Americans won't take "yes" for an answer. Here
is how the war-maddened Bush administration is dealing with
Iraq's decision to let in the UN weapons inspectors:
Hussein's words cannot be taken at face value."
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer
have seen this game before." Secretary of State
got to understand the nature of the regime we're dealing with.
This is a man who has delayed, denied, deceived the world.
For the sake of liberty and justice for all, the United Nations
Security Council must act must act in a way to hold this
regime to account, must not be fooled, must be relevant to
keep the peace." George
the next few weeks, as the U.S. government seeks to delay
the peace process and deny that Saddam's unconditional offer
represents any kind of concession, the world is going to discover
the nature of the regime in Washington one ruled by a clique
of would-be warlords, "Bonapartists,"
as Chris Matthews aptly called them this morning [September
17] on MSNBC's
"Buchanan and Press," who have set their sights
on Iraq and will not be deterred.
is not the end of the war dance, but only the beginning. Now,
the real action will commence, first of all in the UN Security
Council, where some hard bargaining is already taking place.
Secretary of State Powell immediately rushed to New York,
demanding a Security Council resolution amounting to nothing
less than a voluntary "regime change" on Iraq's
part. Wielding a list of every single UN resolution ever passed
admonishing Iraq for its many shortcomings in the realm of
human rights, reparations to Kuwait, as well as arms control,
the supposedly unilateralist, anti-UN Bush Republicans are
insisting that each and every one be enforced to the letter.
This is a precedent it would be unwise to insist on,
however, since it could easily boomerang on the
Bushies. For if UN resolutions are now Holy Writ, will the
long list of UN resolutions condemning Israeli aggression
against the Palestinians be similarly brandished by the
Security Council and enforced?
Brits want to pull another Yugoslavia, and one can imagine
the Blairites craftiing a UN resolution demanding that Saddam
Hussein be turned over to the International War Crimes Tribunal.
But the Russians and the French have demurred, for the moment,
while China sits passively on the sidelines. It is only a
coincidence, of course, that this line-up parallels the
economic interests at stake in a post-Saddam context with
American and British oil companies likely to grab the largest
hunks of the rich Iraqi oil fields, the French and Russians
getting a few small crumbs, and the Chinese a negligible factor
are already beginning to see the congressional Democrats brought
into line just today, as I write, word
is out that Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle has agreed
to schedule a vote on the war question before the November
elections. Now that the Bush administration has decided to
adorn its policy of naked aggression with a multilateralist
fig-leaf, the leadership of both parties is signing on to
the President's Iraq adventure. If they can't drag us into
war through the front door, they can always sneak around through
this point, a technique long championed by the more "cautious"
wing of the War Party, "coercive inspections," will
be utilized to provoke an armed confrontation with the Iraqis
and trigger a U.S.-British "response." A collection
of papers on the mechanics of this provocation, "A
New Approach: Coercive Inspections," recently brought
out by the horribly mis-named Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace, outlines this strategy:
light of what is now a four-year-long absence of international
inspectors from the country, it has been widely assumed that
the United States has only two options regarding that threat:
continue to do nothing to find and destroy Iraq's nuclear,
chemical, biological, and missile programs, or pursue covert
action or a full-scale military operation to overthrow Saddam
paper proposes a third approach, a middle ground between an
unacceptable status quo that allows Iraqi WMD programs to
continue and the enormous costs and risks of an invasion.
It proposes a new regime of coercive international inspections.
A powerful, multinational military force, created by the UN
Security Council, would enable UN and International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection teams to carry out 'comply
or else' inspections. The 'or else' is overthrow of the regime."
above was written by Carnegie Endowment President Jessica
Mathews. Ms. Mathews is one of the witnesses scheduled to
testify at the upcoming Iraq hearings, supposedly representing
the "moderate" position, while Richard Perle and
R. James Woolsey will give voice to the Bonapartists, who
envision "regime change" not only in Baghdad, but
in Teheran, Damascus, Amman, and eventually Cairo and Riyadh.
That is the narrow spectrum of allowable opinion war in
the name of the UN, or war in the name of a new American empire.
