by William Blum
Which is the more remarkable -- that the United States can openly announce to the world its determination to invade a sovereign nation and overthrow its government in the absence of any attack or threat of attack from the intended target? Or that for an entire year the world has been striving to figure out what the superpower's real intentions are?
There are of course those who accept at face value Washington's stated motivations of "liberating" the people of Iraq from a dictatorship and bestowing upon them a full measure of democracy, freedom, prosperity and other eternal joys which are the stuff of American folklore. In light of a century of well-documented US foreign policy which reveals a virtually complete absence of such motivations, along with repeated opposite consequences resulting from such policies, we can dispense with this attempt by Washington to win hearts and mindless; similarly with their attempt at humor by warning us that Iraq is an imminent military threat.
Presented here are some reflections about several of the causes that make the hearts of the imperial mafia beat faster in regard to Iraq, which may be helpful in arguing the anti-war point of view:
Expansion of the American Empire: adding more military bases and communications listening stations to the Pentagon's portfolio, setting up a command post from which to better monitor, control and intimidate the rest of the Middle East.
Idealism: the imperial mafia fundamentalists remaking the world in America's image, with free enterprise, belief in a political system straight out of an American high-school textbook, and Judeo-Christianity as core elements. They assume that US moral authority is as absolute and unchallengeable as its military power. Here is Michael Ledeen, former Reagan official, now at the American Enterprise Institute (one of the leading drum-beaters for attacking Iraq): "If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
Oil: to be in full control of Iraq's vast reserves, with Saudi oil and Iranian oil waiting defenselessly next door; OPEC will be stripped of its independence from Washington and will no longer think about replacing the dollar with the Euro as its official currency, as Iraq has already done; oil-dependent Europe may think twice next time about challenging Washington's policies; the emergence of the European Union as a competing superpower may be slowed down.
Globalization: Once relative security over the land, people and institutions has been established, the transnational corporations will march into Iraq ready to privatize everything at fire-sale prices, followed closely by the IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization and the rest of the international financial extortionists.
Arms industry: As with each of America's endless wars, military manufacturers will rake in their exorbitant profits, then deliver their generous political contributions, inspiring Washington leaders to yet further warfare, each war also being the opportunity to test new weapons and hand out contracts for the rebuilding of the country just demolished. As an added bonus, Pentagon officers have jobs waiting for them with the same companies when they retire
Israel: The men driving Bush to war include long-time militant supporters of Israel, such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith, who, along with the rest of the powerful American-Israeli lobby, have advocated striking Iraq for years. Israel has been playing a key role in the American military buildup to the war. Besides getting rid of its arch enemy, Israel may have the opportunity after the war to carry out its final solution to the Palestinian question -- transferring them to Jordan, ("liberated") Iraq, and anywhere else that expanded US hegemony in the Middle East will allow. At the same time, Iraq's abundant water could be diverted to relieve a parched Israel and an old Iraqi-to-Israel oil pipeline could be rejuvenated.