July 16, 2003
[Translation by Otto Hinckelmann]
Bush in Trouble
Record Deficits in US Due To Iraq War
"Regime Change" in Washington DemandedBy RÜDIGER GÖBEL
ERLIN, 16 July 2003 — A good three months after the conquest of Baghdad, the occupation troops in Iraq and their commander-in-chief, President George W. Bush are on the defensive as never before. The dissatisfaction of the Iraqis over their unrestored destroyed infrastructure is growing and the fear of looting, attacks, and murders continues. As a result, the attacks on the hated occupiers mount. The US soldiers and their allies are ever more frequently the targets of attacks of increasing severity which drive up the casualty figures. Even the seat of the "Governing Council" located in the US Headquarters in Baghdad, which was assembled over the weekend by the US Civil Administrator, Paul Bremer, was the target of a grenade attack. The toppled Saddam Hussein is still at large. A reward of $25 million has up until now produced no credible leads to his whereabouts. On the contrary, the fugitive leader encouraged his countrymen repeatedly to intensify their resistance. Also, the occupation forces have offered $2500 in cash for the betrayal of even ordinary guerilla fighters. So far there have been no takers.
In the meantime, Washington is preparing the American public for a permanent US military presence in Iraq. According to a CNN report, thousands of US soldiers are to remain stationed in that country. In Baghdad, the demoralized US soldiers have begun to rename the streets: Canal Road, California Avenue, or Coors Street, named after a well-known American brewery, can now be found in the new edition of the street map of the Iraqi capitol.
Meanwhile, due to the Bush war, the US budget deficit is out of control. According to the Washington Post and Reuters, Congressional staffers fear a deficit of more than $450 billion for fiscal 2003. Similar figures are to be expected for 2004. If these forecasts are correct, the deficit will be 50% greater than those issued by the Bush government 5 months ago. The new estimates include, for the first time, the initial costs of the Iraqi invasion. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are costing approximately $4.8 billion per month, double what was expected.
As if that wasn't enough, President Bush has to continue to defend himself against the accusation that he didn't tell his countrymen the truth before the Iraq war. Every third US citizen is of the opinion that Bush is a liar. And a swing in public opinion in favor of the US president is nowhere in sight. In response to the ever increasing criticism of his justification for the war and the information provided by the intelligence services, the increasingly defensive President can only come up with enthusiastic adulation of the latter. In a meeting with UN General Secretary Kofi Annan at the White House on Monday evening he said, that, in general, the information upon which he based his statements was "damned good." On the contrary, in recent days one thing has become particularly clear: The reports were damned bad. In his important State of the Union message to the Congress in January, relying on British intelligence information, Bush spoke of Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Nigeria. The proofs of this have since turned out to be forgeries.
Over the weekend CIA Chief George Tenet took the responsibility for the misinformation, but rebuffed demands that he resign. Bush even expressed his confidence in him. The opposition Democrats accuse the White House of deliberate deception. At the time of the Bush speech the US intelligence service had already expressed serious reservations about the reports which had come from British intelligence. In spite of the collapse of the structure of lies London is stonewalling and Prime Minister Tony Blair has simply switched onto autopilot: He stands fully and totally by the information that was made public. He declined to comment further on the case. He let his Foreign Minister Jack Straw explain secretively that British intelligence has additional information that it did not share with the CIA.
For the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter it remains a certainty that there is no proof of forbidden weapons in Iraq. At UN headquarters in New York on Monday he introduced his new book. Ritter, who led a group of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, said that Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction to the American people and the Congress. His book concludes with the words, "What's needed in America is a regime change. Anything but Bush and Cheney."