The Rants, Raves, Gripes, and Prophecies of Paul R. Potts
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So, to politics and the "war." It is hard to describe my level of anger these days: every day, the situation becomes more unbelievable. It is very hard to just lapse into utter cynicism. I've been giving more thought to emigration. What the hell has become of this country's leadership? More importantly, what has become of this country's "followership" that we are not rioting?
The president has now claimed "personal responsibility" for everything he said and did. That's great. So when will the trials begin? Impeachment is too good for this crew. An international war crimes tribunal along the lines of the Nuremburg trials is in order. That may seem like an outrageous statement, but let's review:
First, we are not "at war." No one has declared war on us; we have not declared war on anyone. The power to declare a state of war resides in Congress. They have not done so; instead, they gave the president authorization to use force to conduct the "war on terror." Please remember that every time an administration official uses the excuse that "this is a war," or "we are at war," this is inflated rhetoric and not literal truth. The Pearl Harbor attack had a sovereign nation behind it; the September 11th, 2001 attacks had a shadowy, stateless cabal.
Second, we were not at risk from Iraq. Every element of the administration's case that Iraq represented an imminent threat to the security of the United States has been shown to be false or grossly exaggerated. The case the administration made regarding the danger of Weapons of Mass Destruction, far from being just sixteen words in the State of the Union address, was hammered home consistently and repeatedly on many occasions. Make no mistake, this was a big, big lie, not just an exaggeration on an occasion or two. The case for links between Iraq and al-Quaeda was also a lie.
It was on these grounds that that administration led us, not "to war" exactly, but to the violent invasion, occupation, and demolition of a sovereign nation. This is a war crime on a scale virtually without precedent, known in international law as aggression.
Based on these lies, the United States did this to a nation with which we were not at war. We did not just "liberate the Iraqui people." We:
KILLED IRAQUI MILITARY PERSONNEL, in numbers unknown, and which will probably always be unknown, but the number certainly can't be less than 10,000. We used massive ordnance, including cluster bombs, depleted-uranium weaponry, "bunker busters," and fireboms (napalm). The carnage is hard for us pampered, well-fed Americans to fathom. We did it. Us. America the beautiful.
KILLED IRAQUI CIVILIANS, The site Iraq Body Count (here) reports somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 civilians killed, at least 20,000 injured, and a country littered with unexploded cluster bombs and radioactivity.
KILLED AMERICAN SOLDIERS. At least 52 have been killed by hostile fire since the declared "end" to the war; at least 112 have died of all causes, including suicide. At least 827 Americans have been injured; some sources say the number is in the thousands. The official number of combat deaths stands at 166, which is more than the American death toll in the first Gulf War. The total death toll is officially 248, including accidents. And more are dying almost daily. Some are even killing themselves.
KILLED HUSSEIN'S SONS. Rather than capture and put to trial ranking members of Saddam Hussein's administration, we prefer to kill them and exhibit their bodies, after some "facial reconstruction" to make them recognizable, following the use of 200 soldiers, assault helicopters, grenades, 50-caliber machine gun rounds, and ten anti-tank missiles - so much firepower that the house has now been declared structurally unsafe and demolished. (How many of you know that Saddam's grandson, Qusay's 14-year-old son, was also killed?) The weapons that Uday and Qusay and his son and their bodyguard had on hand are less clear, but apparently included at least one AK-47, and depending on the account, possibly pistols and grenades.
INFLAMED THE WORLD.
What did we achieve? What do we expect to achieve? Is this the way to do it? If our case was to end the suffering of the Iraqui people under Saddam Hussein's administration, was this the way to do it? If this was our real agenda, we've done a shockingly poor job of it. If it wasn't our real agenda, what was? Can this really be all about control of oil? If so, we've done a pretty piss-poor job of that, too. Support for Israel?
One thing should be glaringly obvious: a tissue of lies cannot justify this naked aggression. To go to war, declared or not, to invade a sovereign nation and kill its people -- this is pretty much the gravest act a nation can undertake. A decision to do what we have done should never be taken lightly. I believe it is possible for military action to be justifiable, but if ever there was a case in which it was not, this is it.
Liberia has been begging for American intervention. We ignored them for months. A humanitarian disaster zone demanding "regime change," we've said "we're going to let the U.N. handle this one." (Apparently, we've now got a few advisors on the ground). Is this the same U.N. that we declared "irrelevant" because it would not rubber-stamp our rush to invade Iraq?
This appears to me to be the most openly and blatantly corrupt and corporatist administration America has ever seen. We've got Richard Perle, the unelected antichrist, threatening to sue people for telling the truth about his profiteering. We've got Paul Wolfowitz, who has suggested that liberating the Iraqui people was "not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did," but that allowing the U.S. to withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia was a "huge" factor and that WMD was chosen for "bureaucratic" reasons. But does this make any sense? Most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi, and the administration has been hiding intelligence regarding Saudi Arabia's role in 9-11 -- even over Saudi Arabia's strenuous objections.
We've got secret blacklists of American dissidents. We've got fiscal policy that seems to involve playing chicken with bankruptcy. Radio and television stations that run anti-Bush ads are being threatened with revocation of their FCC licensing. Free speech and civil liberties are becoming increasingly things that exist only for the right kind of people.
We've got the most blatant and openly corrupt and criminal administration in American history lying, manipulating, cheating, and profiting. If this is not a case for impeachment, then no such case can ever be made; if it is not a case of criminal wrongdoing, then no act by a government official could ever be criminal. Is this what it has come down to?