The Iraq War is creating an ugly, mean-spirited America! Take for example, Paul Wolfowitz, the “Godfather” of that conflict. On April 29, 2004, when he was testifying before the U.S. Congress. The Deputy Secretary of Defense couldn’t tell the Committee the correct number of U.S. troops that had already died in Iraq. He said it was around 500. He was way off! The real figure was 722. (“History News Network,” Thomas G. Palaima, 05/12/04).
Why didn’t Wolfowitz, a putative intellectual, know the answer? I think it’s because he doesn’t really give a good damn! He was one of the first, within the Bush-Cheney Gang, to push the cowboy-minded President George W. Bush to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. In my opinion, possible U.S. military casualties or the Iraqi civilian death toll from such an invasion, never factored into the twisted Wolfowitz’s mania for the war.
If the Committee had asked Wolfowitz, “Who got the latest Iraqi pipe line contract? Well, he (Bush likes to call him “Wolfie”) would probably have known that answer because it involves billions in corporate profits for cronies of the administration. To date, that conflict has sucked out over $114 billion from our fast-fading national treasury (costofwar.com).
Wolfowitz is the same armchair military genius who predicted the Iraq war would be over in seven days (Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC), 05/06/04, charleston.net). A one note ideologue, he is tied into the ultra-hawkish Neocon Movement, that is represented by William Kristol, and other card carrying members of the Ariel Sharon Fan Club. In fact, Wolfowitz is part of a “small, tightly-knit clan whose incestuous familial and personal connections, both within and outside the Bush administration, have allowed them (to) grab control of the future of American foreign policy” (Jim Lobe, “All In the Neocon Family,” AlterNet, 03/27/03). Sen. Hollings, who is retiring from the Congress, believes Bush’s invasion of Iraq was “to secure Israel.”
Wolfowtiz also wrongly prophesied that the U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators with “rose petals” in Iraq. Naturally, “Time” magazine picked him as “Person of the Year for 2003.”(Mark Thompson, 12/21/03, time.com). If this were a just world, Wolfowitz would deserve to face a Nuremberg-like Tribunal for his role in launching the Iraq War. Since it presently isn’t, he will probably be named as the next president of Johns Hopkins University and write a best selling book about his warmongering.
Then, there is that talking head, Sean Hannity. He is using the vicious killing of Nick Berg in Iraq, to serve his own right wing agenda. (Gee, I wonder why know-it-all Hannity has never said a word about the murder of American activist Rachel Corrie by the Israelis, on March 16, 2003? See for the eyewitness accounts of that crime, rachelcorrie.org. Do you think maybe that he was afraid to criticize Zionist Israel?) What Hannity won’t tell his audience is that Nick Berg’s grieving father, Michael Berg, who opposes the war in Iraq, is blaming Bush and Donald Rumsfeld for the murder of his son. Michael Berg also believes that the USA Patriot Act was a “coup d’etat” (Reuters, John Hurdle, 05/13/05). The Coalition Forces had wrongly detained Nick for 13 days, when he was trying to leave Iraq. Bottom line: Nick Berg would be alive today, along with the 782 American troops, and over 10,000 innocent Iraqis, if the Bush-Cheney Gang, that Hannity has been shamelessly shilling for, hadn’t lied our country into this Vietnam-War-like quagmire.
Now, the Iraqi War itself, along with the exposure of the sadistic torture scandal concerning Iraqi POWs at the hands of U.S. personnel, has become a massive recruitment poster for El Qaeda. It also puts all U.S. troops at extra risk. Here’s a question for that sunshine patriot: “How, Sean Hannity, can you sleep at night knowing that brave Americans are dying every day in Iraq, so that you can sell a few more of your dumb books and continue deceiving the public on Fox News Network?”
And then, there is the disturbing story of the Union-bashing security firm, now feeding at the trough of the Iraqi War’s lucrative contract pie. Internet columnist, Jerry White, (“Private Security Company in Iraq Suppressed Labor Struggles in U.S.,” 05/07/04, wsws.org), revealed that a private security company doing business in Iraq, and connected to one Chuck Vance, a former Secret Service agent, has a long history of suppressing the labor struggle in this country. The Vance Co., a/k/a “Vance International,” was involved in bitter labor-management disputes, back in the 80s and 90s, with the Detroit and Seattle newspaper workers, the Greyhound bus drivers and the Caterpillar and Bridgestone workers and many others. White points out how Vance security guards would regularly show up at a strike “in black uniforms and combat boots and equipped with tear gas, shields and attack dogs…” Its strikebreaking activity earned it “a gross income of $90 million in 1995 alone.”
White continues, “Over the last decade, Vance International has evolved from a company focused on providing mercenaries to terrorizing striking workers in the U.S. and Canada, to one cashing in on Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the multimillion-dollar contracts that flow from it. Its operations have spread from North America to Latin America, South Africa and Europe.” (http://www.vancesecurity.com/)
For its Iraq job, Vance goes under the moniker of “DS Vance” (http://iraqitradecenter.com/). It was recently absorbed, according to White, by the SPX Corporation. And guess who already has a nice big fat $1.5 million contract to provide security for the Bush-Cheney’s 2004 Campaign Committee down in Arlington, VA? You’re right, if you said it’s Vance Uniform Protection!
In conclusion, the Iraq War is also uniting elements of the political Right in this country. As a result, an ugly, mean spirited nation is now taking shape. Michael Berg, Nick’s father, was on target when he recently remarked, “It’s not the same America I grew up in.”