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IRAQ IN A NUTSHELL: 27 important issues you won't hear from rightwing spinmeisters
by R.J. Crane, editor topplebush.com
August 4, 2005

It has been obvious to me that the cold, hard, and raw truth about Iraq has been sorely missing from most discussions on Iraq by the MSM [mainstream media] even though these truths do trickle out from time to time in bits and pieces. Until we start hearing and understanding the importance of these issues and admit the validity of those that require an admission, we will never have a proper resolution to the quagmire in Iraq nor can we rehabilitate the damage that has been done to our country and government by BushCo's invasion of Iraq. My list below does not reflect any order of importance:

1. Our country would have have benefited significantly more if the money we spent on Iraq and will spend [$5 bn per month now with projected costs nearing $700 bn] had instead been spent on improving our country internally including protecting us from terrorist attacks. Instead of failing to rebuild Iraq after we destroyed it, we would have been much further ahead if the same money had been plowed into bailing out the states, improving our infrastructure and transportation systems, schools, environment, health care system, funding medical research and alternative fuels, and better security around chemical plants, nuclear plants and our borders.
Reference 1.

2. What will be the long term effects of DU [depleted uranium - not really depleted in any real sense either] poisoning not only on the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but the people living there who will be breathing this radioactive toxic dust for a half a trillion years? And where else and how far have winds blown this toxic dust? The cold truth is that we will probably maim and kill many more people than Saddam and the insurgency ever could have with DU poisoning and other byproducts from both Gulf Wars if in fact we haven't already done so. DU weapons are illegal under the Geneva Convention, International Humanitarian law, and UN rules, yet we somehow manage to get away with using them with the press and Congress turning their backs while bowing to the Pentagon. Vanity Fair excluded, who managed to write an excellent piece on this issue indicating as many as 17,000 troops as of July 2004 from Iraq were already reporting symptoms to the VA consistent with DU poisoning.
Reference One
Reference Two
Reference Three: "Weapons of Self-Destruction", by David Rose, Vanity Fair, December 2004

3. For all of the human sacrifices and money spent in Iraq into the foreseeable future what we will have accomplished from this illegal invasion are these primary things: Removing Saddam from power, putting the Shi'ites in power, creating a civil war in Iraq, killing thousands of innocent people and as many as 100,000 with many more possible, creating another large breeding ground for jihadist terrorists, polluting the country with DU for half a trillion years, uniting the Shi'ites in Iraq with their Shi'ite Iran brethren, damaging US relations with most other countries in the Middle East and the Muslim world while strengthening Iran's position, uniting Islamist movements around the world against the US and its allies, creating chaos in Iraq which will take decades to remedy, and leaving our country with no good exit strategy from this mess. We will either be stuck in Iraq for many years and/or risk destabilizing the Middle East. Already Iraqi Shi'ites have reached an agreement with Iran for providing military/security assistance.
Reference One
Reference Two
Furthermore, framers of Iraq's constitution will designate Islam as the main source of legislation, according to a draft published on July 26, 2005. The draft states no law will be approved that contradicts "the rules of Islam" -- a requirement that will affect women's rights and set Iraq on a course far different from the one envisioned and Bush sold us when U.S.-led forces invaded in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
Reference One
This isn't what Bush sold to Americans as to what post-war Iraq would look like. This can't be an example either of "Democracy on the March?" The war in Iraq has already been lost and soldiers have died in vain. This is not nor has it ever been a noble cause as Bush would like everyone to believe now that the world knows Iraq didn't have any WMDs.
Reference One
Reference Two

Reference Three

4. That as long as we continue to build permanent military bases in Iraq, attempt to rebuild and privatize parts of the country so that US and western companies are the primary beneficiaries not allowing the Iraqis to participate in this reconstruction, and exert control over the security and intelligence of the Iraqi government, the insurgency will not end. Is it possible the insurgency might even be killing more Iraqi troops faster than we can train new ones? Already many of the Iraqi troops we are training will not fight their own. Many of these troops are defecting and don't even want the money anymore. The Iraqi troops are also infected with insurgents. The US is lying about the number of troops that have been adequately trained and are capable of handling the security of Iraq.
Reference One
Reference Two

5. There are no safe places in Baghdad except for those places heavily fortified and guarded and the Green Zone. There are few secure places in Iraq period. Airplanes flying into Baghdad's airport from Jordon have to land in a way that tries to avoid being hit by insurgent fire. Traveling the road from the Baghdad airport to the city costs thousands of dollars and/or requires armed convoys in order to make the trip safely. Baghdad and the road into Baghdad are controlled by the insurgents - not the US military.
Reference One
Reference Two: "Letter From Baghdad" by William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, January/February 2005
Reference Three: "Hotel Baghdad" by William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, May 2005

