Stormin' Norman Episode Eight
The George Bush Train Wreck
By Norm Aulabaugh
Welcome to episode eight of Stormin' Norman titled, The George Bush
Train Wreck. I'm Norm Aulabaugh, writer and
producer of this commentary. The opinions I present here are mine. These opinions may not be shared by JATV or any
individuals associated with this public access television station.
The United States is at a difficult juncture. Support for going to war
against Iraq is fading. If George Bush continues his
policy of "going it alone" and demanding that "either you are with us or against us" as he is so fond of stating, then the George
Bush Mess that I described in Episode five of this Stormin' Norman series will become the George Bush train wreck. Bad
foreign policy is the root cause of the problems we face.
Let's focus on Iraq. How quickly we forget that we supported Iraq in
their war against Iran. That war lasted from 1980 until
1988. Patrick Tyler, writing in the International Herald Tribune on August 19, 2002 said, "A covert United States program
during the Reagan Administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when U.S. intelligence
agencies knew that Iraq commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war."
Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of GasWe tell Iraq that it's OK to go to war with it's neighbors in the 1980's, and we even look the other way when Iraq uses
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Desert Storm resulted. I firmly backed
the actions the United States took in Desert Storm. We
had the backing of the entire global community and the United Nations. Clearly, international law had been broken. The
territorial integrity of a nation was at stake. One nation cannot invade another.
But we seem to have forgotten what happened in the ten years that followed
Desert Storm. I quote Barbara Crosette from an
article titled, "The undoing of arms inspections in Iraq" which appeared in the International Herald Tribune on October 1,
2002. Barbara Crosette was United Nations bureau chief for the New York Times from 1994 to 2001.
http://www.iht.com/search.php?id=72284&owner=(IHT)&date=20021002161700Barbara says "A strange bipartisan amnesia has overtaken Washington, obscuring the story of how United Nations weapons
For more of Barbara Crossette's excellent reporting for IHT, see: http://www.iht.com/search.php?SiteVersion=HTML&key=Barbara+Crossette
Note that some of the articles are indexed improperly, and the (International Herald Tribune) term in the result string has to be replaced with the term (IHT).
At the end of Desert storm, Madeleine Albright was our ambassador to
the UN. Madeline was one butt kicking lady! She
made sure that Iraq was held to it's disarmament obligations. This was our policy during the entire first term of the Clinton
administration. Vast amounts of weapons were destroyed by the inspectors.
But then, in the second four years of the Clinton administration, Madeleine
Albright was moved to Washington to become
secretary of state.
Again I quote Barbara Crosette: At the united nations, Washington was on Cruise control by 1997."
Other members of the security council were concerned about what was
happening with respect to Iraq. Iraq was finding
novel ways of circumventing the sanctions, while at the same time, Iraq made great propaganda about the way Iraqi
citizens suffered because of the sanctions. The United States did nothing and continued "on cruise control."
In 1997, we gave a nod of approval to the "oil for food" program that
allowed Iraq to sell petroleum to pay for civilian
goods. Newsweek Magazine reported extensively on this program. Saddam was forced to sell oil at a discount yielding a
price far below the price the oil could be sold for on the open market. This led to a situation where Saddam could demand
"money under the table" on each sale. Those purchasing the oil were getting it at far less than world market price, even
considering the kick back they were forced to give to Saddam. The purchasers made lots of money. So did Saddam. The
United States did nothing.
In 1997, Richard Butler, an excellent Australian disarmament expert,
took over as chairman of Unscom, the United Nations
special commission, which was overseeing the arms inspection system in Iraq. But by now, because of inattention on the
part of the United States, the inspection program was a sham. Saddam was blocking inspections. He was insisting that no
Americans be allowed on the inspections teams because the United States was planting spies in place of inspectors on the
Unscom team. Unfortunately, Saddam's accusations were true and illuminated a bad policy on the part of the United States.
The inspections program was falling apart. There was a little bluster
from Washington, but the Clinton administration was
heading into the Monica Lewinski scandal, and this fact, along with the revelation that the CIA was planting spies in the
inspector ranks caused Washington to say almost nothing as reported by Barbara Crosette in the International herald
Tribune article I cited earlier. We abandoned Chief Inspector, Butler. In 1998, the frustrated inspection team pulled out.
The US threw some bombs at Iraq, and nothing was done until guess when? If you guessed September 11, 2001 - you are
100 percent correct.
Barbara Crosette ends her article with: The ambassadorship to the United
Nations was left vacant for months on end. Years
were lost. Saddam Hussein is now richer and more belligerent. And there is still no policy but war.
