Dave Trenga #75

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    What happens when a nation ignores the U.N.? What happens when a nation refuses to honor international treaties? What happens when a nation stockpiles weapons of mass destruction? That depends on what nation it is. If it’s the United States of America then the nation starts an illegal, immoral and unjust war against a sovereign nation that just happens to have the second largest oil supply in the world. The Bush regime is guilty of everything that they accuse Saddam Hussein’s regime of. Every bit of rhetoric that Bush uses to try and convince us that Saddam Hussein is evil can be used to also describe his own administration and this country.
    I have yet to see anyone in this country who is against the war defend Saddam Hussein. We know Saddam Hussein is a tyrant, that is not the point. The point is that the U.N. weapons inspections were working. The point is that Iraq was being disarmed without the loss of life. The point is that Iraq poses absolutely no threat to this country no matter how much falsified evidence Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the U.N. that suggests otherwise. There is no link between Al Quida and Saddam Hussein. The point is that the American government cannot be trusted to bring democracy to the Iraqi people.
    For those people who believe that our country has gone to war to bring democracy to the people of Iraq just take a look at the American governments aversion to democracies in the last fifty years or so. The American government backed a military coup in 1949 to depose the elected government of Syria. The American government overthrew the freely elected, democratic government of Guatemala and blocked free elections in Vietnam in the 1950s. The American government undermined democracy in the Congo and Brazil in the 1960s. The American government backed a coup by the Ba’ath party (Saddam Hussein’s party) in 1963. The American government helped to overthrow democracy in Chile in the 1970s. The American government supported the brutal authoritarian rule of Suharto and Indonesia’s brutal policy at oppressing the people of East Timor in the 1990s. These are just a few instances..
    How far have things gone when empty rhetoric seems to triumph over reality time and time again? How has the American public gone from being largely against a unilateral war to strongly supporting it? Why do people feel the need to support an illegal war for the sake of showing American soldiers their support? I can’t, in good conscience, bring myself to supporting American troops in a war of aggression. I support bringing them home safe, alive and without becoming murderers in the process. Just like I support the Iraqi people and their right to exist. Are we as Americans under obligation to support American soldiers regardless of what they’re doing in another country? To say, “well they’re just doing their jobs, and ‘defending our country’” so I support them even though they’re killing innocent people. Was it morally justified for German citizens to ‘support the troops’ during World War 2?
    The way the Bush regime has been conducting themselves domestically and internationally has been the epitome of American arrogance. Bush has pulled out of important international treaties such as ABM, Kyoto, refused to participate in the international court and ignored the will of the U.N. Not to mention that we have the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the entire world. So where does this country get the moral authority to judge, condemn and police countries such as Iraq and North Korea? It makes me sick to see George W. Bush playing the concerned defender of freedom and the oppressed. Heartbroken for the poor Kurds that Saddam Hussein gassed to death. As much as I agree that this was indeed a tragedy the part that enrages me most, the part that our government and the American media seem to conveniently leave out every time, is that when Saddam Hussein gassed these poor people to death, in 1988, he was our ally. He had the backing of Washington. The American government not only supplied Saddam Hussein with the means to carry out this atrocity,  they initially tried to cover it up and when that didn’t work they tried to blame it on the Iranians (who we were also secretly arming). But I somehow don’t think that George W. Bush’s father George sr. is going to get caught up in the war against terrorism net for helping to arm Iraq’s ruthless dictator. I don’t think that Ronald Reagan is going to be prosecuted for aiding terrorists. Or that Donald Rumsfeld (who profited more than anyone else by arming Saddam Hussein) is going to have his finances examined or his funds seized. All of these dangerous weapons that Iraq may or may not still possess came from first world nations, mostly the U.S. I’ve been hearing reports now about how Iraqi troops have been fighting American and British troops with some Russian, French and German technology. Someone recently asked me if I thought that this was the reason why those nations were unwilling to back the Bush regime. I feel very confident in saying that had Russia, France and Germany gone to war these stories would somehow fail to reach us. Just like we won’t be hearing any stories about how American and