Friday, April 11, 2008

After listening to this week's Congressional Committee hearings on Iraq...

...I can only conclude that we have relinquished our nation's leadership to the military and its suppliers.

The President told the American People that he would base his Iraq "strategy" on General Petraeus's counsel. The general's reports and statements are vetted by the White House and reflect the language desired by the President.

Following the Congressional testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, the President announced his decision to halt troop withdrawals from Iraq after July. This, he said, is a direct result of the Petraeus and Crocker recommendations. And so, around and around it goes.

The American People (80% of whom now call for a withdrawal from Iraq), their Congress and their Courts have no voice in the matter.

"The War President", his Executive Department, his generals, and the defense and oil industries demonstrate a seamless alignment and resolve. It's an astoundingly clear manifestation of what President Eisenhower warned against: the ascendancy of the military-industrial complex.

General Petraeus spoke clearly of our goal in Iraq: to protect our "interests" in the Middle East. Preventing another terrorist attack on the U.S. may be on the list, but it's well down that list.

Once our military juggernaut has been launched, the Defense Department is loathe to alter course, and the industries that reap the bounty of war are bound to support anything and anyone who will stoke the fires of war. (The chummy reception of Petraeus and Crocker by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, especially Republicans with their soft-ball questioning and effusive praise, betrayed deep ties to the beneficiary industries.)

As expected, General Petraeus' and Ambassador Crocker's testimonies, and the President's subsequent proclamation are filled with dire warnings against "failure" or "weakening resolve" or "precipitous withdrawal".

The President has become a mere facilitator, a booster, for the military and its contractors. He long ago ceased to represent the interests of the American people (and never did represent the interests of the Iraqi people.) He does not distinguish between an economy based upon war-making and an economy based upon peace.

Or, perhaps he does, and has concluded that a war economy is more profitable - at least for the industries near and dear to his heart.

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