We, the United States, were instrumental in letting the inspection program
lapse. Years went by and we did nothing. So now
my question to President Bush is - what's a few more months to let some programs being proposed by France and Germany
deal with the Iraq problem. But I ask you, has George Bush ever proposed any solution to the Iraq problem other than war?
Unfortunately, George Bush has painted himself, and America into a corner - he now has no other way out - unless he looses
face. This is very poor diplomacy on the part of ANY nation.
I'm not saying that Iraq's failure to comply with the UN directives
is all OUR fault. But I do wish that President Bush would
review the history of the inspections. Instead of hearing him say over and over that he is tired of "years of Saddam's
ignoring UN resolutions etc. etc. I would like to hear him say, "We need to have a consistent foreign policy that will leave no
doubt as to what the expectations are in cases like Iraq so we don't let them get to a crisis situation before we react.
Our policy gets more confusing, when you consider our method of dealing
with Iraq, and then with North Korea. Many
argue that just as we should have stopped Hitler back in the 1930's, we must act now, to prevent Saddam from bringing
destruction to the world. Saddam is not Hitler. Hitler, and his war machine had become so powerful in the 1930's that it
took the combined efforts of many nations to defeat Germany over a period of many years. Saddam can probably be
stomped out of existence by the United States military alone in a number of days. But we are saying war is the only way of
dealing with Iraq, while we say diplomacy is the only way to deal with North Korea. Of course, North Korea has a huge
army, missiles that can carry warheads great distances, and is suspected of having a couple nuclear bombs. So what does
this say to the world?
Do you see why some of our allies may be getting confused? We say that
war is the only way to handle Iraq, but diplomacy is
the way to go with North Korea. So then when Germany and France say, let's try diplomacy with Iraq, we say NO? I'm very
Let's talk about vetoes in the security council. For some reason, we,
The United States get very upset when a country
exercises it's right to issue a veto against some position we have taken. But we reserve our right to veto anything others
may propose, and we don't expect them to get upset?
In recent months, Israel has made numerous invasions of Palestinian
territory, killing many Palestinians in the process. I'm
not endorsing Palestinian sponsored terrorist tactics. But I do know that just as the Palestinian attacks against Israel have
killed many innocent Israeli civilians, so also have Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory killed many innocent
Palestinians. Earlier this year, the security council of the United Nations formulated a declaration condemning these
actions taken by Israel. Guess who used their VETO power to kill this declaration. Right - The United States of America. So
now, when Germany, France, China, or Russia are considering to use a veto against the United States - who is squawking?.
In the aftermath of 9-11, the Bush administration has endorsed a policy
that preemptive strikes are not only just an option,
but a cardinal principal in our foreign policy. We have also embraced unilateralism. We state that "you are either with us or
you are against us." This policy is driving wedges between us and many of our former allies. This policy greatly alarms many
of our allies. Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter says, "this policy has fueled
anti-American sentiment. This is part and parcel of a changing view of America. The image you get of America from the
polls abroad is an America that is admired for what it is domestically, but increasingly viewed with apprehension for how it
conducts itself internationally. This is not good. I am a great supporter of American power. We are the essential element of
global stability. But our power is not so enormous that we can afford progressively to lose the element of legitimacy of that
The great frustration in Islamic countries, is the failure of the United
States to achieve any lasting peace in the middle east.
We are seen, and rightly so, as being very supportive of Israel, and non supportive of the Palestinians. We give huge
amounts of foreign aid to Israel. We look the other way, when it is pointed out that Israel has developed weapons of mass
destruction. We look the other way as Israel creates illegal settlements on the west bank. Bill Clinton was making good
progress in getting peace talks started between Israel and the Palestinians. Please let me know what George Bush has done.
The answer is nothing. We are the only super power left in the world. This means that besides being the policeman, we must
also be the peacemaker. But all Bush can talk about is war.
Ronald Spiers wrote a commentary in the International Herald Tribune
on January 4, 2003. Ronald Spiers is a retired
American diplomat who served as undersecretary of state, undersecretary general of the United Nations, and ambassador
to Turkey and Pakistan.
Try clearer thinking about 'terrorists' - Confusion in AmericaSpiers says, "President George W. Bush responded to the events of September 11, 2001 sure-footedly at first. He identified
See also: The United States was admired and respected
He swiftly distinguished between Islam and the perpetrators, so as to
steer domestic sentiment away from seeing this as a
cultural or religious conflict.
