By Scott Ritter
-- -- As America reaches the third
anniversary of President Bush's decision to invade and occupy
Iraq, there is for the first time the unsettling realization
brought about by the clarity of acts that emerges only after the
passage of time that something horrible has happened.
This awakening of collective awareness on the part of the
American people is reflected not only in the numerous polls
which show President Bush's popularity plummeting to all-time
lows, largely because of the war in Iraq, but also the
collective shrug of the shoulders on the part of the one-time
cheerleaders for the war in Iraq -- the mainstream American
media -- when covering the hollow rhetoric of the President as
he tries to rally a nation around a cause that has long since
lost its allure.
No amount of flowery language and repeated pulls at the
patriotic heartstrings of America, no repeated assault on the
senses and sensibilities through repetitious referral to the
events of 9/11 can jump start a second phase of the kind of
mindless nationalistic fervor that greeted the erstwhile Cowboy
President when he first herded a compliant America down the path
of war with Iraq three years ago.
Looking back on the string of unfulfilled objectives, broken
promises, squandered dreams, shattered bodies and eviscerated
lives that was and is the war in Iraq, one thought emerges plain
and clear. This isn't simply a result of bad governance. This is
Bad governance is telling the American people that a war with
Iraq would be concluded in a manner of months, and would cost
the American taxpayer less that $2 billion, when in fact the war
has gone on for three years now, with no end in sight, and over
a quarter-trillion dollars have been expended, with untold
billions more to be spent.
Criminal governance is the fabrication of a justification for
war (weapons of mass destruction), hiding the President’s true
intentions from the American people and the Congress of the
United States (Bush signed off on the Iraq war plans in late
August 2002, and yet continued to publicly state that no
decision for military action had been made), and shredding
international law by waging an aggressive war of pre-emption
void of any United Nations Security Council resolution
authorizing such actions.
Bad governance is manipulating war planning on the part of
military professionals so that we enter into a conflict with far
too few troops for the task, with no plan for how to proceed
once the fighting ended and the reality of occupation set in.
Criminal governance is violating every principle of the laws of
war in the conduct of the occupation of Iraq, manipulating the
economic and political direction of Iraq, suppressing its
population, and engaging in wanton acts of widespread murder,
torture and abuse of the Iraqi people.
The fact is the war in Iraq has degenerated into one giant hate
American soldiers and Marines are being thrown into a cauldron
of our own making, scalded by a conflict with no purpose or
direction, with the end result being that in order to survive
these fighting men and women have dehumanized the totality of
the Iraqi people.
The ancestors of ancient Babylon have become nothing more than
"sand niggers", "rag-heads", "camel jockeys", "ninja women" or "haji"
in the hearts and minds of American fighting men who are now
killing Iraqis in ever increasing numbers. Gone is any talk of
rebuilding Iraq. We are there to destroy it. The criminal nature
of the war in Iraq is starting to become common knowledge among
observers of the war.
It has long sense been common knowledge on the part of those
waging it. In Vietnam Americans were shocked by the revelations
of Mai Lai and the murder of innocent Vietnamese civilians by
American fighting men. But Mai Lai is repeated in bits and
pieces every day in Iraq, with the American military occupation
slaughtering family after family of Iraqis in the name of
bringing peace and security.
The realization that something has gone horribly wrong in Iraq,
however, has not translated into any kind of discernable action
on the part of the American people. While pundit after pundit
breaks ranks with the Bush administration on Iraq, often
repudiating their own pre-war chest beating and encouragement of
the war, the fact is that the manifesto which manifested itself
in the invasion of Iraq -- the 2002 National Security Strategy
of the United States -- continues to dictate the manner and
nature of America's interfacing with the rest of the world in
Indeed, President Bush has, on the eve of the third anniversary
of the Iraqi war, promulgated a new, improved version of this
manifesto, the 2006 National Security Strategy of the United
States, which re-affirms America's commitment to the principles
of pre-emptive war. In short, the President has re-certified
America as the greatest threat to international peace and
security in modern times, especially when one considers that
even as America is engaged in the brutal rape and occupation of
Iraq, President Bush has his eyes firmly set on another war of
aggression in Iran.
What are the American people doing in response? There is a huge
difference between becoming aware and taking action. While poll
numbers on Iraq reflect a growing unease about the war, this
unease has not manifested itself into any discernable reaction
of consequence. The Democratic Party has remained largely mute,
largely because of the culpability on the part of much of its
membership in facilitating and sustaining the Iraqi war and its
underlining doctrine of global domination by the United States.
But in the face of the near total subservience on the part of
the Republican Party in supporting the policies of President
Bush no matter how illegal and harmful they are to America and
the world, the Democratic Party must shake itself free of the
doldrums it currently finds itself stuck in. The time for
passive recognition that the war in Iraq has gone bad is long
The time for concrete political action has arrived. The
Democrats need to recognize that the political struggle in
America today is not a trivial extension of the partisan Red
State-Blue State nonsense the American media likes to bandy
about, but rather a far more serious struggle of national
survival, if one in fact defines the American nation as being
reflective of the ideals and values set forth by the
Constitution of the United States.
The Iraq War, if anything, is a reflection of the total
abrogation of constitutional responsibility and process by the
Congress of the United States. As a result, the President has
led a nationdown the path of illegal war of aggression which has
damaged America's reputation abroad, and its very fabric here at
home. The Republican-controlled Congress has done little to stop
this collective march towards national self-destruction,
rubber-stamping the president's illegal actions with little
regard to either the rule of law or Congress's status as a
second but equal branch of government.
This must end.
The fact is that America today stands on the brink of having
everything we stand for as a nation being swept away by a
power-crazed President and a compliant Congress, both of whom
are Republican. Whatever direction the Democratic Party takes in
the future, it must be with the recognition that the hopes and
dreams of saving the United States as a nation of laws founded
in the words and principles of the Constitution rest heavily on
their shoulders. The Democratic Party must become laser-like in
its rejection of the war in Iraq, resolute in condemning this
war for what it is, an illegal war of aggression,and determined
in fighting for the concept of a nation governed by the rule of
law by holding President Bush accountable for his illegal
In short, the rallying cry of the Democratic Party must become
impeachment. Given the magnitude of the crimes committed by the
United States in Iraq under the direction and leadership of
President Bush and his administration, there is simply no other
recourse that can bring a halt to the madness in Iraq, and the
insanity being planned in Iran and elsewhere.
The remedy is clear. The question now is whether the Democratic
Party is up to the task.