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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hitler Brezhnev Bush (The new world order)

Robert Fisk: Like Hitler and Brezhnev, Bush is in denial Published: 01
December 2006

More than half a million deaths, an army trapped in the largest military
debacle since Vietnam, a Middle East policy already buried in the sands of
Mesopotamia - and still George W Bush is in denial. How does he do it? How
does he persuade himself - as he apparently did in Amman yesterday - that
the United States will stay in Iraq "until the job is complete"? The "job"
- Washington's project to reshape the Middle East in its own and Israel's
image - is long dead, its very neoconservative originators disavowing
their hopeless political aims and blaming Bush, along with the Iraqis of
course, for their disaster.

History's "deniers" are many - and all subject to the same folly: faced
with overwhelming evidence of catastrophe, they take refuge in fantasy,
dismissing evidence of collapse as a symptom of some short-term setback,
clinging to the idea that as long as their generals promise victory - or
because they have themselves so often promised victory - that fate will be
kind. George W Bush - or Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara for that matter - need
not feel alone. The Middle East has produced these fantasists by the
bucketful over past decades. In 1967, Egyptian president Gamel Abdul
Nasser insisted his country was winning the Six Day War hours after the
Israelis had destroyed the entire Egyptian air force on the ground.
President Carter was extolling the Shah's Iran as "an island of stability
in the region" only days before Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution
brought down his regime. President Leonid Brezhnev declared a Soviet
victory in Afghanistan when Russian troops were being driven from their
fire bases in Nangahar and Kandahar provinces by Osama bin Laden and his
fighters. And was it not Saddam Hussein who promised the "mother of all
battles" for Kuwait before the great Iraqi retreat in 1991? And was it not
Saddam again who predicted a US defeat in the sands of Iraq in 2003?
Saddam's loyal acolyte, Mohamed el-Sahaf, would fantasise about the number
of American soldiers who would die in the desert; George W Bush let it be
known that he sometimes slipped out of White House staff meetings to watch
Sahaf's preposterous performance and laugh at the fantasies of Iraq's
minister of information. So who is laughing at Bush now? Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki, almost as loyal a retainer to Bush as Sahaf was
to Saddam, receives the same false praise from the American president that
Nasser and Brezhnev once lavished upon their generals. "I appreciate the
courage you show during these difficult times as you lead your country,"
Bush tells Maliki. "He's the right guy for Iraq," he tells us. And the
Iraqi Prime Minister who hides in the US-fortified "Green Zone" - was ever
a crusader fortress so aptly named? - announces that "there is no
problem". Power must be more quickly transferred to Maliki, we were
informed yesterday. Why? Because that will save Iraq? Or because this will
allow America to claim, as it did when it decided to allow the South
Vietnamese army to fight on its own against Hanoi, that Washington is not
to blame for the debacle that follows? "One of his frustrations with me is
that he believes that we've been slow about giving him the tools necessary
to protect the Iraqi people." Or so Bush says. "He doesn't have the
capacity to respond. So we want to accelerate that capacity." But how can
Maliki have any "capacity" at all when he rules only a few square miles of
central Baghdad and a clutch of rotting ex-Baathist palaces? About the
only truthful statement uttered in Amman yesterday was Bush's remark that
"there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean
there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq [but] this
business about a graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all."
Indeed, it has not. There can be no graceful exit from Iraq, only a
terrifying, bloody collapse of military power. The withdrawal of Shia
ministers from Maliki's cabinet mirror the withdrawal of Shia ministers
from another American-supported administration in Beirut - where the
Lebanese fear an equally appalling conflict over which Washington has, in
reality, no military or political control. Bush even appeared oblivious of
the current sectarian map of Iraq. "The Prime Minister made clear that
splitting his country into parts, as some have suggested, is not what the
Iraqi people want, and that any partition of Iraq would only lead to an
increase in sectarian violence," he said. "I agree." But Iraq is already
"split into parts". The fracture of Iraq is virtually complete, its chasms
sucking in corpses at the rate of up to a thousand a day. Even Hitler must
chuckle at this bloodbath, he who claimed in April 1945 that Germany would
still win the Second World War, boasting that his enemy, Roosevelt, had
died - much as Bush boasted of Zarqawi's killing - while demanding to know
when General Wenck's mythical army would rescue the people of Berlin. How
many "Wencks" are going to be summoned from the 82nd Airborne or the
Marine Corps to save Bush from Iraq in the coming weeks? No, Bush is not
Hitler. Like Blair, he once thought he was Winston Churchill, a man who
never - ever - lied to his people about Britain's defeats in war. But
fantasy knows no bounds.

==== J R Saul quote: =====

We seem to be unable to allow ourselves the dignity of engaging in this
sort of straightforward reconsideration of our acts. After all,
questioning is the great strength of democracy; the ability to doubt
without losing face. Instead we charge on, chanting 'Free Trade -
Prosperity', the way in 1212 on the Children's Crusade they must have
chanted 'Jesus and Jerusalem!' Most were snatched up before they could
reach the coast and sold into slavery or sent across the Mediterranean,
again to be slaves.

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