Friday, August 24, 2007
Jacob Hornberger’s Blog [Blog Archives]
Bush and Congress Are Responsible for Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger
I can’t help but wonder whether President Bush’s reference to Vietnam isn’t a subconscious way to expiate his guilt at having dodged the Vietnam War and his guilt at having instigated the Iraq debacle.
While National Guard and Army Reserve troops are today being sent to Iraq, people of the Vietnam era know that such was not the case during the Vietnam War. The Guard and the Reserves were the rich boy’s respectable way to dodge the draft. Everyone knew that the Guard and the Reserves were not ever going to be sent to Vietnam, and it oftentimes took lots of political influence to get into a unit. Those guys who were poor and lacking political influence, especially the ones who couldn’t go to college, were the cannon fodder that got sent into the Vietnam hellhole, a hellhole that was built on lies and deception, as ultimately shown in the Pentagon Papers.
Not that I’m criticizing Bush or, for that matter, Vice President Cheney, who also avoided military service in Vietnam because he had better things to do than save America from the threat of the communists coming over here and conquering and occupying America, which U.S. officials said would happen if the U.S. wasn’t in Vietnam, much as they’re now saying with respect to Iraq.
In retrospect, people like Bush, Cheney, and the thousands of other draft dodgers were the smart ones. After all, look at them — they’re alive, healthy, and at the pinnacle of wealth, fame, fortune, and power. The chumps were people like John Kerry and Max Cleland and the hundreds of thousands of others who “patriotically” followed government orders to go Vietnam to fight for “freedom”, many of whom lost lives, limbs, or minds for nothing but lies and deception and who are now even accused of being cowards and traitors.
Today, not surprisingly, Bush and members of Congress are blaming everyone else for the Iraq debacle — e.g., those dumb Iraqis who can’t get their act together or the U.S. generals who followed the wrong plans for the occupation of the country. It’s also clear from the Vietnam comparison that Bush is now posturing himself into a position of being able to claim that when the withdrawal from Iraq finally takes place, the debacle in Iraq will all be the fault of those who pulled out too early, just like Bush says happened in Vietnam.
In other words, what Bush is saying is that there was no upper limit on American and Vietnamese lives and limbs that should have continued to be lost — so long as they didn’t belong to Bush and Cheney and their rich, influential friends. 58,000 dead American men? Not enough. A million or two dead Vietnamese? Too low. Keep dropping those bombs from those B-52s. Obviously, according to Bush, it would have been “worth it” to sacrifice another 60,000 American men and a few million more Vietnamese to “win” the Vietnam War and prevent the communists from coming to American and conquer and occupy our country. Of course, never mind that they never came.
It’s the same with Iraq. UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright said that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the brutal sanctions were “worth it.” Bush is saying that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from his invasion and the deaths of a few thousands of America are worth it. How cavalier! In Bush’s mind, there is obviously no upper limit to the number of people who should be sacrificed for the grand and noble aim of establishing a pro-U.S. regime in Iraq — as long as Bush and Cheney and their children and the children of the well-to-do are not among those being sacrificed.
Make no mistake about it: The moral and legal responsibility for Iraq, including the death, destruction, torture and sex abuse, lies not with the Iraqi people or those who are ultimately responsible for securing a total U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. In this war, George W. Bush was “the decider” — the person who decided to attack, wage a war of aggression against, and occupy a country that had never attacked the United States. It was the members of Congress, who had the sworn duty to impeach Bush for waging the war without a congressional declaration of war, who enabled him to do so. President George W. Bush and those members of Congress who supported his war bear full responsibility for what they have wrought in Iraq.
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.