Mission Accomplished: A New Look at Bush's Victory in Iraq

In the latest London Review of Books, Jim Holt provides a cogent, powerful account of a theme we have been sounding here for years; i.e., that the Iraq War has actually been a resounding success for the Bush Faction (and the various elites it represents and embodies). The Bushists have achieved almost all of their initial war aims and are now set to reap a windfall of up to $30 trillion that will maintain the American elite's whip-hand over the world for generations to come. And all it cost was a measly $1 trillion in taxpayer money, a few thousand pieces of lower-class cannon fodder from the U.S. military – and the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq: an excellent return on investment for Bush-Cheney Inc. and their cronies.

We've covered this issue at various times from various angles; a sampling includes:

Claiming the Prize: Bush Surge Aimed at Securing Iraqi Oil (Jan. 8, 2007)
Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq (Oct. 17, 2006)
Blood of Victory (June 18, 2004)
Dubya Indemnity: Bush Barons Beyond the Reach of Law (Aug. 15, 2003)
From Pakistan to the Potomac: The Terror Warriors' Enduring Victory (Aug. 9, 2007)

Below is a brief mashup from the above articles:

In a world of dwindling petroleum resources, those who control large reserves of cheaply-produced oil will reap unimaginable profits – and command the heights of the global economy. It's not just about profit, of course; control of such resources would offer tremendous strategic advantages to anyone who was interested in "full spectrum domination" of world affairs, which the Bush-Cheney faction and their outriders among the neocons and the "national greatness" fanatics have openly sought for years. With its twin engines of corporate greed and military empire, the war in Iraq is a marriage made in Valhalla.

And this unholy union is what Bush is really talking about when he talks about "victory." This is the reason for so much of the drift and dithering and chaos and incompetence of the occupation: Bush and his cohorts don't really care what happens on the ground in Iraq – they care about what comes out of the ground. The end – profit and dominion – justifies any means. What happens to the human beings caught up in the war is of no ultimate importance; the game is worth any number of broken candles.

And in plain point of fact, the Bush-Cheney faction – and the elite interests they represent – has already won the war in Iraq...They've won even if Iraq collapses into perpetual anarchy, or becomes an extremist religious state; they've won even if the whole region goes up in flames, and terrorism flares to unprecedented heights – because this will just mean more war-profiteering, more fear-profiteering. And yes, they've won even if they lose their majority [in November 2006] or the presidency in 2008, because war and fear will still fill their coffers, buying them continuing influence and power as they bide their time through another interregnum of a Democratic "centrist" – who will, at best, only nibble at the edges of the militarist state  – until they are back in the saddle again. The only way they can lose the Iraq War is if they are actually arrested and imprisoned for their war crimes. And you know and I know that's not going to happen.

So Bush's confident strut, his incessant upbeat pronouncements about the war, his complacent smirks, his callous indifference to the unspeakable horror he has unleashed in Iraq – these are not the hallmarks of self-delusion, or willful ignorance, or a disassociation from reality. He and his accomplices know full well what the reality is – and they like it...

We can't really put it any plainer than this: they literally do not care how many people die and suffer as a result of their policies. The only restraint -- the only one -- on their actions is the need to preserve the acquiesence of various American factions and institutions to their own illegitimate, authoritarian rule. They have continuously, relentlessly pushed the boundaries to see how far they can go and still retain this acquiesence -- and at every step, no matter how outrageous, they have found that it still holds. And so they keep pushing one step further. (We can see a perfect example of this in the FISA farce: Bush demands draconian powers of unfettered mass surveillance; the Democrats give them to him; then he demands even more.) There seems to be no limit to the docility of Americans in the face of this authoritarian onslaught -- clearly, the nation as a whole has lost the independent spirit of its founders -- but still, a tyrant must always tread carefully, testing the waters for what the populace will swallow. Killing a million innocent Iraqis is obviously OK -- but would two million, or six million, cause an uproar? Dropping bombs in residential areas is fine with the folks -- but would carpet bombing Sadr City be a bit too much? But these restraints, such as they are, are merely political; moral, legal, and ethical concerns play no part in the Bushists' calculations.

Holt's article updates this material and adds a wealth of detail to buttress the case. So scoot on over to LRB and give it a full read, pronto.