Good morning, y’all. The rains are upon us, but they are gentle and not frozen. It’s good to look for the silver lining when you can. I do not aspire to be a PollyAnna, but I do try to keep a positive attitude. No one likes a crotchety old man, and I’ve already attained one half of the equation.
Today we’ll continue the story of the worst President of the United States, George W. Bush. When we left off our story, the neocons had decided that they should invade Iraq as retribution for Iraq’s lack of involvement in the World Trade Center. You couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing one of the “chicken hawks” blasting the airwaves with their justifications for attacking Iraq. Before long we had toppled Baghdad, hunted down Saddam’s sons and killed them, and brought Saddam to trial. He got the death penalty, by the way, which was carried out swiftly and without appeal. This, too, was televised. I guess these events needed to be televised as a warning to other dictators who had once been our friends. Do not make death threats against W’s poppy.
Unfortunately for the neocons, the TV didn’t just cover what the administration wanted us to see. American viewers were treated to the horrors of the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco. American military personnel took complete leave of their senses and violated several treaties and the Geneva Convention to act out on Iraqi prisoners. To this day we don’t know if all of the tortured were even combatants. All we know is that the tortured were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and were in the custody of a group of borderline psychotics. Before you condemn my characterization of the U.S. military involved, let me point out that the Military Code of Justice allows our military the right to refuse an order that violates their conscious. If the personnel at Abu Ghraib were given the orders to do what they did, they had the responsibility to refuse. If they acted on their own, they are even more clearly defined as psychotics. Either way, the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco could do nothing other than fuel the fire of Islamic fundamentalists.
As distasteful as the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco was, the Bush administration was also having to defend the concept of torture as an interrogation technique. Even the real hawk, John McCain, had to disagree with the U.S.’s unprecedented wholesale use of torture to try to gain information. Was the extraordinary violation of human rights being weighed against the desperate need to find Bin Laden? Previous to this war, torture, and specifically waterboarding, was wrong, evil, and against everything America stood for. W’s administration changed all of the rules. W needed to feel “justified”.
What’s odd is that W didn’t seem to care where Bin Laden was hiding, or feel that big of an imperative to hunt him down. W is quoted on March 13, 2002 as saying, ‘I truly am not that concerned about him’. True to his word, W did not find the alleged perpetrator of the 9-11 attacks. W left the job for President Obama to clean up. Finding Bin Laden was just one of a long laundry list of things W left for President Obama to clean up, but we’ll get more to that later. First, we need to talk a little bit more about how the war was being waged now that it had become a private industry. What was once an exercise conducted by U.S. military personnel handling all phases of an operation, from washing dishes to security for VIP’s, the neocons had morphed war into a hybrid of private businesses and traditional military.
Cheney’s Halliburton received no bid contracts for supplying all of the support services to the military from housing to meals. Blackwater Security was a para-military grouped operating under contract to provide “security” in a country filled with 150,000 American soldiers. I guess because there just weren’t enough Marines on the ground. Blackwater is involved in one of the other tragedies of Iraq, the battle of Fallujah. Another black eye for the Americans in the court of world opinion.
Having private contractors without the oversight of the American Congress, and therefore, the American people, is a diagram of a disaster. As a practical matter, all of the privateers could not operate without blanket immunity for the war crimes they were inevitably going to perpetuate. W’s administration was happy to prop up, or actually provide, the Iraqi officials who would give that immunity. W’s administration was ready to provide whatever was needed to setup Halliburton, Dresser and Kellog Brown Root in the heart of Iraq’s oil fields. After all, it’s just business.