FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Dance

How seriously they took the Baghdad theatricals. “A resounding ‘no’ from the Iraqi parliament,” was the headline on NBC’s local affiliate here in North Carolina. “Assembly in Baghdad shows its outrage,” was the headline in USA Today. As if the Iraqi parliament was really a parliament, as if Saddam Hussein’s recent 100 per cent vote was not a fiction.

“US officials”–those all-purpose sources for lazy journalists–were quickly on hand to suggest that this was “posturing”. I really needed a “US official” to tell me that. But I began to wonder, given the po-faced reporting and the presentation of Iraqi news here, if the naive world of Saddam and the naive world of America don’t sometimes connect. It’s as if Saddam knows this nonsense is taken seriously. Hitler was a tyrant and Saddam is a tyrant. But Hitler wasn’t a clown.

Of course, the Iraqi parliament’s vote doesn’t mean a thing. Two hundred and fifty senators rejecting UN arms inspections and then allowing the “wise leadership” of Saddam to make the final decision is about as serious as an

Egyptian television serial (Egyptian serials are all about families in crisis and Saddam is addicted to them). Mr Salim al-Kubaisi’s remark–he is the head of the “Iraqi parliament’s Arab and International Relations Committee” took the biscuit. Parliament, he announced, had full confidence in Saddam’s “great ability to assess the situation” and commended the Leader’s “deep vision”. This was the vision, remember, that gave us the Iran-Iraq war (one million dead) and the invasion of Kuwait.

Then we have the leader’s beloved son Uday–still bearing the scars of his assassination attempt–who intervened on the side of inspections. He thought the UN inspectors should be accepted into Iraq (which means Saddam agrees) but there should be some Arabs among the inspectorate.

This is not the first time we have heard that. Several Arab states have suggested the same thing though I don’t think Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, is going to be adding Saudi scientists to his team. The real Iraqi fear is that the CIA will use the UN inspectors–just as they did before–and that the inspectors, far from searching for weapons of mass destruction, will be fingering sites for bombardment if/when America decides to invade.

But it’s back to the old story. Saddam is going to run this one up to the wire on Friday at which point his “wisdom” and “vision” will prevail and the UN inspectors will be welcome and the American media will say–just a guess–“Back from the brink”. Oh, yes Saddam understands how to play the clown. And with each circus act, he makes the Americans look just that little bit more silly. A dangerous trick to play right now.

A US Marines officer came up to me after I gave a lecture at the University of North Carolina last night to tell me he was departing from his young wife and child in three days’ time to go to Central Command in Tampa for the start of a longer journey. It’s the same all over America. Just down from here at Fort Bragg, elements of the 82nd Airborne are said to be on the move.

A vast American armada is slowly taking shape–huge quantities of armour and ordnance are being moved around the world right now from the United States–and most of America doesn’t even know it. “See you there,” I said to the marine last night as we parted company. “Oh, are you coming to Central Command?” he asked innocently. “No,” Itold him, “You’re going to Iraq.”

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail