Bush's Messy War is Courting Total Disaster
- Ya know, we all talk bad about Bush but after reading an article like
this it seems that Bush just may be his Aryan world's own worst enemy.
Poetic Justice? We'll see.
Bush's Messy War is Courting Total Disaster
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Report
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002
At the same time Americans were celebrating what is left of their
freedoms on the Fourth of July,
civilians in the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan were burying women and
children massacred by U.S. forces during a wedding ceremony. According
to reports, 48 civilians were killed and 100 more were wounded when Air
Force attack aircraft swooped down and strafed the wedding with bombs
and cannon fire.
The simple fact is bad enough. This disaster is no secret in Afghanistan
and the rest of the Muslim
world. The deaths of these innocents has undoubtedly birthed new
would-be terrorists who will someday seek to die for the privilege of
seeing Americans die. Our bombs and bullets have done marvelous
recruiting work for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
A preliminary United Nations report on its investigation of that attack
is said to have found evidence of an attempted coverup by American
forces of the attack. Shrapnel, bullets and bloodstains were removed
from the scene. Civilian women at the site are reported to have been
bound at the hands by our forces while the evidence was removed and
destroyed. The massacre of civilians was horrific. The fact that we
tried to cover it up is monstrous.
So it goes with Mr. Bush's war on terrorism. The fight in Afghanistan is
far from over, as evidenced by recent attacks upon our troops in the
Khost region. Several major media outlets reported some days ago that
some of our troops were in fact killed, a claim the Pentagon vehemently
denied. The UN report of American efforts to cover up the facts of the
wedding massacre make such denials difficult to believe.
While American troops and Afghan civilians continue to bleed, Bush is
shopping around for a new
battlefront. Momentum is building across our national political
landscape for a war with Iraq. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee
will hold hearings beginning Wednesday, July 31st, to explore the threat
to America represented by Saddam Hussein. It is unlikely that any
politician will stand up and ask the central questions - Where is the
evidence that Hussein poses a threat? If he has weapons of mass
destruction and we know it, why didn't we go to war against him months
ago? Thanks to this cowardice, the Committee hearings will be little
more than a rubber stamp for conflict. It seems all too likely that our
forces will soon be engaged in Iraq.
The fallout from this conflict will be enormous. American troops will
die, unless we engage in antiseptic aerial bombardment that will utterly
fail to dislodge Hussein or his purported weapons. Tens of thousands of
Iraqi civilians will die no matter how we decide to wage the war. If
America decides, in pure Bush unilateralist action, to wage war without
the blessings of the international community or a United Nations
mandate, our prestige on the world stage will be annihilated.
Worse, war in Iraq will drive the Middle East into a state of utter
chaos. Reports from the British Foreign Affairs office paint a picture
of a teetering Saudi Arabia on the brink of collapse. Infighting between
the ruling Prince Abdullah and pro-Al Qaeda members of his royal family,
fueled by Abdullah's pro-Western stance, has led observers to wonder how
long this American ally within the House of Saud can stay on the throne.
Popular uprisings against Abdullah have added fuel to this fire.
An American attack upon Iraq could very easily be the spark that ignites
a terrible conflagration. If Prince Abdullah falls to an uprising
exacerbated by our conflict in the region, the Saudi oil fields will
come under the control of fanatics loyal to Al Qaeda's cause. This is
precisely what Osama bin Laden wanted - the oil. Were this to happen, it
is certain that Bush would commit our forces to defeating the
insurgents. American war in the land of Mecca and Medina would
precipitate a global crisis that would make the events of September 11th
seem tame by comparison.
With the fight in Afghanistan still unfinished, with no evidence on the
table to make the case that
Saddam Hussein poses a threat to America, and with the terrifying
implications of chaos in the Mideast if we do go to war there, why on
earth would Bush and his people want to push towards battle?
