As Governor of Texas, the Presidential hopeful warned us. If we were to select him as Commander-In-Chief he would not send mixed messages. Americans might have read George W. Bush’s lips. Pressure would be applied in abundance. A thousand points of light illuminated the path the then possible Chief Executive proposed. Yet, no one wished to believe a prominent person, the son of a former President of the United States could be so cruel. Certainly, a candidate to the highest office in the land would not suggest that he would be happy to start a war while he worked to win the support of American people. Yet, there it was, in the smirk, in the statement, in the glint seen in the eyes of Governor George W. Bush. The date, January 16, 2000, one year and four days before the ready and willing combatant placed his hand on the Bible and recited the Presidential Oath of Office.
Americans entered a new age; the second millennium had just begun. Yet, the people had learned little from hundreds or thousands of years of history. While tuned into television, citizens did not need to read between the lines. The future President spoke directly of his intent. Journalist Wolf Blitzer heard the words and reiterated. Perchance, the Broadcaster, too shocked by a truth he thought awesome, offered the then candidate a chance to redeem himself. George W. Bush cognizant of how his words might be thought cocky, endeavored to lessen the concern, somewhat; however, he remained stalwart.
The words were ominous, they, the Iraqi’s, would not exist any more. They hung in the air. Yet, people wanted to believe, as President, George W. Bush, (or whomever) would protect them. The public chose to suspend disbelief. With blind faith, supporters of the candidate followed their leader. Those who did not endorse the aspirant did not dare to fear the unthinkable. They thought they would or could “trust and verify.” Few imagined the impossible would be their unwelcome truth.
Nearly two years later, circumstances afforded Mister Bush an opportunity. The September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers allowed the former Governor, then President, to say, the world changed. However, in truth, while the people’s perspective may have been transformed, the views George W. Bush expressed twenty-one months earlier were as they had been. The Chief Executive’s sense of reality was static.
Commander-In-Chief Bush is consistent. As documented, at least since January 2000, Mister Bush intended to eliminate what he decided was a threat, Saddam Hussein, and the country known as Iraq. The harangue was heard and George Bush would stay the course.
Blitzer: It’s almost exactly nine years since your dad, the president of the United States, accepted a cease-fire with Saddam Hussein in Iraq in exchange for full Iraqi agreement to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. But for the last year, there have been no weapons inspection teams in Iraq at all. If you were president today, what would you do about it?
Bush: I would continue to keep the pressure on the Iraqi government. I would continue to insist that inspectors be left — allowed into the country. I would continue to insist that Iraq complied with the cease-fire arrangement.
Blitzer: But they’re in violation of the agreement right now.
Bush: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we shouldn’t be sending mixed signals. And if any time I found that the Iraqi’s were developing weapons of mass destruction, they wouldn’t exist any more.
Blitzer: Who wouldn’t exist, the weapons?
Bush: The weapons of mass destruction, yes. I’m not going to — they just need to hear that from a potential president, that if we catch them in violation of the agreement, if we in any way, shape or form find out that they’re developing weapons of mass destruction that there will be action taken, and they can just guess what that action might be.
Blitzer: And you’re not going to spell it out here today?
Bush: No, sir.
Ah, but he had shared the details. The candidate crafted a message and then, in the midst of the interview thought better of being so blatant. Perhaps, this election season, the American people might ponder the past. Citizens could consider pronouncements are portals. When the public listens to our current crop of Presidential challengers might the people acknowledge that a politician has power to change more than a policy. Lives will be altered with the stroke of a Presidential pen.
This time, will our countrymen contemplate the messages delivered when a Presidential hopeful is away from the persuasive scripts? Might Americans accept commercials do not reveal what is within a heart and soul. Stump speeches do not reveal authentic intentions.
Let us listen when a potential Commander offers his truest calculations. When a candidate speaks of possible combat, have faith. He or she will engage. If the same hopeful honors a citizen’s right to bear arms, believe him (or her). Suppose surveillance is the subject. A potential President that promotes a need to spy on those he or she thinks may be terrorists will follow through. Holidays from taxes that build a healthy infrastructure, once proposed, will be part of the ultimate plan. When a presumptive Chief Executive claims he or she will reduce the cost of Health Care Insurance and yet, does not establish a means for better access to affordable medical coverage, realize, he or she will not provide an avenue for those who struggle with what is. What of energy, education, the environment; perchance Americans might acknowledge, no matter the issue, a person, a potential President will reveal him or herself in subtle ways.
