Foreign Correspondent / Defence Analyst & Columnist http://www.foreigncorrespondent.com/
NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THE IRAQ TUNNEL
Watching the storm of car bombs, rockets, and gunfire in central Iraq
last week, and the deaths of 19 Americans over the weekend, gave me
nasty deja vu back to the January, 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.
Then, many of the soldiers our US Army unit were getting ready to depart
for Special Forces camps in Vietnam's Central Highlands. We stood in
mute horror watching TV, as reports flooded in that 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 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 US
forces have surged from 20 to 30 daily. He called for more US-run Iraqi
`sepoy' 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 with moderate, pro-American Muslim leaders who complained
Washington considers all Muslims terrorists. They warned the surprised
Bush that his total identification with Israel's rightwing 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
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 Lt. Gen William Boykin, a loudmouthed imbecile 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 idols he mistakenly said
were worshipped by Muslims.
Or that Bush's neo-conservative advisors, who want the US 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 fevered
supporters in the media and on the religious far right.
Bush, of course, has never been in touch with reality. Just recall his
preposterous claim about Iraqi uranium, `drones of death,' `vans of
death,' links to al-Qaida, the imminent threat of mass destruction to
the US from Iraq, etc.etc.
*VP Dick Cheney, who appears to be running Mideast policy, repeatedly
claimed Iraq had deployed nuclear weapons that threatened the US. He
maintains such absurd claims, though absolutely nothing was found after
a 5-month, $300 million search. The rarely-seen Cheney sounds as
isolated and out of touch as old Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, except that
the ditty Ludwig didn't start any wars.
*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 Defense 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 US VIP's were lodged.
One was reminded of the Vietcong attack on the US Embassy in Saigon
The attack left Professor Wolfowitz visibly shaking and badly
frightened. Here was the fire-eating warlord, the `ruthless' neo-con
theoretician who had sent American GI's into combat in Afghanistan and
Iraq, trembling in his brand-new chukka boots after the tiniest taste of
Neither Bush, Cheney, nor Wolfowitz ever served in their nation's armed
forces, though all were of military age during the Vietnam War - unless
you count George Bush's sporadic appearances at the Texas Air National
Wolfowitz, and fellow neo-conservative Administration warmongers, like
Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Doug Feith, Michael Ledeen, and John
Bolton (all avoided military service), who now call for attacks on Iran,
Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan - vividly recall the words of American
political thinker and poet, Peter Viereck.
In his brilliant book. `Metapolitics