the recent storm of car bombs, rockets, and gunfire
in central Iraq gave me nasty memories of the
January, 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.
that time, many soldiers in my U.S. Army unit
were departing for Special Forces camps in Vietnam's
highlands. We stood in mute horror as TV reported
these very camps being overrun by North Vietnamese
troops, and their garrisons killed to the last
immediately understood the bloody Tet offensive
was a huge political and psychological victory
for North Vietnam. Tet blew away for good Washington's
claims of a light at the end of the Vietnam tunnel.
to last week's Ramadan offensive in Iraq, President
George Bush actually claimed it proved things
were improving, though attacks on U.S. forces
have surged from 20 to 30 daily.
called for more U.S.-run Iraqi militia forces
to be deployed - shades of the ill-fated "Vietnamization"
strategy of three decades ago.
times, Bush and his senior aides seem more out
of touch with reality than Iraq's former minister
of misinformation, "Comical Ali." Consider:
was reported shocked and amazed at his mid-October
meetings in Bali when moderate, pro-American Muslim
leaders complained Washington considers all Muslims
terrorists. They warned Bush that his total identification
with Israel's right-wing government was ruining
chances for Mideast peace.
was apparently unaware his administration is increasingly
viewed abroad as an aggressor and a bitter foe
of Islam. We know Bush prides himself in not reading,
but being so out of touch staggers the imagination.
Bush really unaware a mainstay of his administration,
the Muslim-hunting Attorney General John Ashcroft,
claims "In America, there is no king but Jesus"?
Or that Lt.-Gen William Boykin, a loudmouth he
put in charge of anti-terrorism, recently claimed
while in uniform that Muslims were akin to Satan,
and that his god was "bigger" than the idols he
mistakenly said were worshipped by them?
that some of his neo-conservative advisers, who
want the U.S. to destroy all Israel's enemies,
keep calling for "World War IV" against the Muslim
Bush was too busy blasting Malaysia's retiring
leader, who recently claimed Jews ran the world
and the United States, to denounce equally odious
canards against Islam by his own administration
and its supporters in the media and on the religious
of course, has never been in touch with reality
when it comes to Iraq. Just recall his preposterous
claim about Iraqi uranium, "drones of death" and
"vans of death," links to al-Qaida, the imminent
threat of mass destruction to the U.S., etc.,
Dick Cheney, who appears to be running Mideast
policy, claimed Iraq had deployed nuclear weapons
that threatened the U.S. He maintains such absurdities
though absolutely nothing was found after a five-month,
$300-million search. The rarely-seen Cheney sounds
increasingly like Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria.
Colin Powell, now demoted to TV talk show guest,
disgraced himself before the world at the UN by
his lurid, nonsensical claims about Iraq.
Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a prime architect
of the Iraq war, went to Baghdad last week where
he met the real world for the first time. Iraqi
resistance forces rocketed the heavily-guarded
al-Rashid Hotel, the imperial cantonment where
he and other U.S. VIPs were lodged. One was reminded
of the Vietcong attack on the U.S. Embassy in
Saigon during Tet.
attack left Prof. Wolfowitz visibly shaken. Here
was the fire-eating warlord, the tough neo-con
theoretician who had sent American GIs into combat
in Afghanistan and Iraq, trembling in his brand-new
chukka boots after the tiniest taste of real war.
Neither Bush, Cheney, nor Wolfowitz ever served
in their nation's armed forces, though all were
of military age during Vietnam - unless you count
Bush's sporadic appearances at the Texas
Air National Guard.
and fellow neo-conservative administration hawks
like Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Doug Feith,
Michael Ledeen and John Bolton, who variously
call for attacks on Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Syria
and Sudan - vividly bring to mind the words of
American political thinker and poet, Peter Viereck.
his brilliant book, Metapolitics: The Roots of
the Nazi Mind, Viereck detailed how so many of
the founders of Germany's National Socialist Party
were artists, writers and academics. They were
"intellectuals who lusted for brute violence ...
a Bohemia in arms," wrote Viereck, who warned
of "bloody-minded professors" running amok in
fits the mould perfectly, not in the sense that
he supports Nazism, of course, but rather in his
apparent belief in "brute violence" as a way of
resolving most any international problem.
Cheney, and his fellow neo-cons duped the deeply
uninformed and gravely misinformed president into
launching two strategically, politically and financially
idiotic foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
isolated, unworldly Bush is only now becoming
dimly aware he has stirred up an anti-American
hornet's nest overseas.
disturbing, thanks to the crusades in Iraq and
Afghanistan, total U.S. military spending next
year will likely hit $500 billion. Incredibly,
this titanic sum is even more in constant dollars
than the U.S. spent in Vietnam in 1968, at the
height of that war.
light that optimistic George Bush sees at the
end of the Iraq tunnel is probably an onrushing
truck, loaded with explosives.
Posted: November 5, 2003