How can anyone believe America is safer now than before it invaded Iraq?

December 18, 2006 | By | 8 Replies More

I just cannot believe how dishonest some Republican leaders are being about the situation in Iraq.  Bush is still bloviating about how America is “safer” today than before the invasion, even though he has offered not one shred of data to support his claim.  In fact, more than 1.5 *million* Iraqis have fled into neighboring countries to escape the carnage Bush has unleashed in their country, while, inside Iraq, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Iraqis (many of them children) have been physically or psychologically maimed by the violence.  Of the latter group, and perhaps even among the former, some will almost certainly seek revenge someday against America, by volunteering to be a suicide bomber.  Can anyone seriously believe that the nightmare in Iraq has not done this?  I don’t see how, nor has anyone in the Bush Administration offered either an explanation or evidence to the contrary.  Instead, all we get is Bush’s mindless rhetoric, echoed through other Administration drones.

What astonishes me even more are people like Colin Powell.  He realizes the Iraq fiasco has made America less safe, but he ignores the refugee and casualty problem and, instead, talks about America being less safe because its military is over-extended.  Earth to Powell:  unless America has a foreign *army* landing on its shores, America’s military is not a significant source of national security.  When the threat is *terrorism*, the threat is not a military one, so why would America’s troop deployment matter?  What matters is whether America’s foreign policy creates more or fewer angry people who are willing to blow themselves up in order to kill Americans.  On that measure, how can America possibly be safer than it was before the Iraq invasion?

There is one…maybe only one…answer:  Iraqi oil.  Thanks, in part, to Bush’s pandering to Big Oil, American national security heavily depends on having reliable access to oil.  Under Saddam, access to Iraq’s vast oil reserves was unreliable, even under the so-called “oil for food” program.  Thus, to say, as Bush does, that America is “safer” today than before the invasion, this statement can be seen as true if we add an unstated premise:  American “safety” depends on unfettered access to Iraqi oil.

Does it make sense to add this premise, given that Bush never mentions it?  Of course it does, because we would not expect Bush to mention it.  Sending American troops to die in Iraq “to protect America from global terrorists” is one thing; sending them to die in Iraq to secure raw materials for Bush’s Big Oil pals is another.  He mentions the former in every speech; mentioning the latter would be political suicide.

This would explain why Laura Bush last week complained that the American media is not reporting enough “good news” out of Iraq.  To the Bushies, Iraqi oil is all that matters; Iraqi lives don’t.  Thus, as long as the oil is protected, Iraq is a source of “good news,” no matter what happens to its citizens.

Likewise, George Bush’s “stay the course” policy appears to be virtually oblivious to the toll it takes on the lives of American troops and Iraqi civilians.  Why?  Perhaps because safeguarding American troops and Iraqi civilians is not Bush’s objective.  Maybe safeguarding the oil is.

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About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (8)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Who ever believed that truth is a matter of "objective" facts? I think that the last six years have been proof that people believe for reasons having nothing to do with evidence.

    I would suggest that we're in the middle of a Kuhnian paradigm shift.

    Thomas Kuhn is most famous for his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR) (1962) in which he presented the idea that science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but instead undergoes periodic revolutions which he calls "paradigm shifts," in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a particular field is abruptly transformed.

    We'll have to be patient, but there is an extremely self-interested entrenched bureaucracy, an equally large and financially entrenched military-industrial complex and a complacent and embarrassed mainstream media out there, striving to maintain equilibrium, despite the continuous stream of horrible news from Iraq.  As big and powerful as they are, they can't hold back the tide public opinion forever.  In fact, they've largely lost already.

    I suspect history will look upon W reign with consideral derision, but it's going to take some time to de-program those 20-30% of Americans who still constitute the loyal neocon holdouts.

  2. hogiemo says:

    I believe that Kuhn did not state "abrupt" change but, change which occurred after all the adherents to the "old" paradigm died off, and the new supplanted the old. I highly recommend the reading of this book to any which want to understand social change theory, a well as science.

    What is occurring is a paradigm shift as the adherents of the old are "dying off", and a new paradigm is emerging. Insofar as it relates to governance in the US, fear and mistrust of the leader is the new paradigm, as the Bush administration after 9/11 has squandered domestic and world support for US policies.

    What is emerging in the US, and I assert has been marginally demostrated in the most recent elections here, is a new paradigm where the public has taken back the peer review function in politics and has dumped the "party" line (partisan and mainstream media) in favor of becoming more informed and activist. I believe this to be true across the political spectrum in America.

    The phenomenon first showed itself in the massive disconnect between the Republicans' and media's fascination with the Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton's huge and remaining political popularity. It remains to be seen how prevalent this apparent trend will be in '08 and beyond.

  3. Jason Rayl says:

    Those "loyal neocon holdouts" will not be de-programmed because their loyalty is based on two very solid foundations (at least for themselves). One is, of course, the notion that their Fearless Leader is right.

    The other is the hard one–it is that they really cannot abide the idea that those who oppose them are right.

