Dr. King Would Oppose Bush’s Surge

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Last week President George Bush in an address to the nation said that he was about to send 21,500 more American troops into Iraq. He claims that this will lead to the victory of a mission so far unaccomplished. It won’t. The only thing that this troop increase will bring is more misery, more destruction and more death.

Today, as we all honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, we should all dedicate ourselves to opposing this President’s desire to send more Americans into harms way---with more promised deaths, of Americans and Iraqis. Dr. King, who opposed Lyndon Johnson’s troops “surge” in Vietnam, would have led a March on Washington to oppose Bush’s plan.    

Every day we hear the horror stories about the spiraling violence in Iraq with an estimated 100 deaths per day. And in a recent survey done by researchers at John Hopkins the body count of Iraq civilians killed in this immoral and illegal invasion is estimated at over 600,000 Iraqis. The official figure of the U.S. soldiers who have died stands just over 3,000. But there is evidence that this figure is lower than the true number due to semantic spin—those who later die of wounds aren’t being counted.   

Now, many have touted this Bush surge “plan” as the “new way forward” in Iraq. But anyone who truly believes this is delusional. There can now be no victory in Iraq since its definition remains unstated. America has not only lost the war in Iraq but will also lose the so-called war on terror if the Bush strategy continues.

In the early days after 9-11, a horrified world was very sympathetic with America and quickly rallied support. Thanks to the avaricious arrogance and greed –converting tragedy into no-bid contracts for cronies— of the Bush Administration those days are long gone. The US alienated potential allies by the Administration’s do-it-alone cowboy diplomacy. Even Bush’s favorite ally, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is now being driven from office this summer by his deputy.

The Administration’s willingness to tolerate high civilian death tolls to achieve oil and geo-political aims has dissipated the sympathy most of the world felt for the US after 9/11. One could argue that deaths and destruction in Iraq will invite more terrorism and volunteers.

It all started with the mendacious claim that Iraq somehow represented a “grave” and “immediate” threat to the United States with Condoleezza Rice talking about “mushroom clouds.” In February of 2003, then Secretary of State, Colin Powell said “We know Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction.” That statement didn’t square with what Powell said only two years before, on February 24, 2001 at a press conference in Cairo. At that time Powell said Saddam Hussein “has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass of destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”

So, for all of Powell’s recent protestations he knew all along that the weapons of mass destruction war rationale was false at the time he was selling it to the world at the United Nations. Now Bush is trying to gloss over this increasingly costly, bloody lie.

Clearly, this war was never about fighting terror. It was always a war of convenience for an Administration joined to the hip by oil barons and war profiteers. Make no mistake about it—this war is about making the pockets of a few fatter at the expense of the many.

Now the “decider” has decided to send more troops to Iraq. He argues that “we cannot afford to lose” in an attempt to scare the American public. He has cried the sky is falling too often. The Public, judging by the November votes, is saying be damned Mr. President.

Benjamin is a columnist and member of The Black Star News’s editorial board.

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