British soldiers are being killed by weapons that people like George Bush sr. (like father like son, Prescott Bush made his family’s fortune by selling arms to the Nazis during World War 2) and Vice president Dick Cheney (then sec. of state) profited from by putting in the hands of Saddam Hussein. Or how every one of us paid to arm Saddam Hussein with the weapons that are now being used against our own troops. We have no say whatsoever about our governments arming of ruthless dictators, just like we apparently have no say whether we go to war. And people naively believe that we’re still living in a democracy. The Bush regime has ignored the will of the American people and the rest of the world and taken us to war. And instead of people being outraged and trying to remove this regime people are lining up behind it. Are people so easily manipulated that they’ve been convinced by the dumbest leader in American history that this war is really in our best interests? That this is a war to protect us from evil? That this is a war to free the Iraqi people? And if people really believe that this is a just war and a righteous struggle then why do the supporters of this war have such an extreme stand against anyone who doesn’t support this war? Is there some underlying guilt in their hearts? You would think that if they really believed that this was such a just cause then they wouldn’t be so threatened by a differing opinion. That they’d feel secure enough in their own beliefs that they’d be able to tolerate someone else’s. It seems like Americans would prefer to remain ignorant, turn a blind eye to what’s really happening rather than face what this country’s become. This country is now viewed by the majority of the world, including our long-standing allies, as the biggest threat to world peace and world stability. Which as the Bush regime has now proved, it is. America is looked at as an absolute tyrant, the world’s sole superpower and the most oppressive regime in the world. A nation driven by money, greed, and the arrogant attitude that we’re above all others. That we can do whatever we want in this world and as long as we flex our muscles no one will confront us.
    But what is going to be the cost of our actions? World sympathy, for the most part, was with America after 9-11 but the way the Bush regime has exploited that tragedy and alienated the rest of the world has left us with practically no allies. The “coalition of the willing” is more like the coalition of the coerced and bribed according to many analysts. As time goes on and we’ll continue to find ourselves more and more isolated by our actions. Unable to count on support or help from anyone when and if we’re attacked again. Anti-American sentiment is spinning out of control, the number of people willing to lay down their lives to kill Americans by any means necessary grows with every oppressive move this country makes. How can a country, even with our military superiority, filled with the most selfish, self-indulgent people on the face of the earth win against people who are willing to make that ultimate sacrifice? We can’t and we won’t. I believe that the Bush regime will win the war in Iraq, but occupying the country long term to bleed the oil wells dry will be a much more difficult task. With our list of enemies growing how can this country commit huge numbers of troops to occupy a country when the chance are that the Bush regime will soon be at war elsewhere? North Korea, Iran or Syria most likely. This whole issue of countries developing weapons of mass destruction will also continue as long as the country with the most weapons of mass destruction leads by the example that might makes right. Countries like North Korea will continue to pursue nuclear weapons as a deterrent to keep American imperialism at bay. And can you blame them? This country has chosen to use it’s military might not to preserve peace in the world but to act as aggressors.
    For those people who believe that this invasion in Iraq is something that was spawned by the war on terror consider this. Were you aware that the PNAC (Project for the New American Century) which was founded in 1997 and included supporters such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz sent open letters to then president Bill Clinton and GOP congressional leaders. In these letters the group called for “the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime of power” and a shift toward a more assertive U.S. policy in the Middle East, including the use of force if necessary to unseat Saddam Hussein. And in a report before the 2000 election, the group predicted that the shift would come about slowly, unless there was “some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor.” Well needless to say after 9-11 the group and the Bush regime had their “new Pearl Harbor” and would use it to fuel public support for invading Iraq. Of the 18 people who signed the letter, 10 are now in the Bush regime as well as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. The morning after 9-11, before it was even clear who was behind the attacks, Donald Rumsfeld insisted at a cabinet meeting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq should be “a principle target of the first round of terrorism,” according to Bush at war by Bob Woodward.
