Monday, July 31


The Iraq war is nearly invisible now on TV news. The current Middle East volleys between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah don't involve any U.S. troops, so it's welcome to the Bush administration as a diversion from the failure, the disaster that is known as the Iraq war. They spin their eagerness to have Israel continue their "degradation" of Hezbollah's military capability, as a peace-seeking and final-solution-oriented policy with the goal of attaining "a sustainable" ceasefire. They betray themselves, however, even as they try their sleight-of-hand action, by clamoring for an extension of the conflict, ballooning up Syria's and Iran's culpability in the Hezbollah attacks upon Israel because they have provided funding and weapons for the group. (They conveniently omit the fact that the U.S. has funded the Israeli military to the tune of approximately $2-3 billion per year since 1997.)

The famous chickenhawks thirst for war, more war, seeming to believe that eventually there'll be that great, vindicating victory that places them in the history books alongside MacArthur and Patton. Notice I don't say Eisenhower (who warned against the development of a "military-industrial complex") or Marshall (whose most powerful contribution to history was the execution of The Marshall Plan, which was responsible for rebuilding Japan, Germany and the conquered countries of WWII, which led to the establishment of some of our greatest allies since 1950). No, they would identify with the swaggerers, the in-your-facers, and ultimately, the losers, though cults have developed around them, which membership would seem to include the neocons. I think there's something very bizarre here, the way these guys get pumped by the prospect of violence, their penchant for choosing action, no matter the consequences, over cool analysis and wisdom. Okay, I'll say what I'm really thinking. If Ann Coulter can speculate upon the sexual orientation of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, I can say outright that I think many of the denizens of BushWorld have serious doubts about their own masculinity. Oh, some of them may be straight -- but I think that somewhere under there is a masculine panic because they ducked any coming-of-age requirement to prove their manliness, such as military service or athletics. Yeah, I think they probably equate the two.

A chief objective of the Bush administration, pursued with remarkable success on the home front, has been to keep the costs of war out of sight.

As Lebanon dominates, one constant on the TV tube has remained -- loudmouths demanding more war.

These are the folks who predicted that democracy would flower across the Middle East if we "took out" Saddam Hussein.

"The entire process of peace in the region will become much easier once you don't have Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And I think frankly, the Syrians will start backing down and the Iranians will start backing down," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in 2002.

What's his line now? "This is World War III," Gingrich said in a recent Puget Sound area appearance. He advocates threatening Syria and Iran with "whatever steps necessary" to keep them out of Iraq.

On Fox News, Bill O'Reilly recently declared: "If we waged war the way Saddam handled Iraq, then we would have already won."

We also have Dick Cheney, who warned of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and predicted our troops would be "greeted as liberators."

He now says the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah underscores the need to keep Republicans in control of Congress and maintain one-party rule in Washington, D.C.

"It's going to be a battle that will last a very long time," Cheney told a Florida fundraiser. "It is absolutely essential that we stay the course."

What course? Wider war? More troops? More battlefronts? Greater hatred for America in the Middle East? More contempt for America's leaders?

Will the architects of this administration's disastrous policy, and their media enablers, ever be called to account?

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