Americans might follow the money, the man, and the woman. People, no matter their station know what they need to say and when. A hopeful President indebted to industry will not forget their allegiance, just as George W. Bush never forgot his. Loyalty to family, friends, and financiers leads many a Commander to combat or a multitude of convenient truths.
All actions begin with a thought. Words are windows into a being. Be assured; if an aspirant muses of what he or she “might” do, trust they will. Defensively, details may not be forthcoming before the position is secured. Nonetheless, once the keys to the White House are in hand the world will change to fit the new office holder’s reality, when indeed he or she actually has not evolved.
Sources For Statement of War, or Peace. We, the people decide . . .
Today, in hearings on Capitol Hill, I confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her role in the lies, exaggerations, and misdirection that led us into the Iraq war.
During my questioning, Secretary Rice falsely stated that she never saw intelligence casting doubt on the Bush Administration claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. This unbelievable statement is flatly contradicted by numerous government reports and CIA testimonials.
Sources such as the 2006 Senate Intelligence Report, a January 2004 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report as well as former CIA agents (including Tyler Drumheller) have disclosed that there was contrary intelligence to the information provided to the Bush Administration in the lead up to the Iraq war.
Please view the video above.
Secretary Rice’s responses demonstrate once and for all that we need aggressive oversight over this out of control Administration. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has ignored the constitutional right of Congress to provide such oversight.
It is time Congress took aggressive action to assert our rights on behalf of the American people.
The House of Representatives must immediately hold former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress for their failure to respond to congressional subpoenas.
I have been aggressively lobbying Members of Congress to support a vote on contempt, and I am thrilled to report that Speaker Pelosi told me directly that she agrees it is well past time to vote on contempt. I am anticipating that the House will shortly vote on resolutions of both civil and criminal contempt for both Miers and Bolten.
No one should be immune from accountability and the rule of law.
Not Harriet Miers or Josh Bolten.
And especially not Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.
It is time to defend the Constitution and our rights as a co-equal branch of government.
Questions referring to Weapons of Mass Destruction permeated the periodicals again today. Lewis [Scooter] Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney is on trial. The question is did he leak the identity of Central Intelligence Agency agent, Valerie Plame. If so, was he told to do so by the Administration. Was this White House planning a war regardless of the evidence? Might Joe Wilson’s contention, Intelligence was being manipulated, a threat to the President’s preferred truth.
In 2003, Mister Wilson, a career Foreign Service Officer and Ambassador, and Plame’s husband, stated, after ample investigation Iraq was not purchasing uranium used in Weapons of Mass Destruction from an African country as the Bush Cheney clan declared. Joe Wilson wrote, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.” He avowed The Administration was in error. Wilson wondered aloud and often, ‘Why were we going to battle in Iraq?”
You, dear reader might recall the Wilson woes, the concerns about weaponry; you might even remember the blood for oil theory. However, I. Lewis [Scooter] Libby does not. Apparently, his work load, while working in the White House was overwhelming. Libby cannot be expected to recall what he thought, said, did, or felt.
[Libby’s lead attorney, Theodore V. Wells Jr.] contended it was “madness” to try to convict Libby of a crime based on his foggy memory about fragments of conversations that were the subject of FBI questions three and four months after they took place.
Imagine the insanity of an impeachment hearing. If a person can be excused for forgetting what was said or done in the course of a few months, years of activity would surely be dismissed.
Admittedly, the doings surrounding the Iraq war are as a maze. We each walk a straight line thinking we understand the intent and then, boom! We hit a wall, a barrage of bullets greets us at ever turn. Words offer no wisdom. We muse. Is the Iraq war a fight against terrorism? Are we to believe that democracy can be spread through regime change?
