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Addicted to war
President Bush has reverted to discredited rhetoric of the days immediately after 9/11. Isn't this pathetic?


November 30, 2006

Can the American sophisticated and gigantic war machine neutralize the Iraqi resistance movement, Sunni or Shiia, impose U.S. will on the people of that country through the medium of the puppet regime ruling from inside the "green zone" and take possession of the country's oil and other natural resources?

That question sharply divides the warlords today in Washington as to the plans for domination. And there are many of them tossed about by those in officialdom, by the retired generals at the paid-service of the corporate media and the former servants of imperialism and today's honorary members of the corporate boards with entitlement to gilded paychecks from the disproportionately over-grown bank accounts of the oil and arms industries.

There are those who believe there is still time to tame and pacify the struggle of the Iraqi people for independence by increasing the U.S. troop level by 20,000 or more and prolonging the occupation of Iraq far beyond 2010. The aggressive and lawless proponents of this plan, among others, John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona and member of the Armed Services Committee and William Kristol, editor of the neo-conservative magazine Weekly Standard who recommends increasing U.S. military force levels by 50,000 to "clear and hold Baghdad, without shifting troops from other contested areas of Iraq."

There is a second group of warlords who have learned that the U.S., with all its military might, cannot swallow Iraq in one piece and hence it recommends partitioning the country into three separate entities, as the U.S.-Nato forces did to Yugoslavia. But first the U.S. has to set these regions against each other and fan the flame of a civil war by favoring one and undermining the other in turn. The imperialist spokesman of this plot is our liberal democrat, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., from Delaware and incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman. He proposes slicing Iraq along racial, ethnic and religious lines, with practically three separate and weak entities: Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite. Each would have its own sectarian Constitution and, "god-willing" would maintain its own security, backed by the U.S. military or the United Nations "coalition of the willing," if you desire. What a retrogressive direction for bourgeois democracy under "advanced" capitalism!

The third cabal holds that a "clear cut" military victory is no longer possible. At the same time this group is against beginning to withdraw the U.S. troops any time soon. They argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces will bring about the victory of the resistance and unhinge the United States' general strategy in the Middle East, which was based, among other things, on Israel being a strong and unchallengeable military outpost. The proponent of this plot is the old cold-warrior, Henry A. Kissinger, former Secretary of State who favors the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group, (ISG), headed by James A. Baker III, another former secretary of state. He also endorses the idea of involving Iran and Syria in the discussion of how to salvage the U.S. objectives in Iraq, without the U.S. looking like a defeated giant begging for help from its own adversaries.

The last and the least-seriously considered recommendation by the Bush Administration is to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in a span of four to six months. The early spokesman of this strategy has been Carl Levin, the Democratic senator from Michigan and the incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee. To minimize the long-term consequences of the impending defeat of the U.S. at the hands of a resistance movement, on November 26, 2006, Chuck Hagel, a leading Republican senator called on the Bush Administration to begin withdrawing the U.S. troops from Iraq, and recognizing that a U.S. pull out is badly needed to avoid "impending disaster" in the nearly 4-year-old war. He said President Bush should use the report by the Iraq Study Group (ISG) to begin laying the foundation for a "phased withdrawal" of U.S. troops. "If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for the blunder -- one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead," Hagel said.

In a few conferences, among many more, which are ordinarily intended to oppose U.S. probable war on Iran, one hears voices that run as follows: that if the United States seriously decides to bring Iran to its knees and obliterate the country's industrial base, Iran cannot withstand such an onslaught more than 15 minutes. Such individuals who appreciate the enormity of U.S. war power and by logical extension harbor illusions of its invincibility are overwhelmingly against Iran putting up resistance to U.S. threats or actual aggression. These individuals, who, at the same time, deny the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, have their ideological roots in neo-conservatism or age-old ideas of Iranian monarchism.

But to say that the U.S. under the "thumping" of, not the Democratic Party, but the resistance in Iraq, has lost its vitality and orientation is not an exaggeration. One can even go further and say that the U.S. foreign policy and, more importantly, its capability as a unilateral superpower, is tested and found to be in disarray, as has been demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is not an overstatement, therefore, to say that the U.S. has lost the capacity to turn around the downhill course of events in the Middle East, not to mention the developments in Latin America.

