Wednesday, August 13, 2003

There are a few misleading ideas floating around about the occupation of Iraq and its implications:

  1. The neocons and their vile apologists would like us to believe that the attack on Iraq was part of the war on terror, and was a great success. Given all the evidence that the attack was justified on the back of a heap of lies, and given the utter disaster that the occupation is turning out to be, this is a tough row to hoe, but the Bush-lovers soldier on regardless. The latest, and silliest, idea is that Bush knew that the occupation would turn into a quagmire, but intended it to be a quagmire for international Islamic terrorism, which would get bogged down shooting American soldiers in Iraq rather than killing Americans elsewhere (the so-called 'flypaper' strategy). Leaving aside the fact that American soldiers are Americans too, albeit not the rich Americans that Bush cares about, the quagmire argument is based on an obvious misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic terrorism. The terrorists have had a fairly rough ride recently, with arrests made by various European governments, the Pakistanis, and the Saudis, amongst others, and the only prospects of Jihad the rather unappealing fates in Chechnya or Kashmir. Iraq has turned into the perfect picker-upper. A young man interested in fighting the Crusaders can now take part in Jihad in an atmosphere of supportive natives, clear sightlines for his rocket propelled grenades, lots of easy infidel targets, and relatively little chance of being killed in return. Iraq is a confidence-building turkey-shoot for the jihadists, just what international Islamic terrorism needed after American allies had done so much to fight Bush's war on terror (and it's a good thing they held their noses and helped, for the Americans have done absolutely nothing to capture real terrorists except harassing a lot of innocent people). These same jihadists are now going to leave their successful campaigns in Iraq with a taste for American blood, all fired up for the terrorism of the future. On top of that, the whole native population of Iraq, which under Saddam represented essentially no prospective Islamic terrorists, will now be a hotbed of terrorist recruitment. Nice strategy, Generalissimo Busho!

  2. The latest attempt by the vile Bush-lovers to save his bacon from the lies about weapons of mass destruction is to argue that Saddam fooled Bush by pretending to have weapons he in fact did not have. There is a tiny sliver of truth to this, but not enough to save the neocon liars. Before the attack started, the Americans had managed to bully Saddam into an impossible position. He knew that an attack was almost inevitable, and therefore would need whatever defensive weapons he could muster, but at the same time was being forced by the UN inspectors to destroy whatever they could find. Since as we now know he really didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, he was forced to simultaneously cooperate with the UN inspectors, all the while leaving a little ambiguity that he might have something up his sleeve in order to provide some deterrence for the Americans against their almost inevitable attack. Of course, this little ambiguity doesn't come near to providing the Bushites with enough evidence to justify the attack on a weakling sovereign country based on its danger of imminent attack on the United States. This is another silly argument of desperation by the vile brides of Bush, but at least is better than their first try, which was to argue that Saddam thought he had weapons of mass destruction but his underlings had destroyed them and fooled him into thinking they still existed (!!!).

  3. There is a lot of talk in the United States about bringing the soldiers home. Not only is there absolutely no chance of that happening, it will probably never happen. Outrageous as it may seem, the genius neocons have sent the United States through a trap door that it can never get out of. They set this attack in motion without the slightest thought of an exit strategy. As Christopher Dickey writes:

    "We're here forever. The simple fact about the New Iraq is that never in our lifetimes will it be able to defend itself from its neighbors. It will always be dependent on the United States to do that job. And because it floats on oil, and because all its neighbors - and all of us - have a vital stake in its future, it's going to take a lot of defending."

    Iraq can't possibly defend itself without outside help. The United Nations won't help unless the Americans allow other countries to share the spoils of redevelopment, and since these spoils going to Bush's friends was one of the main reasons for the attack, the Bush Administration will never agree to share the loot. The United Nations will insist on free elections as a condition of helping. The vast majority of the Iraqi people will vote for leaders who support the following four positions:

    1. vehemently against privatization of the Iraqi economy, especially the oil industry;

    2. extremely anti-Kuwaiti;

    3. extremely anti-Israeli; and

    4. absolutely against the American occupation.
    Since none of these positions can be tolerated by the Americans, there can never be free elections, and therefore the Americans can't rely on UN help. Admitting the United Nations would also constitute an admission by the neocons of the failure of their project to single-handedly rule the world, and they will never admit to being so very wrong. The smattering of troops from oil-grabbing and frankly embarrassing countries around the world will make no substantial dent in the requirements for American troops, and in fact the American troop requirements will at least double if the American corporate interests are to be protected from attacks in an increasingly unstable Iraq. But the problems are even worse than this. If the Americans were to withdraw, Iraq would soon be plunged into civil war. The Turks would have to get involved when the Kurds get involved, Iran would have to get involved to support the Shiites, and Syria, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, and therefore Israel, would also have to become involved. The whole international oil business would be decimated, and the cost of oil would destroy the world economy. The United States can't leave, ever. We can see how the flypaper is really working the other way around: the United States is going to be so preoccupied with the occupation of Iraq that it will be unable to protect its own people from the threats of terrorism. We have already seen how the occupation of Afghanistan has turned into a farce, and the pursuit of bin Laden has utterly failed, all because the Americans had to withdraw resources, and concentration, from Afghanistan to fight in Iraq. The extreme over stretching of American forces, and the foolish misapplication of assets, is only going to continue to get worse.