Peace, we are told, is not an option. Which is why Scott Ritter,
General Anthony Zinni, and the host of prominent Republican
and conservative critics of this war have (so far) been excluded
from Committee chairman Henry Hyde's hearings.
counterposing the question of Iraqi disarmament to "regime
change," Baghdad has succeeded in delaying but not derailing
this administration's war plans. And perhaps not even that.
The "coercive inspections" route could turn out
to be the shortest road to war. For what happens if this "powerful,
multinational military force" drops down into the Middle
East, encircling Iraq? This may happen with the reluctant
consent of the Arab rulers, but certainly it will not be welcomed
by the people, who will recognize it as a collective surrender
by the Arab world, and its complete prostration before the
conquering West. Will Iraq admit inspectors accompanied by
50,000 foreign troops? The only difference between "coercive
inspections" and outright invasion is that, in the former
case, the Iraqis are given a chance to surrender.
Bonapartists, for their part, are not content with mere humiliation:
they want blood.
Wasn't it Max Boot, the author of a lengthy treatise making
case for an American empire, who complained
that we didn't suffer enough casualties in Afghanistan?
neocon chicken-hawks, who inhabit the arcane world of
neoconservative thinktanks, richly-endowed academic niches,
and a war-besotted media, get a thrill out of the idea
of spilling blood without having to dirty their own hands,
or those of their progeny.
road to war this administration takes the express lane,
or the scenic route the destination is the same: an American
Empire that stretches through Central Asia clear through to
the Pacific, encircling both Russia and China and dwarfing
the emerging Euro-entity economically as well as militarily.
With its favored satraps the United Kingdom, Israel, Turkey,
India, Taiwan alternately pulling it along, and following
in its wake, the American hegemon will establish its "right
of preemption" on every continent.
the troops of King George III surrendered at Yorktown, legend
has it that the British band played "The World Turned
Upside Down," as if to underscore the truly revolutionary
nature of the American victory. For the trimphant colonists
did much more than set up a republic in place of a king. So
great was their suspicion of power that they bound their elected
rulers with the chains of the Constitution. Only Congress
could declare war, and pay for armaments, and this was their
insurance against the rise of empire.
the cold war rendered this protection null and void. Ever
since Harry Truman sent the U.S. military to Korea, only later
deigning to ask Congress for its considered opinion, every
President has cited this precedent as the "legal"
basis of a new "interpretation" of the Constitution.
Congressional authority over U.S. foreign policy has been
effectively nullified. By exaggerating (or Napoleonizing)
the President's role as commander-in-chief so that it eventually
overshadowed and subsumed his office as chief executive, the
Bonapartists and their "liberal" allies have elevated
him into a de facto king, at least in the realm of foreign
is another kind of precedent: it is our first war of conquest
since the era of the Spanish-American war and the annexation
of Hawaii, around the turn of the last century. We had to
be dragged, kicking and screaming, into all the wars of modernity,
and then it was always to save the world from the Germans,
the Russians, and itself, never for colonies or booty until
day the bombers take out after Baghdad will mark the final
victory of the Bonapartists, and of neo-royalism over the
Constitution and the rule of law. Once they set out on their
wars of conquest, remnants of the system set up by the Founders
may survive for an indefinite period, but in the end even
these will be overthrown.
doesn't mean some neo-Napoleonic figure will crown himself
in the Capitol Rotunda grabbing
the crown like his
precursor and placing
it on his own head. The way we are going, however, it
isn't just an interesting fictional scenario. Projected far
enough into the future, one can easily imagine that day, as
the band strikes up a song composed especially for the occasion:
"The World Turned Right Side Up Again."
the viewpoint of our rulers, and their intellectual amen corner
the neo-royalists (or neoconservatives, or "national
greatness conservatives," or whatever) the world
will indeed be restored to its natural and rightful state.
An American version of King George III lords it over an empire
on which the sun never sets, and all's right with the world.
Except at the core of the Empire, in the Imperial City of
Washington, D.C., where the rot has already set in
Iraq war poses Americans with a choice. We can have a republic
a government strictly limited by the Constitution and the
rule of law. Or an empire; that is, a lawless, often ruthless,
and stupid giant of a nation, like a very large child lumbering
carelessly across the global landscape, until it gets careless
and inevitably stumbles and falls. How many will be crushed
beneath its gargantuan weight?
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