can’t see the forest

New American Century: Bush Plans to Expand Military Involvement in Iraq

Before the mid-term elections: “Absolutely, we’re winning.”

After the mid-term elections: “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” We need more troops. Yeah, that’s it! More troops.

From MSNBC.com:

In another turnaround, Bush said he has ordered Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to develop a plan to increase the troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps, heeding warnings from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill that multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretching the armed forces toward the breaking point. “We need to reset our military,” said Bush, whose administration had opposed increasing force levels as recently as this summer.

But in a wide-ranging session in the Oval Office, the president said he interpreted the Democratic election victories six weeks ago not as a mandate to bring the U.S. involvement in Iraq to an end but as a call to find new ways to make the mission there succeed. He confirmed that he is considering a short-term surge in troops in Iraq, an option that top generals have resisted out of concern that it would not help. [emphasis added.]

Let’s turn to the polls—certainly blunt instruments, but ostensibly democratic ones.

From a CNN poll, Dec. 15-17, 2006 (1,019 adults nationwide, +/- 3% margin):

“Do you favor or oppose the US war in Iraq?”
Favor: 31%; Oppose: 67%

From an L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll, December 8-11, 2006 (1,489 adults nationwide, +/- 3% margin):

“As you may know, some members of Congress are calling for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, while others are saying that our troops should remain in Iraq until the country is secure, and others are proposing that more troops should be sent to Iraq. Do you think the United States should withdraw troops from Iraq on a fixed timetable, or should keep the current level of troops in Iraq as long as it takes to secure the country, or should send more troops to Iraq?”
Withdraw on a fixed timetable: 52%; Stay as long as it takes: 26%; Send more troops: 12%

So, then, according to these up-to-date polls, two-thirds of Americans are in fundamental opposition to the war in Iraq, and only about one-eighth of Americans favor the kinds of changes Bush has Gates cookin’ up in his first week on the job. It’s not about Congressional stance, and it’s certainly not about public opinion, from all appearances—it’s about executive power trips and immunity from accountability. It’s about a virtual dictatorship.

Is this the kind of democracy we are trying to export? I believe that it is.

Angelic BushAmericans have constantly and consistently been told by this administration that it “listens to the generals on the ground” when considering policy and strategy in this great crusade for democracy profit. Yet, clearly, we now have a situation in which the Bush White House is acting directly against the opinions of those enlightened personnel, and directly against the opinions of the “great beast” of the American public.

But far more pertinent than the opinions of American taxpayers or of our militaristic overlords are the views of—gasp!—the Iraqis themselves. While many Americans are content to continue believing that the War in Iraq has something to do with 9/11 specifically or with combatting “terror” in general, it can be soundly inferred that the citizens of war-ravaged post-Saddam Iraq are possessed of less endemically skewed perspectives on the situation at hand. It is their country, after all. They live there; they don’t watch or read motel room journalism from the fortified Green Zone.

September 2006 polling of Iraqis by the academically chaired Program on International Policy Attitudes indicates that seven out of ten surveyed Iraqis want US forces out of Iraq within one year. Most strikingly, an “overwhelming majority” of Iraqis believes that the US military presence is engendering more violent opposition than it is suppressing, and that the most effective way for the US to help the Iraqi government strengthen its grasp of its own affairs is actually a simple one: Get the hell out of Iraq as soon as is practiceable.

“No, no,” the White House protests. “You just don’t understand, Iraqis. We have interests at stake. The mission must succeed.

How many times must Americans and Iraqis be subjected to this forceful drone that sounds like something out of a Hollywood action flick? What mission, exactly? First it was eradicating the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction; then it was Bush’s “messianic mission” of exporting peace and democracy to the Middle East; now it’s a sort of amorphous quest for “security and stability in the region,” for pacifying a nation “on the brink of civil war,” a civil war that has, in fact, been positively raging virtually since day one of the US-led invasion. Do you notice a pattern? Each successive mission goal seems a little harder to define, a bit more perpetually elusive than the last.

That’s because the only mission to which the Bush regime is committed in Iraq—and in Afghanistan—is this: redrawing the map of the Middle East in a manner that is to the best advantage of U.S. business interests. Those are the “interests at stake.” It has very little to do with the will and the intention of the American taxpayer and absolutely nothing to do with the safety and stability of Iraqis or Afghanistanis.

The Iraq War is very much a war for oil, but the object is not simple possession of a resource. The object is more subtle and more geopolitically strategic. U.S. oil companies already have perpetual access to oil reserves in the Atlantic basin, in Canada, and elsewhere. But control over the immense and largely untapped oilfields of Iraq—not merely access to them—guarantees critical economic leverage over European and east-Asian competitors to US policymakers and corporations. Flooding the market with Iraqi oil would theoretically lower oil prices, to the immediate disadvantage of oil companies. Absolute, unchallenged American ownership of Iraqi oil, however, would mean that US business leaders could use Iraqi oil as a mechanism of blackmail on the long term. “What’s that, OPEC? A price spike in protest of US foreign policy? Watch this!” Because oil is also a strategic resource for increasingly independent-minded nations in South America, nations such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, control of Iraqi oil can also act as a mechanism to economically undercut the ability of these nations to establish a diverse international base of commerce independent of the U.S. sphere. Iraq Oil Map - U.S. DoE

The long-term objective of US planners in Iraq is given away by the name of the organization of neoconservative hoodlums behind the curtain: the Project for a New American Century. If the invasion of Iraq had ever been about benevolent concerns for the best interests of Iraqis, then Iraqi oil would already be nationalized and in the hands of Iraqis, and US troops would be on their way out even as I type. But if that country’s economic base is in the hands of its own people, then it cannot lie exclusively in the hands of US economic forces. It cannot be used as the Weapon of Mass Subservience of PNAC designs.

