speech to the United Nations, delivered just a day after
the first anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S.
history, not only underscored the paucity of his case, but
pointed to the great diversion represented by this new adventure:
meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought
grief to my country, and to the citizens of many countries.
Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible
morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other
lives, without illusion and without fear."
lives" – and whom would they be? Amid the litany of familiar
charges Dubya leveled at Saddam was this:
also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges beyond
the 150 kilometers permitted by the U.N. Work at testing and
production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-range
missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the region."
he isn't saying that Saddam Hussein has developed intercontinental
ballistic missiles, and thus poses a threat to American
lives. For months we have heard the phrase "weapons of
mass destruction" repeated like a mantra by the War Party,
but they almost never tell us where these weapons,
if they exist, will be aimed: not at New York, or Chicago,
or even Riyadh and Amman, but at Israel.
we must go to war to save Israeli lives: that, in so many
words unspoken, is what the President is saying.
was quite telling that, while Bush was standing before the
United Nations, laying down the law to the governments of
the world, Israeli hard-liner and former Prime Minister Benjamin
gave the U.S. Congress its marching orders, declaring before
the Government Reform Committee:
understand a nuclear armed Saddam places Israel at risk. But
a nuclear armed Saddam also puts the entire world at risk.
After Saddam gets a nuclear weapon, it is only a matter of
time before the terror networks get nuclear weapons."
Iraq is years away from developing any such weapon was demonstrated
by the very evidence submitted by the U.S. to justify its rush
to war. An International Institute for Strategic Studies report,
cited by the administration, concludes that, given plutonium
or enriched uranium, the Iraqis could "probably"
build a nuke in a period of months, but with this important
noted by CNN:
report also concluded Iraq did not currently have a nuclear
weapons capability, and probably lacked the systems needed
to deliver chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons."
the threat to Israel is nonexistent – and, even if it weren't,
surely Saddam would be deterred from ever attacking Israel
for fear of massive retaliation. Remember, Saddam may be trying
to acquire nukes, with not much success so far, but Israel
has already got the Bomb. Who doubts that they would use it,
and without asking for a UN resolution first? In his address
to the congressional committee, Netanyahu went on to laud
the 1981 attack by Israel on an Iraqi nuclear facility as
an example of just the kind of unilateralism embraced by the
Israel launch this pre-emptive strike with the coordination
of the international community? Did we condition such a strike
on the approval of the United Nations? Of course not."
then, why don't the Israelis go in and take out Saddam?
Let them expand the "occupied territories" to include
Baghdad: they, after all, have plenty of experience in this
area. Let them also bear the costs: the casualties, the economic
burden, the universal condemnation and diplomatic isolation
such an unprovoked attack would incur. But why should Israel
fight its own battles, when Ariel Sharon has an American President
at his beck and call?
utter dishonesty and fuzzy logic that permeated the President's
speech was encapsulated by his reference to "outlaw groups
and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit
to their violent ambitions." Next to the United States,
Iraq is a piker when it comes to outlawry and the ruthless
pursuit of violent ambitions. Indeed, the ambition of America's
rulers is so overwhelming that it overrides the pleas of our
allies, cancels out world opinion, and even violates our own
national self-interest (rationally defined).
what we are embarked on – and troop movements in the region
all point to a military operation that has already begun –
is nothing less or more than a war of outright conquest. Furthermore,
it is launched against precisely those nations whose cooperation
is necessary in the entirely legitimate struggle to exterminate
Al Qaeda. Our first stop is Iraq, but that will hardly be
the end of it. This is the beginning of a regional conflagration,
one that would soon drag in Iran, Syria, and even the Saudis.