    The whole neocon movement has been based on the almost religious conviction that those of us who were already predisposed to mistrusting Bush are the sole problem this country has, that we must be proven wrong, even if by lies, and that this is not a war with terrorists but a war with permissive liberals and social iconoclasts. If admitting that Bush and Co. are wrong means accepting that we may be right, they will NEVER concede.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    In the 1960's there was a general paradigm shift from the perception of gradual change to one of punctuated equilibrium in all fields to which evolution applies. That is, anything that changes (perceptions of political climates, biological species, scientific understanding, mountains and valleys) goes through relatively long periods of imperceptible change punctuated by brief and sweeping periods of significant transformation.

    Nine-eleven was a trigger for a noticeable change, much like December seventh was half a century earlier. But in the mid-20th century, there was a distinct and localized aggressor state. Now, there is a diffuse and intermingled resentful population that lashes out from geographically mobile and unpredictable bases.

    "Safety" is a value judgment. Significantly fewer people were killed by airplanes in 2001 (including the WTC and Pentagon occupants) than were killed by cars on U.S. Interstates that year. Off-interstate traffic fatalities are higher!

    The Iraq invasion has definitely stirred the simmering resentment pot to a full boil throughout the Muslim community, especially in the Middle East. The actuarial way to bet is that we are less safe from domestic terrorist attacks than in 2002. But those who make the decisions probably don't know the meaning of "actuarial," nor possibly "actual."

  5. Edgar Montrose says:

    As an engineer who has spent the "W" era oscillating between periods of unemployment and periods of underemployment, I cannot but wonder how different things would be had just a fraction of those hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the Iraqi Oil War been spent instead on scientific research into energy independence. For the past six years, unemployment among engineers and scientists in the US has been at or near record levels. The situation is so bad, in fact, that in the past year or so the unemployment rate specifically among scientists and engineers has actually dropped — not because scientists and engineers found jobs, but because they changed careers … they STOPPED being scientists and engineers. Just imagine if all of that raw American technical talent had been applied toward alternate energy sources and efficiencies. By now the US could be well on its way to energy independence, rendering (as far as the US is concerned) Middle Eastern oil irrelevant. That way, when the demand for oil reaches feverish levels, as it will in the near future because of additional demands from emerging technological societies like China, and as the political problems in the Middle East rise commensurately, the US could look on with cold indifference.

    And we could say, "You all fight it out amongst youselves, and leave us out of it. It's not our problem."

    Just imagine.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Edgar: thank you for your well-written yet horribly disturbing comment.

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    Almost 3,000 "victory deaths" so far, according to The Onion. See Here: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56628

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    In what can only happen in a war run by an idiot, Bush has announced that he wants to send 30,000 more troops to Baghdad. But, he says, more troops would only be sent if there is a plan. In other words, Bush has already decided to send the troops, but he has no idea why. So, now he is looking for an excuse — a "plan" — that will justify sending them. You can bet that almost any "plan" will do, because the goal of the "plan" will be to justifying Bush's _a priori_ decision to send more troops, not to satisfy any clearly defined military objective. To the contrary, the military generals in Iraq have already expressed opposition to the idea of a troop surge.

    As part of Bush's search for a plan, his new Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, went to Iraq this week to talk to various generals, "to get their views on what a troop surge might accomplish." In other words, Bush doesn't even know what a troop surge might achieve, but he nevertheless wants one, and he will undoubtedly continue searching until he finds a "plan" that will justify it. More likely, the purpose of Gates' trip to Iraq was not to get military opinions from the generals there, but rather to urge them to support Bush's troop surge idea.

    This is the exact same backwards thinking that Bush used to justify invading Iraq. In that case, Bush decided to invade Iraq regardless of any legitimate need to do so, and he merely continued searching until he could fabricate an argument to justify it.

    Bush also announced this week that he wants to increase the size of the miliary by 40,000 troops. Again, there is no apparent plan or reason to do so, because terrorism is not a military threat, but this doesn't stop our Idiot-in-Chief from wanting it. More likely, W is finally realizing that his continued use of part-time soldiers (America's National Guard and Miliary Reserve troops) in a full-time war will create more Republicans losses in the 2008 election, so he needs more full-time volunteer troops.

    Bush has also announced that he plans to "listen" to his new Defense Secretary, Gates. However, in making this announcement, Bush said he wants Gates to give him a troop surge plan — again, Bush isn't actually listening so much as he is instructing Gates to tell him what he wants to hear.

    There is a pattern here. Time and time again, Bush imagines he has solutions — deposing Saddam, sending a troop surge to Baghdad, increasing the size of the military, etc. — and then he goes in search of a problem that fits his solution. It doesn't matter to him whether or not the problem actually exists; what matters is justifying his decision. It is utterly nonsensical. It is like deciding to replace your car's transmission, and then searching for reasons why it needs replacing. It's completely backwards thinking. Normal people — people who are not idiots — evaluate problems *before* deciding on solutions, and only implement the solution if the problem exists. Bush decides first on solutions, and only then goes in search of problems.

    There is another pattern here. Bush's decisions about Iraq don't rely on logical reasoning, they don't rely on the advice of his military generals, and they don't rely on the very loud voice of the American people. So, what do they rely on? Here's my guess: prayer. Bush believes he is on a mission from God, so earthly considerations, which would normally guide any half-way intelligent person's decisions, just don't matter to him. It's the only way I can explain Bush's bizarre behavior. Bush must believe he is following directions from God; otherwise, why else would he ignore so much objective information that he is headed in the wrong direction?

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