6. There has been very little reconstruction work accomplished so far because many outside contractors have long since left Iraq because of security concerns, costs of providing security have skyrocketed, and billions have been misspent, stolen, mis-allocated and misappropriated from the reconstruction funds, including through the use of no-bid contracts. Iraq is in most every way worse off now then when Saddam was in power.
Reference One
Reference Two - It's gotten much worse since this Washington Post article was written
Reference Three
Reference Four
Reference Five: "Oh! What a Lucrative War", by Michael Shnayerson, Vanity Fair, April 2005
Reference Six

7. Not nearly enough people are questioning what happened to the $8.8 bn in coalition reconstruction funds that we know are missing? It's your tax dollars that are missing or have been stolen. Instead of supporting Bush appointee Stuart Bowen's report that was highly critical of the handling of this reconstruction money, BushCo has now turned on him like they ALWAYS turns on those who don't agree with them. The Republican controlled Congress has been virtually mute in investigating all of the missing money. We also don't know who benefited from this missing money or where it went or what is being done to prevent these thefts.
Reference One
Reference Two: "Former Bush Aide Turns Tough Critic As Iraq Inspector", by Yochi J. Dreazen, WSJ, July 26, 2005
Reference Three: "Oh! What a Lucrative War", by Michael Shnayerson, Vanity Fair, April 2005

8. The US casualty numbers from Iraq are much higher than being reported and may not include soldiers who have died on their way to Germany [Landstuhl] or in hospitals in the US. The McLaughlin Report and others put US medical evacuees from Iraq at about 25,000 way before the 2004 election so this number has to be much higher now. A Vanity Fair piece claims there has been 27,571 returning soldiers from Iraq reporting illnesses in significant numbers that are being treated by the VA. If somewhat accurate, the casualty count should be very high and much higher than the DOD is reporting. Those who have tried to get real numbers from the Pentagon have been stonewalled. Many branches of the military don't provide good records for these casualties. There is no compelling reason to trust these numbers from the military anymore now than during Vietnam. We rarely find totals given on the number of civilian contractors, paid mercenaries, journalists, and others working in Iraq who have been killed or injured?
Reference One
Reference Two: "Weapons of Self-Destruction", by David Rose, Vanity Fair, December 2004

9. The US doesn't have nearly enough troops in Iraq to stabilize the country and doesn't have any more troops to send to their slaughter there. The Army is at or near the breaking point unable to meet recruiting targets because of Iraq and the National Guard is not far behind.
Reference One
Reference Two
Reference Three

Reference Four

10. Because of Iraq, Afghanistan is a serious trouble spot again with renewed Taliban presence and strength. Now more troops will be needed there and more are being killed there. And Osama is still on the loose after all of these years because of Bush's failures to catch him when he had the chance. Also this country is not very secure outside of Kabul with warlords still in charge everywhere.
Reference One
Reference Two

11. Because of Iraq, we have tied our hands on trying to stop N. Korea from building and selling nuclear weapons. In fact one could argue that because of Iraq, N. Korea built more of these weapons to protect itself from us and we provided them with a good reason to do so. North Korea probably has been selling nuclear material to rogue nations and terrorists. N. Korea always posed a more serious threat to world peace than a weakened Saddam ever did and now we have little we can do about this situation. Same for Iran. Because of Iraq, we have seriously increased the threat of a really bad situation involving nuclear material elsewhere. And because of Iraq, nuclear weapons capabilities have proliferated among rogue nations.
Reference One: "North Korea: The War Game", by Scott Stossel, The Atlantic, July/August 2005

Reference Two

12. The US is now viewed less favorably than Communist China throughout most of the world because of Iraq. Therefore, it makes no sense to belittle other countries like France for not supporting the war. They made the wise and right decision regardless of their reasons.
Reference One

13. One can and should expect further terrorists attacks like the ones in London and Egypt because of our military involvement in the Middle East and Iraq and because we continue to prop up corrupt governments like the Saudi royal family. Terrorist attacks with an al Qaeda footprint have in fact increased multi-fold throughout the world after 9/11 and because of Iraq even though BushCo tried and failed to paint the opposite picture. The world and our country are less safe now than before the war. It is also untrue that by fighting terrorists in Iraq we won't have to fight them here - the so-called "Flypaper" theory propounded by many right-wing Bush supporters. The recent bombings in London obliterate this crazy notion. The CIA has pointed out that Iraq has become the training ground for the jihadists of tomorrow.
Reference One
Reference Two: "London Bawling," by Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect, August 2005

14. Any exit strategy from Iraq MUST include heavy reparations from the US and the few coalition partners for all of the destruction, damage and deaths we have caused, including those that will occur because of DU poisoning, untreated sewage, water shortages and/or contaminated water and the diseases they cause, and lack of sufficient hospital treatment capacity, doctor shortages, etc. It will also have to include some language to hold the coalition and those persons accountable in a court of law for what we have done to that country based on the lies, illegal bahavior, and incompetence of the Bush Administration with the cooperation of his poodle Tony Blair. To do any less than that will only make a mockery of our system of justice and may encourage other presidents to start wars of choice based upon lies and fixed intelligence knowing they can get away with it. Everyone needs to understand that the Iraq War was illegitimate from any and all reasonable interpretations of international law. Everyone needs to understand how miserably Bush has failed in this venture. Not just in the short term either. It is likely irreparable damage has been done to Iraq, world peace, and our country.