He distinguished between terrorism with a "global reach" and local movements
fighting in pursuit of geographically specific
objectives. He called for a war and began to build multilateral coalition with a range of financial, intelligence, military and
But Bush soon lost his way. The war metaphor took command. The distinction
between September 11 and local conflicts like
those in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Palestine, amenable to negotiation and political solution, began to blur.
The president, and others in the administration began to mine the war
metaphor for its political utility. Whenever the
administration wanted to accomplish politically or economically, it would seek justification for the fact that "America was
The terrorists of September 11 were criminals, pure and simple. They
can be fretted out and disrupted only by careful
intelligence and police operations, the same way criminal investigators go after an organized crime syndicate. The attorney
general finds the war metaphor useful when he turns to constitutionally questionable measures to preserve national
security. The confusion is increased by trying to justify a war on Iraq as a necessary part of the war on terror."
We must remember that Osama bin laden is the enemy. But somehow, bin laden has morphed into Saddam.
The Bush administration is constantly trying to link Bin Laden with
Iraq, and with Saddam. In his latest tape just released,
Bin Laden says "Iraq was governed by socialist infidels including Saddam." This hardly sounds like these two gents get
together regularly to discuss items of mutual interest!
Even though it sounds very questionable that Saddam and bin laden would
seek to join forces, President Bush keeps trying
to convince us that Saddam would eagerly sell his "weapons of mass destruction" to any terrorist group.
The U.S. army stores huge stockpiles of chemical weapons at the Anniston
Army Depot in Alabama and eight other
chemical weapons stockpiles located across the United States. What is to prevent some disgruntled soldier or civilian from
dipping into these stockpiles and providing the agents to whomever?
There are thousands of nuclear warheads still in storage in the United
States, and in Russia. What is to prevent one of these
weapons from falling into the wrong hands - particularly those being stored in Russia where security may not be quite as
robust as it is here in the United States? If North Korea has nuclear weapons, what is to prevent them from selling one to
Osama bin Laden? But Bush can only focus on Iraq.
I don't like to call my President a liar, but just as President Johnson
lied to America when making statements that led to the
Golf of Tonkin resolution that got us firmly entrenched in a meaningless war in Vietnam, so does President Bush make
statements that don't appear to be true. Last October, Bush said, "Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.
Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past."
But the inspectors working right now in Iraq reported, "We have found no evidence that Iraq has revived it's nuclear
weapons program since the elimination of the program in the 1990's.
Hans Blix challenged the use of his report by the United States in an
article appearing in the International Herald Tribune on
February 1, 2003. "In a two hour interview in his UN offices, Blix . . . seemed determined to dispel any impression that his
report was intended to support the administrations campaign to build world support for a war to disarm Saddam Hussein.
In this interview, Blix took issue with what he said were Secretary of State Colin Powell's claims that the inspectors had
found that Iraqi Officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He
said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents."
France, Germany, and other countries are saying, let's let the inspections
continue. Wouldn't this and other diplomacy
methods be better than war? Many American soldiers are going to get killed. Many innocent Iraqi civilians are going to die.
But rushing into war seems to be the only policy Washington has on it's mind.
The Unites States rejected the 1997 Kyoto protocol on climate change.
George W. Bush said we would not sign the accord
because "It might hurt our economy." The European union has asked us to support the international criminal court, where
Slobodan Milosevic is presently on trial for war crimes. George Bush said we would not support the court because he feared
the court may be manipulated to put our soldiers on trial. The whole world has asked the United States to join with them to
sign the Treaty banning the use of land mines. We refuse to do so. The United States has not yet ratified the Comprehensive
Test ban Treaty even though it was endorsed by the entire American scientific establishment including 32 Nobel laureates,
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States recently rejected more than six years of negotiations, involving 56 nations,
on enforcement measures for the 1992 Biological Weapons convention. The United States, unilaterally withdrew from the
antiballistic missile treaty signed with Russia in 1972.
We say a big NO to our allies and the rest of the world, when they seek
our help. But if they say NO to us, we cry foul and
charge ahead like a bully.
George Bush is pursuing policies that will only serve to weaken the
ability of the United States to be an accepted force to
promote global stability. He has already alienated many of our allies, and has started a fracture within NATO that could lead
to the demise of this beneficial coalition of nations. I urge you all, to contact George Bush directly, and your
representatives in Washington. Contact information follows. Urge them to stop this madness that seems to have seized
some of our leaders in Washington. Do this for the sake of this great nation.
I end this commentary with a good quotation. "The people can always
be brought to the bidding of the leaders. . . . All you
have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for exposing the country to danger. It works
in any country.
And I am Stormin' Norman.