What a bunch of Muppets

While the Bush Junta seem adept at stealing elections and enriching corporations, their incompetence in everything else continues unabated. Take Iraq. Given the brutality of Saddam's rule, it takes a particularly extreme form of stupidity to mess up the post-Saddam period. But the Bush Junta managed it.

The key to their troubles lies in the fact they wanted to reshape Iraq in US interests and, consequently, occupied the country to do so. Had they really been concerned with freeing the Iraqi people they would have organised elections as soon as possible and left immediately. Instead they imposed a neo-liberal economic policy while building permanent military bases to secure a compliant US client state in the heart of the Middle East. Like WMD, tales of Iraqi freedom were to sell the war.

After nearly two years of occupation, the future is grim. A series of new US intelligence assessments on Iraq conclude that there is little likelihood that the Bush Junta's proclaimed goals can be attained in the near future. The national elections on January 30th are predicted to have a destabilising effect, followed by more violence and even civil war. Even in the so-called "War on Terror", Bush's war has been counter-productive. According to the National Intelligence Council, instead of diminishing terrorism occupied Iraq has replaced pre-war Afghanistan as a breeding and training ground for terrorists who may disperse to conduct attacks elsewhere.

Ironically, Bush has provided himself with a self-profiling prophecy. Before invading Iraq, he claimed that Saddam had ties to international terrorism and to al-Qaida. Most counterterrorism experts disputed that claim and no evidence has been found to support it. Now the Junta has created what it claimed the US was intervening to prevent, namely an Iraq/al-Qaida linkage. Islamic militants allied with or inspired by Osama bin Laden are forging ties to Iraqi nationalists and remnants of former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime against the US occupying forces.

All major U.S. intelligence agencies share a pessimistic analysis for Iraq's future, markedly at odds with the Junta's public statements. Indeed, a growing number of senior U.S. military and intelligence officials are saying they worry that the war in Iraq is becoming untenable for the American military. Which means the US has given militant Islam a huge victory and so emboldened terrorism. Unsurprisingly, Bush has given no sign that he plans to change track and has declined to set a timeline for American troops to withdraw (unsurprisingly, given the building of permanent military bases).

Bush has managed to turn Iraq into a hub of terrorist activity. As predicted, the invasion of Iraq has not struck a blow against terrorism. Unsurprisingly, as the war was never about that. It was to create a base to project US power in the region. And now they are turning their eyes to a possible invasion of Iran, using the same rationales which were so dramatically exposed as lies in the case of Iraq. Will the American people accept their children dying in another unnecessary war of choice to ensure the US Empire and the wet dreams of a clique of neo-conservatives?

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