As Paul Wolfowitz would put it, the neo-con ‘experts’ are always wildly off the mark. If ever there was a Keystone Cops imitation act, this is it.
1. In the aftermath of 9/11, Wolfowitz, Perle and company dismissed the opportunity to build a universal international pro-American alliance against terrorism in favor of a unilateral ‘with us or against us’ policy. They also discounted the spontaneous and genuine sympathy that the whole world lavished on America and Americans. Yes, Virginia. There was a time when Le Monde ran headlines declaring that “We are all Americans”. One short year later, we were being urged to snack on ‘freedom fries’ and pour precious Bordeaux wine down the drain.
2. Wolfie’s gang insisted that our NATO allies would blindly accept the Bush administration’s decision to launch a preemptive war of choice and meekly sign up for a ‘coalition of the willing’. Instead, we ended up with France and Germany on the enemies list. Our neo-con lords responded to European resistance by urging us to pour more Champagne down the drain and feed French cheese to the geese.
3. Even if NATO didn’t join the actual invasion of Iraq, they predicted that our reluctant allies would make up for their ‘mistake’ by sending peace keeping troops after the war. Wrong again. So we were implored to smash more wine bottles against the wall.
4. The neo-con priesthood decided that France, Germany and Belgium could easily be relocated to a new continent called ‘Old Europe’ and replaced by Rumania and Bulgaria as stalwart allies. This snub threatened America’s longest standing most durable strategic alliance. Now, with a partial return of sanity, we are all ‘Old Europeans’.
5. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Wolfowitz actively agitated for an immediate invasion of Iraq, not Afghanistan. Because, in his estimate, Iraq was ‘doable’. So far, the casualties in Iraq are ten times the casualties in Afghanistan. And the Iraqi venture is ten times more expensive. Besides, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan can be considered finished business. This was no ordinary ‘error in judgment’. It clearly revealed his hidden agenda to do Israel’s bidding. Instead of going after Al-Qaida training bases and the Taliban, Wolfowitz wanted to do his Likudnik chores for Sharon. Why wasn’t he fired on the spot for this bizarre display of dual allegiance at a time when America was shaken to the core by the assault on the WTC and the Pentagon?
6. The neo-con wizards debunked the four star generals who knew that the occupation would require more troops. As a result, General Shinseki was retired and Richard Perle was promoted to senior troop deployment specialist at the Pentagon. Over night, Perle was elevated from chicken hawk to Field Marshal. Ain’t it grand to have friends in high places?
7. The neo-con cabal predicted that a ‘Shock and Awe campaign’ would decapitate the Iraqi leadership and lead to an instant disintegration of the Iraqi Army. Innocent Iraqi collateral damage would be minimal, as would American casualties. We still don’t have a clue about the Pentagon’s initial estimates of coalition casualties and they refuse to count dead Iraqis, civilians or military. It is fair to assume from the Balkan experience that they estimated American casualties to be in the single digits or slightly more. They certainly didn’t project hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded. In fact, they didn’t have the imagination to consider the ‘remote possibility’ of a post-invasion insurgency. And they still don’t have the time to honor the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice or visit the wounded at Walter Reed. It seems that their schedule are just too busy to take the ‘Dover Test’. The fact that photo journalists are prohibited from attending the military ceremonies for the fallen is a clear indication that their estimates of losses were wildly off the mark.
8. Wolfowitz prematurely declared that Turkey, with proper financial incentives, would join the fray and open a northern front. Another bad Wolfie call.
9. When that didn’t work, the neo-cons were certain that Turkey would at least allow American troops to open a northern front from Turkish soil. After all, what are allies for? Some day we would return the favor by allowing the Turks to invade Vancouver by landing troops in Seattle. Quite a bit of political capital was expended on this effort. Massive economic incentives were dangled before the Turks. Wolfie was so certain that Ankra would give the nod, that he dispatched the troops and their gear off the coast of Turkey and waited for a definite ‘yes’. When Ankra refused his bribes, no one bothered to hold him accountable for this mission critical error in judgment. Battle plans had to be redrawn and troops had to be hastily deployed to Kuwait, all at great risk and expense.
10. When Wolfowitz didn’t get his way, he warned the Turks that they were making a big mistake. After the war, he went back to politely ask Ankara to send 10,000 troops as peacekeepers. Even the quisling Iraqi Governing Council opposed that notion. Just the same, Turkey was given billions of dollars in aid and loan guarantees for merely considering the idea. Apparently, the word had not yet reached Wolfowitz about the tensions between Iraqi Kurds and the Turkish army. The most recent Turkish scorched earth campaign cost some thirty thousand Kurdish lives. Next time Wolfie decides to play general, he should first consider purchasing some Cliff Notes on the history of the Turkish/Kurdish conflict.
