IRAQ: AMERICA’S EXCUSE FOR REGIONAL DOMINANCE
By Ritt Goldstein
All rights reserved
A righteously indignant Bush administration is waving the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But it’s alleged that this is but the latest Administration fig leaf to cover longstanding ambitions for regional domination, ambitions promoted by key US Administration figures. Noteworthy is that while Defense Secretary during the 1990 Gulf War, now US VP Dick Cheney was involved in an apparent attempt to misinform the American public about the facts justifying the US's prior Iraqi invasion, present day Administration conduct appearing increasingly similar.
In a 10 July presentation to the Defense Policy Board (DPB) – a group advising the Pentagon - Rand Corporation anaylist Laurent Murawiec foresaw “Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot, Egypt as the prize”. The briefing was arranged by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s DPB appointee, Richard Perle, and surfaced an agenda of using Iraq as a springboard for transforming the entire Region. According to Washington-based Iraq anaylist Raad Alkadiri, “The goal is not just a new regime in Iraq; the goal is a new Middle East”.
In an August 2002 speech, Cheney described a reversed domino theory logic behind American aspirations. According to Cheney, once America finishes with Saddam Hussein, “the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace”. Brushing aside Cheney’s rationale, Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, countered “The argument we would be starting a democratic wave in Iraq is pure blowing smoke”. Supporting sentiments such as Matthews’, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt saw an Iraqi attack as having “repercussions and post-strike developments…we fear chaos happening in the region”. However, allegations have been made that such chaos is a vital part of the US plan.
Proponents of this raw power-politics vision see the fall of the Middle-East’s present governments as an American made opportunity to seize the Region’s oil fields, a US force already conveniently in Iraq. Former Tony Blair cabinet minister, Dr. Mo Mowlam, charged that with “a large military force in the field at the time of such disruption…in the name of saving the west, these vital assets (the oilfields) could be seized and controlled.” Concurrently, the war powers resolution President Bush recently presented to the US Congress - which passed with only minor modifications - is said to provide the scope for just such action.
According to Scott Silliman, director of Duke University’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, “this resolution says, ‘Mr. President, you can use force anywhere to bring peace and stability anywhere’.” But while the Bush administration has alternately provided different threat scenarios to justify an attack, the alleged threats have been repeatedly found to be baseless, raising concerns that threats might be artificially manufactured, as occurred prior to the 1990 Gulf War.
At that time the earlier Bush administration, with many of the same faces as the current one, alleged that a major Iraqi assault with 250,000 troops and 1,500 tanks was about to be unleashed against Saudi Arabia. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Pentagon officials then cited satellite images of military concentrations preparing to assault America’s Saudi ally and oil producer. But concurrent with the timing of those alleged images, other satellites were producing images of their own.
Copies of commercial satellite imagery were disturbingly devoid of the military concentrations cited by the Pentagon, but did show sand covered roadways and empty desert. Florida’s St. Petersburg Times broke the story, noting that two satellite image specialists, including a former US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) anaylist, "could find no evidence of a massive Iraqi presence". In explaining the discrepancy, the Pentagon's quote of "trust us" summarizes the Defense Department's position.
Following the Gulf War, half of the 545,000 Iraqi troops that the Defense Department had alleged were in and around Kuwait presented another "mystery". They too could not be accounted for, according to the Times and others.
US Congressman Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, then chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee, provided what many consider the most likely explanation. According to the Times, Hamilton said, "They (the presidential administrations) control the information, and they control the classification of the information, and they control the release of the information. And they use it to play the Congress and the American public like yo-yo's."
It should also be noted that Congressional testimony was fabricated regarding Iraqi troops taking babies from incubators, leaving 312 babies on "the cold floor to die". According to the Christian Science Monitor, former US National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft later commented, "We didn't know it wasn't true at the time".
Raising questions regarding the Bush administration’s so-called present evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or complicity in 9-11, the White House has not requested a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. The Estimates are documents compiled by the CIA and other intelligence bodies which combine all known information into a single report. According to USA Today, since 1947 these Estimates have been a “mainstay for national security decision- making”. The Paper reported that an intelligence official explained the Estimate’s absence as an Administration desire to avoid “enshrining in a widely circulated document the uncertainties that persist”.
To date, some of the most damning intelliegence information has been aimed at the conduct of the Bush administration. According to a 9 October report in The Guardian, US intelligence officials and anaylists claimed that the President's recent assertions "relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence". Also reported is that US intelligence officals have been "put under intense pressure" to falsify their reports.
However, undercutting international efforts to dissuade a US attack, the Bush administration has quietly been threatening future access to the Region’s oil. According to the Washington Post, former CIA director James Woolsy warned, “If they throw in their lot with Saddam it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraqi government to work with them.” Footnoting the nature of this threat, the New York Times recently revealed that the Bush administration plans to institute a US military government in Iraq, similar to that which governed Japan following WWII.
In a telling commentary upon present circumstances, a 3 July, John Pilger article observed, “There is no war on terrorism. It is the great game speeded up, and now more dangerous than ever.”