  4. There is an ongoing attempt to cast the American presence in Iraq and the attack on Iraq as being justified by the humanitarian improvements to the lives of those living there. Anyone who has been paying attention has to treat these claims of improvement in the lives of the Iraqis and American concerns for humanitarianism as some kind of sick joke. If anyone still believes the Americans do anything for humanitarian motives, he or she should consider the case of Liberia. While people were being slaughtered there, or dying of hunger, Bush hemmed and hawed about sending American soldiers. Finally, after Nigerian soldiers had done the job of getting rid of the rebels, the Americans arrive - all seven of them. When Bush can count the number of soldiers he sends without taking off his shoes, you know that the true humanitarian motives of the United States extend only as far as the proven oil reserves of the country being 'saved' by American intervention.

  5. It has been calculated that the cost of reconstruction of Iraq will be as much as $600 billion. The Iraqi oil proceeds won't even begin to cover this, and it will have to be paid by the American taxpayers. Since the master plan was to reconstruct Iraq using grossly overpriced contracts to friends of the Bush Administration, most of this money is essentially a transfer of wealth from poor and middle class Americans to those on Cheney's Christmas card list. We are already seeing the beginnings of this outflow of wealth in the latest Halliburton financial resluts (I mistyped this word, but I like it better this way), and it is going to get much worse. Americans won't even see much or any of this returned to the country in taxes, as these types of corporations rarely pay much in taxes, and in fact as often receive money back from the government. On top of that, you always have to multiply these estimates by a factor of two or three to get the real numbers. The bottom line is that the reconstruction contracts - the transfer of taxpayer money to Bush's close personal friends under the smoke screen of Iraq - will finish off the bankruptcy of the United States not already accomplished by Bush's ruinous tax cuts. While $600 billion is only going to be about the size of the American annual deficit, it looks like the straw that will break the camel's back. Anybody who thinks that the average American will actually benefit from the occupation of Iraq is a fool.

  6. You might think that all of the preceding would be bad enough, and things could not possibly get any worse, but you would be wrong to be so optimistic. After Bush wins the next election in a landslide (a maneuver known to the cognoscenti as a 'diebold'), the neocons have plans for the short period until the apocalypse that make the current outrages look like happy days. We are already seeing the start of the build-up to wars against Syria (the John Bolton testimony on Syria had to be postponed as the CIA couldn't stomach having to listen to it and tacitly approve more neocon lies, especially as they knew they'd be blamed for the disaster of the attack on Syria after it happens), Iran (more on the neocon problems posed by Iraq, and the Ghorbanifar strategy, later), and North Korea (North Korea would obviously like a face-saving way of avoiding a conflagration, but do you think they'll get one from the neocons?). The Palestinians will continue to be ground down into a fine powder in the time being bought for Israel by the 'road map', and this will lead to further anger all around the world. Max Boot, one of the young neocon 'geniuses', has written that he would like to see American military spending, which is now at the greatest levels in the history of the world, and orders of magnitude greater than those of any country that the United States might have to fight, increased by "at least $100 billion a year" (and if you want to read something even nuttier, read this or this or this). There has been much debate over whether the true origins of neocon thinking is Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, National Socialism, Italian fascism (early or late Mussolini?), various forms of Falangist thinking (Spanish, Chilean, Brazilian, Argentinian, or perhaps Lebanese?), or some other perversion. The fact that we are forced to look in such areas to find analogies is enough to make it clear what kind of monsters we are dealing with. Like fascism, neoconservatism is very hard to define as it is really not an intellectual construct, although it pretends to be (here is a more understanding view of the basis of neoconservatism). It is a will to power, a means to an end, a sham of a 'system' that is meant to lead the foolish into thinking that it actually means something. There are three constants in neocon thinking:

    1. the division of society into a tiny ultra-wealthy group of elites, and a mass of poor drones who will contribute both the product of their labor, and their taxes, to the elites (unlike conservatives or libertarians, neocons are statists, realizing that a huge government apparatus coupled with a regressive tax system is the best way to channel money from the poor and middle classes to the rich);

    2. the division of the world into the powerful (the United States and Israel), and the colonies who must do what they're told or face military ruination; and

    3. the complete militarization of the United States and the world, with some sort of odd psycho-sexual worship of the manly virtues of extreme militarism.

    Aside from the advantages of what you can steal through the use of war, the neocons actually think that war, the preparations for war, and the fetishization of the trappings of war (big 'bunker busting' bombs, nuclear bombs, the weaponization of space, uniforms, the draft, etc.: there is nothing on earth queerer than the military) - essentially the whole of society being directed to the sole purpose of fighting, preparing to fight, and thinking about fighting - are a good in and of themselves. The United States is supposed to be improved by becoming the new Sparta. The neocons have been criticized for being, almost to a man, chickenhawks, i. e., those who cravenly avoided fighting in Vietnam but now espouse total war, as long as neither they nor their children have to fight it. This is where the class basis of their thinking comes in. The elites, in which they include themselves (and one of the great mysteries of neoconservatism is how freaks like Perle and Ledeen could have convinced themselves that they could possibly be part of any kind of elite group), aren't supposed to do the fighting. It is the poor cannon fodder who are supposed to fight, in Vietnam or Iraq or wherever, and there is therefore no contradiction in being a chickenhawk and a war monger. The problem with their thinking is that it is not only the pure distilled essence of evil, but it imposes this evil on people all over the world. If they get their way - and I see no one even attempting to slow them down - they will turn the United States into some kind of weird parody of Nazi Germany, with the whole country devoted to a constant state of war with most of the rest of the world, and loving it. Even worse, they will put the whole world under war or the threat of war. If they are not stopped rather soon and very precipitously, they will destroy not only the United States but the ability of people anywhere in the world to live a decent life in peace. It is no exaggeration to say that the United States is now being run by a group of people who are criminally insane.