"liberation" of Iraq takes place against a backdrop
gloating, any doubt as to the real provenance of this
war should be erased for good. This was and is a
proxy war waged on
behalf of Israeli interests, and Washington's next target
Syria – ought to make that obvious to even the densest
of the pro-war conservatives and the "war for
didn't take long for the War Party to shift gears. Amid a
barrage of threats, Damascus is now in Washington's crosshairs
– and military action could come sooner than anyone imagines.
The pretext – Syria supposedly shipped
night goggles to the Iraqi military, is reportedly harboring
Ba'athist leaders, and is now alleged to be in
possession of Iraq's nonexistent "weapons of mass
destruction" – doesn't matter. At this point, they don't
even need a pretext: the War Party is running on sheer momentum.
What's interesting, however, is that phase two may be enacted
in the name of – you guessed it! – "peace": that
is, a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. As the [UK] Observer notes:
United States has pledged to tackle the Syrian-backed Hizbollah
group in the next phase of its 'war on terror' in a move which
could threaten military action against President Bashar Assad's
regime in Damascus. The move is part of Washington's efforts
to persuade Israel to support a new peace settlement with
the Palestinians. Washington has promised Israel that it will
take 'all effective action' to cut off Syria's support for
Hizbollah - implying a military strike if necessary, sources
in the Bush administration have told The Observer."
is how Washington seeks to "persuade" the Israelis
– by caving to their every demand.
Americans were driven out of Beirut by Hizbollah on October
23, 1983, when hundreds of American Marines were killed in
a suicide bomber attack on their barracks. As retired Mossad
Ostrovsky points out,
loss of 241 U.S. Marines, most of them still sleeping in their
cots at the time of the suicide mission, was the highest single-day
death toll for the Americans since 246 died throughout Vietnam
at the start of the Tet offensive."
is just possible that the Marines are coming back – this time,
under the leadership of a President who won't make like Reagan,
Norman Podhoretz put it, "cut and run" at the
first sign of trouble.
I warned at the end of March, the
Middle East escalator is going into high gear. The seeds
of the next war have been planted in the soil of Iraq and
they are sprouting with dizzying speed.
what's really bizarre is the manner in which Washington tries
to rationalize a peculiar madness that in no way benefits
the United States. In order to appease Ariel Sharon into agreeing
to a phony Palestinian mini-state – one without an army, without
control over its foreign policy, and without doubt a joke
– the Americans are being blackmailed into knocking off Israel's
many enemies in the region. Then and only then will Tel Aviv
deign to even consider a compromise. Sharon can then go to
his ultra-nationalist allies and say:
our influence extended from the West Bank to the Euphrates,
I – not you – have fulfilled the dream of a Greater
Israel. In partnership with the Americans, we dominate
the Middle East. Israel can finally! -- afford this compromise-in-name-only."
the time Bush and Sharon are through, not a single Arab state
will be left standing. Having installed a Palestinian Quisling
where Arafat used to be, the two of them can stand amid the
smoking ruins of a war-ravaged Middle East and declare that
"peace" has come to the region at last the peace
of the grave.
a political party in Lebanon whose members sit in that country's
national legislature, is backed by Syria just as Israel once
the Lebanese Falangists. But the "Free Lebanon Army"
was driven out, in the end, along with their Israeli sponsors,
and the Americans, having not learned from this precedent,
or the lesson of Beirut, seem eager to repeat past mistakes.
bombers have already
struck in Iraq, and more are on the way if the
news that U.S. forces have uncovered a cache of "suicide-bomber
belts" is to be believed. How long can we stand against
that kind of enemy – and, more importantly, why should we?
Why oh why is the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Perle Axis of Asininity
marching us headlong into this abyss? This is no quagmire
– it's an ambush.
boggles the mind to realize that this administration is willing
to risk another Beirut, 1983-style, only this time on a regional
scale. The question is: why take that risk? Don't ask "is
it worth it?" Better to ask: to whom is it worth
imperial project of the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-neoconservative
cabal is the Israeli occupation of Palestine writ large. I
am told by people in the know that if anyone knew the number
and nature of the stymied attacks on New York City alone,
Manhattan and environs would soon be all but emptied.
neoconservative militants' slogan of "creative destruction"
as the solution to the problems of the Middle East always
had a rather sinister aspect. Now imagine that concept applied
to the domestic scene. George W. Bush's Middle Eastern rampage
has made another terrorist attack on America all but inevitable.
Explain to me again how this makes Americans safer.
