I'd actually intended to do a lot less Iraq War blogging going forward, figuring that 1) others had the subject pretty well covered, 2) I'd pretty much summed it up with this post and 3) I don't want my blog to be just another collection of links. But, as will happen from time to time, something comes up that is impossible to ignore. I give you the Spanish "Downing Street" Memo, courtesy Crooks & Liars:
How much money does Bush think a US soldier’s life is worth? How much money does Bush think the lives of our allies’ soldiers or innocent Iraqis are worth?
As we’re finding out, not very much. On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued the warning: “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing ,” yet now thanks to a transcript leaked to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, we learn that more than three weeks prior to that Bush had told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that “The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1 billion …” When confronted about the leaked transcript yesterday, Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino did not dispute its accuracy.
Now, I know the idea of giving Hussein a golden parachute is a repugnant concept for a number of reasons, but exiles of equally cruel dictators aren't exactly unprecedented. Baby Doc lives in luxury in the south of France to this day, for example.
Furthermore, in some circles I dare say that starting unnecessary disastrous wars to combat mythical, trumped-up "threats" tends to be considered "bad form" in many circles as well. The key differences? One option leads to the death, dismemberment and displacement of millions more people for no good reason at all and the other doesn't while achieving the same goal, the removal of the regime.
[More after the jump]
Besides, he was such a good employee for so long he'd earned his pension from us, didn't he? There's no rule that says you can't pursue war crimes charges against him after his exile begins (Pinochet comes to mind). He could have been tried in a legitimate international court instead of being made into a half-assed martyr in a Shiite militia snuff film.
With that in mind, those who would have objected to this alternative are asked to tell the families of the nearly 4,000 fallen American servicemen, the thousands more who are wounded for life and the millions of killed, maimed and displaced Iraqi citizens that killing Saddam gangland style, rather than exiling and trying him, was worth the sacrifice they have all paid for it.
But the Bush Coup Government was not interesting in legitimate prosecution of this man. This was clear from the start and only confirmed by the trial he actually got -- as well as the controlled coverage of it. So, instead they chose the current illegal course, which is their stock and trade, and we are told with a straight face that it's working out great.
For $1-billion this could have all been over YEARS AGO. Bush took a pass on this opportunity and instead has chosen to spend more than eight times that amount ($8.4-billion) each month in addition to the millions of lives he destroys before 9am (more than most of us destroy all day). He makes this choice because, as I've said before, the limitless occupation of Iraq isn't a problem to these people. It was the goal from the very start. Everything else is pretext.
The war was never necessary. They knew this from the start. They simply want us to be there indefinitely because it makes them and their friends rich.
They don't ever intend to leave.