Grace Reid, a Boston-born anti-war and human rights activist, lives in Ireland.
By Grace Reid
We found the smoking bullet in the smoking gun of the Downing Street Memos, that being the massive pre-war bombing campaign intended to provoke Saddam into war. Now here is the “massive intelligence failure." Bush and Rumsfeld had the intelligence and it came from the Pentagon. But they failed to read it, and they failed to understand it. George Bush himself is the “massive intelligence failure.”
This following is one you can bank on. It is the Pentagon's own Defence Science Board Report Strategic Communications, December 2004.
From the Defence Science Board report to the Pentagon, November, 2004:
The Pentagon has admitted that the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased support for al-Qaeda, made ordinary Muslims hate the US and caused a global backlash against America because of the "self-serving hypocrisy" of George W Bush's administration over the Middle East.
On "the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds", the report says, "American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended".
"American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies."
"Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that 'freedom is the future of the Middle East' is seen as patronising ... in the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. "American actions have elevated the authority of the jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims." The result is that al-Qaeda has gone from being a marginal movement to having support across the entire Muslim world.
"We face a war on terrorism," the report says, "intensified conflict with Islam, and insurgency in Iraq. Worldwide anger and discontent are directed at America's tarnished credibility and ways the US pursues its goals. There is a consensus that America's power to persuade is in a state of crisis." More than 90% of the populations of some Muslims countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are opposed to US policies.
"The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe," the report adds, "weakened support for the war on terrorism and undermined US credibility worldwide." This, in turn, poses an increased threat to US national security.
America's "image problem", the report authors suggest, is "linked to perceptions of the US as arrogant, hypocritical and self-indulgent". The White House "has paid little attention" to the problems.
"Thus the US has strongly taken sides in a desperate struggle ... US policies and actions are increasingly seen by the overwhelming majority of Muslims as a threat to the survival of Islam itself ... Americans have inserted themselves into this intra-Islamic struggle in ways that have made us an enemy to most Muslims.
"There is no yearning-to- be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies ... The perception of intimate US support of tyrannies in the Muslim world is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy."
"Americans are convinced that the US is a benevolent 'superpower' that elevates values emphasising freedom ... deep down we assume that everyone should naturally support our policies. Yet the world of Islam - by overwhelming majorities at this time - sees things differently. Muslims see American policies as inimical to their values, American rhetoric about freedom and democracy as hypocritical and American actions as deeply threatening.
"In two years the jihadi message - that strongly attacks American values - is being accepted by more moderate and non-violent Muslims. This in turn implies that negative opinion of the US has not yet bottomed out.
FOR LOADS MORE SEE:
DEFENCE SCIENCE BOARD SITE
Urgent Appeal From The People of Fallujah:
Urgent appeal from the people in Fallujah to the Secretary General of the U.N. calling for help to end the bombardment and prevent the threatened assault 14th October 2004
"Your Excellency, It is obvious that the American forces are committing crimes of genocide every day in Iraq .Now while we are writing to Your Excellency , the American warplanes are dropping their most powerful bombs on the civilians in the city , killing and injuring hundreds of innocent people . At the same time their tanks are attacking the city with their heavy artillery..." "On the night of 13th October alone American bombardment demolished 50 houses on top of their residents. Is this a genocidal crime or a lesson about democracy? It is obvious that the Americans are committing acts of terror against the people of Fallujah for one reason only : their refusal to accept the Occupation." FALLUJA URGENT APPEAL
World Tribunal on Iraq
War is a fundamental collapse of human reason and failure of imagination, and should always be an absolute last resort undertaken only in strict adherence with the charter of the United Nations. The current war and occupation of Iraq were undertaken in disregard of the most fundamental principles of international law and with obvious contempt for truth, posterity, and the morality which should guide all human actions. The result has been the occupation and colonization of Iraq and the destruction of its economy and increased violence and insecurity for the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi population. The world cannot sit by passively and watch the continued deterioration of the future of our planet. (World Tribunal on Iraq
New York Session, May 8, 2004)
“Democracy Itself is in Grave Danger”
The last time we had a president who had the idea that he was above the law was when Richard Nixon told an interviewer, "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal... If the president, for example approves something, approves an action because of national security, or, in this case, because of a threat to internal peace and order, of significant order, then the president's decision in this instance is one that enables those who carry it out to carry it out without violating the law."
Al Gore, addressing the American Constitution Society, Georgetown University Law Center, June 24, 2004
"The Bush administration's utter lack of respect for a ruling of the Supreme Court is shocking, and reveals a deep lack of faith in the integrity of this country's own democratic institutions," remarked Barbara Olshansky, Center for Constitutional Right's Deputy Director for Litigation. "How can we light the way to democracy for other countries when our Executive Branch officials themselves flaunt the law?" Center for Constitutional Rights 11/29/04
Here's Marie From Newsday:
No American president should have the absolute power to imprison people at will, even when the nation is at war.
That's the unfettered power President George W. Bush has claimed for himself in the war on terrorism. On his authority alone -- unchecked by courts or international convention -- 550 people from 40 nations captured in the Afghanistan war have been locked in a U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for three years. Two others -- American citizens -- have been held in military brigs almost as long, without criminal charges or access to family, lawyers or court.
Bush has labelled them "enemy combatants." With those two words, the president says he can lawfully move anyone he chooses beyond the reach of any legal authority other than his own. -- Newsday, Marie Cocco 11/16/04
And finally, this:
We are losing the war in Iraq.
There has been a steady increase in the assaults carried out by the insurgents against coalition forces. The attacks over the past year have risen from about twenty a day to approximately 120. We are an isolated and reviled nation. We are tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. We have lost sight of our democratic ideals. Thucydides wrote of Athens' expanding empire and how this empire led it to become a tyrant abroad and then a tyrant at home. The tyranny Athens imposed on others it finally imposed on itself. If we do not confront our hubris and the lies told to justify the killing and mask the destruction carried out in our name in Iraq, if we do not grasp the moral corrosiveness of empire and occupation, if we continue to allow force and violence to be our primary form of communication, we will not so much defeat dictators like Saddam Hussein as become them. Chris Hedges, New York Review of Books--Issue December 16, 2004)
Our Fearless Leader:
Text of Bush's news conference Dec 20, 2004:
"You know, I can understand why people - they're looking on your TV screen and seeing indiscriminate bombing, where thousands of innocent or hundreds of innocent Iraqis are getting killed, and they're saying whether or not we're able to achieve the objective."
"Change the channel"
- Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt's advice to Iraqis who see TV images of innocent civilians killed by coalition troops.
(NYT 12th April 2004)