Middle East: An Omelet Face Down on the Kitchen Floor
by Don Williams
Our president doesn’t see Iraq as a broken egg. No, he prefers to think of the egg as cracked, he said recently. At the risk of trivializing deadly serious issues--the egg is scrambled, at least. But then, our Mid-east policies generally are about as coherent as, say, our nuclear energy policies, our environmental policies or anything else touched by our current chefs. In other words, they aren't coherent at all. They’ve managed to make everyone in the Middle East mad at us.
By putting Shiites in charge of Iraq, they angered Sunni majorities in most every other Mid-eastern country, including allies like Saudi Arabia. By shaking a big stick at Iraq’s neighbor, Iran, they’ve managed to alienate the Shiite majority there and inside Iraq.
Face it: The current round of ethnic cleansing took off under our occupation. Deliberately or not, we did the heavy lifting for Iraqi Shiites when we laid siege to Fallujah and other Sunni strongholds the Shiites couldn’t touch. Even if you give Bush the benefit of assuming he wanted democracy in Iraq, the lack of a Plan B has been disastrous. Kurds want to break away, which makes nearby Turkey uneasy, while Shiites and Sunnis are slaughtering one another in Baghdad and elsewhere. The Shiites have the upper hand because we trained many of them in the army now controlled, sort of, by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and because of a huge Shiite population, including a militia, devoted to Iraqi cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.
Now our self-declared enemies in Iran—also under control of radical Shiites--seek to make common cause with Iraq. This is a cracked egg? Unh-unh, this is a broken omelet face down on the kitchen floor.
To hear Chris Matthews, Pat Buchanan and several others talking Wednesday evening on MSNBC, Bush is poised to change the subject by bombing Iran. He’s stationed aircraft carriers and missile launchers in the Persian Gulf, placed a Navy man in charge of Central Command for Iraq and Afghanistan, appointed one Cheney protégé to represent us at the United Nations and another Cheney associate in charge of overall U.S. intelligence, while moving that old Iran-Contra player, John Negroponte, to the State Department, where he’s railing against Iran.
Seymour Hersh and other journalists report we intend to massively bomb Iran--or else cover for Israelis while they do it--and wipe out nuclear facilities--even though experts say they're years away from getting a bomb and our attack will likely kill the Reform Movement in Iran.
Buchanan said Wednesday he’s heard from military insiders that we plan to strike at least 600 targets in Iran, the only Mideast nation to hold large demonstrations on our behalf after 9/11, and one of a few oil-rich nations with a real potential for democracy, despite insane pronouncements against us and Israel by Iran's unpopular president. In response, you hear the drumbeat for war in nearly every speech Bush and Cheney give. US forces have prompted skirmishes with Iranians on at least two occasions in recent weeks. Watch for these to escalate.
By fostering fear and a state-of-war mentality, we’ve done more damage to our own democracy than Saddam Hussein ever could. The argument Bush and others make that we must give up certain freedoms to defend ourselves against an ever-growing list of enemies becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our own National Intelligence Estimate stated last fall that the war in Iraq has served as a recruiting tool for terrorists worldwide.
It should be obvious by now that Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons are isolated and delusional. They will drive the planet to ruin if not stopped. Look at everything they've touched. From covering up global warming--as Congressional hearings dramatized just this week--to record deficit spending, to shooting holes in the Constitution, to exposing Valerie Plame, to planting lies in the media, to spreading nuclear technology in this country and abroad, to making a phony case for war in Iraq, they’ve been a disaster for this world.
Rather than passing non-binding resolutions against Bush-Cheney policies, Congress should confront them forcefully at every turn and demand that they listen to the majority of Americans before it’s too late. Further, Congress should investigate their invasions of our privacy, lies about the war, covering up global warming, war-profiteering by the likes of Halliburton, the waste of billions of dollars and much more.
Congress won't, but it should, for our nation’s integrity. We’ve been set back 50 years on the road to making a more peaceful and sustainable world. These are years we cannot get back. But we'll only lose more precious time, harmony and resources by giving Bush ever more power and money to further his disastrous policies. It's time for grown-ups to take charge.
Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary writing. His awards include a National
Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is finishing a novel, “Red State Blues,” set in his native Tennessee and Iraq. His book of selected journalism, “Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About People” by Don Williams, is now available for ordering. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the NMW website at www.NewMillenniumWritings.com.