Harvey Wasserman

 Bush's Military Defeat: The SuperPower of Peace is our only hope
 May 2, 2003

 George W. Bush has fittingly stopped short of declaring victory in Iraq.  He
 doesn't want to claim a definitive triumph because it would legally
 obligate the US to begin cleaning the place up and enforcing human rights

 But in fact, the US attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan have been shattering defeats.

 Let's count the ways:

  At least three times US troops have fired live ammunition against angry crowds of
 "liberated" Iraqis.  Far from "dancing in the streets" over the American presence, the
 people of Iraq have made it clear they want the US out just days after the removal of
 Saddam Hussein, who most Iraqis understand was put in power by the US in the first

  US troops have now killed at least twenty Iraqis in demonstrations that appear to
 be nonviolent.  Military claims of self-defense are reminiscent of lies that Kent State
 students fired weapons during the 1970 massacre there.  Those four deaths put the
 US in an uproar; in Iraq, 1/20 the size of the US, the equivalent of 20 dead would be

  By independent count at least 3,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by the US in the
 removal of Saddam Hussein.  That would equate to 60,000 Americans if the attack
 had been by Iraq on the US.

  Like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein is widely believed to be alive, but has yet
 to be found.

  The weapons of mass destruction used as a pretext for the American attack have
 also yet to be found.  None were used in Iraq's defense.

  The pillaging of Iraq's most treasured museums, for which the US is directly
 responsible, has been widely ranked as one of the most barbaric and indefensible
 acts of cultural desecration in world history.

  US corporate media coverage of the Bush attack was so absurdly one-sided and
 nationalistic it drew unprecedented contempt from critics worldwide.

  The "victory" which has so enamored the US corporate media was an assault by a
 rich nation of 280 million people which spends more on its military than the rest of
 the world combined, against an impoverished, disunited nation 20 times smaller
 which has been ruled by a hated dictator installed by the US, subjected to
 international sanctions for 12 years, continually bombed through that time, and
 which was recently disarmed by United Nations weapons inspectors.  Far from a
 military triumph, its martial conduct drew mocking derision from the global media
 outside the US.

  The first female US soldier killed in Iraq was a divorced Hopi-Navajo mother of two
 small children who joined the military to escape poverty.  Her death, and the grim
 future facing her children, received virtually no media attention, while the dubious
 "rescue" of her white friend, Jessica Lynch, received ecstatic---and wildly
 distorted---saturation hype.

  Defense Secretary Rumsfeld openly and willfully violated explicit US law by failing to
 establish a baseline health study of American troops entering combat, reinforcing the
 failure to deal with Gulf War Syndrome from the previous attack on Iraq.

  Though less than a thousand US troops were killed or wounded in the 1991 Gulf
 War, 220,000 or more are now disabled.  Similar casualties are almost certain to
 surface in the wake of the latest attack, though Rumsfeld's illegal refusal to lay the
 statistical groundwork for a health study will again make these casualties hard to

  It is widely believed Bush launched a lethal attack on the Palestine Hotel in
 Baghdad with the express intent of killing and intimidating foreign journalists.

  While profoundly disinterested in protecting the region's cultural history, or its civil
 institutions, the US military took great pains to guard Saddam's ministries of interior
 and oil, where crucial information on Iraq's petroleum reserves are stored.

  US military encampments during the attack were named after major oil companies.

  No major nations of the world except Great Britain joined the attack on Iraq, and
 none have come forward since to endorse it, despite Bush's alleged "victory".

  Though leading Bush hawks have raised the possibility of attacking Syria, Iran or
 North Korea, all other major nations of the world---including Great Britain---have
 denounced the possibility.

  Bush has scorned his previous promise to Great Britain's Tony Blair, his one major
 ally, that the rebuilding of Iraq would be largely done through the United Nations.

  Afghanistan, has sunk into tribal warfare, complete with the rebirth of the
 "defeated" Taliban.  American soldiers are still fighting and dying there.

  Despite Bush's effusive pre-war promises, there is virtually no money in the latest
 US budget for rebuilding Aghanistan, or even for repairing the damage done by the
 US attack.

  Drug production, particular opium poppies, is back in full swing in Afghanistan after
 having been successfully repressed by the Taliban.

  Bush's violent assault and undiplomatic arrogance have infuriated much of the
 Muslim world and made it highly likely fundamentalist Iran-style regimes will
 eventually sweep over both Afghanistan and Iraq.

  That likelihood has been enhanced by anti-Islam statements from close Bush
 cronies, including Rev. Franklin Graham, who've confirmed Bush's initial proclamation
 of a "crusade".

  While crowing over "democracy" to Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says he will
 not "allow" fundamentalists to take power in Iraq, but has not explained how he
 would stop it within a democratic framework.

  By infuriating the Muslim world and isolating the US, Bush's conquests of Iraq and
 Afghanistan will likely guarantee a horrific increase in terrorist attacks against the US
 in years to come.  Polls show a large portion of the American population fears
 precisely this outcome.

 In short, the Bush "triumph" has the taste and smell of a profound defeat.  The Iraqi
 people have made it clear they want the US out, and that the demonstrations can
 only escalate.  Afghanistan is in ruin and chaos.

 World opinion, so profoundly sympathetic to the US after the horrors of September
 11, has swung wildly against us.  To the vast bulk of humanity---especially 1.2 billion
 Muslims---the US is an out-of-control bully that invaded Iraq without legitimate
 provocation, primarily to grab its oil.

 Only the grotesquely unbalanced and intolerant US corporate media has supported
 this attack with any consistency.  Worldwide, its credibility has sunk below zero.

 The United States may currently be the only military superpower.  But it's a hollow
 shell, with its domestic economy in profound crisis and the dollar in fast decline.

 The cynicism, arrogance and brutality with which Bush has carried out these attacks
 has provoked a profound, deep-rooted worldwide hostility.

 Far from victory, the US has never been more weakened, isolated or insecure.  In the
 long run, only one superpower---the one for peace---holds any hope for any of us.

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