November 7, 2003

Editorial:

Americans Want Answers,

Not Catch Phrases

It was the next day. The day after guerrillas in Iraq shot down a helicopter killing 16 soldiers, President George W. Bush defiantly declared that ‘America will never run.’ The President once again is making his stand and damn the cost.

Bush was self-assured on May 1st, when he declared victory aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln —strategically postured beneath a banner that declared “Mission Accomplished”— and pronounced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. Since then 238 servicemen have died. Or on July 2, in response to another terrorist attack, Bush declared, “Bring them on”. Since then, 165 American men have died. Now we have ‘America will never run.’

The President and his cadre of spin-doctors went to work and described, and continue to describe, the deaths of these young soldiers as an acceptable cost in rebuilding of Iraq.

The deaths of servicemen and women would be acceptable if we were fighting a just war, but from the very beginning, this whole war has been based on lies and deceit. The President’s original rationale for going to war is no longer even mentioned. When was the last time anyone has mentioned WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). The terrorist link? Proven to be non-existent! A direct threat to the United States? False! The cost of rebuilding Iraq? We were told that Iraq would largely be able to finance its own reconstruction through oil revenues, seized assets, and increased economic productivity. The President has asked for $87 billion dollars, $16 billion of which to re-build Iraq.

The whole Iraq issue has now boiled down to Bush getting re-elected. Bush has painted himself into a corner that does not allow him any other course; he cannot admit that he made a mistake. Bush is sacrificing American men and women, making life and death decisions, with one eye on the next election! And even that is not working. Bush and support for the war are taking a tumble in the polls, and the American people want answers, like when are our men coming home?

But so far Bush doesn’t have that answer, in fact neither he nor his administration has outlined a long-term plan in regards to an exit from that country. We don’t know if we are committed to a year, two or ten. And there is no cap on the dollars that will be spent in rebuilding Iraq, the $87 billion is only the beginning, and this is not counting what was already spent on the war effort itself.

The really sad part in all this is that America is committed, morally, to rebuild Iraq. The question now is how we are going to go about this, and the most logical answer would be to turn this operation over to the United Nations, withdraw the troops, and support the rebuilding effort as a member of the UN. But Bush has already rejected this idea and has moved ahead. In the meantime more and more support for Iraq has withdrawn, and what little financial support there is has all been in the form of a loan or credit.

In the meantime Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has ordered 20,000 active-duty Marines from Camp Pendleton to Iraq.

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