White House has been captured by the pernicious political
correctness of the post-9/11 neoconservative tendency in the
GOP, best expressed by liberal Democrat Martin Peretz, publisher
of The New Republic, who wrote in his magazine days
after the attack that "We're
all Israelis now."
me, but no we aren't. We are Americans, first, last, and always,
a nation with a character – and interests – unique to ourselves.
The terrorist attack on America made us more, not less, dependent
on our Arab and Muslim allies in the region. The propagandists
who insist that we have always been at war with Islam and
just didn't know it are intent on fulfilling their own prophecies
of Armageddon in the Middle East.
heretical sect of dispensationalist
Christians who see Israel as the embodiment of God's Will
on earth are motivated not by "dual loyalty," but
by a single allegiance – to a mystic faith that is not only
American but also universal, a creed that promises redemption
to sinners everywhere. If God says that the interests of the
U.S. and Israel are identical, their destinies mystically
intertwined, then who are we to deny it?
neoconservative theology, while differing with the dispensationalists
in particulars as well as in style, also promises universal
redemption, via the
god of Democratic Capitalism. Neocon evangelists spread
the word, in their newspaper columns and heavily-subsidized
magazines, and the rafters of the American Enterprise Institute
ring with the hosannas of the faithful. The sight of U.S.
military might taking down a fifth-rate military power in
a matter of weeks is all the "argument" they require.
They worship a different god: Ares,
is on our side, and might makes right: these are the two principles
that unite the War Party. Their partiality to Israel is, on
the one hand, religious, as far as the dispensationalists
are concerned, and, in
the case of the neocons, ideological, but in both cases
it amounts to support for a dangerously unbalanced foreign
policy one so potentially disastrous that it constantly teeters
on the brink of treason.
will soon be disabused of the
myth of the welcoming Iraqis, who hailed their own conquest
and embraced the destroyers of their cities. One particularly
volatile factor is the Shi'a majority – and the recent slaughter
of two Iraqi mullahs at a meeting that was supposed to bring
about "reconciliation" is a warning the Americans
ignore at their peril. Another explosive factor is the role
of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
formerly based in Teheran. SCIRI is the only opposition group
that ever had cadres inside Iraq; unlike the Iraqi National
Congress, SCIRI did not have to be flown
to Iraq courtesy of the American taxpayers: they
already have troops on the ground, particularly in the
main political consequence of the war, internally, is to increase
Iranian influence: if free elections were held in the southern
Shi'a provinces of Iraq, they would undoubtedly usher in some
sort of "Islamic Republic." The effort by the neocons
in the administration to install Ahmed
Chalabi as the Pentagon's puppet, far from forestalling
this possibility, only makes it a more credible threat to
the postwar order. I guess it all comes under the heading
degeneration of Iraq into a maelstrom of violence and looting;
the targeting of American soldiers; the incredible costs,
both economic and personal: one has to ask – who benefits?
Iraq, a smoldering ruin, will never again threaten Israel.
never did threaten us – not even when we invaded. Those
"weapons of mass destruction" the Iraqis supposedly
had – which George
W. Bush declared could be flown over U.S. territory in
drones, or passed on to terrorists – somehow never got used.
Richard Perle declares that the U.S. struck so swiftly that
the Iraqis may not have had time to launch whatever it is
they might have launched, but nobody believes this. There
was no poison gas attack; no biological weaponry was deployed;
so far there have been no sites where such weapons are to
be found, in spite of several false alarms. But the original
reasons for our intervention will be lost in the war crimes
trials to come, the atrocity stories, and the tendency of
Americans to forget by Wednesday the sermon they heard last
is demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops, and the
demand for free elections in Iraq is rising, while the Axis
of Asininity is intent on installing an "interim"
American-led government festooned with a few handpicked Iraqis
for decorative purposes. The "interim," you can
be sure, will be endless. If you want to see the future of
the region, look toward the West Bank and Gaza. That is the
sort of "democracy" the neocons are bringing to
the Middle East.
far, the U.S. is not committing itself to action against Syria
and Iran, but that is an oversight a delegation of Israeli
negotiators is determined
to correct this week, when they arrive in Washington for
talks. The drumbeat is being sounded by Israel's
amen corner in the U.S., and has been taken
up by the Republican congressional leadership: the "Syria
Accountability Act" would freeze all trade relations
and impose draconian sanctions, paving the way for war. There
is no "Israel Accountability Act". But then, you
knew that, didn't you?
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