Is the blood for oil theory viable? What of Iran, Are they supplying arms to the rebels; thus, making these Middle Easterners responsible for all the killings. Could the Iranians be funding the insurgency or are our allies the source of rebel income? It seems Saudi money fuels much of the massacres and has; yet, this realization faded only to be revisited again in the pass few days.
The Middle Eastern wars remind us of George Santayana. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Perhaps, we are damned. Not only are we not learning from our past; we cannot even recall it.
I offer some references in hopes that you dear reader might help me maneuver through the labyrinth. I am reflecting on the Iraq war, the reasons for such folly, the fallacies, and the possible truths, as is Number 43.
Mr. Bush drew an analogy between the Revolution and what he called “a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life,” wording that left unclear whether he meant the combat in Iraq or the broader fight against terror.
Washington, he added, “believed that the freedoms we secured in our Revolution were not meant for Americans alone.”
The president has often seemed to find solace in past occupants of the White House. He has invoked Lincoln’s shepherding the nation through the Civil War. He has recalled Truman, who struggled to explain another unpopular war, in Korea, and whose dismal public approval ratings shot skyward long after he left office. And more recently, he has been referring to Washington as well.
“I’m reading about George Washington still,” the president told reporters at a December news conference where he defended his Iraq policy. “My attitude is, if they’re still analyzing No. 1, 43 ought not to worry about it and just do what he thinks is right, and make the tough choices necessary.”
So often in the past, our fair President stated the war in Iraq would be merely a momentary skirmish. We would never spill blood for oil. After all, he is a compassionate conservative, regardless of his family history and ties to oil. However, as time went on the war seemed without end. We, the people were informed, or reminded ‘This will be a protracted battle.’ George W. Bush, the perpetrator of doom, warned, the next President would have to address the combat.
Mister Bush often reminds Americans they are fighting in Iraq to ensure that the Iraqis never use their Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.
On some days he admits the arsenal was destroyed long before his Presidency.
Washington – President Bush and his vice president conceded yesterday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, trying to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue – whether the invasion was justified because Hussein was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.
Yet, on many other occasions President Bush and Vice President Cheney claim there were Weapons of Mass Destruction and perhaps, there still are. Forty-two percent of Americans agree; the stockpile was there and a solid nineteen percent think it is still seething in the ground in Iraq.
Then there are the days that the Administration reminds us, ‘No, no, the armaments were not their concern’. The United States went to battle hoping to find and capture the terrorists that downed the World Trade Center Towers. George W. Bush wants these mercenaries, “Dead or alive.” They must be in Iraq. After all, one evil doer looks like another. They have different faces; yet they are the same.
[T]hat is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein’s links to international terrorist groups. Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.
We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein’s regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.
Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary; confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror. When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.
Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both. And the United States military is capable of confronting both.
Ooops, terrorists are not the true reason for our aggression. We are seeking to stabilize the situation in the Middle East. We want to show the Iraqi people, and ultimately the world how wonderful democracy is.
Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands. American and coalition forces are sacrificing for the peace of Iraq and for the security of free nations. Aid workers from many countries are facing danger to help the Iraqi people. The National Endowment for Democracy is promoting women’s rights, and training Iraqi journalists, and teaching the skills of political participation. Iraqis, themselves — police and borders guards and local officials — are joining in the work and they are sharing in the sacrifice.
This is a massive and difficult undertaking — it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed — and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran — that freedom can be the future of every nation. (Applause.) The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution. (Applause.)
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo. (Applause.)
Yet, of course there is no connection. The Al Qaeda and Hussein Link is dismissed, reluctantly. The Administration is not ready or willing to let go; however, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States did. Still Bush and Cheney fight on.
The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.
Along with the contention that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials have often asserted that there were extensive ties between Hussein’s government and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network; earlier this year, Cheney said evidence of a link was “overwhelming.”
But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday’s hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.
The staff report said that bin Laden “explored possible cooperation with Iraq” while in Sudan through 1996, but that “Iraq apparently never responded” to a bin Laden request for help in 1994. The commission cited reports of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda after bin Laden went to Afghanistan in 1996, adding, “but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.”
The finding challenges a belief held by large numbers of Americans about al Qaeda’s ties to Hussein. According to a Harris poll in late April, a plurality of Americans, 49 percent to 36 percent, believe “clear evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda has been found.”