Lately, under the frontal criticism by the U.S. electorate in the mid-term congressional carnival of the rich that effectively repudiated the bankrupt governance of the Republican Bush regime, the White House with the helping hand of the Iraq Study Group (ISG), led by James A. Baker III and the old master spy, Robert Gates, decided, though grudgingly, to try to salvage some of the lost credibility by offering some concessions to the old enemies, Vietnam and Russia.

In bilateral trade agreements, the White House finally conceded to remove its objection to those countries' membership applications to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to Vietnam's eligibility to enter into U.S. commodity markets. But the Democrats who anticipate occupying the seats of power in the Congress shortly saw the price of allowing the Vietnamese the advantage of exporting goods to the U.S. as too high and, furthermore, were not inclined to let the Republican President Bush get the benefit of normalization of trade relations with Vietnam, decided to join a group of disenchanted Republicans and defeat the bill before Bush could even arrive at Hanoi.

Washington's concession to Russia was made with the expectation that Russia would turn against Iran on more than one front: firstly, it would abandon the completion of Bushehr's nuclear power plant; secondly, it would bring pressure on the Iranians to suspend their nuclear enrichment operations indefinitely, and thirdly, convince Iran to pressure the Iraqi Shiite resistance forces to abandon their struggle against the U.S. occupation army. Now, it is transparent that Russia's leadership did not agree to do the U.S. bidding and weaken its long term partner, Iran.

The second tactical front of the U.S., led by Baker and Company, has been the plan of holding a conference to which Iran and Syria along with the pro-U.S. regimes of Saudi Arabia and Jordan would be invited. The objectives of this congregation are to share the White House's defeat in Iraq, not only with the Democrats via the ISG, but more so with Iran and Syria as two collaborators. In the position of self-appointed leadership of the conference, the U.S. aims at gaining international legitimacy, however small, and incriminating Iran and Syria by alleging that these countries have been the root sources of unrest and sectarian conflicts between Shiia and Sunni, without which there would have been no resistance to the coalition forces of occupation. 

Being aware of U.S. designs, Iran and Syria decided to pre-empt the plot by having their own separate meetings with President Talabani of Iraq. In the meeting between President Ahmadinejad and Talabani in Tehran the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that the U.S. occupation is the root source of unrest and the solution in Iraq is for the U.S. forces to withdraw from that country as soon as possible. Addressing Talabani, Khamenei said, "Some U.S. agents in the region are the middle men for implementing American policies and creating an insecure Iraq... "

But this was exactly the opposite of what Emporer George W. Bush had in mind. Frustrated by developments of the unexpected course of events, Mr. Bush and his entourage decided to take another trip, this time, to Latvia and Lithuania to glorify NATO's role in the Middle East and bargain for fresh bodies and blood to be used as cannon fodder in the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. To show that he is not yet completely defeated, Bush in Riga, Latvia, defiantly declared that he will not withdraw U.S. forces out of Iraq prior to victory, and said that he will not talk directly to Iran unless Iran suspends its nuclear enrichment program. Apparently, all bets for direct negotiations with Iran at this time are off. Not seeing light at the end of this dark tunnel, the President has reverted to the already discredited rhetoric of the days immediately after 9/11. Isn't this pathetic?

Among all the Democratic and Republican Congressmen and women only a handful have demanded to set up a timetable for withdrawing the U.S. troops out of Iraq. Representative Jim McGovern introduced H.R. 4232 -- End the War in Iraq Act of 2005, exactly one year ago this month, which would have authorized Congress to cut off funding for the military operations, but allow spending on reconstruction. This bill, with a mere 18 cosponsors, was sent to the House Armed Services Committee and the House International Relations Committee. What has happened to this bill? H.R. 4232 is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills go first to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise bills before they go to general debate. The majority of bills never make it out of committee, and that is exactly where the bill remains one year later! 

