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March 7, 2007

How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?


by Paul Craig Roberts

U.S. casualties (dead and wounded) have now reached 27,000 in a war that was supposed to be a "cakewalk," over in a few weeks. If what four-star Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO, told Amy Goodman in a March 2 interview is correct, U.S. casualties are yet in their early days.

Gen. Clark told Amy Goodman that shortly after 9/11 he was shown a Pentagon "memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and, finishing off, Iran."

That sounds exactly like the plan that neoconservative Norman Podhoretz set out in Commentary magazine.

The media have done a good job for the government of keeping the blood and gore out of the living room. Except for close friends or relatives of one of the 27,000, Americans have not been impacted by the war. They are even less aware of the consequences for Iraqis.

Every day 100 or more Iraqi civilians are killed and 100 or more are maimed and injured. For example, as of early evening Tuesday, March 6, the U.S. had lost 10 GIs killed. Iraqi casualties for the day totaled 621, with 215 killed and 406 wounded.

U.S. troops routinely kill Iraqi civilians mistakenly or from frustration, but the heavy daily casualties are the result of the civil war made possible by the U.S. overthrow of the Iraqi government. U.S. troops per se are not responsible for much of the daily toll, but the Bush administration, Congress, and the American people are.

The March 6 toll of 621 civilian casualties is high even for Iraq. Assume 200 casualties each day and the result is 73,000 Iraqi casualties per year. Why does anyone in the Bush administration, Congress, or among the public believe that the U.S. has the right to wreck a country and inflict such extraordinary harm on a civilian population?

How did the "war on terror" become a war on the Iraqi people?

We have heard every answer: intelligence mistakes, incompetence, and evil machinations. Whichever answer we take, the killing and destruction continue.

Why?

It has recently come to light that the U.S. government has imposed an oil deal on the puppet Iraqi government that turns Iraqi oil over to U.S. and British firms for exploitation. Bush-Cheney have not brought Iraqis democracy, but they have stolen their oil revenues.

The profits of the military-industrial complex are soaring, and higher military budgets are being appropriated. The value of Cheney's Halliburton stock options has not merely doubled or tripled but multiplied by a factor of 32.

The Israel Lobby sees the war as enhancing Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and making possible the completion of Israel's theft of Palestine from Palestinians.

Thus, the three most powerful lobbies in America are the beneficiaries of the devastation of Iraq. The combined power of these lobbies makes it impossible for Congress to respond to the American people and end the war.

American politicians and administrations still cloak their motives in idealistic principles, but it has been a long time since anyone has seen any principled behavior in Washington.

Despite the unrelenting U.S. propaganda against Iran and North Korea, a poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries for the BBC World Service (March 6) found that Israel, Iran, and the U.S. in that order are regarded as the most negative influences on the world. Even North Korea is regarded as a less negative influence than America.

Japan, Canada, the EU, France, China, and India are all regarded as more positive influences on the world than the United States.

The Bush-Cheney regime has achieved this deplorable result in a mere six years.

Yet the Democrats cannot even pass a toothless resolution against committing more U.S. troops to Iraq.

Far from making Americans safe by attacking a country that posed no threat to the U.S., Bush and Cheney have alarmed the Russians and the Chinese. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the Russian General Staff, have both warned that the Bush regime's military aggression and drive for hegemony are setting off another arms race. Gen. Baluyevsky says that Russia might pull out of the 20-year-old Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.

China has announced a 17.8 percent increase in its military budget for 2007.

China is America's most important banker. How long will China fund America's wars and trade deficit when it finds itself so threatened by America's "leaders" that it has to accelerate its military spending?

Americans still regard themselves as the salt of the earth. But the rest of the world no longer sees Americans that way. When citizens of other countries turn their eyes toward America, they see evil.


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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