During the past seven years we have been carefully steered away from something so obvious that ignoring it can only be described as criminally deliberate. Those among us who think that the media works in cahoots with the government would be right given the abnormal disinterest in the subject. The matter pertains to the direct effect of America’s ever-evolving purpose in wandering journey through Iraq – searching for WMDs/the overthrowing of a tyrant/introducing Iraqi’s to democracy – take your pick. Our military, our esteemed media, our Congress have all avoided the question. In fact it has rarely, if ever, been posed.
That most obvious of questions is, ‘how many people did we kill in Iraq?’
We were told early on by General Tommy Franks, the former head of U.S. Central Command, that the U.S. army doesn’t “do body counts.” In fact they do but, from lessons learned in Vietnam, we never hear about them.
So how many have died? Some reports suggest 80,000, others 100,000. Data from a British research company, Opinion Research Business (ORB),* puts the number, as of January of this year, at a staggering 1,033,000 give or take.
That near incomprehensible number explains the administration’s reluctance to address it. ORB’s study was based on a detailed and comprehensive household census in Iraq. Few of these casualties consisted of a standing army, most were labeled ‘subversives,’ ‘terrorists,’ or as Bush referred to some of them in 2002, “suiciders.’
In American during our War of Independence the same derogatory terms, or ones like them, were used by the British to describe the patriots who fought them. Whom we refer to as subversives, the Iraqis refer to as patriots, or daddy or mommy or…you get the picture. These people were upset – and rightly so – with the sight of an invading army, which carried with it, and were encouraged by our Government to liberally use, the power of life or death in their ‘democratization’ of Iraq.
The invasion was erroneous for a dozen reasons when it started and it is wrong now; it was ill conceived and a pointless waste of lives (coalition and Iraqi), manpower, materiel and U.S. taxpayer funds. Bush didn’t have the good manners to bill the Iraqis for their ‘freedom.’ While we are wallowing in an economic cesspool into which we stumbled while Bush was concentrating his limited attention elsewhere, Iraq has a budget surplus and are unsure of what to spend it on. We too had a budget surplus prior to Bush’s election.
Our president must take credit for the state of the U.S. economy and its implosion into an as yet to be determined recession or depression. During his watch the foxes got into the hen house and had their way with our feathered-friends. And when they were caught red-handed, Bush took our cash and bailed them out of their self imposed malaise leaving us with the cause and the cost of the as yet-to-be-determined solution.
Single-handedly he took a country with a budget surplus and bankrupted it through spending trillions chasing ghosts in Iraq and on attempting to resuscitate an economic disaster that he could have avoided has he been as eager about domestic issues as he was about his war.
Bush wants, according the International Herald Tribune yesterday, to be remembered as a ‘liberator.’ The aura of self delusion continues to amaze. In San Francisco they want to remember him by naming the sewage processing plant after him. Very apropos, given his pathetic record of bad decision-making. In times of yore the village idiot would have been better remembered.
Although politically incorrect to say so, Bush should be remembered as a mass-murderer and an advocate of torture in his role as commander in chief. This trigger happy Texan needs this to be his lasting legacy otherwise we are as guilty as he. He will be remembered as a hopelessly inept, elected in a time of prosperity. He took a hideous, isolated incident of terrorism on American soil – committed by the son of a family friend no less – and used it as a vehicle to run this fine country, our individual and collective rights, and our well nurtured international reputation into the ground. He became everything we as a country have fought against.
True to form Bush has a trump card; he gets to walk away. He walks away without repercussion, without personal responsibility, without consequence. Why?
Because he has already pardoned himself and his cabinet: in the event of prosecution, certainly as it pertains to the use to torture. It will be interesting, during the next administration, to see just what is revealed as they begin peeling back the layers of what Bush really did during his tenure. Call me old fashioned, I find it amazing that we were willing to impeach a president for a blow-job but allow one guilty of murder and torture to walk free with nary a murmur of impeachment by a Democratic congress.
On a final note, our mainstream commercial media has lost its credibility alongside our president. They have allowed themselves to be used as willing patsy’s by an administration that makes Nixon look like Jesus. By their own admission, they failed to expose, failed to question, failed to examine anything of importance that the president was doing. Worse, by their silence, they have become willing collaborators in deceiving the American public through a long seven years.
Bush and his entourage will be ushered into the annals of history from the White House on January 20, 2009. He will walk smugly away from the smoking wreckage of the U.S. economy, from the stinking corpses of the dead he so refused to acknowledge, both American and Iraqi. He will be stepping over the scattered wreckage of the Republican Party, such is the damage he has done.
Those images should be his legacy.
* ORB January 2008 – Update on Iraqi Casualty Data