Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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The Bush administration has used a ploy to whip citizens into line on the war on Iraq that held about two-thirds of the nation in a pants-wetting fear until this year. Now tw0-thirds of the people know that claims that got us into the war were false. They understand the political coercion that voted Bush back into office and the waste of the lives of our troops in a battle that can't be won by military force.
As the administration turned on its propaganda machine, about one-fourth of the people who were paying attention knew that the claims of weapons of mass destruction and links of Iraq to Al Qaida were suspicious at best. Information coming from the weapons inspectors, the foreign press, and scholarly observers of the Middle East kept pointing out the flimsy and sometimes patently bogus evidence. But the nation was gripped by the fears of 9/11 and chose to believe the president and his hacks and follow the president's lead in calling anyone who had doubts about the war traitorous, unpatriotic, and insulting to our troops.
A plethora of books and news articles chronicled the fact that Bush and his Oval Office cronies were dead set on going to war and they would deceive, contrive, and issue false information to realize their objective. Even after cabinet members and high officials were deposed for objecting to and revealing White House tactics, a majority of Americans joined in denouncing them as unpatriotic and disloyal to George Bush. The home of the free and land of the brave turned into cowering throng that showed courage only when they peeked out from behind the president to shout their insult and abuse at critics of the war and the president.
The neo-conservative minions taught us one big lesson: thought control and rule-by-thought-police can happen it America. Because it did.
Now as the pogrom of deceit, dishonesty, and intimidation unravels and two-thirds of the people can no longer believe or trust what the White House told them, the military is making its doubts heard.
Six generals have called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The big question is if these men saw bad policy and unadvisable military action implemented, where were they during the discussion and planning of the war? The answer is easy. Generals get promoted by doing what they are told better than their peers. Questioning authority or asking for an accounting of battle plans is not something you do if you want to be a general officer. The path to military success is to suck, suck, suck.
The picture of Gen. Colin Powell in the role of Secretary of State getting up in front of the U.N. and using The White House lie about trailers being used to manufacture biological weapons to get us into the war stuck in the minds of all who have been in the military. When Powell stepped down and his former chief of staff, another career military man, said it was the worst day of his life, we got a picture of an honorable and competent soldier being used by the Bush Adminstration for devious and dishonorable purposes.
The denunciation of Donald Rumsfeld by the six generals is in fact a lining up behind Colin Powell. They did not question the war on Iraq in more strident terms because they feared for their jobs. They were used and abused, and now they voice their misgivings and their resentment that their advice was not requested or heeded. It is one hell of a way to plan a battle.
But there is more behind this moral defection. The worst thing a commander can do in the field is send his troops into a slaughter that has no ground to gain and no advantage to be had. While we celebrate the efficiency and honor of our troops, we hide behind those stupid ribbon decals on our automobiles rather than admit the fact that the lives of our troops in Iraq, like the lives of our troops in Viet Nam, are being wasted.
One of the generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation put it best when he said that wars should not be planned and run by those who do not have to deal with the results.
The generals have 2,500 lives and 10,000 maimed young people to account for. But so does the two-thirds of America that denounced valid critics of the war as traitorous and unpatriotic.
It happened in America.