What does all of this mean? It is easy to be lulled by the never-ending sputter of corporatocratic propaganda into believing that the success of the US “mission” in Iraq is contingent upon the eradication of insurgent activity. On the Carollian chessboard of reality, the reverse is actually true: continued insurgent activity is the driving force behind even marginal support from US citizenry of a continuing or even an escalating military presence in Iraq (because, like, we can’t be defeated, of course. Defeat is unAmerican) and a continued and indeed perpetual military presence in Iraq is necessary to secure the country’s resources for long-term exploitation.

There is another factor in play in the ongoing travesties of Iraq and Afghanistan, and many an eighth-grader could espy its relevance simply by looking at a map of Middle East and taking note of just which nation sits sandwiched between these two newest, shiniest centers for projection of US military power. That would be the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Much like the US, but in sepia tones rather than technicolor, in Iran the political administration has an agenda which is often altogether different from that of its population at large. The Iranians are a peaceable people inclined to a high degree of cultural depth, to malleable and progressive attitudes on matters of significance, and to just getting along with the world in general. But the theocratic establishment in that nation, and Ahmadinejad’s government in particular, are oppressive hardliners. While I daresay the Iranians will not soon forget the events of 1953, the government has, perhaps beginning in 1979, I think, turned anti-Western sentiment into the same sort of oblique rallying cry that U.S. neoconservatives are attempting, successfully, to make of 9/11.

Ayatollah Ruhollah KhomeiniThe escalation of anti-Israeli and anti-American rhetoric from Teheran is reactionary and is not in and of itself wholly unjustified. The Iranian government is diametrically opposed to the US government on the matter of Palestinian sovereignty, and attempts to support pro-Palestinian “militants” in much the same manner (albeit far less grandiose) that the US supports Israeli hegemonists (who are somehow not militants or terrorists). Today Iran is clearly surrounded by US military power, and this is simply fuel on the fire. At least some Iranians must be wondering if their priests have not been right all along.

I do not doubt that military action against Iran may be in the cards for 2007. Nor do I doubt that such a maneuvre might be a major factor in Bush’s pending decision to deploy tens of thousands of additional troops to the region. The United States cannot invade Iran in the same way that it has made a painful example of Iraq, but it does—or will—have the power to quickly and utterly incapacitate the government and to effect political changes which are more conducive to US interests. If the region is going to be redrawn to support a New American Century, then the face of Iran must be reconfigured along with it. Thus, we can expect in 2007 to hear ever-increasing rhetoric about the “enemies of freedom” in Teheran, along with diminishing concern for the sovereignty and welfare of the Iranian people apart from how they might be of better service to American capitalist enterprise.

To anyone with even the most basic understanding of the underpinnings of “Islamic terrorism” and of fundamental causality, it should be readily apparent that the downright Nazi-ish Israeli oppression of non-Jews is the pea upon which the princess sleeps. If US planners really wanted to win the “great ideological struggle of the 21st Century,” as Bush has called it, they could easily do so by withdrawing the mindbogglingly immense financial and logistical support which the US provides to Israel even as the White House pretentiously maintains its avatar as “peacemaker” in the region. But the President will not act decisively in this way because it does not benefit his friends’ business interests. A hostile Iran and a tumultuous Iraq are necessary to further their aims. Congress will not act on behalf of the Palestinians because of the immense strength of the Israeli lobby and its virtual stranglehold on the US news media. The United Nations is also rendered inert to take action because Israel can count on the United States to veto or otherwise obstruct any meaningful resolutions towards the ends of a peaceful Middle East.

If there is peace in the Middle East, then there is no impetus to drive the warmongering and profiteering schemes of the neoconservatives and their corporate allies. Thus Iranian policy and prerogative will continue to be attacked as if they have no logical causal basis; thus Iraqi insurgents will continue to be milked for all their worth; thus Israeli racism and genocide will continue to be treated as the bleatings of a woefully misunderstood lamb of God. This is how we build a New American Century.

So upon whom are the Iraqis, the Afghanis, the Iranians, the Palestinians, and the Lebanese relying to bring peace to the region, to return sanity and sovereignty to peoples dispossessed of such luxuries since the early years of the 20th Century? They rely upon you and upon me, not upon elected officials. They have already had quite enough of our “democracy.” They would prefer, I think, a bit of activism from these quarters.

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One Response

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  1. Joe Smith said, on 12/21/06 at 1:44 pm

    This was an absolutely gay speech from such a dumb president and he will need to leave the US when his term in office is up.


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