by William Hardiker
A recent memo sent to the Bush administration from influential “think tank” institute PNAC (Project for a New American Century) stated “we believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply; the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliatory action against these known state sponsors of terrorism”. This comes on the heel of former chairman of another influential far right Washington Zionist lobby group, ‘The Defense Policy Institute’ and PNAC member Richard Perle’s call for congress to pass an “Iran liberation act”, as applied to Iraq in 1998. There is little doubt that Iran and Syria are numbers two and three on the Bush Neo-Con’s hit list of “rogue states” singled out for regime change. The only unknown is the manner in which the administration will affect policy that is without doubt ‘on the table ‘.
The Inevitable Barrage
As we prepare ourselves for the inevitable barrage of anti-Iranian/Syrian propaganda and the accompanying allegations regarding nuclear capability, weapons of mass destruction, state sponsored terrorism and anti-American activity within occupied Iraq in the coming months, we must keep in mind that it has all been heard before and not a shred of it has been proven or substantiated. Where are Iraq’s wmd? On what evidence were allegations of support for ideologically opposed “terrorist” organizations based? Where is Saddam Hussein? Of course Iraq’s alleged wmd remain conspicuously absent due to the very logical explanation that after a decade of crippling American imposed sanctions, weapons inspections and bombing raids, the probability that Iraq could have acquired, maintained and developed such programmes is remote to say the least.
An interesting point, and one that to my knowledge has not thus far been raised in the debate as to the whereabouts of Iraqi wmd is that during the first Bush administrations effort to expel Iraq from Kuwait such weapons were also not deployed against the coalition despite the reasonable assumption that such a capability existed as well as ample opportunity to deploy them. It is an acknowledged fact that the US (amongst others) supplied much of the military hardware Iraq was known to possess, and this goes a long way in explaining the Bush and Blair governments conviction that they do in fact exist, but remain elusive only because of the wily cunning and ingenuity of Saddam Hussein in hiding them. We are asked to accept this supposition despite six months of concerted but fruitless searching.
Thus we arrive at the extraordinary situation that exists in Iraq today. Where previous to the “war”, if the regime was in fact a threat, it was certainly a contained one as a result of weapons inspections and sanctions, though after which has been transformed into a hot bed of fanaticism and terrorism. As a direct consequence of the illegal, unilateral American war justified on the grounds that Iraq posed an “imminent threat” to world peace and security which no evidence has substantiated, as well as implausible and illogical allegations that Iraq was supporting ideologically opposed “terrorist” organizations such as Al-Queda, Iraq has been transformed from an impotent and crippled State into one which has become a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment, terrorism and the evolution of previously moderate elements into those of an extremist nature. All of which serves to increase the threat of global terrorism and insecurity. On such grounds, may I suggest serious consideration be given to re-naming the “war on terrorism”, the “effort to exacerbate terrorism”.
Unsurprisingly Israel has enthusiastically begun the propaganda war against Iran with such remarks made by foreign minister Silvan Shalon as “Iran is fast approaching the point of no return in its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capability”. Ironically, if such is in fact the case it may be the only circumstance that protects Iran from the new threat of American neo-colonial aggression. Certainly military action will be a far less attractive option than it was against the weak, demoralized state of Iraq. The neo-conservative “chicken-hawks” led by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz will no doubt opt for alternative strategies such as psychological warfare and propaganda aimed at vulnerable elements such as the youth who are easily seduced by false impressions of American capitalist culture and political ideology. Support will of course be offered to anti-authoritarian groups within Iran who are pushing for a separation of religion and the State. The encouraging of pro-reform Iranian student protest groups being of utmost importance and priority.
Perhaps I will take the opportunity to reiterate the fact that whilst Israel is hypocritically ringing alarm bells over Iran’s alleged nuclear capability in an effort to garner international support for American interventionism due to what it claims to be a dangerous threat to regional and world security, it is known to have an arsenal comprising an estimated two hundred and fifty nuclear weapons. With the assistance of France and South Africa, Israel tested a nuclear weapon in the late 1960’s. To this day Israel refuses to acknowledge pocession of such weapons, nor has it signed the NPNWT (Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty). Let us also not forget that much of the intelligence presented to justify the illegal war against Iraq was based upon suspect Iraqi exile’s reports and Israeli intelligence i.e., ‘Mossad’.
