President Bush’s plan to launch a war against Iraq is looking more like a snowball rolling down a hill. Once the snowball gets started, it’s almost impossible to stop; and it leaves a trail of destruction in its path even though it begins as an innocent-looking snowflake.
What started as rightly justified outrage and tough-talk against terrorism as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, have grown into a misguided foreign policy and troops build-up against Iraq, a nation that is struggling to feed its citizens and is desperately short of life-saving medical supplies.
The Bush snowball grew larger recently with the call-up of 11,000 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division in Georgia and hundreds of engineers and intelligence specialists from Germany to the Gulf. Also, the Pentagon has ordered units from the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force–which includes the USS Tarawa, USS Duluth, USS Rushmore amphibious vessels and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit–to deploy to the Gulf region. The group of ships carries 4,000 sailors and Marines, as well as the aircraft and landing vehicles they use to mount amphibious attacks.
The Navy has announced that two aircraft carriers will join the carriers already in the Gulf and the Mediterranean. The extra carriers will add 150 strike and support aircraft to U.S. forces. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also has ordered strike jets, heavy bombers and unmanned spy drones from five other wings of the Air Force to prepare to join the build-up in the Gulf. And the 1,000-bed hospital ship Comfort is en route to the region which already has nearly 60,000 U.S. military personnel in it.
The Defense Department hopes to have 100,000 military men and women in the Gulf region by the end of January and 200,000 there by the end of February, according to news accounts.
With all this firepower and military manpower headed to the Gulf and the cost to do it, there is no doubt that in the next few months bombs will be dropping on Baghdad. George W. Bush intends to finish the job his father started in the Gulf War in 1991.
The untold story to all the drama is the growing numbers of protest demonstrations in the United States and around the world denouncing Bush’s plan for war. A glance at the mainstream, corporate-owned media reflects the view of the government, as if there are not voices of outrage and dissent. But the voices must grow louder so the media cannot afford to ignore them.
Even the few nations Bush had on board are expressing concerns. Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, after a three-country tour of the Middle East that included a meeting in Jordan with Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb and King Abdullah, said the countries were concerned about minimizing the “disastrous” economic and political consequences of a U.S.-led war. U.S. bases in Turkey would serve as strategic launching areas. Such a war would produce violent unrest inside both countries.
The Bush administration is offering Jordan an additional aid package worth hundreds of millions of dollars to offset the damage of war, in addition to the approximately $450 million Amman already gets each year. Turkey is also negotiating an aid package from the U.S. to offset the consequences of war.
It’s obvious that the politicians already have been sold on the notion of war. The Democrats were crushed in the recent elections because they could not distinguish themselves from the Republicans. Pressure from the people apparently is the only thing that can cause President Bush to rethink this policy that could begin a war that will have unforeseen consequences, one that will not be like the first Gulf War where U.S. casualties during the fighting were few.
America is drunk on her power. One official recently boasted that the United States could fight Iraq and Kuwait at the same time. That she can. Whether she can win such war is the question.
The people must speak with a resounding voice against this war and spare American and Iraqi lives, as well as call the Bush administration to become an “honest broker” in resolving Middle East conflicts that in many cases she helped to create.