11. Wolfie’s cabal also counted on at least a few Arab countries sending troops. Even Kuwait declined the invitation.
12. After the war, they approached a number of Arab and Islamic nations to send peacekeepers, as some did in Afghanistan. Again, no takers.
13. According to the neo-con oracles, international terrorism would decline. Back in the real world, devastating assaults were launched against Bali, Istanbul, Tunisia and Iraq. Nothing compared to the scale of the 9/11 terror attack. But still very destabilizing to the fragile political systems and marginal economies of these countries. To add further insult and injury to their economic woes, Washington and London responded by issuing travel alerts advising tourists and business travelers to avoid these destinations.
14. The war party set up a special intelligence operation, the Office of Special Plans, inside the Pentagon to ‘prove’ Iraqi links to Al Qaeda. They insisted that such links existed and cooked up suspect ‘intelligence’ about an alleged Prague meeting between Iraqi agents and Mohammed Atta. It was a flimsy lead that turned out to be a dud. But the OSP was then transformed into a rogue operation to cherry pick raw unfiltered intelligence finely tailored to fit the war party’s Likudnik agenda.
15. The war party assured us that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction ready to deliver to Bin Laden. Nine months later, the coalition is about to abandon the search for the non-existent WMDs and not a shred of evidence has emerged linking Iraq to Al Qaida.
16. Rumsfeld asserted that he ‘knew’ where the Chemical weapons where located. He knew no such thing. In Rummy’s idiom, he doesn’t remember that he didn’t know something that could not be knowable because WMDs were not available to be located even by those in the know.
17. Tony Blair said that the Iraqi army had already deployed non-existent chemical weapons ready to fire on 45 minutes notice. That’s why they call him ‘Tony Be a Liar’. Even if he really believed that Iraq had WMDs, he knew for certain that Saddam did not have the technology to use them as tactical battlefield weapons.
18. The war party predicted that Iraq was going to be a cakewalk followed by a parade of rice and roses. The liberation of Baghdad would be as sweet as the liberation of Paris. No vision. No concept of reality. Warped perception of time and place.
19. The Bush administration now admits that disbanding the Iraqi army was a mistake. Just another ‘policy’ error.
20. The neo-con cabal was certain that the United Nations would approve a resolution to make their preemptive war legal. When they didn’t get it, they regrouped and insisted that a resolution wasn’t necessary and that the United Nations was irrelevant. Richard Perle recently admitted that the war was illegal but that international legitimacy didn’t matter. If it didn’t matter, why did they bother?
21. While still working on the UN track, Wolfie’s minions insisted that the war was not about ‘regime change’. Now that ‘regime change’ has become the battle cry, onward to Burma.
22. Americans were assured that Iraqi oil would defray the cost of the occupation. Wrong by about $150 billion dollars.
23. Wolfie made us believe that one of the benefits of the war would be a decrease in oil prices. They are now at record highs.
24. The neo-con pundits mocked the UN as an irrelevant debating society. Not nice. Now they are debating the kind of incentives they need to get the UN back into Iraq. The Red Cross and other international aid agencies have also packed their bags and left the country.
25. Insurgents? What insurgents? Rumsfeld and Wolfie, suffering from a bad case of cognitive dissidence, insisted for months that the Iraqi resistance was made up of a finite number of dead enders and Saddam loyalists. Now, we have daily lethal evidence of their bad judgment.
26. They were also wildly of the mark when they estimated that the international peace movement would be small and marginal. The peace movement didn’t manage to stop the war, but they might still have enough strength to bring down Tony Blair. President Bush’s recent reception in London demonstrated how much prestige America lost by pursuing a ‘preemptive’ unilateral path to war. In a blatant assault on the democratic process, a handful of war party pundits and neo-con media monopolies were able to shout down millions of peace activists around the globe. A demoralized peace movement has taken notice of this failure to fight the media powers that be. Next time, the mass protests will be held directly in front of CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Shut down Wolf Blitz’s War Room.
27. The war party mocked and defamed Hans Blix and now he is returning the favor. They suspended his search for WMDs because he wasn’t able to find the phantom weapons ‘fast enough’. They refused pleas for patience. Eight months into the coalition’s WMD fishing expedition, they implore the American public for more patience. One man who seems to have lost patience is David Kay, who currently leads the very expensive Iraq Survey Group charged by Bush to locate Saddam’s non-existent WMDs. He is about to resign and go fishing; this time for trout.
28. In Wolfie’s warped vision of a perfect Likudnik world, Iraqis would rally around Ahmed Chalabi, the convicted bank embezzler who was hand picked by Richard Perle and company to play the role of ‘Saddam Lite’. Chalabi is still promising a rally at the El Rashid hotel sometime in the distant future. Family and friends are urged to attend.
