The unintended consequences of the “cakewalk war”
By Paul Craig Roberts
" -- -- -John
Lukacs in his monograph, June 1941: Hitler and Stalin,
reports that “the best military experts throughout the world
predicted the defeat of the Soviet Union within a few weeks,
or within two months at the most” following Hitler’s
invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941.
While the superb German military machine made an excellent
showing, by the beginning of 1943 its offensive capability
was exhausted and the Germans were defeated at Stalingrad.
Germany lost the war one and one-half years before the US
could manage the invasion of Normandy. If Hitler had not
depleted the German Army in Russia, a US invasion of
Normandy could not have been contemplated.
Lukacs concerns himself with unintended consequences of June
22, 1941. It is not too early, or too late, to concern
ourselves with the unintended consequences of March 20,
Four and one-quarter years ago the Pentagon and its
neoconservative advisors and media propagandists promised
Americans a “cakewalk” war of 3 to 6 weeks duration. Six
weeks later on May 2, 2003, in history’s most ill-advised
propaganda stunt, President Bush landed on the aircraft
carrier USS Lincoln, whose tower was adorned with a banner
declaring “Mission Accomplished,” and announced the end to
major combat operations in Iraq.
In fact, the war had hardly begun. Four years later with the
failure in June 2007 of President Bush’s desperate last
measure--”the surge”--US offensive capability is exhausted.
The US military can do no more and has less control of the
situation than ever.
Perhaps the clearest indication that the war in Iraq is no
longer under American control is Turkey’s announcement of
plans to invade northern Iraq, the home of the Iraqi Kurds.
As June 2007 came to an end, Turkey’s Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul announced that if US or Iraqi forces did not
eliminate the Kurdish guerrillas that were attacking Turkey,
the Turkish Army would move into northern Iraq to deal with
Foreign Minister Gul was unequivocal: “The military plans
have been worked out in the finest detail. The government
knows these plans and agrees with them. If neither the Iraqi
government nor the US occupying forces can do this [crush
the guerrillas], we will take our own decision and implement
This ultimatum puts President Bush in an impossible
situation. Neither the Iraqi government nor the US military
have the means to deal with Kurdish guerrillas in their
mountain strongholds. The US military cannot even occupy
Baghdad. The Iraqi government exists in name only and can be
found only in its offices located inside the fortified and
US-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. Moreover, to the extent
that the in-name-only Iraqi government has any support, it
comes from the Kurds in northern Iraq.
The rest of Iraq is controlled by Sunni insurgents and
Shi’ite militias. Even Basra in the south has been abandoned
to the Shi’ite militias by Bush’s British ally.
The over-stretched American Empire hasn’t any troops to send
to northern Iraq. NATO, whose charter was to defend Western
Europe from Soviet invasion should have been disbanded two
decades ago. Today NATO functions as an auxiliary US force
and has been sent to Afghanistan, where it is being defeated
like the British and Russians before it.
In the midst of this unmanageable chaos, vice president
Cheney, Bush’s former UN ambassador John Bolton and large
numbers of Christian and Jewish Zionists are demanding that
the US attack Iran, and Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The unintended consequences of the “cakewalk war” are
already far outside the Bush administration’s ability to
manage and will plague future governments for many years.
For the administration to initiate new acts of aggression in
the Middle East would go beyond recklessness to insanity.
Paul Craig Roberts was
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street
Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National
Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
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