Iraq: The New Way Backwards

-A +A


When historians look back at the Bush Administration, one of the few things they will recall favorably is the administration’s ability to set the parameters for debate.

The Iraq War is perhaps the best example. Whether a legislator voted for or against the invasion of Iraq, you hardly hear anyone speaking to the trail of lies, deception and plausible deniability the Administration used in order to commit us to Iraq.

Instead, Bush has the opposition stuck in the quagmire of having to provide a solution to a problem that he created and for which he has no reasonable solution. Pretty ironic coming for the Administration and party that preached “personal accountability� don’t you think?

The media has been complicit in allowing the president to get away with establishing false baselines for the debate. They ask questions, using the false premise already laid out by the Administration. Through a combination of repetition by Administration officials, the mainstream media and the negligence of Democrats to challenge these false premises, the nation winds up hearing about “the way forward� instead a real and honest debate.

I’m not sure why Democrats have been so reluctant to challenge the false premises that the Administration throws out. When I see the so-called debates on Sunday morning political shows, I am always more struck by what’s not said, than what is said.

Take the whole notion of us fighting for a “free and independent Iraq.� When has a country or civilization ever been granted freedom by another country? Freedom is fought for and won by citizens who are so desperate to get from under the foot of tyranny, that they will sacrifice their own lives for the greater cause. The Revolutionary War and the Civil Rights Movement are examples of how freedom is won, not given.

When Dick Cheney was asked about what would happen if the new Iraqi government decided that it no longer wanted a U.S. presence there, his reply was that the U.S. “couldn’t let that happen.� Does that sound like a democracy to you? This Administration doesn’t even care enough about the citizens of Iraq to be honest about the number of civilians killed since our invasion.

I’m also amazed every time I hear that the Iraqi people and its army have to step up and take responsibility. Hello? We invaded them didn’t we? We weren’t greeted as liberators. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld relied on the words of Ahmed Chalabi, a known criminal as evidence that the Iraqi’s wanted us to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Perhaps, had we not disbanded the Iraqi Army, we would have had a shot at controlling the flow of so-called insurgents. As it stands, much of the violence is perpetrated by Iraqi police and former members of Saddam’s army.   

One of the latest false premises is that if the Congress doesn’t approve the president’s new plan to send more troops, this would take away money from the troops. Stating that money is being taken from “the troops� is another one of the Administration’s marketing ploys. Three years into the war the troops still don’t have armored Humvees. Who is to blame for this?

The Republican led House and Senate never hesitated to use patriotism and loyalty to the troops as a weapon when there was dissent against the war, but somehow they never found time to make sure the troops had the proper protection, were not billed for services rendered to them while being treated for injuries suffered on the battlefield, or that their spouses were being taken care of while they sacrificed for the country.

Perhaps, what’s really needed is an accounting of the more than $400 billion that we have already spent in Iraq. I believe that would separate the patriots from the war profiteers. Lastly, I’m hearing rumbling from folks who support increasing the number of troops in Iraq, like John McCain, about how the terrorist will come here of we don’t win in Iraq. You’ll remember the same song from Bush, “We’re fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.�

This is another catchy slogan that resonated as truth with many people. However, how can that be true when at the same time we admittedly can’t control the flow of illegal immigrants into the country? If they were coming here, they’d be here. Perhaps they already are, but it has nothing to do with whether or not we stay in Iraq. I’d feel a little safer if we were to re-channel some of the money spent in Iraq to protecting the homeland. Three years after the 911 Commission’s recommendations and we are still getting failing grades for our disaster preparedness, prevention and response.

We cannot have a true national discussion about Iraq if we can’t be truthful about what’s going on. Former statesmen and present politicians need to stop abiding by past mores of deference to the sitting president, stop thinking about political repercussions and find the stones to knock down all false premises and speak the truth about the current situation in Iraq. American and Iraqi lives depend on it.

Stephens is a Black Star News contributing columnist.


To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to
“Speaking Truth To Empower.�

Also Check Out...

Lincoln Center and Interfaith
Sounding the Alarm about
Interfaith Leaders Confront World