In the cartoon version of the Bush administration’s Iraq “policy”, Junior Bush is Wille E. Coyote, holding on to the side of a cliff by one fingernail, his own badly-launched anvil sure to fall on his head at any moment, as the elusive Roadrunner of “Victory” scoots off into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again.
To understand why the Bushies are holding so tight to their Iraq fiasco, you have to understand why they went there in the first place. This whole deadly adventure had nothing to do with WMD, Hussein, democracy, Bush’s father or any of the other moving-target, after-the-fact public justifications. There were three main motivations for the way-out-of-the-box-thinking neo-cons, and, unlike the public ruses, all of them still apply.
First and foremost, it is a neat place on a strategic map. Hussein's Iraq was the weakest regime amongst Israel’s neighbors and the radicals running our government wanted a reliable Arab puppet regime as a buffer for Israel and, more importantly, as a permanent military and power base for the U.S. They knew they couldn’t get away with a Shah installation like we did to Iran in the past, so we knocked off Hussein – the easiest of targets – and got ready for the Return of the Exiles. As exiles like Chalabi proved themselves to be worthless and worse, they made desperate deals with compromised leaders of the remaining tribal powers in the country and hoped for the best.
Second, oil. Who is running Iraq’s refineries these days, anyway? We know Iraqis themselves have to import gasoline and whatever they are allowed to receive from the country’s rich oil reserves has not made a dent in the cost of running their government or paying for reconstruction of whatever we blew up. The wells aren’t burning and we know the occupation made protection and continued production of the fields its first priority. The oil is flowing, alright, and not to (or for) Iraq. And you have to go all the way to Canada (via the internet) to find out that Iraq will, indeed, give its oil rights to “Western oil companies”.
Finally, private contractors like Halliburton, who have (literally) cleaned up on everything from feeding our sitting-duck troops to repairing (sporadic) electrical power grids to public relations (we are now farming-out our own lies) to providing “security” for the troops and various well-to-do official vacationers in the Green Zone. Various well-connected entrepreneurs have made a killing because of our Killing, whether they had something to offer the country or not. I was amazed by a little news nugget that didn’t make more noise – there really is a guy in the Pentagon that runs a political litmus test for contractors in Iraq. [I saw it in the Madison Capitol Times while visiting during the holidays, but I can’t find it anywhere on the internet now.]
So, it comes as no surprise that they will not let go. To lose the bases, control of the oil and all those billions of dollars to their contributors and friends is just too much. They need to string this out because the failure is all theirs. And their benefactors in the oil and private sector love this whole mess as much as the rest of America hates it. They will soak this tragedy for all it’s worth – and, to these sick bastards, it’s worth a lot.
So they trotted out Junior for a little talk to the nation last week. Bush has a strange look of serenity at this point, as if he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. He signed up to be the empty suit for these goons before he ran for Texas governor in 1994 and he hasn’t let them down. He is unburdened by pangs of consciousness or grief for the fallen because he has had nothing to do with it. He made his deal, he read his lines, like a good boy.
When Scott Pelley asked him on 60 Minutes if he knew Americans didn’t like him, he laughed like it was the silliest concern he could have. What does he care what those poor suckers think? In two years, he’ll disappear to whatever Shangri-La his handlers have promised to build for him and be done with it. Junior Bush will be the least-seen ex-president in history, and not only because no one will be interested.
Right now, all supposedly depends on the Iraqi “government”, such as it is. In his speech, Bush claimed that the Iraqis have agreed to a grand design that includes commanders, army and police “brigades” across Baghdad, patrols, checkpoints, door-to-door raids, etc. Then, virtually the next day, the New York Times reported that the Iraqis had signed off on nothing, and in fact resented the U.S. pretending to dictate a plan to them at all.
It is bound to fail because the Iraqis aren’t even going to try to satisfy Bush or anyone foolish enough to believe in this sad excuse for an end game. The question then is what’s next. I wouldn’t put it past these desperate men to try to re-impose the viceroy and the occupation and start all over. To them, it’s just strategic land, oil and profit. To the rest of us, it is the profound loss of peace, security and the American Soul.