It was announced Tuesday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will arrive in Washington Thursday for a day of meetings with Bush. In the wake of significant setbacks for both British and US forces, and with a battle pending in Baghdad that may claim many thousands of civilian lives, the conference at Camp David has the character of an emergency war council. The logic of events on the ground in Iraq is pushing the two imperialist powers toward a far bloodier war, with enormous political consequences.
After five days of heavy bombing and the advance of US forces to within 50 miles of Baghdad, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hinted at the mounting difficulties confronting the US and British invaders. “We’re still, needless to say, much closer to the beginning than the end,” he told a Pentagon press briefing. “This campaign could well become more dangerous in the coming days and weeks.”
Rumsfeld was repeatedly questioned as to whether the administration had deceived the American people into expecting a quick and virtually bloodless war of “liberation.”
“Not me,” Rumsfeld replied, disavowing responsibility for promoting the “shock and awe” strategy that was touted to the media by his aides. This strategy was based on the conception that an intense, carefully targeted bombardment could bring about the implosion of Saddam Hussein’s government through either assassination or mutiny, while leaving the Iraqi military largely intact as the basis for a new US-dominated regime.