FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Modest Proposal

The dedicated efforts of the Bush administration to take control of Iraq–by war, military coup or some other means–have elicited various analyses of the guiding motives.

Offering one interpretation, Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, observes that the Bush administration’s efforts conform to “the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into nationalism” through fear of external enemies.

The administration’s goal, Lieven says, is “unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority”, which is why much of the world is so frightened.

But the administration has overlooked a simple alternative to invading Iraq. Let Iran do it. Before elaborating on this modest proposal, it’s worthwhile to examine the antecedents of Washington’s bellicosity.

Ever since the September 11 attacks, Republicans have used the terrorist threat as a pretext to push a right-wing political agenda. For the congressional elections, the strategy has diverted attention from the economy to war. When the presidential campaign begins, Republicans surely do not want people to be asking questions about their pensions, jobs, healthcare and other matters.

Rather, they should be praising their heroic leader for rescuing them from imminent destruction by a foe of colossal power, and marching on to confront the next powerful force bent on our destruction.

September 11 provided an opportunity and pretext to implement long-standing plans to take control of Iraq’s immense oil wealth, a central component of the Persian Gulf resources that the State Department in 1945 described as a “stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history”.

Control of energy sources fuels US economic and military might, and “strategic power” translates to a lever of world control. A different interpretation is that the administration believes exactly what it says: Iraq has suddenly become a threat to our very existence and to its neighbours.

So we must ensure that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the means for producing them are destroyed, and Saddam Hussein, the monster himself, eliminated. And quickly. The war must be waged this (northern) winter. Next winter will be too late. By then the mushroom cloud that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice predicts may have already consumed us.

Let us assume that this interpretation is correct. If the powers in the Middle East fear Washington more than Saddam, as they apparently do, that just reveals their limited grasp of reality.

It is only an accident that by next winter the US presidential campaign will be under way. How then can we achieve the announced goals? One simple plan seems to have been ignored, perhaps because it would be regarded as insane, and rightly so. But it is instructive to ask why.

The modest proposal is for the US to encourage Iran to invade Iraq, providing the Iranians with the necessary logistical and military support, from a safe distance (missiles, bombs, bases, etc). As a proxy, one pole of “the axis of evil” would take on another.

The proposal has many advantages over the alternatives. First, Saddam will be overthrown–in fact, torn to shreds along with anyone close to him. His weapons of mass destruction will also be destroyed, along with the means to produce them.

Second, there will be no American casualties. True, many Iraqis and Iranians will die. But that can hardly be a concern. Those in US President George W. Bush’s circle–many of them recycled Reaganites–strongly supported Saddam after he attacked Iran in 1980, quite oblivious to the enormous human cost, either then or under the subsequent sanctions regime.

Saddam is likely to use chemical weapons. But the current leadership firmly backed the “Beast of Baghdad” when he used chemical weapons against Iran in the Reagan years, and when he used gas against “his own people”, the Iraqi Kurds.

The current Washington planners continued to support the Beast after he had committed by far his worst crimes, even providing him with means to develop weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and biological, right up to the Kuwait invasion.

Third, the UN will be no problem. It will be unnecessary to explain to the world that the UN is relevant when it follows US orders, but irrelevant when it doesn’t.

Fourth, Iran surely has far better credentials for war-making, and for running a post-Saddam Iraq, than Washington. Unlike the Bush administration, Iran has no record of support for the murderous Saddam and his program of weapons of mass destruction.

Fifth, the liberation will be greeted with enthusiasm by much of the population, far more so than if Americans invade. People will cheer on the streets of Basra and Karbala, and we can join Iranian journalists in hailing the nobility and just cause of the liberators.

Sixth, Iran can move towards instituting “democracy”. The majority of the population is Shi’ite, and Iran would have fewer problems than the US in granting them some say in a successor government. There will be no problem in gaining access to Iraqi oil.

Granted, the modest proposal that Iran liberate Iraq is insane. Its only merit is that it is far more reasonable than the plans now being implemented–or it would be, if the administration’s professed goals had any relation to the real ones.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail