At his press conference yesterday he gave no indication that he'll do anything but stay the course — not just on the question of whether to pull out immediately (there is a split among Americans on that) but on the question of whether there need to be major, substantive changes to existing war policy to speed up a desired victory and pullout.Like an old west movie the administrations only strategy has been to charge in with guns blazing and then wing it. Today Eric Margolis gives us a rundown on the results of this policy from a B western.
Defeat I: Five years after Bush ordered Afghanistan invaded and proclaimed "total victory" there, US and allied forces are struggling to defend their bases and supply lines against rising attacks from a growing number of Afghan resistance groups. The war costs $1.5 billion monthly. US-ruled Afghan now produces over 80% of the world’s heroin. The US just quietly deployed thousands more troops to Afghanistan to hunt al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in a desperate attempt to save Republicans from heavy losses in November mid-term elections.That's right, the "war president" is 0 for 4. If he had been a real gunfighter he would have been planted on boot hill years ago. Instead thousands of others are dead.
Defeat II: Remember "Mission accomplished!" in Iraq? President Bush’s war in Iraq is clearly lost, but few dare admit it. The US has spent $300 billion on Afghanistan and Iraq, with nothing to show there but chaos, civil war, body bags, and growing Iranian influence in Iraq and western Afghanistan. The Bush/Cheney "liberation" of Iraq has now cost more than the Vietnam War. So much for the "cakewalk." Iraq is likely the biggest American foreign policy disaster in living memory – even worse, in many ways, than Vietnam.
Defeat III: Off in the strategic Horn of Africa, another dangerous fiasco is unfolding. The White House had CIA and Pentagon spend tens of millions bribing Somali warlords to fight Islamist reformers trying to bring law and order to their strife-ravaged nation. The Islamists whipped CIA-backed warlords and ran them out of Somalia. Following this defeat, the US has encouraged and financed ally Ethiopia – shades of Lebanon – to invade Somalia, thus raising the threat of a wider war between Somalia, Ethiopia, and its old foe, Eritrea. Meanwhile, growing numbers of US Special Forces and CIA teams are getting drawn into obscure tribal mêlées in the Horn of Africa and the Saharan regions.
Defeat IV: Lebanon is, of course, the fourth major American military disaster. Bush and Cheney encouraged Israel to launch the hugely destructive but militarily fruitless war in Lebanon as the first part of their long-nurtured plan to militarily crush Hezbullah, Syria and Iran. The Bush Administration brazenly thwarted world efforts to halt the conflict while giving Israel the green light to tear apart Lebanon. Now, just over a month later, Bush announces he will send $230 million to "help rebuild" Lebanon – the same Lebanon blasted apart by US smart bombs rushed by air to Israel.
While there may be some question as to who won the war in Lebanon there is no doubt about who lost.
America was the big loser in the Lebanon war. From Morocco to Indonesia, each night 1.5 billion Muslims watched the carnage in Lebanon on TV and blamed America. Even the poorest shepherd in Uzbekistan heard the US was airlifting the precision bombs and deadly cluster munitions to Israel used against Lebanese civilians.Is Iran still on the table for number 5?
Any hope of damping down the Islamic World’s surging hatred of the US, Britain, Australia and Israel (now add Canada) was killed in Lebanon. Even the interestingly-timed airport hysteria in London over alleged bomb plots failed to divert attention from the latest US-British Mideast policy disaster.
Yet the White House still keeps listening to absurd military advice from the same neoconservatives thirsting for conquest, oil and Muslim blood. Undaunted even by the fiasco in Lebanon, the Bush/Cheney White House is now heading into a full-blown crisis with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.
Call this the "guns of August." All the pieces are still in place for a bigger war. Israel will keep violating the Lebanon cease-fire and attempting to assassinate its new nemesis, Hezbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Bush’s pre-November surprise remains to be unveiled. Iran is gearing up for war. Even Hezbullah may still have a few tricks up its sleeve.
The self-declared "war president" could yet have a few more defeats in store for the nation.