In all likelihood, the answer lies within the geometry of the voting
booth and the American marketplace. The Congressional midterm elections
will be taking place in 99 days. Instability in the stock market,
combined with reports of massive corporate fraud and mounting evidence
that Bush and Cheney behaved like Lay and Fastow, augmented by a war on
terror that does not seem to be getting anything done, has stripped the
GOP of anything to run on in their respective races. By most reports,
Republicans are facing an electoral wipeout to rival the Gingrich
Revolution of 1994. A splendid little war, combined with the inevitable
demands for patriotism, would serve to create Bush coattails where none
Beyond that lies a motivation that is chilling in its inception. Larry
Kudlow, a market analyst for CNBC, put forth the proposition in a column
published on July 28th that war in Iraq is necessary to save the stock
market. The article is entitled, 'Taking Back the Market - By Force.'
"The shock therapy of decisive war," opined Kudlow, "will elevate the
stock market by a couple thousand points. We will know that our
businesses will stay open, that our families will be safe and that our
future will be unlimited. The world will be righted in this
life-and-death struggle to preserve our values and our civilization."
If thinking such as this is mirrored within the Bush administration, and
all indicators point to the sad fact that this is indeed the case, there
will be little left of our civilization. The world will burn, the
markets will crumble, and many more innocents will die. This war,
already a mess on so many levels, flirts with Armageddon.
© : t r u t h o u t 2002
Profound Effect on U.S. Economy Seen in a War on Iraq
By Patrick E. Tyler and Richard W. Stevenson
New York Times | International
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002
WASHINGTON, July 29 -- An American attack on Iraq could profoundly
affect the American economy, because the United States would have to pay
most of the cost and bear the brunt of any oil price shock or other
market disruptions, government officials, diplomats and economists say.
Eleven years ago, the Persian Gulf war, fought to roll back Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait, cost the United
States and its allies $60 billion and helped set off an economic
recession caused in part by a spike in oil prices.
For that war, the allies picked up almost 80 percent of the bill. Today,
however, as the Bush
administration works on plans to overthrow Saddam Hussein, the United
States is confronting the
likelihood that this time around it would have to pick up the tab
largely by itself, diplomats said.
Unless the economic outlook brightens, the government could well find
itself spending heavily on the
military even as the economy recovers falteringly from last year's
Senior administration officials said Mr. Bush and his top advisers had
not begun to consider the cost of a war because they had yet to decide
what kind of military operation might be necessary. Whatever choice is
made, experts say, the costs are likely to be significant and therefore
may ultimately influence the size, scale and tactics of any military
Already, the federal budget deficit is expanding, meaning that the bill
for a war would lead either to more red ink or to cutbacks in domestic
If consumer and investor confidence remains fragile, military action
could have substantial psychological effects on the financial markets,
retail spending, business investment, travel and other key elements of
the economy, officials and experts said.
If oil supplies are disrupted, as they were during the 1991 gulf war,
and prices rise sharply, the economic effects would be felt in the
United States and around the world.
All of that could present a complicated political problem for President
Bush, both in the Congressional mid-term elections in November and as he
manages a war and looks ahead to his re-election campaign in 2004.
"I think a good case can be made that voters will want to understand the
case for a war or any kind of extended military action better than they
do now because the economic considerations are
considerable," said Kim N. Wallace, a political analyst for Lehman
Brothers in Washington.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Japan divided the cost of the 1991 war with the
United States, but today none has offered to assist with financing a new
military campaign. In fact, each has signaled that it is not eager to be
asked, diplomats say.
"Just open a map," said a member of the Kuwaiti royal family in close
consultation with Washington.
"Afghanistan is in turmoil, the Middle East is in flames, and you want
to open a third front in the region?"
"That would truly turn into a war of civilizations," he added.
If Mr. Bush decides on a large-scale invasion plan for Iraq involving as
many as 250,000 troops, as some commanders advocate, the country would
face a significant military mobilization and call-up of reserves as
early as this fall to be ready for a military campaign early next year.