15. We all need to acknowledge that Iraq is and has been in a state of civil war since about April of 2005 or sooner even if called a "low grade" one by some. The violence in Iraq is sectarian and this is the direction the violence is moving toward. Maybe future headlines should read: It's a civil war, Stupid! Anyone claiming differently is either lying or delusional or both.
Reference One
Reference Two

16. We all need to admit that Iraq has been a colossal failure for many reasons including the rush to invade based on Bush's lies and "cooked" intelligence on WMDs and the threat Saddam posed, a war started in violation of international law, and attacking Iraq without extensive support from many other countries and the blessings of the UN. We need to acknowledge that thousands of innocent soldiers and innocent civilians including insurgents have died because of our failed, irresponsible, illegal, and immoral behavior. The American people, many of our politicians, and the media are also to blame for putting Bush in office and for allowing him to start this war. Every American has the blood of innocent people on their hands regardless of how much shopping and entertainment Americans can enjoy, while this conflict deteriorates.
Reference One: "The Path to War", by Bryan Burrough, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose, and David Wise, Vanity Fair, May 2004
Also read the Downing Street Memos

17. The situation in Iraq is much worse than most Americans understand because most of the reporting Americans hear is military propaganda or BushCo spin. Many reporters have left Iraq because of safety concerns or have been killed there. The few reporters remaining can only file their reports if they include some positive spin as vetted by the US military. The reporters still in Iraq are restricted in their reporting because they can't really move around the country in safety. Any truthful reporter in Iraq will tell you the situation is far worse than anyone can imagine. You may have to read between the lines of their reports to realize this.
Reference One
Reference Two: "Letter From Baghdad" by William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, January/February 2005
Reference Three: "Hotel Baghdad" by William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, May 2005
Reference Four

18. 15 million women in Iraq will more than likely be much worse off now than under Saddam's rule.
Reference One
Reference Two

19. That torture of prisoners in Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo was widespread and not confined to just a few bad apples. It was also implicitly sanctioned and justified by BushCo and came from the top down. The images from the worst of these incidences of torture are now being withheld from the public. These images purportedly show the rape of children as an interrogation technique as well as the rape and murder of adult prisoners. The rendition of "suspects" caught by US officials and shipped to other countries that sanction torture is also an illegal action by the US government. Very few people rounded up by the US in its terrorist sweep in the US have ever been convicted of a serious crime. Most have instead been convicted of minor crimes related to violations of immigration statutes or other minor offenses. Others at Gitmo are being railroaded into convictions by having rights we take for granted at trial not applying to their cases and a corrupt military system of justice operating there.
Reference One: Seymour Hersh book "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib"
Reference Two
Reference Three
Reference Four
Reference Five

Reference Six

20. That politicians who voted to give Bush authority to go to war in Iraq must be held accountable for their votes in 2006. There can be no disagreement that these politicians either believed Bush's lies in the face of so much evidence to the contrary including the fact that Bush was already lying to sell this war by linking 9/11 to Saddam and Iraq and al-Qaeda to Saddam. Or, they voted this way because of party loyalty and thus didn't act in anyone's best interests but their own. Or if they were Democrats, they voted this way because they felt this was the popular position to take after 9/11 regardless of the facts and evidence and didn't want to be "labeled" weak on national security. It would be hard for any intelligent person to find a rational reason to have given Bush authorization for war given what was known at the time he asked for it, including the fact that UN inspections were working and Iraq was a weak country from sanctions. Not to mention most of Saddam's atrocities had been committed over 10 years ago with US aid.