As recently as Monday, Cheney said in a speech that Hussein “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” Bush, asked on Tuesday to verify or qualify that claim, defended it by pointing to Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has taken credit for a wave of attacks in Iraq.
Nevertheless, the United States did after all allow the people of Iraq to vote, and are they not grateful? They are truly dancing in the streets, as they leap over one bloody body and then another.
These well-connected Texas oilmen, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, have repeatedly reassured us, he has no ulterior motives, and self-aggrandizing agendas are not theirs. The Bush legacy, which by the way is never on this President’s mind, will be that he spread democracy throughout the globe; and he accomplished his mission in such a compassionately conservative manner. George W. Bush was and continues to do the work of G-d. Working with the Lord is the course this diabolical deliverance stayed. Jesus saved our Commander-In-Chief when he was young and out of control. Now Mister Bush will rescue the people of Iraq, regime change was his calling; however, that endeavor was ineffective. The focus is floundering. The American people are impatient.
Perchance, the President must find a new enemy. There is word that Iran will be the President’s next conquest, or it will not be. The Administration seems intent on proving all the dreadful artillery is now in the hands of Iran, or is it?
President Bush said yesterday that he does not know if Iranian-made roadside bombs used by Shi’ite militias in Iraq were delivered on orders from the “head leaders in Iran.” Bush was correcting an impression left by a US military briefer who said Sunday that the bombs — called explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs — were traceable to the “highest levels” of the Iranian government. Given fears of a military clash with Iran over its nuclear program, it’s a relief that Bush said he is not seeking “a pretext for war” with Iran.
Welcome as this assurance was, it did not go far enough. Bush cleared up one cause of confusion but he left others unaddressed.
Since the United States has been aware of EFPs being used in Iraq since June of 2004, why is it only now that Bush has publicized the use of those weapons and their Iranian provenance? And even if Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, gave a green light for the Revolutionary Guards component known as the Quds Force to smuggle EFPs to what the US military briefer called “rogue elements” of the Mahdi Army — the militia associated with the radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr — what would be the purpose of Iran’s military assistance to Shi’ite armed groups in Iraq?
The sudden spotlight on Iranian munitions in Iraq has inadvertently caused confusion. Bush’s omission of any explanation of the reasons for Iran’s military aid to affiliated Iraqis makes it seem that Bush and his advisers are themselves confused about the motives and aims of major players in Iraq’s many-sided civil war, including factions that have been, at least nominally, allied with Washington.
The administration’s ostentatious show of exposing and cracking down on Iranian operations in Iraq is being staged largely for the benefit of Sunni Arab states, particularly the Saudis.
The American – Saudi Arabia alliance is often termed a marriage of convenience. While the pair differed on much, they found the relationship mutually beneficial. However, September 11, 2001 changed that dynamic. Divorce seems eminent, though both countries are fighting to stay together while realizing their separate interests are as strong as the common bonds that sustained them for seventy years. Oil has been as children often are in a traditional union, the reason for the relationship. Now, while the governments are still trying to work together, the Saudi citizenry sees no reason to continue the friendship. After all, it is merely a façade, as is much in this combative campaign.
CAIRO (AP) – Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, including shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, according to key Iraqi officials and others familiar with the flow of cash.
Saudi government officials deny that any money from their country is being sent to Iraqis fighting the government and the U.S.-led coalition.
But the U.S. Iraq Study Group report said Saudis are a source of funding for Sunni Arab insurgents. Several truck drivers interviewed by The Associated Press described carrying boxes of cash from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, money they said was headed for insurgents.
Two high-ranking Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, told the AP most of the Saudi money comes from private donations, called zaqat, collected for Islamic causes and charities.
Some Saudis appear to know the money is headed to Iraq’s insurgents, but others merely give it to clerics who channel it to anti-coalition forces, the officials said.
In one recent case, an Iraqi official said $25 million in Saudi money went to a top Iraqi Sunni cleric and was used to buy weapons, including Strela, a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile. The missiles were purchased from someone in Romania, apparently through the black market, he said.