    For those people who don’t think that this war is about oil consider this: Houston based oil company Halliburton, less than a week into the war, received a $4 billion contract with the Bush regime to not only put out the fires in the oil wells but to also rebuild the oil refineries that have been run down by over a decades worth of sanctions. Halliburton did not win this huge contract by underbidding other companies, no other companies were considered for this deal or even able to submit bids. So why did Halliburton receive such preferential treatment? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton’s CEO from 1995 to 2000. Now where would anyone possibly get the idea that oil has anything to do with the drive for invading Iraq? We’ve been told that this war is a continuation of the war on terror, a war to liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s oppressive regime. Just like we liberated the lucky people of Afghanistan from the oppressive tyranny of the Taliban. Right? If this was the case then one could assume that the people of Afghanistan were better off now then they were before we invaded them. But the Post-Taliban Afghanistan is basically the same nation as it was before our incursion except without the law and order. Thugs and rapists roam the streets unchecked, stonings still continue and women remain under burqas.  Not to mention that the Bush regime had promised to rebuild Afghanistan but so far not a single house or building has been rebuilt with U.S. assistance. 650,000 Kabuli refugees urged by the U.S. to return to Afghanistan are now homeless. The one thing that the Bush regime has accomplished in Afghanistan is the one thing that they promised they had no interest in and would never do. The $3.2 billion Trans-Afghanistan pipeline to carry gas and oil from landlocked Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Indian Ocean oil tankers is being built according to Ted Rall (author of Gas War: The Truth Behind the Occupation of Afghanistan). I’m sure the people of Afghanistan are very grateful to the Bush regime for their noble, selfless commitment to bettering their lives and bringing democracy to their nation.
    Iraq is just the next nation in line to conquer in order for the Bush regime to achieve their special interests they are after. And in order for them to do this they needed to convince the American public that these wars were in our nations best interest.
    Why is it that after 9-11 when anthrax letters started popping up all over the place that we immediately would always hear the reference to Iraq as the likely suspect? A couple of reasons, first: the Bush regime was desperately trying to find a link to terrorism and Iraq that would justify an invasion. Second, they know that Iraq has anthrax labs. How do they know this? Because America not only built them the labs but also trained them how to manufacture anthrax. And while I’m on the subject does anyone else find it interesting that somehow Tom Daschle, a Democratic Party leader and now an outspoken critic of the Bush regime’s war, received an anthrax letter but no one in the Bush regime did?
    Also why is it that these letters were all we heard about for weeks until they actually figured that the majority of letters, over 300, were not sent by international terrorists or Iraq. They were sent by Clayton Waagner, member of the anti-abortion terrorist (though our government refers to them as extremists not terrorists) network called the Army of God. Thankfully these were all hoaxes and not really anthrax that he mailed out to Planned Parenthood offices and women’s health care clinics while he was a fugitive from the FBI. Why did the story suddenly lose headlines and media coverage once it was discovered that Clayton Waagner was the culprit? Because it was more beneficial to the Bush regime if the American public still believes that Iraq and terrorists, let me rephrase that international terrorists who don’t share the same anti-choice views as Bush and attorney general John Ashcroft, were responsible for trying to spread a deadly disease in this country. Just like it’s been beneficial for them to convince the American public that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11, which 50% of Americans apparently now believe.
    Americans seem to fear terrorist attacks more than anything else even though the chances of one of us being killed in a terrorist attack have been so extremely obscure. But will that change now? Has the Bush regime been greatly increasing those chances with their actions? It’s ironic that the best reason many feel is why we should invade Iraq was probably the best reason why we shouldn’t have why we should’ve pursued diplomatic solutions. The best reason in the American scheme of things, that is- self-preservation. Maybe if George W. Bush (George W. Bush because of daddy’s influence had the luxury of hiding in the Texas National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam and “protecting his country”) or any of the others in his regime had to go to war themselves or send their children to “free the Iraqi people” we might have seen more of an effort made to resolve things peacefully. Again self-preservation and self interest, the American way of life. Only one member of congress (out of 535 members) has a child in the war. Why is it when George W. Bush and all the other members of our government talk about Americans making sacrifices for this country that never seems to include themselves. They reap the benefits while the rest of the country makes the sacrifices. Nothing new. I am not willing to give my life, my child’s life or the life of anyone else on the word of George W. Bush. A man who’s been handed a life of privilege, who’s gotten by because of his family name and has yet to accomplish anything on his own. Most of us have more in common with the poor and working class people of Iraq than we do George W. Bush.
    For those people who think that the Bush regime actually cares about “Iraqi Freedom” just look at the way the Bush regime is conducting themselves in their own nation.
