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No Light at the End of This Tunnel, George
by ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor
www.canoe.ca
November 2, 2003

Watching the recent storm of car bombs, rockets, and gunfire in central Iraq gave me nasty memories of the January, 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.

At 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 man.

We 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.

Reacting 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.

He called for more U.S.-run Iraqi militia forces to be deployed - shades of the ill-fated "Vietnamization" strategy of three decades ago.

At times, Bush and his senior aides seem more out of touch with reality than Iraq's former minister of misinformation, "Comical Ali." Consider:

Bush 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.

Bush 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.

Is 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?

Or 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 world?

Odious canards

But 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 far right.

Bush, 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., etc.

VP 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.

Poor Colin Powell, now demoted to TV talk show guest, disgraced himself before the world at the UN by his lurid, nonsensical claims about Iraq.

Deputy 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.

The 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.

Wolfowitz, 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.

In 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 politics.

Wolfowitz 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.

He, 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.

The isolated, unworldly Bush is only now becoming dimly aware he has stirred up an anti-American hornet's nest overseas.

Equally 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.

The light that optimistic George Bush sees at the end of the Iraq tunnel is probably an onrushing truck, loaded with explosives.

2003 Topplebush.com
Posted: November 5, 2003

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