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From Iraq War to Middle East War

Jurgen Nieth | 27.03.2007 11:13 | Anti-militarism | World

Bush ignores everything that experts, the opposition majority and the US public want.. Bush's course recalls Nixon's 1970 invasion of Cambodia, expanding the battle while swearing withdrawal.


By Jurgen Nieth

[On January 10, 2007, US president Bush announced the reinforcement of US troops in Iraq with 21,000 GIs. Bush ignores the recommendations of the Baker commission and encounters stronger national and international resistance. This article published in: W & F, Wissenschaft und Frieden 1/2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]


“The political respect of the American government fell incredibly,” Spiegel writes (1/15/07). “70 percent of Americans, opinion polls showed, reject the Bush plan. Governments all over the world, the most loyal coalition-partners who followed the American president in Iraq in 2003 – including the loyal supporter Tony Blair – expressed dismay over this “last attempt” at solving a hopeless situation militarily that according to dominant opinion can only be calmed with political measures.”


Bush “ignores everything that experts, the opposition majority and the US public want,” said Bernd Pickert in YAZ (1/12/07), “almost everything.” Bush “holds to one paper presented last week by the neoconservative “American Enterprise Institute.” It has the title “Choose Victory. A Success Plan for Iraq” and sketches what Bush intends. To appease the general public, the neocons disappeared from the departments. They actually still determine the course.


“This war was wrong from the beginning,” Christian Wernicke declared in Suddeutschen Zeitung newspaper (1/12/07). “This insight is dawning on most Americans. Only the president refuses.”

The majority of Germans was against this war from the start. The majority of the media is also critical of US policy – with exceptions.

The commentator of FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung, 1/12/07) seems nearly helpless when he explains: “President Bush was careful not to join his announcement to send additional troops to Iraq with the promise of ending violence or averting civil war.”

Bild (pictorial magazine) refused any insight. On 1/12/07, Bild highlighted “5 Wise Persons” who seemed convinced by Bush’s policy. Michael Wolfsohn, professor at the Munich German army academy, was one of them: “History will prove the intervention of Americans in Iraq in 2003 was right.” Professor Michael Sturmer in Berlin said: “Bush did not sneak away but will enforce order and democracy in Iraq with more troops.”

The situation in Iraq speaks another language.


“According to polls, seven of ten Iraqis approve attacks on US troops. In comparison, only 14 percent in 2003 expressed joy over dead GIs,” Christian Wernicke reported in the Suddeutschen Zeitung newspaper (1/12/07). This change could be connected with the fact that the number of killed civilians in Iraq is much higher than previously assumed. In the same issue, the SZ reported about the research findings of an American team from the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore: “Between March 2003 and the summer of 2006, 654,965 persons in Iraq died as a result of the war, 600 fatalities every day. In contrast, the American government admitted 30,000 dead civilians.” Human rights groups spoke of 60,000 in the past.


In the same edition of SZ, Tomas Avenarius reported that the Bush plan according to estimates of US budget experts “will cost American taxpayers a vast amount of money. If the war cost the US budget $300 billion in the past, an additional $400 billion could be added in the coming ten years. The daily war costs of $150 million include weapons for the army, rebuilding Iraq and the pensions of the bereaved and widows of fallen soldiers. The additional costs for the new strategy will amount to more than $6 billion.

The costs of a further escalation regarded as possible by some commentators are not included.


“Instead of the dialogue offers to Iraq’s neighbors recommended by a commission led by former Secretary of State Baker, Bush brazenly threatened Syria and Iran with military intervention,” we read in Spiegel (1/15/07).

Karl Globe in Frankfurter Rundschau (1/16/07) emphasizes the escalation danger: “Aircraft carriers, launchers and Patriot-missiles in the waters off the Iranian coast are useless for a land war and do not help the US fight violent groups in Iraq. So-called surgical strikes against nuclear installations, airports and military facilities of the Teheran regime are earmarked.”


Torsten Krauel in Welt (1/12/07) also speaks of a likely escalation: “The democrats are right when they speak of an escalation of the war. Bush’s course recalls Nixon’s 1970 invasion of Cambodia expanding the battle while swearing withdrawal. The threat to Teheran and Syria cannot be ignored. Bush reinforces his troops against Iranian instigators, not against Iraqi bombers. However Krauel seems to see something positive in this development: “No one should cherish illusions that the situation is heading…to a great final struggle over the Middle East, regime change in Damascas and Teheran to secure the regime change in Baghdad. From the beginning, more than Saddam was involved just as May 8, 1945 did not only involve Germany.”

Jurgen Nieth
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