The unannounced but inevitable result: a U.S. occupation of
virtually the entire Middle East, from Afghanistan to the
River Jordan. Which brings us to the second reason for this
not to Iraq, but to Saudi Arabia, which sits atop the richest
oil and natural gas reserves on earth – and forget about "weapons
of mass destruction," unless we're talking about the
mass destruction of Big Oil's projected profits. For the real
scoop on this war has nothing to do with the tired reiteration
of Iraq's broken promises to the UN that the President presented
in his speech: a
similar list, in any case, could be prepared in support
of a us-UN invasion of Israel. The actual casus belli
is intimately bound up with the economic tug-of-war between
the Saudi government and Big Oil over the future development
of its rich natural gas deposits, and access to Saudi territory.
a year, the Saudis have been negotiating with consortia headed
Dutch-Shell Group, and British
Petroleum over the terms of an agreement that would give
Western oil companies access to regions long denied to them.
broke down last week – coincidentally (or not), just as
the President's war rhetoric heated up. Awash in cash because
of rising fuel prices, oil companies face an unusual conundrum
– where to invest it? As Petroleum World points
U.S. and North Sea oil areas are in decline, and new exploration
zones in Russia and Africa have proved politically challenging.
Oil companies have been using cash to buy back shares rather
than invest in subpar projects."
the $25 billion Saudi project stalled,
if not completely nixed, and investment on the Arabian
peninsula increasingly problematic, the President's oil company
executive friends are looking to do an end run around the
House of Saud – via the oil fields of occupied Iraq.
the rush to war – and why Iraq? Israel, and oil – it's that
this guff about how Saddam is a simply awful dictator
– "tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary
citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment,
summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric
shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape," averred Dubya
– could easily be said about Communist China. Mao's heirs
have signed on to the idea of a never-ending "war on
terrorism," and are doing their part by stepping up repression
against any dissident minorities that might be less than happy
with rule from Beijing.
same might be said of our Turkish allies, who have managed
to repress the Kurds far more effectively than Saddam, and
whose penchant for torture is well-known
to human rights advocates. The Chechens are tortured by the
Russians, the despots of Africa are remarkably brutal even
by the bloodthirsty standards of twentieth century rulers
and what of Pakistan, a key ally in the "war on
terrorism," ruled by a military dictator and armed
with nuclear weapons? Are all these countries and peoples
to be "liberated" by U.S. force of arms?
course not. Yet they are no different than the Middle Eastern
regimes on which the U.S. has set its sights, except in two
vital areas: none contain vast deposits of oil, and none of
them, with the exception of Pakistan, have the least impact
on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
war is a fraud, and a dangerous one. For it comes at a time
when we do face a threat – the possibility of another 9/11.
The President was forced to acknowledge this in his UN speech
– after all, it was the first anniversary of the worst terrorist
attack in our history – but with a twist:
the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive
intentions of our enemies. This threat hides within many nations,
including my own. In cells and camps, terrorists are
plotting further destruction and building new bases for their
war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists
will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw
regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive
what? This tortured attempt to link Al Qaeda to an
"outlaw regime," i.e. Iraq, is proffered with proof,
or irony. For the terrorists didn't need "technologies"
to ram two airliners into the World Trade Center and another
into the Pentagon – they only had to turn our own technology
against us. Armed just with box-cutter and fanatic boldness,
it was Al Qaeda, and not Saddam, that killed some 3,000 New
Yorkers. Even as Bush spoke, the American media was reporting
the presence of a ship off the New Jersey coast suspected
of carrying radioactive material. For a U.S. President
to focus on projecting our military forces halfway across
the globe under these circumstances when our own shores
are under threat from terrorists in our midst – is utter madness.
But what else can we expect of a President so clearly in the
pocket of corporate and foreign interests, whose last thought
is the national security of the United States?
money-paragraph in Bush's speech is here:
one place in one regime we find all these dangers, in
their most lethal and aggressive forms ... exactly the kind
of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront."
the terrorist attacks on 9/11 apparently tore a hole in the
space-time continuum, and landed us all in Bizarro World,
where up is down and right is left, Bush's peroration makes
sense only when inverted, to wit:
one place – in one regime – we find all the allurements, in
their most lethal and poisonous forms … exactly the kind of
temptation to which American foreign policymakers must never
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