James R. Schlesinger, a member of the Defense Policy Board that advises
the Pentagon who held
senior cabinet posts in Republican and Democratic administrations, said
he believed that the president would opt for a significant ground
presence in Iraq. He said he did not think that fear of economic
instability by itself would cause the United States to refrain from
trying to unseat the Iraqi leader.
"My view is that given all we have said as a leading world power about
the necessity of regime change in Iraq," Mr. Schlesinger said, "means
that our credibility would be badly damaged if that regime change did
not take place."
The Persian Gulf war cost $61.1 billion, according to the Congressional
Research Service, of which
$48.4 billion was paid by other nations.
The House Budget Committee's Democratic staff said that in 2002 dollars,
the cost of the war was $79.9 billion, providing a very rough benchmark
for what a conflict of similar dimensions might cost today.
Representative John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, the senior Democrat
on the House Budget
Committee and a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the United
States would come up with whatever money was necessary. But he said
planning for a war now would have to recognize the nation's
deteriorating fiscal condition and the need to address other priorities.
"While it's not beyond our means, we can't have it all," Mr. Spratt
said. "Since there is no surplus in the budget from which the cost could
be paid, there will be trade-offs, making initiatives like Medicare drug
coverage harder to do, and there almost certainly will be deeper
deficits and more debt."
James A. Placke, a former senior diplomat specializing in the Persian
Gulf and now a senior associate of Cambridge Energy Research Associates,
said the market reaction to any invasion of Iraq was at best uncertain.
"Given the marked lack of enthusiasm for this venture, I wouldn't think
the market reaction would be very good," he said.
"When weapons start going off in the Middle East, markets generally go
down, gold prices go up, and oil prices shoot to the moon," he added,
"and I expect that this is the short-run pattern that we can reasonably
The United States is best prepared among the Western powers to withstand
fluctuations in oil markets through drawdowns from its Strategic
Petroleum Reserve, which today holds about 580 million barrels of oil.
But Richard N. Cooper, a Harvard economist who headed the Central
Intelligence Agency's top analytical body during the 1990's, cautioned
that "psychological factors come into play" even in the face of prudent
He pointed out that after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990,
oil prices climbed rapidly from a low of $15 a barrel and peaked at $40
in October 1990, although it was well known that the United States would
release oil from the strategic reserve. Prices remained high for more
than a year in what many experts saw as a tax on worldwide consumers
that allowed Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to pay down the American and allied
bill for the war.
"I am firmly of the school that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
precipitated the American recession in 1991," Professor Cooper said,
adding that while he generally praised the first President Bush's
handling of the war, "the one area of fault was that they dallied on
their commitment to release oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum
Last Nov. 13, a month after the United States began bombing Afghanistan
to dislodge the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the president's advisers debated
whether Iraq should be the focus of phase two of the campaign against
terrorism. Mr. Bush directed Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to add
more than 100 million barrels to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Since Jan. 1, oil shipments into the reserve have reached record levels,
about 150,000 barrels a day.
One oil strategist in London noted that United States government
acquisitions for the reserve were
accounting for more than half of the growth in demand for oil this year.
With a capacity of 700 million barrels, the reserve could be used to
disperse 4.2 million barrels of oil a day to jittery markets -- more
than enough to make up for the 1 million barrels a day of Iraqi crude
lost because of military operations.
"What I am hearing from Washington," said Adam Sieminski, an oil markets
analyst for Deutsche Bank in London, "is that serious consideration is
being given to a coordinated Strategic Petroleum Reserve drawdown by the
United States, Germany and Japan if military action takes place because
this Bush does not want to make the mistake his father did."
Still, the fear is that Mr. Hussein, who set afire oil fields in Kuwait
a decade ago, might strike out with chemical, biological or radiological
weapons at Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer with
the largest capacity to expand its oil production to stabilize oil
"Everybody's nightmare is Saudi Arabia," said an Energy Department oil
analyst. "People are deathly
afraid of any military campaign spreading to Saudi Arabia." That country
contains one half of the spare production capacity in the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries.