Climate of War

The Republican Party appears to consider military action to be the first choice in dealing with international difficulties.

The current leadership of the Republican Party apparently considers military action to be the primary option for dealing with international problems. The best example remains the Iraq War that began in 2003. But it gets worse than this. The leaders of the Republican Party at that time parasitized American patriotism as a way of getting support for an opportunity to enrich military contractors. That is, the main purpose of the war was not war, but money. Here is a brief summary of the story.

After the 9-11 attacks, nearly all Americans were shocked into the realization that the world was a dangerous place for them; they had previously assumed that our nation was invincible. The 9-11 Commission concluded that the Bush Administration had underestimated credible threats of terrorist attacks, as had the Clinton Administration, preoccupied as it was with the Republican-led impeachment attempt. The Commission concluded that American lack of readiness was due to a “failure of the imagination.”

But immediately after 9-11, nearly the entire country was united, ready to work together—a rare moment in which individual greed was laid aside. Congressional Democrats were ready to support Bush. It is unclear whether Congressional Republicans would, if such an attack were to occur again, support President Obama as much or at all. Here was an opportunity in which Bush could have called on Americans to work together for a stronger country. Here was an opportunity to pursue energy efficiency, to lessen our dependence on Middle East oil. Americans were ready to work together.

But the Bush Administration immediately saw 9-11 as an opportunity to promote an American Empire, the very thing that terrorists accuse us of doing, and which allows terrorists to recruit more terrorists or a support base for supplies. Leading Republicans immediately saw the 9-11 attacks as an opportunity to invade Iraq. In fact, according to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the Bush leadership had been planning an Iraq invasion from almost the first day that Bush took office.

As is now well known, but which younger readers of this website may not remember, the Bush Administration used false information to begin the Iraq War. First, Bush immediately began linking Iraq with Al Qaeda at every speaking opportunity, when in fact no such link existed. This was a deliberate and cynical attempt to funnel Americans’ 9-11 fervor against Iraq. Second, the Bush Administration claimed that they had irrefutable evidence that Iraq was attempting to obtain “yellowcake” uranium from Niger. They made the false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and were ready to use them very, very soon. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson later reported that there was no such evidence, the Bush Administration leaked the identity of his wife as a CIA operative, thus putting her safety at risk. With this information and sweeping claims upon patriotism, the Bush Administration convinced even many Congressional Democrats to give him an authorization for military action in 2003.

It is clear that the Bush Administration was parasitizing the zeal of the American people in support of this war. The name they chose for it—Operation Infinite Justice—clearly had blasphemous overtones, implying that God Himself demanded this war. Bush is reported to have said, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” This quote, reported by Ron Suskind, has not been disputed.

It is also clear that the Republican leadership created an environment of hostility, rather than trying to bring people and nations together, in response to the terrorist attacks. Republican pundits fanned the flames of hatred against anyone who criticized the Iraq War (most famously the Dixie Chicks) and against any American allies who were not in full enthusiastic support of the war (most famously France). What did Ohio Republican congressman Ney think was the kind of response that Americans should take at this time? Rather than to promote dialogue with France, his solution was to get the Congressional cafeteria to rename French fries "Freedom Fries.” (Ney later resigned as part of the Abramoff scandal.)

It is also clear that the Bush Administration did not think their strategy through for how to conclude, or even win, the war. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz claimed that all our soldiers had to do was to drive tanks into Baghdad and they would be greeted by people throwing flowers. He estimated the total cost of the war as just a few hundred million dollars. As a reward for his prediction that the Iraq War would be a great investment, Wolfowitz then became president of the World Bank. In reality, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (the former requiring the lion’s share of expenses) continue to cost $250 million a day.

The Bush Administration did not want to make the argument to the American people that “We are invading Iraq because it will be a great investment.” Instead, they had to, as noted above, use false information about international threats from Iraq. The reason that the Bush Administration thought that the Iraq War would be a great investment is, of course, oil. Iraq has a lot of oil. Here is direct evidence. First, a secret high-level Bush Administration meeting (the “Energy Task Force”) took place long before 9-11; all we know about this meeting is that it was centered around a map of Iraqi oil fields. Second, as soon as American troops (with a few troops from other countries) rolled into Baghdad, the first thing they did was to secure the Oil Ministry headquarters. They seemed to have much less interest in anything else; was rampant, including of ancient Babylonian artifacts, and there was no attempt to stop it.

But oil was only part of the monetary reason for the Iraq War. Perhaps an even bigger reason was federal government money for contractors. The biggest contracts were immediately given to Halliburton, a corporation previously headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton , and provided marginally competent services in return. At one point, a Halliburton subsidiary was piping polluted water right out of the river for the soldiers to use. They also charged the American taxpayers almost $100 per load of laundry, even when the soldiers offered to do the laundry themselves.

In July 2010, a report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction () reported that the use of Iraqi oil money, which had been going into a special fund, could not be accounted for between 2004 and 2007. To what extent the provisional Iraqi government, and to what extent the American occupiers were responsible, for this disappearing cash is unclear, but this was during the time before Americans had put the Iraqi government back in charge of normal operations.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration detained hundreds of men of Arabic descent and subjected them to torture. They claimed that were necessary in order to obtain important security information. However, most observers, cannot believe this, for the following reasons. First, it is well known that testimony obtained under torture is not reliable. The victim says whatever he or she thinks will cause the pain to stop. I would admit to being a secret agent from Mars if it would make them stop torturing me. The deliberate mental manipulation, brought on by physical torture, may also create false memories. Torture, therefore, is a deliberate manufacture of corroboration for possibly false theories. And possibly not. That’s part of the problem—the United States gets unreliable intelligence information as a result of criminal acts of torture. Second, much of the torture was clearly intended as ghoulish entertainment, most famously at excerpt from testimony from one of the Iraqi detainees, published by the Washington Post:

“Do you pray to Allah?” one asked. I said yes. They said, “[Expletive] you. And [expletive] him.” One of them said, “You are not getting out of here health[y], you are getting out of here handicapped. And he said to me, “Are you married?” I said, “Yes.” They said, “If your wife saw you like this, she will be disappointed.” One of them said, “But if I saw her now she would not be disappointed now because I would rape her.”

The United States government blamed everything on the two soldiers whose images frequently appeared in the photos, but this abuse could never have happened without a military environment and training that encouraged torture games. For United States security, the worst result of this episode and others like it is that for every case of torture, there will be at least a hundred new terrorist recruits who sincerely believe the United States to be satanic. So many pieces of detainee testimony were independently verified that they cannot all be fabrications. And it really doesn’t matter. Anyone hearing the stories (which are probably but not certainly true) and sees the photos (which are true) cannot help but draw the conclusion that, in this instance, American forces were oppressors.

In conclusion, the leadership of the Republican Party has considered war to be the solution of choice for international conflicts. Worse than that, their motivation is not to resolve the conflicts, but to make money while pretending to do so. The information provided above makes this conclusion inescapable. Moreover, when the Republicans were in complete power, they amassed breathtaking deficit spending in order to get Iraqi oil fields and government contracts. Today, Republican leaders want you to forget that they did this, as they reinvent themselves—in total contrast to their recent record—as fiscal conservatives. If Republicans get another chance to lead the country, they may find it a lot harder this time to ask China to lend us the money to start more wars.

I have left out a lot of important information. But the purpose of this website is to provide a brief summary of how the Republican leadership is creating a new climate of life on this planet—one that will, to the extent that they can create it, include never-ending wars for profit.

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