Thursday, September 16, 2004

Why Osama loves Bush

EDIT 07/08/05: This one's a bit election-specific in places, but I stand by everything I said. And today's tragic events in London solidify my point...

Alright, we've all seen the right-wing trash like "Kerry is Osama's Man." People that believe it deserve the same treatment as the Abu Ghraib prisoners were subjected to, but that's a different subject entirely.

So let's examine that statement. Which presidential candidate would Osama bin Laden want to win?

Right now, Osama is as happy as a pig in shit. Sure, he suffered some serious casualties to his organization, but look at what he's gotten in return. Anti-American sentiment is rising all across the world as a result of our actions in Iraq. The only stable, non-Islamic government in the Middle East has been destroyed, paving the way for the establishment of a fundamentalist Iraqi government. The U.S. is bogged down in a guerilla war with no clear way out. Al Qaeda recruitment has increased. Iran is starting to make threats against Israel as a result of its perceived status of being next on Bush's hit list. World opinion is against Bush. Kofi Annan is declaring the Iraq war illegal. The U.S. is facing record deficits due in part to its commitment to the fiscal black hole of Iraq. The Iraqi people are growing more and more tired of U.S. occupation.

Why in the hell would Osama want to change anything? Right now, he has a president he can understand and manipulate. He knows Bush will keep stirring up hatred wherever he goes. He knows that the longer Bush is in power, the more likely it is that the U.S will extend its war to yet another arab nation who, like Iraq, will most likely have absolutely no connection to September 11th. Let me reiterate that point, because it seems there are still a large number of gullible or stupid Americans who think that Saddam had a hand in 9/11.

15 hijackers. ZERO Iraqis. ZERO evidence that Iraq helped in any way. ZERO evidence that Saddam and bin Laden ever had more than an infrequent and unresponsive relationship. Osama HATED Saddam. Saddam was NOT an Islamic dictator. He crushed Sunni and Shia extremists as ruthlessly as he crushed Kurdish extremists. He was NOT part of the jihad Osama has declared. YES, he hated America. YES, he was a ruthless dictator.

He was ALSO, by the way, supported by the CIA in his rise to power, armed with chemical weapons by the U.S. government, and told the U.S. wouldn't interfere in his invasion of Kuwait. And, most importantly, HIS GOVERNMENT WAS COMPLETELY CRIPPLED BY TEN YEARS OF SANCTIONS. There was NO THREAT from Saddam.

So now we suffer a barrage of right-wing accusers demanding to know if we wish Saddam was back in power. Because the current story is that eliminating Saddam in and of itself justifies this war. Well, if that's the case then why the hell didn't Bush say that's what this was about from the beginning? Why did he try to hide behind bullshit excuses of WMD's and bullshit scare tactics like mushroom clouds over America? If removing Saddam was the goal, why didn't he just say so? Because he KNEW that it wasn't a good enough excuse. He needed something juicier, so he tried some forged documents from Niger. And when that blew up in his face, he betrayed an undercover CIA operative whose job was to secure nuclear stockpiles. And people still defend him.

I've said it before. We are seeing a culture of willful ignorance and brutish stupidity. Testosterone-fueled power junkies bent on world domination. Because if America's doing it, it must be right.

There was an Army Colonel in 1845, Ethan Allen Hitchcock. He served under General Taylor in the Mexican war. When the government ordered troops into Mexican territory near the Rio Grande, Hitchcock knew the order for what it was - a deliberate attempt to provoke Mexico into war. As he wrote in his diary on June 30, 1845:

"Violence leads to violence, and if this movement of ours does not lead to others and to bloodshed, I am much mistaken."

He wasn't. The buildup of troops near the Mexican border continued. All that was needed was an excuse for war. On April 25, 1846, the excuse came. A group of Mexicans ambushed a patrol, killing 16 soldiers. The war had begun. Hitchcock writes again:

"I have said from the first that the United States are the aggressors... We have not one particle of right to be here... It looks as if the government sent a small force on purpose to bring on a war, so as to have a pretext for taking California and as much of this country as it chooses, for, whatever becomes of this army, there is no doubt of a war between the United States and Mexico... My heart is not in this business... but, as a military man, I am bound to execute orders."

James Polk, a Democrat, was the president during this aggressive expansionism. Once again, I point out the difference between our two parties. We Democrats admit and remember our crimes of the past and we strive to ensure they will not happen again. Republicans have forgotten the past they once had, as the party of Lincoln, and so they lock us into these cycles of history repeating. For it was Lincoln who said, in 1848:

"The declaration that we have always opposed the war is true or false, according as one may understand the term "oppose the war." If to say "the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President" be opposing the war, then [we] have very generally opposed it... The marching an army into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, frightening the inhabitants away, leaving their growing crops and other property to destruction, to you may appear a perfectly amicable, peaceful, unprovoking procedure; but it does not appear so to us..."

But the last, and best, quote to describe the war parallels with Iraq in a chilling way. It comes from Horace Greeley, published in the New York Tribune, May 12, 1846:

"We can easily defeat the armies of Mexico, slaughter them by the thousands, and pursue them perhaps to their capital; we can conquer and "annex" their territory; but what then? Have the histories of the ruin of Greek and Roman liberty consequent on such extensions of empire by the sword no lesson for us? Who believes that a score of victories over Mexico, the "annexation" of half her provinces, will give us more Liberty, a purer Morality, a more prosperous Industry, than we now have?...Is not Life miserable enough, comes not Death soon enough, without resort to the hideous enginery of War?"

As we continue building permanent bases on Iraqi soil, as our presence looks more and more like a long-term occupation, as we continue to promote the misguided doctrine of Democracy by Force, it's a question that desperately needs an answer.

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