Now how many families must get killed / for oil families' pockets to get filled?
-- "In a World Gone Mad," Beastie Boys, 2003
So, George Bush last weekend promised us a "moment of truth." If so, it would be about the first from this administration concerning the inevitable war in Iraq. The truth, however, isn't what you hear from Bush. Nor is it what is uncritically regurgitated by mainstream media such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The unadorned truth is that when Bush, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Ariel Sharon, the Halliburton Co., the Carlyle Group, other war profiteers, the rest of the neocons and, of course, the oil companies, get their war, they will have launched America into international criminality.
A few thousand jingo-radio fans gathered in downtown Atlanta last Saturday to "support the troops." One could hear almost audible relief from the AJC that it had an excuse to bury reports of truly mass gatherings around the world protesting the war. (Why does the paper believe the organizers of a pro-war rally on its numbers, and refuse to quote stats on the anti-war demonstrations because there were no police estimates?)
But if the radio hate-jocks really cared about the boys and girls in uniform, they'd be telling their listeners this: Bush's combat strategy is far riskier than the spin docs admit, meaning a lot of U.S. deaths are possible, even likely. And, Bush -- who, it's worth recalling, deserted his Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam War -- could put our GIs at risk of war crimes charges should there be widespread "collateral damage," aka killing civilians or the destruction of water resources and food supplies, leading to mass disease and starvation.
Saddam Hussein, loathsome as he is, poses no threat to America. He could not attack us, could not have in the past and it's not likely a devastated and impoverished Iraq could muster enough firepower to ever assault us.
Inspections are working. Saddam will be disarmed -- peacefully. But America isn't going to allow that to happen. The only scenario in which Saddam might use gas or bugs is if his existence is threatened -- exactly the planned endgame of Bush's war.
The cost to the American taxpayers will be staggering -- $100 billion, perhaps. Quite likely much more. The one thing you can be sure of: The rich who pocket the Bush tax breaks (which will plunge America into penury) will not be the families sending sons and daughters off to be killed.
An even bigger cost -- horrifically so -- is the likely destabilization of the Middle East. Will Pakistan's "pro-American" dictator be toppled and his nukes seized by radicals? Will an attack on Israel be used to justify an assault on Syria or the expulsion of Palestinians from the few acres that haven't been taken from them? How will the Islamic world react if our troops are forced to occupy Saudi Arabia to preserve the feudal monarchy and its oil fields?
Those questions are terrifying possibilities -- shrugged off by the ignorant screamers on hate radio, the government and a large segment (although probably not majority) of the American population that has been buried under a tsunami of non-news, distortions, propaganda and outright deceptions.
In the last week, some of Bush's "evidence" -- documents purporting to show Iraq sought to buy nuclear weapons equipment from Niger -- turned out to be bogus. That was hardly the first time administration duplicity was exposed, nor will it be the last.
Inadvertently underscoring the moral void of the government, when Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, was asked on "Crossfire" last week about the fake documents, he responded: "It doesn't matter that this information has been deemed to be fabricated or anything else because the U.N. doesn't matter." In other words, because the world refuses to grovel before Caesar, Caesar is justified in lying to the world.
No evidence has been produced linking Saddam to al-Qaeda. Secretary of State Colin Powell has misspoken about "decades" of links, which would be quite an achievement considering that the terrorist organization is barely 5 years old.
Of the real worry -- nuclear weapons -- U.N. inspectors said last week that they found "no evidence or plausible indication" that Saddam is trying to reignite his program to build the hellish toys.
We, on the other hand, last week exploded the largest non-nuclear bomb in history -- clearly a horror-weapon of mass destruction. There's no doubt we'd use the bomb, or even nukes.
Thus, we'll ignore the will of the United Nations to wage a war of aggression, possibly using weapons of mass destruction, to punish Saddam for -- can you guess? -- ignoring the will of the United Nations and possibly developing weapons of mass destruction.