February 18, 2003 Kamloops Daily News
The United States will not go to war with Iraq. Instead, the U.S. will invade Iraq. War is what happens when there is hostility between two countries. It has been 12 years since Iraq was hostile to any country, and that was Kuwait not the U.S.
Osama bin Laden is not in Iraq. The hated al Qaeda are not there, despite efforts by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to put them there.
Oil is in Iraq. The Middle East, including Iraq, has 65% of the world’s oil and gas reserves. The U.S. wants to control oil at its source and ensure that its gluttonous appetite is satisfied. And pretenders to the title of superpower, like Europe, China and Japan will have to ask the U.S. for energy.
If it was wrong for Iraq to invade Kuwait in its oil-grab, then its equally wrong for the U.S. to invade Iraq for the same reason.
Beyond energy control, the U.S. will invade Iraq because they can. It’s a demonstration of imperial will.
The invasion is supported by some Americans “who believe that the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the ‘American imperialists’ that our enemies always claimed we were … Rome did not stoop to containment; it conquered. And so should we,” writes Jay Bookman, editor for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (September 29,2002).
The removal Saddam Hussein is also a personal issue for the Bush administration that goes back decades. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rusmfeld was Ronald Reagan’s special envoy there in 1983.
Back then, Saddam Hussein was a friend of the U.S. The U.S. provided Iraq with weapons and spy photos in its chemical war against Iran. It provided Iraq with anthrax. Rumsfeld is now part of a grey flock of American hawks that have been hankering for war since the 1990’s.
Bush’s crude attempt to justify his aggression is after the fact. It’s after the failed attempt to destroy the terrorist al Qaeda in Afghanistan. It’s after the failure to dislodge Saddam Hussein from power by starving Iraqis for 12 years. Bush is looking for excuses to justify his actions.
There is “continuing effort on the part of the administration to release more evidence or more intelligence data that’s to make the case, to build the case as a lawyer might build the case. So in some respects, I think the intelligence data is being driven to support conclusions,” says Charles Pena, Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Kato Institute.
Bush will make a showy display of building international consensus for his invasion by asking his friends to join him. But friends beware. The U.S. is friendly as long as you give your undying allegiance to president Bush’s imperial goals.
France learned that sad lesson after France’s President Jacques Chirac told the U.S. that they couldn’t support the invasion. Only a year and a half ago, the French embraced America’s agony of September 11. The French newspaper Le Monde expressed that country’s sentiment on its front page with “We Are All Americans”.
Bush wants unquestioning devotion not sentiment. Yesterday’s friends are today’s enemies. It makes no difference that France doubts the wisdom of invading Iraq. France can be dumped at a moments notice.
American Jed Babbin was candid in his assessment of the lack of French support for the invasion of Iraq. “Well, going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You get to leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind,” said the former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense.
One political problem for Bush is that most American people do not see themselves as imperialists. For them, the superiority of the U.S. is not its ability to crush little countries. For most Americans, the strength of that great nation is the democratic principles on which the U.S. was founded. They would rather export freedom than bombs.
Peace is a compelling argument. If Iraqis won over by freedom and democracy, then they will likely to get rid of Saddam Hussein themselves.
If Bush crushes Iraq, the message to Iraqis will be that tyrants are the same all over the world, regardless of whether they are in the U.S. or Iraq.