Let the peace camp be a wide open field
By Ahmed Amr
One by one, they're coming to terms with the absurdity of this ruinous war of choice. As they make their way to the peace camp, roll out the red carpets. Let them stroll in with heads held high.
Even if they only repent for what the war has done to 'us', embrace them as your brothers in the struggle. If they insist on wearing blinders, let them be. Avoiding the glare of Iraqi casualties is a sin we can deal with at a later time.
If Francis Fukuyama and Bill Buckley have a change of mind that leads to a change of heart - respect them for the courage to modify their convictions.
It serves no purpose to tattoo time stamps on the arms of those who come tardy to the peace party. Let the peace camp be a wide open field that welcomes every American with ideological indifference.
But be very wary of those in a hurry to exit Baghdad only to launch an invasion of Iran. When John Kerry shows up, bolt the gates, shut him out and shout him down. Those who want to make peace in Iraq to make war in Iran should find other quarters to market their agendas.
It has become fashionable in war party circles to denigrate Iraqis for their failure to 'get with the program.' Bush and his Democratic Party allies are exasperated with the 'ungrateful' natives of Mesopotamia. Will they ever demonstrate appreciation for 'our considerable sacrifice of blood and treasure'?
By now, only Bush recalls the exact wording of the 'Iraqi invitation' to invade the streets of Baghdad. Even at this late hour, the president can't seem to grasp the lack of enthusiasm by the Iraqi civilians who were on the receiving end of America's display of reckless unilateral military might. He remains delusional enough to expect a container of roses as just compensation for his 'shock and awe' campaign.
Should Iraqis show gratitude for the sodomy at Abu Ghraib, the wholesale destruction of their infrastructure and the looting of their oil revenues? Should we expect appreciation for the phosphorous bombs that rained down on Fallujah? Is Bush entitled to an Iraqi Medal of Freedom for bringing his own stash of chemical weapons to the conflict?
Are the Iraqis ingrates for refusing to acknowledge the benefits of rules of engagement that license edgy trigger-happy Marines to mow down 'rag heads' and 'hajis'? Should they be more cordial to the American trained death squads operating out of the Interior Ministry? Was the establishment of sectarian security forces just another one of the thousands of mistakes Condi was going on about? Or was it a deliberate plan to get the Iraqis busy killing each other to relieve the pressure of the insurgency?
This war was made possible courtesy of the manufactured intelligence that Joseph Wilson started complaining about three years ago. Every single Bushie - Rummy, Condi, Wolfie, Dougie, Cheney, Libby and Judy - was in on the WMD hoax. Their cute names obscure the fact that they all conspired in a systematic campaign to induce enough mass paranoia to launch an illegal war for reasons that remain state secrets.
Forget about Libby and the Bush leak. The Plame games are no more than a tangential chapter in a tale that every power player in Washington knows by heart. The real story is buried in the files of Douglas Feith and the OSP. It's a simple narrative that has been shrouded in endless clouds of smoke to delay the day of reckoning.
For an entire year, Judith Miller and Arthur Sulzberger managed to distract us from the OSP scandal by posturing as agitators for the freedom of the press. Now, Lewis Libby is in the process of prolonging the agony for yet another year. His trial has been delayed on account of his lawyer's busy schedule. Remember that legal tactic next time you get caught on the wrong side of the law.
We are now caught in another sideshow revolving around the president's veracity and his 'right' to declassify intelligence. That might be an important question - if he had any credibility left to squander.
For three years, the powers that be have diverted our eyes from the prize - the Office of Special Plans. That was the address of the outfit where Douglas Feith concocted virtually all the elements of the WMD hoax - including the yellow cake uranium scam.
Technically, the Pentagon has already launched an internal investigation of Feith's role in coordinating the development, mass production and deployment of weapons of mass deception. Yet, the OSP inquiry remains one of those projects - like the war itself - that Rumsfeld knows how to start but refuses to finish. Likewise, The Senate Intelligence Committee has spent a couple of years obstructing its own investigation into the OSP intelligence hoax.
Even if the general public remains in the dark about Feith's shenanigans, the basic mission of the OSP is an open secret in Washington. You can thank our friends in the mass media for their contribution to this conspiracy of silence. Don't expect Sulzberger or Murdoch to rat out Bush and his neo-con cabal anytime soon. Friends don't let friends launch illegal wars of choice without the full backing of entire brigades of mass media pundits.
Regardless, bit by tiny bit, the unavoidable truth is bubbling to the surface. A healthy curiosity about the Office of Special Plans is the essential acid test for those who are sincere in bringing this quagmire to an end. As the details of the full picture become clear, the Pentagon brass and the CIA will enter a competition to see who can throw more darts at the neo-cons. To save their rear ends and protect their bottom lines - the mass media barons will gradually abandon Bush in favor of retaining a few shreds of credibility.
Maybe some day soon, Colin Powell will show up with his incriminating files. In the midst of a challenging campaign season, the Senate Intelligence Committee might send an emissary to the peace camp to seek a truce. Perhaps, they will offer up Douglas Feith as a token of their sincerity. If we're luck enough, there will be no time for impeachment. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will be forced to resign. We can only hope the mass media titans who contributed so generously to the war effort will also suffer irreparable damage to their monopoly franchise.
So, keep the fires burning at the peace camp. To those stragglers coming in, we'll keep the lights on for you.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com
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