By Grady Hawkins

Buffalo Alternative Press national editor

What went wrong in Iraq? is the question that more and more Americans are beginning to ask. But for Republicans and Democrats alike, a more pressing issue will soon arise: who will take the blame for Iraq! The finger pointing and desperate search for a scapegoat will soon begin. Who will be tossed into the political lion pit?  The presidential election may be eighteen months away, but as it gets closer (and the casualty list gets longer) none of the candidates will want anything to do with this disaster. The spin- doctors are no doubt rounding up focus groups right now. What tactic will be most effective? You can expect a full-court grovel from some Republicans. And as the Bush/Cheney ship of state begins to flounder as the campaign heats up, the rest of them will begin to abandon the war and its original sponsors. Each Democrat candidate will begin insisting that he is the most anti-war and the others all war mongering dupes. Senator Hillary Clinton will claim that she was a victim of faulty information.

Whatever the spin, the sorry fact is the Bush administration has been wrong on Iraq from the very beginning.

But the Bush administration fails to admit this. Even now the claim from inside the Oval office is that we must ‘stay the course’.  The United States must not withdraw its military, or chaos will follow as a bloody civil war that border’s on genocide sweeps across the country, spilling perhaps into neighboring countries. 

That’s the new line.

That loud, rhetorical shrill you hear from some pundits on Fox News about those traitors in Congress, (Now even some Republicans) who are beginning to have doubts and raise questions and horror of horrors want to cut off the funds and force the issue has no factual foot to stand on.

The Bush/Cheney junta has no credibility; they have little to say of any substance. Bush’s approval numbers match the aforementioned Fox News ratings: 28%. And yet they same raving madness and lunacy still flows. Its as if the propaganda machine is stuck in the same old, tired groove. But as the stax of white house wax still spins, more and more Americans and Iraqis are being killed and mutilated.

So why should we believe them now?  They have been wrong since the beginning.

Let’s review some of the more outrageous fabrications.

Weapons of Mass destruction:  One of the most overused, abused, expressions in the English language. It’s heard and used constantly by every so-called journalists and pundit in this republic. Its pathetic bleat has simply exhausted everyone. It’s a cliché now, as passe and useless as those now nearly forgotten terrorists threat color codes of yesterday. Remember, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, and purple haze?  Homeland security czar Tom Ridge use to raise the level every now and then to justify his budget, score political points for the Bush/Cheney junta,  scare naive Americans and remind the press its not really free. How much did they cost this nation in wasted time, money, speculation, and panic?

Another phrase became equally infamous and just as pathetic. Anybody who was anybody used it: “Lets not allow the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud “, or words to that effect. I remember then national security advisor and alleged Bush paramour Condoleezza Rice using it on Meet the Press. Christ, what obvious and propaganda. The whole sorry mess proved an enormous fabrication. From yellow cake in Niger to Colin Powell at the United Nations (with then CIA lapdog but now born-again victim George Tenet seated behind the general) testifying to the since disproved insanity of tons and tons and tons of nerve gas, anthrax, enriched uranium, centrifuges, mustard gas, mobile poison gas factories, unmanned aerial vehicles poised on secret runways loaded with enough of this stuff to kill every man woman and child ten times over all across these fruited plains and amber waves of grain.

All lies.

And where did the administration get its supposed intelligence information? From a rogue’s gallery of mugs and thugs masquerading as exiled patriots. They told the Bush/Cheney people exactly what they wanted to hear, and cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.

And what of the evil dictator himself, the beast of Baghdad? The new Hitler who was poised to terrorize the Middle East: Saddam Hussein? This Baghdad bully was supposed to be in bed with his best buddy Osama Bin Laden and all of al- Qaida. He was supposed to be training thousands of terrorist in dozens of camps all hell bent on tossing your youngest daughter into the local harem.

Another lie. Dictators like to dictate. They don’t share power with a bunch of cowboys like Bin Laden’s bunch.

Saddam turned out to be what we suspected way before the invasion: Just a fourth rate brute with a tenth rate army with no spare parts, plagued by ten years of sanctions and no-fly zones.

What ever happened to Osama, anyway?
And what about the invasion and war itself? (This undeclared war, by the way) It was sold to the American people like any other cheap pipe dream: it’s going to be quick, cheap and easy. This portrayal was also a lie. I remember seeing on the old ‘Night Line” show with then host and now disgusted Ted Koppell. His guest was Andrew Natios. This Bush administration flunky, a proper sort of civil servant was shoved out into the spot light to assure the American tax payer that this war would cost a mere billion and a half dollars. And that liberated Iraqi oil would put all that money back into the U.S. treasury. As we go to press the price tag for this misadventure has exceeded 420 billion dollars and is humming along merrily at about two billion dollars a week.

It is expected to exceed one trillion dollars.

 And of course only a handful of American troops would be needed for the job. Then secretary of defense Donald Von Rumsfeld claimed that the hundreds of thousands of troops that some of his generals were telling the U.S. Congress and the press and anyone else who would listen were needed were quietly retired, reassigned, or shipped off to their new commands in the southern tip of South America. Rumsfeld’s general, Tommy Franks soon got the message. If he wanted to lead this army to victory, he would keep his military mouth shut. He did.

And what about the ensuing insurgency? Rumsfeld claimed they were just a bunch of dead enders, doomed to defeat. But it became what many of us feared the most: urban guerrilla war. A vicious back alley brawl, fought house- to- house, room to room with no quarter. The Stallingrad senario. American troops, handicapped by not knowing the language, and with no idea who to fight would be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. This army was never trained for this type of warfare. It was trained on the plains and desert southwest to fire and maneuver in the open, with tanks and helicopters and planes defeating the enemy army in open combat. Not bogged down in the streets of Baghdad, scattered into outposts with an unreliable ally.

The administration and its cabal of chicken hawks were wrong again. Not quick, cheap and easy.

Now there is no way home, no way out, no exit strategy. The Powell doctrine was ignored or forgotten.

These are just some of the highlights. You probably have some favorites of your own to send along.

This whole episode has been discredited. The concept created by the Project for a New American century so long ago was still born at best. It has been called the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this nation.

But Bush/Cheney say be patient. We can’t quit now. Trust me.

Look how well they’ve done so far.