US casualties (dead and wounded) have now reached 27,000 in a war that was supposed to be a "cakewalk" over in a few weeks. If what four-star general Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO, told Amy Goodman in a March 2 interview is correct, US casualties are yet in their early days.
Gen. Clark told Amy Goodman that shortly after 9/11 he was shown a Pentagon "memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."
That sounds exactly like the plan that neoconservative Norman Podhoretz set out in Commentary magazine.
The media have done a good job for the government of keeping the blood and gore out of the living room. Except for close friends or relatives of one of the 27,000, Americans have not been impacted by the war. They are even less aware of the consequences for Iraqis.
Every day 100 or more Iraqi civilians are killed and 100 or more are maimed and injured. For example on Tuesday, March 6, the US lost 10 GIs killed. Iraqi casualties totaled 535, 152 killed and 383 wounded.
US troops routinely kill Iraqi civilians mistakenly or from frustration, but the heavy daily casualties are the result of the civil war made possible by the US overthrow of the Iraqi government. US troops per se are not responsible for much of the daily toll, but the Bush administration, Congress, and the American people are.
The March 6 toll of 535 casualties is high even for Iraq. Assume 200 casualties each day and the result is 73,000 Iraqi casualties per year. Why does anyone in the Bush administration, Congress, or among the public believe that the US has the right to wreck a country and be responsible for such extraordinary harm inflicted on a civilian population?
How did the "war on terror" become a war on the Iraqi people?
We have heard every answer: intelligence mistakes, incompetence, and evil machination. Whichever answer we take, the killing and destruction continue.
It has recently come to light that the US government has imposed an oil deal on the puppet Iraqi government that turns Iraqi oil over to US and British firms for exploitation. Bush-Cheney have not brought Iraqis democracy, but they have stolen their oil revenues.
The profits of the military-industrial complex are soaring, and higher military budgets are being appropriated. The value of Cheney's Halliburton stock options has not merely doubled or tripled but multiplied by a factor of 32.
The Israel Lobby sees the war as enhancing Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and making possible the completion of Israel's theft of Palestine from Palestinians.
Thus, the three most powerful lobbies in America are the beneficiaries of the devastation of Iraq. The combined power of these lobbies makes it impossible for Congress to respond to the American people and end the war.
American politicians and administrations still cloak their motives in idealistic principles, but it has been a long time since anyone has seen any principled behavior in Washington.
Despite the unrelenting US propaganda against Iran and North Korea, a poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries for the BBC World Service (March 6) found that Israel, Iran, and the US in that order are regarded as the most negative influences on the world. Even North Korea is regarded as a less negative influence than America.
Japan, Canada, the EU, France, China, and India are all regarded as more positive influences on the world than the United States.
The Bush Cheney-Regime has achieved this deplorable result in a mere 6 years.
Yet the Democrats cannot even pass a toothless resolution against committing more US troops in Iraq.
Far from making Americans safe by attacking a country that posed no threat to the US, Bush-Cheney have alarmed the Russians and the Chinese. Russian President Vladimir Putin and General Yury Baluyevsky, Chief of the Russian General Staff, have both warned that the Bush regime's military aggression and drive for hegemony are setting off another arms race. General Baluyevsky says that Russia might pull out of the 20-year-old Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.
China has announced a 17.8 percent increase in its military budget for 2007.
China is America's most important banker. How long will China fund America's wars and trade deficit when it finds itself so threatened by America's "leaders" that it has to accelerate its military spending?
Americans still regard themselves as the salt of the earth. But the rest of the world no longer sees Americans that way. When citizens of other countries turn their eyes toward America, they see evil.
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Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.