by Jason Politte
How wrong I was when I wrote the above sentence in my editorial regarding the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Bush administration’s handling of the “war on terror” has been one inept blunder after another that started with Bush proclaiming “either you’re with us or against us” and his labeling of an “axis of evil.” What better way to turn the world against our nation after garnering so much sympathy and support than with one-sided statements such as those.
After invading Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban regime, something went very awry, and the collective neurons of those in charge began misfiring. Instead of focusing on capturing the man who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, and Al-Qaeda, Bush seemingly forgot about that saying, “Bin Laden doesn’t matter anymore” - then began the beating of the pre-emptive war drums toward Iraq and Saddam Hussein, proclaiming Hussein to be the greatest threat to America.
Despite producing not a shred of real, verifiable evidence that Iraq harbored any threat toward the U.S., the Bush “cartel” continued insisting that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that he could unleash against us or Iraq’s neighbors at any time and that there were direct connections to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Alas, all these allegations proved to be either unfounded or outright lies, but that didn’t matter. Iraq had been under strict United Nations sanctions since 1991; all but one of our major allies were opposed to such a pre-emptive strike without sufficient evidence, but that didn’t matter. Colin Powell, a man I had much respect for at one time, cowered under the pressures of the Bush administration and went before the U.N. to present the “evidence” for a military strike against Iraq. The U.N. didn’t buy it and would not support attacking Iraq, but that didn’t matter. In fact, nothing seemed to matter to the White House anymore, not Bin Laden, not Al-Qaeda, not our Allies, not even the U.N., and diplomacy wasn’t an option.
The cowboy rhetoric continued spewing from the mouths of the right. The sheep of America fell into line while the drums of war continued their incessant pounding, ever increasing to a louder and more frenzied pace, defying the U.N. and the nations that once held sympathy for us, until there could be no other outcome except war . . . a war that would be fought largely unsupported by the international community.
The attack against Iraq began on March 20, 2003, 5:30 a.m. Baghdad time (March 19, 9:30 p.m. EST), and our troops followed their orders and rolled into the country along the main thoroughfares, taking Baghdad with ease, a truly amazing feat considering the weapons of mass destruction Saddam apparently possessed. Thankfully for our soldiers, the whole premise this war had been based upon turned out to be just another deception by the Bush administration, or there would’ve been far more American casualties during the initial phase of the war.
On May 1, Bush donned a flight suit he had no business wearing considering his previous service, or lack of, in the Air National Guard and was ferried by a Navy S-3b Viking to an aircraft carrier where he declared an end to “major combat operations” under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accompolished.” Oh, if the “Top Gun” president could’ve only seen the future of what lied ahead in Iraq, he might not have been so bravado, but then again, perhaps he would have.
The weapons of mass destruction, the whole premise for this war, were never found, but that didn’t matter; the White House just suddenly changed the premise overnight to being one of freeing the Iraqi people. The American death toll has risen to more than 1,000, and Iraq has fallen into disarray with insurgency because of a gross “miscalculation” of how many troops would be needed to properly police and keep order. But, alas, it doesn’t matter because Bush said he will “stay the course” and, “I know what I’m doing when it comes to winning this war . . .”
From what I can see, it appears that what matters to this arrogant president is prolonging this occupation and conflict in Iraq as long as possible. And “why?” you ask, dear reader. Well, what better way to remove attention from the poor economy and unemployment rates in America. What better way for the Saudis and corporations such as Haliburton and the Carlyle Group to increase their revenue. What better way enforce control over the sheep while pulling the wool over our eyes and degrading our civil liberties with bills such as the Patriot Act and its predecessor the Patriot Act II.
No, retribution for 9/11 has not come through our military, only the emergence of a war-monger president who misuses power, the insurgency and disarray in Iraq, and the deaths of more than 1000 Americans, which could’ve all been averted through a bit of diplomacy. Meanwhile, I’m left wondering, just where is Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks? Doesn’t that matter anymore?