    We are being led by a regime that has done more than any other administration in American history to take away our guaranteed rights and freedoms. How can anyone possibly believe that this regime is concerned with freeing the Iraqi people while it works simultaneously at taking away the rights and freedoms of it’s own citizens. Of course in this day and age of post 9-11 America not only has there been very little resistance to these freedoms being taken away but they’re actually applauded in many instances. Why? Because we’ve become so afraid of the rest of the world and of ourselves. The American government and the media constantly bombard us with fear tactics, designed to keep people from resisting the changes that they’re enacting. Of course all of these new laws under the PATRIOT ACT are there only for our own protection and would never be used to spy on or infringe the rights of law-abiding citizens. This is what they tell us anyway. We all have to make sacrifices in our war against terror, well most of us anyway. George W. Bush can still have his secrets.
    Bush has issued an executive order delaying the release of millions of classified documents for at least 3 years. These documents were to be released in April automatically under the freedom of information act. This is at least the third time that Bush has restricted access to information. Bush has acted to prevent the release of over 68,000 documents from the Reagan/ Bush years. There is much speculation that Bush has done this to not only protect his father but also members of his own administration that were a part of the Reagan/ Bush administrations. Bush generated around 33 million new secrets in his first year of office but the rest of us are entitled to virtually no privacy or protection from government spying.
    Their tactics of choosing sides, “you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” has worked wonders for the Bush regime. They’ve managed to paint anyone who is against this unilateral war as terrorists, or at the very least anti-American terrorist sympathizers. How did we get to the point in this country that war is seen as patriotic, an American tradition and peace as anti-American? Where a man can be arrested for wearing a t-shirt that says, “give peace a chance” while shopping at a mall. Where Oregon state senator John Minnis (republican by the way, big surprise I know) writes up and is currently trying to pass a bill (senate bill 742) making anti-war protesters able to be tried as terrorists, punishable by a minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
    After 9-11 instead of anyone addressing the likely reasons why anyone would attack us, all we ever heard as to a reason was that “they’re jealous of our freedom.” What freedom? The last few freedoms that we have are being stripped away from us while we lock ourselves in our homes, cowering in fear from the rest of the world. Maybe this is George W. Bush’s ingenious plan, take away all of our freedoms and they won’t have anything to be jealous of. They can’t resent us for what we no longer possess. 
    Well the good thing that’s been happening in this country and around the world is that people are starting to finally wake up. We hear polls and reports everyday about how the majority of Americans are behind this war. Maybe I’m a pessimist but I don’t put too much stock in polls done by the American media. I don’t really think that FOX news is unbiased nor do I believe that they represent the view of the average American. I do think that there’s much more opposition  out there than we think. The very fact that we’re seeing efforts to silence the anti-war movement being stepped up proves that they’re afraid. Afraid of the rising numbers of people that see through their lies. Afraid that more and more people are willing to fight to oppose this regimes actions. The divisions that are being built in this country are not going to disappear the minute the war ends. Many people are fed up with the actions of this country and then there are those people who are fed up with those of us who are not blindly going along with the way the Bush regime is conducting themselves in the world. The scary thing is that the new standard seems to be that political correctness has moved from the left to the right in this country. The conservatives seem to have the grip on what’s politically correct now and speaking your mind against the Bush regime is not politically correct. What is politically correct now is to keep your eyes closed and your mouth shut. To question the intentions of the Bush regime or oppose this war is to be labeled as a terrorist and a traitor. We’re seeing people’s reluctance to speak up against this regime as well because of the repercussions. A majority of Americans were against this war before it started but have been unwilling to oppose it once it actually started or have at least been unwilling to voice that opposition.  Being anti-war when there is no war and then keeping your mouth shut during one is what seems to be happening here and it’s a direct result of the pressure being put on people to support the Bush regime and this country during a time of crisis. What we need to do is confront these tactics of the right wing. We need to be voicing our discontent louder so it can’t be ignored. We need to put an end to this type of mentality and apathy that allows people like Bush and the rest of his cronies to get away with the crimes that they are getting away with. We need to step up our efforts because things are quickly getting worse and worse and they’re making it harder and harder for those of us with a conscience to stand up for what we believe in. We need to expose what’s been really going on and use the oppressive tactics of this regime as the fuel against itself by showing people how we’re all being lied to and manipulated to line this regimes pockets. And most importantly we need to have hope, as a close friend told me recently, we can’t’ give up hope because when we lose hope then we have nothing left.
—Dave Trenga • p.o. box 42341 • Pittsburgh. PA 15203