Into the Darkness
r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 18 March 2003
An associate of mine, a former political
appointee, recently spoke to a Republican friend of his who serves
in a senior position inwhat has become the Office of Homeland
Security. He reports that this official, along with many of his
colleagues across the political spectrum within the apparatus
of government, are absolutely terrified of George W. Bush. According
to this official, the consensus is that Bush has completely lost
touch with reality, and is bringing us to a place where politics
will no longer matter.
A London newspaper, the Guardian, has
quoted a source close to the administration as saying, "This
has been the worst diplomatic debacle of our lifetime."
A senior White House official is also quoted as saying, in a
voice reportedly awash with sarcasm, "There's a recognition
that this has not been our finest diplomatic hour."
There is no calculating the understatement
here. There was never any diplomacy involved here to begin with.
This has been a disaster, and it is about to get worse by orders
The weapons inspectors, empowered by
UN resolution 1441 to ferret out the weapons everyone is so concerned
about, have packed their bags and fled Iraq. They have been betrayed
by the Bush administration, by Tony Blair and by Spain, as they
worked to protect us from both these weapons and from the dreadful
effects of a war in the Middle East.
The inspections were working weapons
were being dismantled, Hussein was under control, and no mass
destruction materials were found. The fact that the hammer has
come down before these inspectors were even half done with their
work means, simply, that those pushing for war never wanted the
inspections to work in the first place.
Welcome to the timeline.
Very soon now, perhaps within the next
72 hours, the Pentagon's "Shock and Awe" battle plan
will be put into effect. 3,000 munitions, including some 800
cruise missiles, will rain down on Baghdad, a city inhabited
by some 5 million civilians. This will be done in the hope that
the Iraqi army will surrender, thus avoiding the need to send
U.S. troops in to fight a ruinous house-to-house battle.
The Arab news service Al Jazeera, operating
out of Qatar, will capture images of thousands and thousands
of Iraqi civilians sprawled and shattered and bloody in the Baghdad
streets, in a manner quite like the bodies we saw in New York
on September 11. The resulting explosion of rage within the moderate
and extremist Muslim world will be immediate and ferocious.
The terrorism alert status in America
will rise to red. Troops will appear in the streets.
Saddam Hussein will not flee, and his
forces will stand in Baghdad. American troops will be forced
to fight downtown.
The oilheads in Iraq will be fired,
and the pipeheads will be opened.
Israel will be attacked, much to the
dismay of Bush administration officials who have pushed this
war in the erroneous assumption that such action will serve to
protect that nation. Unlike the first Gulf War, this time Israel
will strike back.
American homeland security forces
police, fire fighters and emergency rescue personnel will
watch their radios nervously, waiting for the inevitable call.
They know, better than anyone, that this country is not ready
to defend itself against an attack. Their budgets have been gutted,
the promised funding to augment their preparedness has not come.
They are not ready, but they stand and wait regardless, because
that is what they have pledged to do.
Somewhere in America perhaps in
New York, perhaps in Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston,
Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh, Kansas City,
Detroit, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta, perhaps in all of
them simultaneously there will be an explosion. A group
that cares nothing for the well being of Saddam Hussein will
take responsibility, in the name of those thousands of Iraqi
Muslims slaughtered in the initial aerial bombardment of Baghdad.
The body bags will come out, here at
home and across the sea in Iraq, as Americans begin to die in
Martial law will be declared, habeas
corpus will be suspended, posse comitatus will be left aside,
and the strictures outlined by both Patriot Acts will come to
full bloom. 227 years of constitutional law in America will draw
to a close.
An oil shock will roll across the global
community, ripping through an already precarious economic situation.
Here at home, the financial cost of this war will hurl us further
More explosions will echo across the
streets of America. They could be nuclear or biological or chemical
in nature, because in the effort to overthrow Hussein we have
ignored completely the fact that al Qaeda certainly possesses
the capabilities to attack us with these weapons, having needed
no help whatsoever from Hussein. These explosions could come
from simple fertilizer, as well. Remember that two men with a
sniper rifle and a car held Maryland hostage for a month. It
does not take much, considering the shoddy state of affairs in
the homeland security realm.
In all likelihood, America will score
a decisive military victory. U.S. forces will invest Iraq. The
Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root will begin construction
on any number of permanent military bases. Administration officials
will begin to formulate plans for the removal of other governments
in the Middle East, both friendly and unfriendly, by any means
Civil war will break out in Iraq as
the Shia majority, the Kurdish and Sunni minorities, go for each
other's throats. American constabulary work there will become
The United States of America has concluded
an incredible, perhaps unstoppable, race to the bottom since
January of 2001. The disputed election brought to power a mob
of men Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton
who have been planning this war since at least 1997. The attacks
of September 11, allowed in no small part by purposeful blinders
placed over the eyes of our intelligence services lest they offend
petroleum principalities like Saudi Arabia with their prickly
questions, gave these men the excuse they needed for war.
The Bush administration's reaction to
9/11 placing blame on "evildoers" instead of
starting an honest dialogue, blocking an independent investigation
of the attack for over a year, nominating master secret-keeper
Henry Kissinger to chair that investigative panel in what was
perhaps the most disgusting insult possible to the families of
the lost, ignoring the real terrorist threats in order to focus
on the politically expedient annihilation of Iraq, instituting
the most ham-fisted diplomatic push ever seen in the history
of this nation by utterly ignoring the eleven Security Council
members who said no to this war, disrupting international relations
vital to the pursuit of true terrorist threats, and all the while
underfunding the homeland defenses necessary to protect the American
people has led us to this dismal place.
The destruction of Saddam Hussein will
do nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada, to protect America. It will
place America and her citizens in further peril. We stand alone
and naked today. We will reap the whirlwind.
Take to the streets. Scream until your
throat bleeds. Call whatever congressional leaders you know,
full in the knowledge that you will be contacting a mob of failures,
appeasers and political cowards. Make sure you can look at yourself
in the mirror as this darkness falls. Above all else, do not
succumb to despair.
You owe that much to yourself, your
children and your nation as we fade to black.
WILDNESS WITHIN US