress who told the law makers that he had been warned by his superiors that if he represented a prisoner at Gitmo, "only a guilty plea would be accepted."

ABC News also recently revealed that the general counsel of U.S. Navy, Alberto Mora, had warned, as early as 2003 when the repression and torture practiced at Abu Ghuraib and Gitmo had not become public knowledge, that interrogation techniques and torture used against Muslim inmates might well expose senior officials sanctioning these methods to " liability and criminal Prosecution."

However, the record of the Bush administration of the past 4 years belies any hope that its top functionaries, setting the pace of American imperialism in the 21st century, would feel any more inhibited by laws and regulations of any kind, national or international, than they have up until now. The neo cons subscribe to the fiction that they are a law unto themselves.

Bush's response to the mounting U.S. isolation on Iraq in the comity of nations, and his increasing inability to find a way out of the corner in which his myopic policies have painted the U.S., is typically 'wild western': shoot your way out of trouble, and put the hangman's noose around the weakest person's neck.

Syria, weak and vulnerable and now increasingly squeezed between an expansionist Israel and the American imperial outpost in Iraq, is being subjected to constant pressure to either succumb and become an American proxy, like Jordan next door, or be prepared to face the ire of the sole global military behemoth.

Condoleeza Rice, as much an imperialist Secretary of State as her boss is President, served a near-categorical warning to Syria in her address to the Iraq reconstruction Conference, convened in Brussels, on June 22. Before a gathering of 80 countries, Rice demanded of Syria to seal the border with Iraq so that terrorists, whom U.S. singles out as the outsiders fomenting trouble in Iraq, should not be able to enter Iraq.

But asking Damascus to 'seal' the 700 kilometers-long border with Iraq is as much an indirect admission of Washington's own inability to check the infiltration of 'terrorists' from Syria as it is a way of bamboozling Syria. The Syria contention that the porous border, stretching over a large desert is impossible to seal has positive merit. And, leaving every other argument aside, if the biggest military power on earth, with its 150,000 armed-to-the-teeth soldiers can't seal the border and check infiltration from where it claims the terrorists are entering Iraq, how could Syria, with all its flaws and limitations, be expected to do the miracle. 

The Syrians have already bent over backward to accommodate the never-ending demands of Washington as much as they could within their constraints. And Damascus has handicaps that cannot be overlooked or minimized. 8,000 Syrian soldiers are on the border with Iraq; Damascus has built sand dunes to block passage to Iraq at several sensitive places on the border; 500 new police stations have been set up along the Iraqi border on the Syrian side; Syria claims to have arrested more than 1200 potential trouble- makers before they could enter Iraq. What more, Damascus asks, could it do to refute the allegation of its complicity with the terrorists.

However, Bush and his minions, Rice being the most voluble amongst them, go on repeating, parrot-like, the mantra that Damascus must do more to help maintain the U.S. stranglehold over Iraq, or else Syria must brace itself to face the consequences.

But threatening Damascus with dire consequences might still be posturing only. Syria is, at best, a nuisance that can be tolerated in the pursuit of imperialist ambitions of U.S. and expansionist lust of its principal acolyte, Israel. Both Washington and Tel Aviv are smugly confident that Damascus poses no real danger and can be easily dealt with in case of any trouble from its side.
Iran, however, is the only 'clear an present' danger, according to the neo cons determined to expand the imperialist reach of U.S. to as far as they can envisage. Iran has been in their cross-hairs for a long, long time and they feel that the time of crunch with Iran is now well in sight.

U.S. has been beating the drums of Iran embarking on a nuclear weapons programme. This is a reprise, exactly, of how the case for war against Iraq was choreographed on the assumption that Saddam Hussain had concealed a huge stockpile of lethal weapons. Truth has never been a priority with the Bush neo cons; beating the drums of their propaganda against 'the enemy' is what matters to them most. They think they have an alibi against Iran that has the potential to work as the trigger of a showdown with Tehran. 

The reaction from Washington to the recent presidential election in Iran contains all the elements of mischief deliberately being pursued vis-ŕ-vis Iran in order to put the Iranian regime on the defensive. Even before the first ballot was cast, Bush arrogantly declared that the Iranians didn't have a fair choice-as if the Americans had a fair choice last year in November when they went to the polls to elect their president.

According to Scott Ritter-the former UN arms inspector in Iraq-turned Bush's fiercest critic on Iraq-the U.S. has already begun its war game against Iran by regularly flying unmanned 'drone' spy aircraft over the Iranian air space. Obviously, the U.S. occupied Iraq is being used for these illegal activities. A sovereign state's air space is inviolate and its breach is an act of war, according to international law. Ritter is also of the opinion that a land offensive against Iran could well be mounted from Azebaijan, where Washington has primed a puppet and client government to do its bidding blindly and faithfully. Iran could well be the last hurrah of the 'war president' in the White House. «

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