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Bill Gibsons: Spreading Stain

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher," Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote. 
"For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."        

In an interview about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners with Arab language al-Hurra TV, President Bush said: "We want to know the truth...There will be investigations, people will be brought to justice. We're taking care of the problem."

President Bush apologized for the 'abhorrant' abuse of Iraqi prisoners. "It's a stain on our country's honor and our country's reputation."

But aren't President Bush and the 'war party' members of his administration far, far guiltier of abusing Iraqis than the prison guards caught obscenely in their own pictures?

Haven't President Bush and his administration done more to foment hatred of America and terrorism by initiating the Iraq debacle than even Osama Bin Laden could have wished? The very damaging attacks on Islamic prisoners personal dignity are but one sorry lowlight in a tragedy of wanton killing, torture and abuse of Iraqis that is inflaming anti-Americanism around the world.

Didn't President Bush and his administration initiate the whole sorry spreading stain of occupation and subsequent inhumanity by breaking international and US law in attacking Iraq?

Americans supported a war against a mad tyrant who had weapons of mass destruction, had used them before against his own people, and who, given the intelligence evidence available, was an imminent danger to America.

But here we're no WMDs. Saddam, a cruel and brutal tyrant to be sure, turned out to be well contained and far weaker than at the time of the first Gulf War.

Furthermore, there is now overwhelming evidence of a contaminated, manipulated intelligence process which selectively exaggerating Saddam's danger. Why? There is substantive evidence of cynical premeditation and planning of an illegal war by a 'war party' within the Bush Administration for US imperial self-interest: for control of a client state in Iraq to control the very important oil producing Middle East.

The American people supported a war of justifiable self-defense because of what they thought
was evidence of an imminent threat of a September 11th nature.

But a war of imperial self-interest not only contravene's the UN Charter, contravene's US law, but is fundamentally against everything that America stands for.

If this was the real reason why Iraq was attacked then a crime was committed. This is the fundamental basic problem that needs investigation, that needs taking care of.

Given what is known now, why America went to war is the most important issue that needs to be resolved. Peace in Iraq, peace in the Middle East, and, in the longer term, continuing prosperity and security in our complex and interdependent global society are dependent upon an open investigation of the alleged crime and justice being done, transparently, for all to see.

What would this change? Why does this matter? Isn't it time to move on - we thought that Saddam was an imminent danger - that was enough - and the US did invade Iraq and now the question is what do we do now: how do we establish a stable state in Iraq and get American troops out before the situation spirals down to even worse violence and abuse of Iraqis?

The US can't just leave Iraq now; leave it broken and festering, a probable horrific civil war. But if US troops are there as an imperial occupying power and the Iraqis know this and the world knows this; if the US is there for the wrong reasons -like Vietnam - then the situation will only get worse. In Iraq. In the Middle East region. In America's relations with the rest of the world  through the immense consequences of how this possibly criminal act in Iraq will poison and corrode multilateral relations.

If the US is in Iraq to build military bases to control the flow of oil in the future, Iraqis will know this, the Middle East will know this, the global community will know this and act accordingly. If the Bush administration is building the biggest embassy in the world for the purpose of controlling a client state, American imperial intent will be manifest for all to see.

And the result will be an increasing hostility and a deepening quagmire and America will have renounced the democratic and anti-imperialistic ideals of the founders of their great country.

Why did the US invade Iraq? This is the key question of very serious criminality that must be first on the agenda of those who would stop the spreading stain and begin the healing - in Iraq and in America. An investigation is needed. If guilty, the people who initiated this abuse on the Iraqi people must be brought to justice.

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