Rolling out the Red Carpet

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

The False Bottom

Today, Iraq is a nation on fire, a conflagration of America's making that threatens to consume everything the nation stands for. How did USA get there? How do they get out? Can they get out? A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq. Poor Iraqis—the innocent, armless citizens are being killed like gnats. Today noncombatants are being killed. Tomorrow's going to be worse, and the day after that's going to be even worse.

The threat allegedly posed by Saddam's WMD was the prime reason cited for going to war. But not a single item of banned weaponry had been found. In more than 700 inspections prior to the US-led invasion, UN investigators found no evidence of these alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Since USA went to war to eradicate WMD, sanity asks, did they confine their attacks to alleged weapons factories or storehouses in Iraq? Or were the attacks motivated by a desire to ensure regime change, rather than destroy Iraq's alleged WMD capability? The American government agreed to the bombing of a whole range of targets, which had nothing to do with alleged weapons facilities. USA has to explain how these were linked to the weapons program. It needs to be asked why cluster bombs and bunker-busters were dropped on Iraq, killing many thousand civilians. The US government needs to be accused of complicity in a “criminal enterprise.”

So far President Bush has failed to explain why no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, despite the fact that was the primary justification for invading that he pounded into the heads of the American people in the months leading up to the attack.

Actually, there was a tremendous pressure on the CIA to come up with information to support policies that had already been adopted. No information about WMD could be unearthed. Credible evidence was never presented linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks. This forced CIA to fabricate lies. Much of it was based on propaganda. Much of it was telling the Defense Department what they wanted to hear and willing to twist information in order to serve that interest.

The fact of the matter is that the USA was never interested in disarming Iraq. By 1995 there were no more weapons in Iraq, there were no more documents in Iraq, there was no more production capability in Iraq because the USA was monitoring the totality of Iraq's industrial infrastructure with the most technologically advanced, the most intrusive arms control regime in the history of arms control. And furthermore, the CIA knew this, the British intelligence knew this, Israeli intelligence knew this, German intelligence, the whole world knew this.

Indubitably, people who don’t understand war populate Bush Administration. They've never been in the military, they've never served in combat, and they don't know what it means to have a son die or to have a friend die or have a brother die or have a comrade die. They are a bunch of amateurs largely except for the engineers, and even they didn't have a professional means to interface with the Iraqis. What lessons have the Americans learned?

If all orders of Iraq’s interim government are taken together, the jigsaw puzzle will be solved. An overall legal framework for overriding foreign exploitation of Iraq’s domestic market has been set. It covers almost all facets of the economy, including Iraq’s trading regime, the mandate of the Central Bank, and regulations governing trade union activities. Collectively, they lay down the foundations for the real US objective in Iraq, apart from keeping control of the oil supply, namely the imposition of a neo-liberal capitalist economy controlled and run by US transnational corporations.

In the name of agricultural reconstruction, for example, Iraqi farmers have been deprived of their inherent right, exercised for the past 10,000 years in the fertile Mesopotamian arc, to save and replant seeds. It enables the penetration of Iraqi agriculture by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow Chemical and other corporate giants that control the global seed trade. Food sovereignty for the Iraqi people has therefore already been made near impossible by the new regulations.

Their impact is largely concentrated in the near-monopolization by US corporations of the economic contracts awarded by the US-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority. Overwhelmingly they have been allocated to six big US companies, notably Bechtel and Halliburton. Vice President Dick Cheney headed the later for five years before becoming Bush's running mate in 2000. Lawrence Eagleburger, former US secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush (senior), sits on the company's board.

The Bush administration has no plans to bring the troops home from this misguided war, which has taken a fearful toll in lives and injuries while at the same time weakening the military, damaging the international reputation of the United States, serving as a world-class recruiting tool for terrorist groups and blowing a hole the size of Baghdad in Washington's budget.

Sadly, dreams of colonialism have turned into a nightmare. Americans are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. The war may be going badly, but the primary consideration that there is still a tremendous amount of oil at stake, the second-largest reserves on the planet. And fantasies aside, the global competition for the planet's finite oil reserves intensifies by the hour.

There's a horrific problem that faces not only the people of Iraq but the US and the entire world. And the fuel that feeds that fire is the presence of American and British troops. This is widely acknowledged by the very generals that are in charge of the military action in Iraq. So the best way to put out the fire is to separate the fuel from the flame. Asif J. Mir, Organizational Transformation