IT'S CALLED M.A.D. FOR A REASON, MR. PRESIDENT!
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- He slices, he dices, he juliennes! Just look at that tomato! Now how much would you pay for such a President? But wait, there's more!
President George W. Bush came into office ready to attack Iraq. He lied through his teeth about his reasons - who is sure, even today, what his deepest ones might be? He turned the national tragedy of 9/11 into a false raison d'Ítre, threw the Middle East into turmoil, made Iraq a training ground for terrorists, corrupted the soul of our nation with lies and torture, and began to squander its wealth.
But wait, there's more! Now he wants to nuke Iran.
Given the growing awareness that Mr. Bush and his cronies are really crazy enough to try it, retired top U.S. military officials are developing consciences. They are speaking out against the war in Iraq using words like "unnecessary" and "the worse strategic mistake in American history." They are calling the Bush Administration's behavior "self-deluding, derelict in its duty, negligent and irresponsible." Even former Secretary of State Colin Powell told journalist Robert Scheer that he never believed Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat. "Now he tells us," Scheer sneered.
But wait, there's more!
These same top retired military officers are falling all over themselves calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Former Major General Paul Eaton, who oversaw the training Iraqi troops after the U.S. invasion, described him as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically." This unprecedented behavior is almost rational enough to make a military coup seem desirable.
Yet our President defends Rumsfeld, saying his "energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period. He has my full support and deepest appreciation."
And wait, there's more!
Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, who a few years ago broke the story that President Bush was planning to invade Iraq - a story that made no sense at the time, since America had been attacked by Saudi religious madmen - now reports that the U.S. already has soldiers on the ground in Iran. Also, the Air Force is practicing "over the shoulder" bombing, a maneuver designed to deliver nuclear weapons. And - here's the coup de grace - Bush and the neocons believe that once we nuke them, Iranians will welcome us with flowers.
President Bush casually discredited Hersh's story in a recent speech at Johns Hopkins University. "What you're reading is wild speculation," he said, insisting that his promise to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons "doesn't mean force necessarily. In this case it means diplomacy."
Which is pretty much what he said right up until the day we attacked Iraq. Hersh was right then and, God help us, he's probably right now.
So now what would you pay for this President?
No one wants an Iran with nuclear weapons, true, but the best estimate from the international nuclear community is that the country is still five to 10 years away from having them. Why fight now?
Because Mr. Bush is running out of time. The most frightening quote in Hersh's article is from a government consultant who says the President believes he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."
Stop a nuclear confrontation by having a nuclear confrontation? I wouldn't exactly use the word "courage." It's called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) for a reason, Mr. President! Get it? Mutual? We destroy them, they destroy us? Mutual. MAD!
But no, an anonymous member of the U. S. House of Representatives told Hersh that Mr. Bush "has a messianic vision." I guess if you believe in Armageddon, you can't be blamed for wanting to jump-start it.
True, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a far-right religious terrorist and all-around nut job who wants to bomb Israel into the sea and would love a chance to confront America. But as a Pentagon advisor told Hersh, "The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S. Something bad is going to happen." Duh!
And still there's more!
Minus the flowers and the dancing in the streets, what could be the possible results of multiple bombing attacks, including nuclear ones, on Iran?
Mushroom clouds. Radiation in the winds. Mass casualties. Contamination. Assured nuclear proliferation. Possibly an Iran-China alliance - and China not only has the bomb, but the missiles to deliver it. An army of suicide bombers.
Add major Shiite uprisings in Iraq and Iranian retaliation on the "exposed oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates," Hersh said.
And - wait for it! - at the very least, $150-plus barrels of oil for the foreseeable future.
Hezbollah, which has been quiet for the past few years, could be drawn in. And there's always al-Qaida. Remember them? Terrorist attacks all over the world could result.
All that's left are lies and illusions masquerading as foreign policy. Now how much would you pay? Is anyone offering a set of Ginzu knives? How about a Pocket Fisherman or a Bamboo Steamer? Why isn't there any amazing tv offer? Why aren't the operators standing by?
President Bush is playing chicken with nuclear weapons. How can we stop him? Millions around the world took to the streets to protest his invasion of Iraq, yet he remained superior, patronizing and implacable.
The best we can do now is raise our voices in the loudest of protests and then elect as many Democrats as possible to Congress in the upcoming election - especially candidates who have served in Iraq.
Let's hope an activist Democratic Congress will start impeachment proceedings and stop this president before he slices, dices and julliennes America along with the rest of the world.
AR Correspondent Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel. A collection of her columns, called "A Thousand Words or Less," will be out in May. She can be reached at email@example.com.