Bush`s Dirty Secret: Bribing Iraq Insurgents Not to Fight

It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush
regime`s lies. There are simply too many. Among the
recent crop, one of the biggest is that the "surge"
is working.

Launched last year, the "surge" was the extra
20,000-30,000 US troops sent to Iraq. These few extra
troops, Americans were told, would finally supply the
necessary forces to pacify Iraq.

This claim never made any sense. The extra troops
didn`t raise the total number of US soldiers to more
than one-third the number every expert has said is
necessary in order to

successfully occupy Iraq.

The real purpose of the "surge" was to hide
another deception. The Bush regime is paying Sunni
insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack US forces.
That`s right, 80,000 members of an "Awakening group,"
the "Sons of Iraq," a newly formed "US-allied
security force"
consisting of Sunni insurgents, are
being paid $10 a day each not to attack US troops.
Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work fighting al

This is a much cheaper way to fight a war. We can
only wonder why Bush didn`t figure it out sooner.

The "surge" was also timed to take account of
the near completion of neighborhood cleansing. Most of
the violence in Iraq during the past five years has
resulted from Sunnis and Shi`ites driving each other out
of mixed neighborhoods. Had the two groups been capable
of uniting against the US troops, the US would have been
driven out of Iraq long ago. Instead, the Iraqis
slaughtered each other and fought the Americans in their
spare time.

In other words, the "surge" has had nothing to
do with any decline in violence.

With the Sunni insurgents now on Uncle Sam`s payroll,
with neighborhoods segregated, and with al Sadr`s
militia standing down, it is unclear who is still
responsible for ongoing violence other than US troops
themselves. Somebody must still be fighting, however,
because the US is still conducting air strikes and is
still unable to tell friend from foe.

On February 16, the Los Angeles Times reported
that a US air strike managed to kill 9 Iraqi civilians
and 3 Sons of Iraq.

The Sunnis are abandoning their posts in protest,
demanding an end to "errant" US air strikes.

Obviously, the Sunnis see an opportunity to increase
their daily pay for not attacking Americans. Soon they
will have consultants advising them how much they can
demand in bribes before it pays the Americans to begin
fighting the war under the old terms.

If Sunnis are smart, they will split the gains.
Currently, the Sunnis are getting shafted. They are only
collecting $800,000 of the $275,000,000 it costs
the US to fight the war for one day.  That`s only about
three-tenths of one percent, too much of a one-sided
deal for the Americans.

If the Sunnis negotiate their cut to between
one-quarter and one-half of the daily cost to the US of
the war, the Sunnis won`t need to share in the oil
revenues, thus helping the three factions to get back
together as a country. Even 10% of the daily cost of the
war would be a good deal for the Sunnis. A long-term
contract in this range would be expensive for Uncle Sam,
but a great deal cheaper than John McCain`s commitment
to a 100-year Iraqi war.

If Bush`s war turns out to be as big a boon for the
Sunnis as it has for Tony Blair, we might have a
modern-day version of "The
Mouse That Roared
—a movie about an impoverished
country that attacked the US in order to be defeated and
receive foreign aid—only this time the money comes as a
payoff for not fighting the occupiers.

As the world now knows, Blair`s "dodgy dossier"
about the threat allegedly posed by Iraq was a
contrivance that allowed Blair to put British troops at
the service of Bush`s aggression in the Middle East. Now
that Blair is out of his Prime Minister job, he has been
rewarded with millions of dollars in sinecures from
financial firms such as JP Morgan and millions more in
speaking engagements. As part of the payoff, the Bush
Republicans have even put Mrs. Blair on the lucrative
lecture circuit.

Ask yourself, do you really think Blair knows enough
high finance to be of any value as an advisor to JP
Morgan, or enough about climate change to advise Zurich
Financial on the subject? Do you really believe that
after hearing all the vacuous speeches Blair has
delivered in those many years in office anyone now wants
to pay him huge fees to hear him give a speech? Even
when it was free, people were sick of it.

Blair is simply

collecting his payoff
for selling out his country
and sending British troops to die for American hegemony.

The Sunnis seem inclined to do the same thing if Bush
will pay them enough.

Is the next phase of the Iraq war going to be a
US-Sunni alliance against the Shi`ites?

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.