Overall, the Iraqi officials said, money has been pouring into Iraq from oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a Sunni bastion, since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled the Sunni-controlled regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Saudi officials vehemently deny their country is a major source of financial support for the insurgents..
Officials do not speak for the people. The citizens of Saudi Arabia hear the repeated rebukes from George W. Bush and Company and they are angered. Anti-American sentiment is extremely high. Secrecy and transparency abound. Even when we are told what passes for truth, we find reasons to question the contention. Perchance the question is, “What did we, he, she know and when did any of us know it?”
There is so much confusion. Who is the enemy; who is evil? The Good Guys are not wearing their white garb and even if they were, with all of this back and forth, the fabric is soiled. I will add one more morsel to the mix of muck.
WASHINGTON — US officials from President Bush to a top general in Iraq said yesterday that there was no solid evidence that top officials in Iran had ordered deadly weapons to be sent to Iraq for use against American soldiers, backing away from claims made at a Baghdad presentation by military and intelligence officials earlier this week.
Yikes!!! What is a person to believe? I trust that none of what we know is true; yet, it all is. Each individual person, each government believes what they think is most beneficial for them to believe in the moment.
Sadly, in a world where no one is responsible, we all are, but for what. No one admits to remembering; actions are discounted for they cannot be verified with certainty.
No one trusts anyone any more; even personal recollections cause us to recoil. Cynicism is ubiquitous. Connecting the dots seems impossible. Possibly you can help me. Certainly, “my” President cannot. Mister Bush and his co-conspirator knew nothing. They cannot remember what they did believe. Neither of these predators protects our country. With thanks to them, danger pervades our planet. Iraq is our past, our present, and the world’s future; yet, no one is certain why.
Connecting the Dots; Seeking a Plausible Path to Iraq . . .
They buried their son on Monday August 15, 2005; they mourned for a day more. Then, the parents of fallen soldier, Marine Lance Corporal Edward Schroeder II, spoke out. They meet with the press, on Tuesday, August 16. Through the media, Paul Schroeder and his wife Rosemary Palmer pleaded with the President. They said, Please “send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether.”
Ms. Palmer spoke tearfully. Irritably she stated, Mr. President “We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out.” The soldier’s father expressed his belief; his son and other Marines are “being misused as a stabilizing force in Iraq.” Mr. Schroeder continued, “Our comments are not just those of grieving parents. They are based on anger, Mr. President, not grief.
Anger is an honest emotion when someone’s family has been violated.” His wife added accusingly the idea of “staying the course is” is rigid and not realistic. The mother said the “war has gone bad.” America’s young are dying. She offered “Whether he leads them out by putting more troops on the ground or pulling them out – he can’t just let it continue.” Nevertheless, the President does.
When asked of the Schroeder-Palmer remarks, the office of our Commander-and-Chief said he declines to comment. The White House reminded the press and the public that the President addressed this issue last week. Allen Abney, administration spokesman offered, Baby Bush stands by his earlier statements. He will do as Rosemary Palmer declared he could not, he will carry on the war effort just as he has.
For the Commander-and-Chief, the Schroeder’s be damned. Cindy Sheehan, the mother of fallen soldier Casey Sheehan be cursed, all those that support a change in strategy, according to the President, know nothing. Yet, these know nothings are growing in numbers. They are building a broad coalition; the Bush alliance is disbanding.
Since August 7, 2005, Mrs. Sheehan has been holding vigil. She is waiting for the President to speak with her, not as he did in June 2004 when she was one of many, merely the “Mom” of a fallen soldier. She wants a genuine meeting, a give and take; she is not interested in obligatory gestures. She stands strong in protest, just outside the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas. Support for Cindy Sheehan is growing.
[Tonight, candlelight vigils are being held throughout the country for Cindy and Casey Sheehan.]
In the recent media meet with Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer, the couple spoke of Mrs. Sheehan. They stated, “We consider her the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war.” Sheehan, the Schroeder-Palmer family, and other military families are uniting. They are joining the activists and the peaceniks. As casualties are mount as American boys and girls come home in body bags, a new coalition gains ground. This one asks for peace, demands action, and does not promote greater aggression.