29. When the Chalabi option disintegrated on contact with reality, the neo-con cabal came up with the Iraqi Governing Council. Only a small minority of Iraqis accept the IGC as legitimate. Most of the IGC ministers now require 24-hour protection in American garrisons. The IGC is now a government in hiding. There is an empty hole somewhere in Tikrit where they might find save haven, now that Saddam has no use for it.
30. The prediction was that most of the troops would be home by Christmas. Not going to happen. At least not this Christmas.
31. According the neo-con wizards, the war would demonstrate the ability of the United States to achieve quick decisive victories on multiple fronts without breaking a sweat. American Air power would rule the skies of the world. But the Iraqi debacle reinforces older military doctrines about the long hard slog of taking and keeping ground.
32. No WMD’s. No problem. Just bait and switch to the ‘regime change’ label. These days, the Bush administration is marketing a new and improved political smoke screen. We are now expected to believe that Sharon worshiping vicious anti-Arab bigots like Wolfowitz are suddenly interested in the political freedom of the natives of the Middle East. In any case, Americans were not supposed to notice the change in plans and few have bothered to raise a fuss about this bait and switch. On this score, give partial credit to the neo-cons for leveraging the Murdoch Factor.
33. While promoting ‘democracy’ in Iraq, they gave Sharon more rope to hang the Palestinians. This time, it was the Arabs who were not supposed to notice this blatant hypocrisy of Wolfie’s freedom loving ‘liberation’ goon squads. Again, one must give the neo-cons partial credit on this score. The Arab regimes will dance to almost any tune played by the Great White Father. But their subjects have taken note that the Bush administration is against elections in Iraq and indifferent to the Palestinian struggle for liberty. The novelty of democracy without elections even has Arabs gasping for air.
34. In another forecast, they figured that Iran and Syria would quiver and be rolled over with a few spare divisions after Iraq was quickly pacified. No spare divisions are currently available for this item on the neo-con wish list. So Rumsfeld is proposing a larger army to make their wish come true.
35. The prediction was that North Korea would get the message that we mean business and promptly move to shed its nuclear weapons. Kim, who actually admits to possessing nuclear weapons, says the message was lost in the mail.
36. They sold the canard that Sharon and Israel would feel ‘more secure’ after Saddam was removed and be more willing to make compromises. Sharon also didn’t get his mail and continues his search for a military solution to ‘pacify’ the Palestinians. Hardly a day goes by when Sharon doesn’t indulge his appetite for snuffing a few Palestinians in Gaza or Nablus. He doesn’t do house demolitions anymore. He tears down Palestinian homes by the block. Sharon has also accelerated the construction of the Apartheid wall to fence in those Palestinians lucky enough to survive his reign of terror. The neo-cons, Likudnik fanatics to the last man, are not entirely unhappy that they were wrong on this count.
37. After Saddam’s sons were killed, Wolfowitz and gang predicted that the insurgency would fizzle. Instead, it intensified. Not for the love of Qusay or Uday, but because the Iraqi resistance took heart that they were safely out of the way.
38. The neo-con pundits were certain that Saddam was leading the resistance. In fact, Saddam was actively engaged in a bold attempt to get command and control of a shaving kit.
39. We were assured that the mission was accomplished when Bush made his dramatic landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln. In fairness, the neo-cons might have been referring to the mission of the camera crew who had just completed filming a segment for the Bush re-election campaign.
40. The war would assure Bush another four years in the White House. Wrong again, as evidenced by his shrinking polls.
41. The Wolfie post-war forecast was for a grateful world to rally around Bush and show him deference as a political giant; the very reincarnation of Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle wrapped up as the colossus of the beltway. Now, the man from Crawford can’t visit London without the company of a military escort large enough to launch another D-Day landing on the shores of Normandy. The Queen was not amused when Bush insisted on remodeling Buckingham palace to assure his security against hordes of peace loving Englishmen. A fuss over the color of the curtains derailed the Bush remodel.
42. The war on Iraq would teach the ‘Arab Street’ a lesson about their designated servile role in the American Empire and how to properly bow before the great white father in Washington. Any random walk through the Arab Casaba reveals a decidedly different drift in public opinion. But who dares to predict which way the wind is blowing in this winter of their discontent.
43. The search is still on for the illusive command and control center of the Iraqi resistance. Good luck. They will probably find it next door to the WMD depot located in Atlantis. This insurgency is spontaneous, chaotic, opportunistic, unorganized, with multiple independent cells that have different motives. It might go dormant for a few days and then re-emerge with different tactics in unexpected locations. It is well armed, without a need to depend on new supplies from outside sources. The most troubling thing about it is that it might yet be reinforced with a large pool of Shiite foot soldiers. Now that Saddam is in the bag, Iraq’s Shiites will have a different ax to grind. They led the resistance against the British in 1922. The fact that the insurgents have already launched so many suicide missions trumps the notion that the insurgency is dependent on paid operatives.