21. The Iraq War was sold with outright lies and cherry-picked intelligence and FEAR after 9/11. The Iraq War fell into chaos because of Bush's failure to properly plan for what would happen after the initial invasion including the looting, abuse of prisoners, and rise and strength of the insurgency. This failure was not the result of not enough planning or inadequate planning for postwar Iraq. It was instead caused by BushCo's rejection of any good advice that didn't jive with what BushCo wanted to hear and do. It was the failure of closed minds. While the Iraq War was a horrible idea from the very beginning and was immoral and illegal, the failures of the war itself and loss of life can be directly linked to the failures of the Bush Administration's decision-making with respect to postwar Iraq. This "failed planning" also included a failure to properly equip the troops with body armor, night vision devices, and armor on vehicles. These failures also included not having enough troops in place to secure Iraq. BushCo is guilty of Negligent Homicide...if Murder One won't stick. We should all be concerned about a limited nuclear strikes on Iran if we are hit with another terrorist attack.
Reference One
Reference Two: "Bush's Lost Year", by James Fallows, The Atlantic, October 2004

22. The conflict in Iraq was hatched from NeoCon globalization plans formulated before 9/11 and even before Bush took office to take more control of the Middle East to secure the oil supply. The Bush policy was built on the belief that if we could change the government in Iraq to a more US friendly one, we could then get permanent basing rights there for the foreseeable future. We are building permanent bases in Iraq because we have no intention of leaving any time soon even if troops are drawn down. We intend to stay in the Middle East for as long as we can or until the Iraqis kick us out...if they can. This conflict was never about WMDs or turning Iraq into a democracy unless that democracy allowed us to have a say-so in how the oil resources were managed.
Reference One
Reference Two
Reference Three: Richard Clark's book: Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
Reference Four: Ron Suskind book: The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, The White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill
Reference Five
Reference Six: Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to war and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity
Reference Six


23. BushCo should start withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2006 NOT because we are winning the "war" or because the situation has dramatically gotten better there, but strictly for political reasons understanding how his failed war has created a liability for his party in the 2006 elections. He also will have to start removing troops from Iraq because the Iraqis will demand it. So any decision to withdraw troops from Iraq should be viewed as a political one..not a military one.
Reference One
Reference Two

24. The Progressive's disgust with Bush and his handling of Iraq has nothing to do with losing the 2004 election [although a very good case could be made from all of the deliberate documented election fraud in OH that this one was stolen too] or because Bush did steal the 2000 election in Florida - a fact that has been proven by researchers examining all of the disputed ballots and investigations into the deliberate disenfranchisement and purging of 80,000 voters from the voter rolls, who were otherwise qualified to vote. Instead it has everything to do with the quagmire in Iraq and the fact that innocent people have lost their lives who morally and legally had a right to the same life and liberty we hold so sacred in our Constitution. This invasion violated our own legal standards of when violence can be used to protect one's self from an imminent threat. Iraq was never an imminent threat to our security when we invaded and destroyed the country. Progressives also don't secretly hope that Iraq becomes a failed mission so it will further damage Bush. Instead we clearly understand that any illegitimate immoral invasion of a sovereign country sold on lies and hyped intelligence IS AUTOMATICALLY A FAILURE by definition. Progressives can't reconcile success in Iraq with the US violating international and international humanitarian laws anymore than we can acknowledge any success gained from illegal behavior or would be commonly agreed to as immoral behavior if not illegal. Furthermore Bush is quite capable of damaging himself and has a very long history of this without our need to root for it.
Reference One
Reference Two: See also Florida Election section on this site.

25. There is no doubt that the Iraq War has contributed to rising gas and fuel prices even if by creating more speculation in these markets and by depressing the output of Iraqi oil from prewar levels...at least in the short run.

26. Any real and complete exit strategy from Iraq in the near future now is dependent upon whether the US suffers too many deaths and casualties causing the American people to refuse to support this enterprise anymore and/or we run out of troops to send there. It is more than obvious to all but the blind that Iraqi deaths and casualties and the destruction of their country and cities doesn't count for much in the US in terms of an exit strategy. We can easily label Iraqis the "bad team" who deserve to lose while we root for the home team to win while proudly waving our American flags. There is a serious problem with American moral values when an innocent Iraqi death has less weight than an innocent American one. Most Americans don't seem to care either how much money is being spent and wasted in Iraq to want to end this conflict and bring the troops home. Congress has always been willing to give Bush whatever money he requests for the war. The sad truth is that the antiwar movement can only succeed if US deaths and casualties continue to rise to some magic number that will trigger enough anger from enough Americans to force Bush to leave Iraq once and for all. At one time before the 2004 election, many thought this magic number would be 1,000 deaths. Obviously they were way off. So how many more troops need to die or be maimed before Americans will demand that we leave Iraq? What is that magic number?

27. Even if Iraq develops a stable democracy many many years from now, no person in their right mind nor any military brass would ever argue that this war was worthwhile or that we should repeat another venture like this one again.

Folks! This is the cold hard truth about Iraq. It is the sad truth about our country. I make no claims that this list is complete and understand there are many other serious issues that were omitted such as the destruction of Fallujah and the hospitals there in violation of international laws in which a case is now pending before the OAS against the US government to hold us responsible for those actions. We need to stop putting yellow ribbons on our cars as if this cleanses our souls and instead find a way to take back our country from BushCo and the military industrial complex that starts these wars for the benefit of the corporations they serve.

Topplebush.com
Posted: August 4
, 2005


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