The importance of the unilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq cannot be overstated, nor the establishment of Paul Bremer’s “neo-colonial” administration that has set the precedent for a fundamental shift in American Middle East policy. Such a dramatic and perilous change in strategy as advised by far right wing fundamentalist conservatives such as Chenney, Perle, Wolfowitz and Kristol, and accepted and adopted by the Bush administration is of utmost importance and will inevitably have far reaching global consequences. The war against Iraq and the removal of the Ba’ath regime has established a precedent for “preventive” war as justifiable and legal American foreign policy. Questions such as whether or not the action was justified on moral grounds, i.e. that the oppressed people of Iraq required liberation are irrelevant to the debate surrounding legal and moral justification because those issues played no part in US considerations when planning and implementing regime change policy, nor any factor in the motivation for the action taken. They are therefore of secondary importance when considering the implications of the precedent. Arguments concerning the legitimacy of “pre-emptive” war in the face of a clear and imminent threat to America in the aftermath of September 11 are in fact misrepresentative of that which is in fact “preventive” war. There is a considerable difference. Noam Chomsky explains it thus; “Pre-emptive” war has a meaning. It means that, for example if planes are flying across the Atlantic to bomb the United States, the United States is permitted to shoot them down even before they bomb and may be permitted to attack the air bases from which they came. “Pre-emptive” war is a response to ongoing or imminent attack. “Preventive war” is totally different. It implies that the United States alone has the self designated right to attack whomever it perceives to impede its national interests or challenge its hegemony”.
This radical shift in foreign policy has been a long time coming. It is in an extension of the right wing ‘Reaganite’ doctrine mothballed after the Republicans lost office in the 1990’s. In the decade since, during the Clinton years, the far right extremist elements of the Republican party – those now widely known as the “Neo-Conservatives” with shadowy figures such as Chenney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams and Kristol assuming the role of puppet masters in the Bush administration had been quietly working behind the scenes on an imperialist agenda for American global primacy in the twenty first century. An agenda that flows from the decision to alter the foundations of the world order to their exclusive benefit.
The “Reagonite” doctrine and it’s contemporary re-emergence, ‘dusting down’ and adoption by the Bush administration has ensured a global political swing to the far right which exemplifies and condones the very worst in human nature. It has led to the creation of an elite class of reprehensible moral and ethical reprobates who have distorted and misinterpreted such hard won and essential concepts as ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ to fit their fundamentalist doctrine. Domestically within the United States this is demonstrated in policy that disregards all elements but the select “chosen” elite’s, and promotes self-interest, greed, inhumanity, social fragmentation and the entrenchment of a two tier social order comprising the majority poor and a minority privileged elite. Internationally it represents the emergence of what has been termed “neo-colonialism” characterized by the oppression and subjugation of America’s “semi-colonies” of the undeveloped and semi-developed world. It is in fact, imperial domination dressed up as humanitarian interventionism.
In summary, what we are witnessing and condoning in supporting Bush administration foreign policy as a result of apathetic consent in the absence of dissent, is a dramatic demarcation between the “have’s” and “have not’s”; both domestically within nations and globally between them. There exists an enormous concentration and centralization of finance, power and capitalism under the “neo-conservatives” agenda that is evolving beyond the realm of politics and society into a fully-fledged ideology with disturbing authoritarian and nationalistic overtones. The politics of the extreme right have become the status quo and further entrenched the culture of right wing fundamentalism.
Intervene and Overthrow
Cause for optimism is meager, but can perhaps be gleaned from the fact that the United States is a far cry from the all-powerful economic, cultural and political power it has been in the past. Particularly directly after the Second World War. Domestically the economy is severely depressed and the poor, the excluded, and the disengaged are increasing in number at alarming rates. Such a circumstance cannot help but impact on the status quo. In terms of foreign policy, there is much enthusiasm for interventionist activity, but a great reluctance to make the necessary sacrifices it entails. An average two Americans killed in Iraq per day is unacceptable and is turning the tide of public support against the Bush team. Today’s is a vastly different world to those of Empire and colonization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. People are not so compliant to subjugation under imperialist domination. Any belief that the US can swiftly intervene and overthrow regimes with minimal collateral damage, install it’s preferred ruling authority, take over ownership of resources and depart, is completely ludicrous yet it is the twisted and misguided logic of the Wolfowitz’s and Chenney’s. The Neo-conservatives seized the events of September 11, 2001 to implement their radical agenda and convince the world that their doctrine for a “new American century”, which ensures American global geo-strategic primacy at any cost is essential in order to secure the peace and security of all so-called “freedom loving nations”. The role of Israel and the powerful Zionist lobbyist/opinion makers in America cannot be ignored, and those at the helm in the “Neo-Con’s” push for global supremacy are major players within that organization.
A reporter from the Financial Times warned of the perils facing the new US foreign policy agenda in stating, “The US has to understand the short comings impinging on its military muscle. To assume that its unrivalled prowess makes it easy to re-shape the politics of the world is just foolish. This does not mean that it should never be undertaken. Sometimes it is certainly inescapable. But if the US tries to achieve its goals through a militarized foreign policy that writes off the views of its allies and the role of global institutions, it will end up in failure. And this would be tragic not only for the US itself, but the entire world”. Such words as these should be kept in mind by all of us justifiably alarmed by the shift in American Middle East policy and made known to the Bush administration whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself.