The effect of the Petreaus report has been to lift American support for George Bush’s war in Iraq by 8%, according to figures released today on NBC Nightly News.
30% of Americans now approve of Bush’s handling of the war, while a massive 66% still disapprove. The most interesting figures, perhaps, are those illustrating the nation’s feelings on what should now be done. Only just over one quarter – 26% – believe leaving now is the right course of action. Almost another quarter – 24% – say the US should stay until Iraq is a stable democracy. Presumably, those twenty-four percent believe it will one day be a stable democracy? The largest figure – 37% – say troops should be pulled out within the next year, but stay in the region. Supposedly, a retreat, rather than a defeat?
All of it is irrelevant, of course, given that US leaders have no intention of pulling out – ever. General Petreaus, whether knowingly or not, has provided George Bush and his minions with the artillery necessary to continue the war at least until Bush leaves office.
On Thursday, our glorious president will stand before his people and announce troops are to be withdrawn from Iraq next year. A grand total of 30,000 or so. It will leave exactly the number that were there before the “surge” took place, but the Republican base will cheer and GOP Congressmen will breathe a little more easily knowing the people are content to have been promised a crust.
So will the American public and Congress put behind them the September deadline hailed as “make or break” a few months ago, and yet more time will pass while Iraqis continue to die or are forced from their homes and into refugee camps. Come next year, the situation will either have deteriorated, or stabilized sufficient for the 30,000 – or maybe 20,000, or 15,000 – to return home. If security continues to fall apart, Bush has only to point to that and say, “We can’t bring them home just yet….” no doubt finishing with that much overused phrase that must surely go down in history as an epitaph of the Iraq war, “…….the next six months are vital.”
Meanwhile, large sections of the American public continue to be hoodwinked by a leadership lying through its teeth. George Bush made much of Sunni Anbar province this week, secure because the US has built there al-Asad, one of its “Superbases”. The perimeter fence is seventeen miles long. It’s so big it even has a Hertz rent-a-car office.
The latest and most secretive of US bases is presently being constructed just four miles from the Iraq-Iran border. It will only house two hundred troops – for now, but there can be little doubt, given the US government’s track record in Iraq, that plans for expansion are already on the table.
There may be many Americans who shrug and say, “So what?”
An analysis of that “So what?” is startling.
The Iraq war has always been pushed as part of the war on terror. Bush’s idiom “We fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here….” has struck a chord in many American hearts.
What those Americans fail to comprehend, however, is that the attacks of 9/11 were in direct retaliation for the permanent military bases in Muslim lands, particularly Saudi Arabia and Mecca, where the stationing of US troops incensed many Muslims.
It is, without doubt, one of Osama bin Laden’s greatest peeves, and along with the Israeli/Palestinian debacle, has provided the ammunition necessary for successful al Qaeda recruitment.
The future scenario is not optimistic.
There is little doubt the US will eventually win the war in Iraq, at least sufficient to set up a puppet government, gain control of the oil reserves, and establish permanent military bases in the country, enabling an incursion into Iran and Syria as the next Great American “Jolly”. The effect on the Middle East will be devastating. Arab insurrection will reign and al Qaeda will become far more a force to be reckoned with than ever before. Their target will be the US and other western nations. George Bush’s excursion into Iraq, instead of preventing terrorism in the homeland will undoubtedly propagate it.
Britain and France learned the hard way that Arabs can never be beaten. They will suffer subjugation for a period, but always bide their time and await suitable opportunity. Then they strike back with impunity.
On the sidelines, Russia is building strength and re-arming. Putin knows the American president’s intentions, and with bases already too close to his own borders, neither he nor his successors will welcome a major US force permanently ensconced on the doorstep. Recent Russian/Chinese military wargames have hinted at an alliance in the offing, should it become necessary.
It could all so easily have been avoided. Yet again, America’s insistence on isolationism (“You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists”) has created a monster.
As George W Bush fights his “war on terror” with American and Iraqi lives, he has fashioned his own personal brand of terrorism from which this world and its population will suffer the retaliatory effects long after Bush and his shower of miscreant cronies have ceased to be the problem.
Filed under: Bush’s blunders