Happy Imbeciles At War / Massive U.S. military buildup

Billions of dollars, a useless enemy, and no one seems to know why

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist


This is not a war. Iraq will not be a war. Do we understand this? We do
not seem to understand this. This is heavily corporatized power brokers
killing each other for oil and capital. Oh yes it is.

Let's be perfectly clear. You cannot have a war when the so-called enemy
has done nothing to provoke you and is absolutely no threat to your
national safety and has no significant military force and has negligible
chance of even setting off a firecracker near your own overwhelming death
machines, and whose only weapons of minimal destruction are the rusty
short-range warheads and biochemical agents we sold him 20 years ago, and
kept selling to him, even after we knew he was gassing his own people.

You cannot have a war when there is nothing to fight against, when it's
essentially going to be a huge U.S. military stomping/bombing exercise,
when, just like Afghanistan, we stand to suffer zero U.S. casualties
(except for those we seem to kill ourselves), and we just bomb and bomb
and kill and kill and shrug.

Let us look closer: The U.S. buildup for war with Iraq is the biggest in
decades. The Iraq operation, in the words of Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney,
will be "the most massive precision air campaign in history," because,
well, because we can. Because we want to annihilate everything as fast and
ruthlessly as possible, simply because the longer such an operation takes
and the more expensive and obviously pointless it becomes, the more
everyday citizens snap out of it and begin to say, wait, why are we doing
this again?

Saddam's meager military, let us be reminded, is a tiny quivering fraction
of what it was 10 years ago during Desert Storm, and even then it took
U.S. forces less than four days to almost completely annihilate it.

Now it's even weaker, due to ongoing sanctions and U.N. oversight and a
decade of continuous U.S.-led bombing raids on Iraqi targets you never
read about. Hell, this time we should have those thousands of pesky Iraqi
soldiers and innocent civilians dead and slaughtered in a weekend.

This is a Mack truck versus a Pinto. This is an F-16 versus a paper
airplane, a Tomahawk missile versus a spit wad. There is no contest. "War"
is exactly the wrong term. The U.S. attack on Iraq will be, of course, a
massacre. Go team.

Now let's say you sense this all to be true. Let's say you have a queasy
feeling deep in your gut as you realize no one is talking about exactly
why we need to launch a second simultaneous war to go along with the
unwinnable assault we're still running in Afghanistan.

Remember Afghanistan? Yes, we're still there, warring away. Bombing and
attacking and killing. Haven't caught a single al Qaeda leader of note
yet. That looks bad for Dubya. Killed a few thousand civilians though.

So, let's boil it down: Why go to war with Iraq? Can't find Osama, is one
reason. That looks bad. Really, really want to steal all that delicious
oil for ShrubCo, is another. Saddam is clearly a very bad guy who kills
his own people and snickers in America's general direction, is a third.
But then again, so are at least a half-dozen other vile tyrants of the
world. Volatile, nuke-ready North Korea? Let's open some talks. Feeble,
oil-ready Iraq? Let's massacre. Hmm.

Perhaps you wonder why no one is asking any of these questions, making
similar points.

Perhaps you wonder just where in the hell is the spineless major media in
all this, as they watch the chicken-hawk Shrubster himself, between golf
swings, announce how tens of thousands of American troops are being sent
to the Gulf alongside an enormous billion-dollar military buildup and
imminent gobs of heaping death raining down upon a paltry oppressed nation
and coming up next on CNN, we interview that dumb guy from "Joe
Millionaire." Perfect.

Perhaps you wonder where is the national TV coverage of all those huge
anti-war protests, hundreds of thousands of people, all over the world,
from Spain to Berlin to New York to San Francisco.

Perhaps you wonder where are all the "serious" journalists, the
risk-taking news agencies pointing up the absurdity of it all, the
imminent horror, the outrage. Could it be these news agencies are owned by
major conservative corporations? Could it be they're all terrified of
losing ratings, of saying something unpopular, of invoking Cheney's wrath,
of losing advertiser dollars and that ever-precious, ever-dwindling
dumbed-down audience? One guess.

And besides, who needs a reason for a massacre anymore? This is the age of
the preemptive-strike, screw-you Bush regime. Who needs, for example, the
Monroe Doctrine, that crusty old rag stating how America will go to war
only as a last resort, as a defensive measure, and won't become embroiled
in unwinnable foreign wars that are none of our business?

Who needs every precedent ever set by international law? Who needs the
U.N. Charter? Who needs confused congressional approval? Who needs ethical

Screw it all, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his black eyes
gleaming like the devil's own golf balls. Let us become an ever-more-hated
rogue nation, attack whomever we want, whenever we want, with no
international support and much international disgust. Let us squander,
childishly, within months, the generous and compassionate goodwill
afforded our country by our international allies in the wake of 9/11.

Let us wantonly kill innocent civilians and children and thousands of
Iraqi soldiers who, let us repeat, did nothing to provoke us. Shall we?
Yes let's. Why? Shhh.

Let us be clear. Saddam is not a threat to the U.S., and never has been.
He is merely yet another cowardly and murderous thug, much like the
countless other despots and autocrats, from Marcos to King Fahd to Ariel
Sharon, the U.S. has added to its payroll when it served our needs, and
whom we then backhand when we need economic stimulus, or when the
president needs a boost to his approval ratings, or when the corporate
pals of the Bush WASP mafia need more billion-dollar petrochemical and
defense contracts. Aha. Perhaps this is why.

We are, in short, going to attack and massacre Iraq for the oil reserves,
to protect America's corporate interests, to feed the gaping maw of the
military-industrial complex. Same as it ever was.

But let us be perfectly clear: We are most definitely not cranking up the
appalling war machine for your sake, or for the country's protection, or
for our commendable standing among our humanitarian allies.

We are not doing it to defeat terrorism (it will have the exact opposite
effect), or to make the streets safer for our children, or because they've
found big scary WMDs (they haven't -- not a one) -- or even for Iraq's own
good. And to believe we are is, quite simply, to be wholly misinformed and
openly, flagrantly, deliberately deceived.

Do we understand this?

We must, we absolutely must, try and understand this.

Thoughts for the author? E-mail him: mmorford@sfgate.com

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Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on
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Friday, January 10, 2003 (SF Gate)
Copyright 2003 SF Gate


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