Monday, August 22, 2005
How long will it take?
Why is the US in Iraq? This is the question that President George W Bush and his coterie of neoconservatives have to answer.
Is it because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, had links with the Sept.11 attacks and posed a threat to the national security of the US?
Bush can no longer hide behind these "justifications" because all of them have been proven to be false and part of the deception that his administration used to mislead and convince the American people and Congress to approve military action against Iraq.
Was it because Saddam was a brutal dictator who oppressed his people and they needed to be liberated?
Bush can longer argue this point because the lot of the Iraqi people is much worse than it was during the reign of Saddam Hussein. They live perpetual fear, face a critical shortage of basic services, few jobs and have little to look forward to in terms of economic betterment.
Is it because the US wants to bring "democracy" to Iraq?
The US has no right whatsoever to impose "democracy" on the people of Iraq or any other country. If a situation like that arises, then it is the responsibility of the United Nations to work out an international consensus on what should be done and how it could be done within the parameters of international law and conventions.
The American track record on democracy under the Bush administration is a subject of international loathing. Bush's victory in the 2000 elections was never accepted as legitimate by a good number of American voters. His re-election in 2004 was even more controversial, with allegations of vote-rigging in several states. So, how could a US president whose own election remains under a cloud of public rejection assume a high moral ground and argue for democracy to be imposed on another people?
It has also been reported that Bush was willing to endorse vote-rigging during the Jan.30, 2005 elections in Iraq but for unknown reasons he stopped short of doing so. What does that speak for Bush as someone who believes in democracy?
If we take it one step further, how could the US president agree to a draft constitution for a country under occupation and force it on its people?
That is what is happening today. Washington has accepted the demands and impositions of the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq in the draft constitution at the expense of the country's Sunnis whose numbers are as strong as those of the Kurds.
There goes the democracy argument through the window.
Is the US in Iraq to ensure that the resources of the oil-rich country are used in a way that benefit its people?
Well, we all know that the only people benefiting from Iraq's oil are the cronies selected by the US and American contractors to whom the interim government in Baghdad under the terms that were dictated by the US when it handed over "sovereignty" on April 28, 2004.
No wonder, Bush is finding it difficult to come up with a coherent answer to the question why the US is in Iraq. He is evading answers and making a real bad of it too.
The right answers to the question, if Bush has the guts to spell them out, would be:
The US invaded and occupied Iraq because of several reasons:
— It has always been an American objective to gain absolutely influential control over a sizable chunk of the world's oil reserves outside the US. Iraq, with 12 per cent of the world's known reserves of oil and with potential of up to 30 per cent, fit the bill.
— The idea to invade an Arab country with enough oil resources and occupy it was originally mooted in 1973 — following the Arab oil embargo — but shelved because of fears of international opposition to such a move. It was dusted off by the Israeli-driven neo-conservative camp in Washington in 2000 and marked as a priority for the Republican administration of Bush who assumed power in 2001.
— Saddam, despite having lost his military prowess in the wake of the disastrous war that ended Iraq's seven-month occupation of Kuwait in early 1991, remained a potential threat to the regional hegemony of Israel, the staunchest American ally in the Middle East and which wields immense political influence in the corridors of power in Washington. So he needed to be removed.
— Setting up advanced military bases in the Middle East with enough power to intervene in any country which challenged American interests was key to the neoconservatives' goal of establishing the US as a global empire based on military and political clout. Those bases have to set up in a country where the regime would be in no position to ask questions. Today, the US is building three of its largest military bases in Iraq.
— The American military establishment wanted enough orders for war-planes, weapons and other gear related to war. The US is said to have already spent more than $300 billion for the Afghan and Iraq war and is expected to spend more than $700 in 10 years. The bulk of the orders have to huge American companies, with a sizable portion of the money channelled to companies with "political connections" in Washington.
All these purposes were served with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. However, it would be a much more difficult task to force Bush to admit that these were indeed the reasons that he ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq and these were the direct results of that action.
As Iraqi groups continue to wrangle over the draft constitution, this is what prominent author and commentator Justin Raimundo has to say:
"Cindy Sheehan is camped outside George W. Bush's Crawford ranch, demanding to know why her son — and 1,800-plus other American soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of uncounted Iraqis — had to die in this bitter war, and the answer is: to install Sharia law in southern Iraq and deliver the country over to parties for whom the Ayatollah Khomeini is a hero."
Raimundo also blasts the US administration for having supported "Kurdish thuggery" in northern Iraq and goes on to say:
"Both the neocon Right and the "centrist" (ie. left-neocon) Democratic Leadership Council denounce the antiwar movement – and any timetable for withdrawal – as 'anti-American.' But how 'pro-American' is the regime we've installed in Iraq by force of arms? When you look at what we've actually done in Iraq – the emerging Islamist-Kurdish tyranny we've empowered – it turns out that the US government is the biggest exponent – and exporter – of true anti-Americanism."
"As Shi'ite party militias roam the ruins of Iraq's cities killing and beating political dissidents, and whipping women who fail to wear the requisite head-to-toe chador, our "democracy"-crazed neocons cite the country as a "model" – and look forward to the "liberation" of the rest of the Middle East along similar lines," says Raimundo. "The world seen through the prism of neoconservatism is truly a Bizarro World, where everything is stood on its head, not just physical laws but also traditional moral precepts as well as the rules of logic.
"Americans are naturally repulsed by the sight of what the Busheviks have wrought in Iraq, but the alternative is not to turn around and make war on the Shi'ite-Kurdish tyranny we made possible in the first place. A war along those lines would be an act of such incredible hubris that it would make our prior mistakes – beginning with the invasion of Iraq – seem almost benign."
"It's time to face up to the horrific reality: there are places on this earth that in no way resemble the cultural and political landscape of the US, and nothing we do will turn Iraq into a suburb of the American metropolis. Short of wiping out a good portion of the population and imprisoning most of the rest in "reeducation" camps where they'll be forced to memorise Robert's Rules of Order and the aphorisms of Emily Post, it simply cannot be done."
Against these arguments, which are supported by facts on the ground in Iraq, the question shifts from "why the US is in Iraq" to "how long would it take for Bush to accept the realities and how many American soldiers and Iraq have to die before that?"