Families such as the Schroeder and the Sheehan’s want the President and the Pentagon to present an exit strategy, to propose a new plan. For these families and for others, it is clear, the current policy is flawed; it is not working. Daily deaths in Iraq are evidence of this.
The parents of young Edward, young Casey, and the parents, wives, sons, and daughters of other American soldiers believe, the battle was bad; though it was not as awful as victory. The President declared the war a “success” in May 2003. However, since that date, more soldiers have been killed. The slaughter increases each and every day.
Currently, there is greater rebellion, greater strife, and less unity in Iraq. The elections did not bring democracy as the President proclaimed; they brought division. Americans are beginning to realize this. They see the war on their televisions; they read of the rebellion in their newspapers, and, most importantly, as the bodies of their beautiful babies arrive home in flag draped coffins, they know that this war was not worth the effort. The toll is too high.
Citizens in the United States are waking up. They accept reports that the administration lied. The public now believes that we entered the war on false pretenses. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. We the people of the United States were led to believe that Saddam Hussein attacked the World Trade Towers and that he was the enemy. However, they learned. He was not the man behind the attacks. King George II knew this all along. He lied.
In recent months, polls show that US citizens wants out of this war. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think the number of casualties in Iraq is “unacceptable.” Six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting. More than four in 10 believe the US presence in Iraq is becoming analogous to the experience in Vietnam. Perhaps most portentous for President Bush, 52 percent said war in Iraq has not contributed to the long-term security of this nation. America is not safer.
Not only are citizens in this country rejecting the war and expressing a desire to leave, those in other nations are as well. In other nations, the people spoke out sooner and leaders heeded the calls.
Poland announced several weeks earlier, it would start to reduce its 2,500-strong contingent in January 2005. The Polish were considering a complete withdrawal by the end of year.
On the same day that the Schroeder-Palmer family spoke of the need for an exit strategy, the main opposition party in Japan declared their own. The party leaders stated, should they win the upcoming election, they too will plan a pullout from Iraq.
Italy has stated that they will withdraw from Iraq. The Italian government plans to begin removing troops in September 2005. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Rai state television the pullout would take place “in agreement with our allies”. Italian forces comprise the forth-largest foreign contingent in the US coalition. They have 3,000 troops in this war-torn nation.
There have long been rumors that the United Kingdom is considering an exit. The majority of people in the UK have never supported the Iraq war. Millions were protesting on the streets of London before Bush/Blair released the first bomb.
Take the list coalition countries the White House is updating daily. Sure, there are some important allies aside from Britain?”notably Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Italy as well as number of “new” Europeans. Only three countries of these allies are actually contributing combat troops and capabilities (2,000 Australian troops, a Danish submarine and naval escort, and 200 Polish troops and refueling ship)?”all in all less than one percent of the total number of troops in the region. The rest of the list is a motley crew of supporters?”including such powerhouses as Afghanistan, Albania, Macedonia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.
No, the big-bad-broad-coalition never was, and with time, the sham of it will no longer be. Each day it becomes leaner, not meaner. However, fortunately, the true coalition is building; it is growing behind parents such as Cindy Sheehan, Paul Schroeder, and his wife Rosemary Palmer. May the coalition for peace be our guide and just as in the childhood rhyme, may the big “cheese” stand, alone.
Possibly the best resource is IRAQ INDEX, Tracking Reconstruction and Security, in Post-Saddam Iraq, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Booking Institute may be the best resource. The following statistics are taken from this source.
COALITION CONTRIBUTORS and the numbers of MILITARY PERSONNEL IN IRAQ.
As of May 6 – June 15, 2005
• US 150,000
• United Kingdom 8,000
• South Korea 3,600
• Italy 3,000
• Poland 1,700
• Ukraine 1,650
• Georgia 850
• Romania 800
• Japan 550
• Denmark 530
• Bulgaria 400
• Australia 400
• Remaining 17 coalition countries 1,520
Update . . . You may wish to visit MaxSpeak. On Thursday, August 18, 2005, he wrote of another call for withdraws from Iraq. Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold, made this request. Max muses; will this be the position of others in the 2008 election. Please read 08.