44. The latest advice from the neo-con wizards is to depend on Israeli style tactics. Now, this is just plain stupid. Israel’s methods have been tried in Lebanon and the occupied territories. They failed both times. With a standing Army of 400,000 and soldiers who get to sleep at home after doing their nasty daily duties in Gaza, Sharon has spent three years in an unsuccessful attempt to quash three million unarmed untrained Palestinians. When first elected, he promised the Israelis that he could make the Palestinians ‘quiet’ in a hundred days. So far, he is wildly off the mark by 900 days and 800 Israeli casualties. Not to mention, 2500 Palestinian dead, many of them children. There is nothing to suggest that another 900 days of the same tactics would do anything but increase the anger and rage among the Palestinian natives. Adopting Israeli tactics will only anger more Iraqis and foment a more lethal insurgency. Not that it matters to the Likudnik neo-con death squads, but many of Sharon’s tactics are also gross violations of the Geneva Convention.
45. Wolfowitz couldn’t make up his mind about the oil thing. Neither could Thomas Friedman. First, it was not about the oil. But later, they decided that it most certainly was about the oil. Chalk it up to wild collective neo-con mood swings. Besides, you can never lose by calling both sides of the coin.
46. They concocted the yellow cake uranium scam. When Ambassador Wilson decided to challenge them, they blew the cover of his CIA wife. Big mistake. Now that the CIA wants to get even with them, they are well advised to sleep with the lights on.
47. As their errors compounded, Wolfie’s boys continued recruiting extreme right wing Likudniks into the State Department and Pentagon. The most recent hires were Elliot Abrams of Iran/Contra fame as Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs; Daniel Pipes, an anti-Arab polemicist, for the US institute of Peace; Daniel Wurmser, a fanatic even by neo-con standards, as Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Wurmser’s duties include training Cheney to speak out of the other side of his mouth.
48. The neo-con cabal ignored a detailed study by the State Department’s Tom Warrick. He had assembled a 200-man team for a year long $5 million dollar research project that accurately predicted the post war chaos in Iraq. When General Garner requested that Mr. Warrick be appointed to the postwar operations and reconstruction, Wolfie’s team derailed the appointment because Warrick did not pass the ‘neo-con’ acid test.
49. The concentration of so many Likudniks in sensitive positions at the Pentagon and State department did not go unnoticed in the Middle East. Their unabashed flaunting of their close ties to Ariel Sharon effectively sabotaged the declared American policy of winning hearts and minds.
50. Do we really need another reason to dispatch the neo-cons to a mental health asylum in Tel Aviv? Aren’t 49 reasons enough? Besides, when have they ever been right? Their ‘achievements’ make for a very short list.
Wolfowitz and his neo-con cabal are the folks that the father of our country warned us about. When George Washington, in his farewell address to the nation, cautioned against Americans who had passionate attachment to foreign states, he was talking about the Israeli Lobby.
Given all these errors and their very suspect motives, why are Wolfowitz and his pals still on Uncle Sam’s payroll? Where did an Assistant Secretary of Defense get the resources to buy such huge quantities of Teflon from Rupert Murdoch and CNN? Did the neo-cons on the mass media side of the wafer thin political divide provide fellow travelers like Wolfie with free Teflon on demand? How exactly did Wolfie’s ‘49 to zilch’ track record go unnoticed by all the ‘experts’ at The New York Times and The Washington Post?
More to the point. Do you want a job like Wolfie’s? Do you have the talents to be so wildly off the mark? Would you be willing to settle for half his pay to produce half his mistakes? Have you got proper good conduct references from Ariel Sharon? Are you now or have you ever belonged to the war party? Have you ever avoided service in the Armed Forces of the United States? Are you an aspiring graduate of the American Enterprise Institute? Is your sister living in Tel Aviv? Are you disappointed that Israel is too ‘soft’ on the Palestinians? Are you willing to demonstrate your dual loyalty when confronted by those with suspect allegiance to the America First agenda? Do you have the chutzpah to insult a four star general on the floor of the US senate in front of national TV? Can you follow up your performance with a successful campaign to convince Rumsfeld to dispatch said General to early retirement? Are you willing to actively work on OSP projects to engineer deliberate ‘intelligence failures’ to market your Likudnik agenda?
If you answered ‘yes’ to all the above, you’re hired. And this being government work, nothing short of shooting your co-workers at the post office can possibly get you fired.