What bills did make it out of committee and through the 109th Congressional process? Let's look at FY2006 Defense Department Appropriation (DDA) for military activities:  The bill, sponsored by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), appropriated $441 billion for defense-related activities for Fiscal Year 2006 (beginning October 1, 2005). Of the total figure, $49 billion was allocated for supplemental war funding, bringing the total amount appropriated for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to $350 billion. In addition, it recommended increases of 10,000 Army and 1,000 Marine active duty personnel to sustain the missions. The biggest spending increase in the bill from the previous year centered on Navy vessels. The bill approved adding $2.5 billion for two additional destroyers built by General Dynamics Corp.'s Bath Iron Works unit and $384 million for one additional dry cargo vessel also built by General Dynamics. Neither vessel was requested by the Navy. Opponents of the bill expressed concern that much of money was being spent on weapons systems that did not work properly or failed to address the threats faced by U.S. military personnel. [1] Is it any wonder, then that there is a constant campaign of defamation against anti-war voices by a malicious corporate media acting primarily as a mouth piece for the White House? In concert with the Bush administration's new window dressing (ISG) strategy, the mass media daily lays the groundwork for justifying the continuation of the war.  

The United States historically as a form of a particular socio-economic system and hence by extension its distinctly conservative ruling class in the governmental or corporate positions, in the Republican or the Democratic parties, are generally addicted to war. In its latest adventurism in Iraq, it is running out of fanciful explanations for their lingering addiction and as to why they are still continuing to throw away the precious lives of so many young men and women mainly from the working class and ethnic minorities who joined the U.S. armed forces with the anticipation of securing a source of livelihood for their families and, according to George W. Bush, to serve their country and take up the responsibilities of the "White Man's Burden" to civilize the rest of the world, but especially those with large oil reserves.

In this profitable private enterprise and murder incorporated, the U.S. ruling class occupying the lucrative positions in the White House, the Congress, the corporate boardrooms, the arms industries and corporate media has provided the youth in uniform with a rational for sacrificing their lives in the process of killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, making millions unemployed and homeless and forcing many millions more to abandon their homeland.

In close to a four-year period, the class in power has provided the American working class with the following rationales for the war in Iraq:

1) Iraq was involved in 9/11;

2) Iraq possessed WMD's;

3) U.S. is establishing a democracy in Iraq;

4) We are fighting terrorism;

5) The people in the Middle East are Islamo-fascists;

6) The U.S. is trying to prevent/stop a civil war, sectarian fighting and ethnic cleansings. 

Time has shown that the U.S. ruling class, including the Democrats and the assortment of U.S. intelligence agencies lied and fabricated more lies about the reasons for launching the war and occupying that country. Today, their devious reasoning runs as follows: if we bring the troops home, the Iraqis -- Shiias, Sunnis and Kurds -- will massacre each other. But the fact remains that the United States is the root cause of the factionalism and instability and lack of security in Iraq, and the sooner it takes its military forces out, Iraq will be a better place for the Iraqis, as was expressed by Moqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army. A recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland's program International Policy confirmed the truth of Sadr's statement:

* Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes

more violence than it prevents;

* 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq;

* 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.

The mid-term Congressional election, though, was not a mandate to the Democrats who overwhelmingly voted for the war and approved its corresponding budget, under the cover of supporting the troops, but it certainly was a sharp rebuke of the Republican war policy, and their abuse of power and usurpation of the public treasury. How else can the two parties of the war machine justify to the American public that $8 billion a month is being spent by the Pentagon on the Iraq war: that's more than $216 million a day! The peace movement's call that resounded throughout the world about a past criminal war waged by Washington must be resurrected: OUT NOW! END THE WAR! Comment

Ardeshir Ommani, an activist in the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against the Vietnam War. Ardeshir is a co-founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), where news of his most recent visit to Iran in March & April 2006 can be read. He helped launch the successful campaign. He has written a number of articles documenting the U.S. foreign policy toward Iran. He has translated many articles into Farsi, which have been published inside Iran in the progressive press. In the 1960's, he was a co-founder of the Iranian Students Association (ISA), which contributed to the struggle against the Shah of Iran, a U.S. puppet. Mr. Ommani returned to Iran in 1979, at the dawn of the revolution and participated in the revolutionary surge of that period. Since returning to the U.S. in 1980, he has been very active in the anti-war movement and in the struggle against the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.


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