William Rivers Pitt | Into the Darkness
Into the Darkness
By William Rivers Pitt
T r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 18 March 2003
An associate of mine, a former political appointee, recently spoke to a Republican friend of his who serves in a senior position in what has become the Office of Homeland Security. He reports that this official, along with many of his colleagues across the political spectrum within the apparatus of government, are absolutely terrified of George W. Bush. According to this official, the consensus is that Bush has completely lost touch with reality, and is bringing us to a place where politics will no longer matter.
A London newspaper, the Guardian, has quoted a source close to the administration as saying, "This has been the worst diplomatic debacle of our lifetime." A senior White House official is also quoted as saying, in a voice reportedly awash with sarcasm, "There's a recognition that this has not been our finest diplomatic hour."
There is no calculating the understatement here. There was never any diplomacy involved here to begin with. This has been a disaster, and it is about to get worse by orders of magnitude.
The weapons inspectors, empowered by UN resolution 1441 to ferret out the weapons everyone is so concerned about, have packed their bags and fled Iraq. They have been betrayed by the Bush administration, by Tony Blair and by Spain, as they worked to protect us from both these weapons and from the dreadful effects of a war in the Middle East.
The inspections were working weapons were being dismantled, Hussein was under control, and no mass destruction materials were found. The fact that the hammer has come down before these inspectors were even half done with their work means, simply, that those pushing for war never wanted the inspections to work in the first place.
Welcome to the timeline.
Very soon now, perhaps within the next 72 hours, the Pentagon's "Shock and Awe" battle plan will be put into effect. 3,000 munitions, including some 800 cruise missiles, will rain down on Baghdad, a city inhabited by some 5 million civilians. This will be done in the hope that the Iraqi army will surrender, thus avoiding the need to send U.S. troops in to fight a ruinous house-to-house battle.
The Arab news service Al Jazeera, operating out of Qatar, will capture images of thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians sprawled and shattered and bloody in the Baghdad streets, in a manner quite like the bodies we saw in New York on September 11. The resulting explosion of rage within the moderate and extremist Muslim world will be immediate and ferocious.
The terrorism alert status in America will rise to red. Troops will appear in the streets.
Saddam Hussein will not flee, and his forces will stand in Baghdad. American troops will be forced to fight downtown.
The oilheads in Iraq will be fired, and the pipeheads will be opened.
Israel will be attacked, much to the dismay of Bush administration officials who have pushed this war in the erroneous assumption that such action will serve to protect that nation. Unlike the first Gulf War, this time Israel will strike back.
American homeland security forces police, fire fighters and emergency rescue personnel will watch their radios nervously, waiting for the inevitable call. They know, better than anyone, that this country is not ready to defend itself against an attack. Their budgets have been gutted, the promised funding to augment their preparedness has not come. They are not ready, but they stand and wait regardless, because that is what they have pledged to do.
Somewhere in America perhaps in New York, perhaps in Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Detroit, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta, perhaps in all of them simultaneously there will be an explosion. A group that cares nothing for the well being of Saddam Hussein will take responsibility, in the name of those thousands of Iraqi Muslims slaughtered in the initial aerial bombardment of Baghdad.
The body bags will come out, here at home and across the sea in Iraq, as Americans begin to die in terrible numbers.
Martial law will be declared, habeas corpus will be suspended, posse comitatus will be left aside, and the strictures outlined by both Patriot Acts will come to full bloom. 227 years of constitutional law in America will draw to a close.
An oil shock will roll across the global community, ripping through an already precarious economic situation. Here at home, the financial cost of this war will hurl us further into deficit.
More explosions will echo across the streets of America. They could be nuclear or biological or chemical in nature, because in the effort to overthrow Hussein we have ignored completely the fact that al Qaeda certainly possesses the capabilities to attack us with these weapons, having needed no help whatsoever from Hussein. These explosions could come from simple fertilizer, as well. Remember that two men with a sniper rifle and a car held Maryland hostage for a month. It does not take much, considering the shoddy state of affairs in the homeland security realm.
In all likelihood, America will score a decisive military victory. U.S. forces will invest Iraq. The Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root will begin construction on any number of permanent military bases. Administration officials will begin to formulate plans for the removal of other governments in the Middle East, both friendly and unfriendly, by any means necessary.
Civil war will break out in Iraq as the Shia majority, the Kurdish and Sunni minorities, go for each other's throats. American constabulary work there will become infinitely complicated.
The United States of America has concluded an incredible, perhaps unstoppable, race to the bottom since January of 2001. The disputed election brought to power a mob of men Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton who have been planning this war since at least 1997. The attacks of September 11, allowed in no small part by purposeful blinders placed over the eyes of our intelligence services lest they offend petroleum principalities like Saudi Arabia with their prickly questions, gave these men the excuse they needed for war.
The Bush administration's reaction to 9/11 placing blame on "evildoers" instead of starting an honest dialogue, blocking an independent investigation of the attack for over a year, nominating master secret-keeper Henry Kissinger to chair that investigative panel in what was perhaps the most disgusting insult possible to the families of the lost, ignoring the real terrorist threats in order to focus on the politically expedient annihilation of Iraq, instituting the most ham-fisted diplomatic push ever seen in the history of this nation by utterly ignoring the eleven Security Council members who said no to this war, disrupting international relations vital to the pursuit of true terrorist threats, and all the while underfunding the homeland defenses necessary to protect the American people has led us to this dismal place.
The destruction of Saddam Hussein will do nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada, to protect America. It will place America and her citizens in further peril. We stand alone and naked today. We will reap the whirlwind.
Take to the streets. Scream until your throat bleeds. Call whatever congressional leaders you know, full in the knowledge that you will be contacting a mob of failures, appeasers and political cowards. Make sure you can look at yourself in the mirror as this darkness falls. Above all else, do not succumb to despair.
You owe that much to yourself, your children and your nation as we fade to black.
Author's Note: I have prayed on a daily basis that I would not be forced to write this article. For the sake of history, I have listed below some of the data, warnings and analysis that I and truthout have been delivering since this process began unfolding in the summer of 2002.
The Coming October War in Iraq - 7/24/02
The Other American Dream - 9/1/02
For the Congressional Record - 10/10/02
I See Four Lights - 10/16/02
The Dead Remember - 1/1/03
The Stand - 1/9/03
America, Are You Ready for This War? - 2/4/03
Blair-Powell UN Report Written by Student - 2/7/03
Osama Rallies Muslims, Condemns Hussein - 2/12/03
Of Gods and Mortals and Empire - 2/21/03
Blood Money - 2/27/03
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times best-selling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in June 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
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