The war in Iraq is lost. This fact is widely recognized
by American military officers and has been recently expressed forcefully by
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq during the first
year of the attempted occupation. Winning is no longer an option. Our best hope,
Sanchez says, is "to stave off defeat," and that requires more intelligence
and leadership than Sanchez sees in the entirety of our national political leadership:
"I am absolutely convinced that America has a crisis in leadership at this
More evidence that the war is lost arrived June 4 with headlines reporting
that "U.S.-led soldiers control only about a third of Baghdad, the military
said on Monday." After five years of war the U.S. controls one-third of
one city and nothing else.
A host of U.S. commanding generals have said that the Iraq war is destroying
the U.S. military. A year ago Colin Powell said that the U.S. Army is "about
broken." Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn says Bush has "piecemealed our force
to death." Gen. Barry McCaffrey testified to the U.S. Senate that "the
Army will unravel."
Col. Andy Bacevich, America's foremost writer on military affairs, documents
in the current issue of The American Conservative that Bush's insane
war has depleted
and exhausted the U.S. Army and Marine Corps:
"Only a third of the regular Army's brigades qualify as combat-ready.
In the reserve components, none meet that standard. When the last of the units
reaches Baghdad as part of the president's strategy of escalation, the U.S.
will be left without a ready-to-deploy land force reserve.
"The stress of repeated combat tours is sapping the Army's lifeblood.
Especially worrying is the accelerating exodus of experienced leaders. The service
is currently short 3,000 commissioned officers. By next year, the number is
projected to grow to 3,500. The Guard and reserves are in even worse shape.
There the shortage amounts to 7,500 officers. Young West Pointers are bailing
out of the Army at a rate not seen in three decades. In an effort to staunch
the losses, that service has begun offering a $20,000 bonus to newly promoted
captains who agree to stay on for an additional three years. Meanwhile, as more
and more officers want out, fewer and fewer want in: ROTC scholarships go unfilled
for a lack of qualified applicants."
Bush has taken every desperate measure. Enlistment ages have been
pushed up from 35 to 42. The percentage of high school dropouts and
the number of recruits scoring at the bottom end of tests have
spiked. The U.S. military is forced to recruit among drug users and
convicted criminals. Bacevich reports that wavers "issued to
convicted felons jumped by 30 percent." Combat tours have been
extended from 12 to 15 months, and the same troops are being deployed
again and again.
There is no equipment for training. Bacevich reports that "some $212
billion worth has been destroyed, damaged, or just plain worn out."
What remains is in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Under these circumstances, "staying the course" means total defeat.
Even the neoconservative warmongers, who deceived Americans with the promise
of a "cakewalk war" that would be over in six weeks, believe that
the war is lost. But they have not given up. They have a last desperate plan:
Bomb Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney is spearheading the neocon plan, and Norman
Podhoretz is the plan's leading propagandist with his numerous pleas published
in the Wall Street Journal and Commentary to bomb Iran. Podhoretz,
like every neoconservative, is a total Islamophobe. Podhoretz has written that
Islam must be deracinated and destroyed, a genocide for the Muslim people.
The neocons think that by bombing Iran the U.S. will provoke Iran to arm the
Shi'ite militias in Iraq with armor-piercing rocket propelled grenades and surface-to-air
missiles and unleash the militias against U.S. troops. These weapons would neutralize
U.S. tanks and helicopter gunships and destroy the U.S. military edge, leaving
divided and isolated U.S. forces subject to being cut off from supplies and
retreat routes. With America on the verge of losing most of its troops in Iraq,
the cry would go up to "save the troops" by nuking Iran.
Five years of unsuccessful war in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel's recent
military defeat in Lebanon have convinced the neocons that America and Israel
cannot establish hegemony over the Middle East with conventional forces alone.
The neocons have changed U.S. war doctrine, which now permits the U.S. to preemptively
strike with nuclear weapons a non-nuclear power. Neocons are forever heard asking
"what's the use of having nuclear weapons if you can't use them?"
Neocons have convinced themselves that nuking Iran will show the
Muslim world that Muslims have no alternative to submitting to the
will of the U.S. government. Insurgency and terrorism cannot prevail
against nuclear weapons.
Many U.S. military officers are horrified at what they think would be the worst-ever
orchestrated war crime. There are reports of threatened resignations. But Dick
Cheney is resolute. He tells Bush that the plan will save him from the ignominy
of losing the war and restore his popularity as the president who saved Americans
from Iranian nuclear weapons. With the captive American media providing propaganda
cover, the neoconservatives believe that their plan can pull their chestnuts
out of the fire and rescue them from the failure that their delusion has wrought.
The American electorate decided last November that they must do
something about the failed war and gave the Democrats control of both
houses of Congress. However, the Democrats have decided that it is
easier to be complicit in war crimes than to represent the wishes of
the electorate and hold a rogue president accountable. If Cheney
again prevails, America will supplant the Third Reich as the most
reviled country in recorded history.