Bush’s “axis of evil” is in need of revision. In the past week, Iraq and North Korea have tried to prove themselves worthy of the phrase, but Iran is comparably dull and makes a rather boring bad guy. It is time to add a country to the axis that has long been known to contribute to evil regimes in terms of weapons and technical knowledge. This country was recently named explicitly in the weapons report Iraq delivered to the U.N. as the number one supplier of parts, plans, and weapon know-how to Saddam Hussein’ regime. The new evil: Germany.
Given the current political climate in Germany, the country’ role as fertile ground for the 911 masterminds, and its assistance in the buildup of Iraqi’ arms over the past two decades, it would be apropos of U.S. foreign policy at this time to force a regime change in Germany. Since the Bush administration is in the mood anyway, we might just as well use armed force to achieve this end. The U.S. is currently forming two war fronts: one against terrorists and one against Iraq and Hussein’ regime. By sending U.S. soldiers into Germany, we would be going a long way toward defeating both these enemies. German businesses can take credit for the majority of material and technical expertise that now make up Iraq’s armament, including the “weapons of mass destruction2 that make up the justification for the impending U.S. invasion. Up until the Gulf War, German companies were the main suppliers to Iraq’ nuclear weapons program, poison gas facilities, ballistic missiles, and long-range delivery system. After the war, German companies continued to dodge the embargo. Two German businessmen were arrested in October for selling material in 1999 for Iraq’s “supergun,” capable of shooting biological and chemical weapons at troops in Kuwait. More recently, it was reported that the German government has known since 1999 of a German company that assisted Iraq with electronic technology that can be adopted for use on the battlefield.
We have German journalist Andreas Zumach to thank for getting a hold of the expurgated sections of the Iraqi report which demonstrates just how helpful Germany was in the Iraqi weapon buildup. In last week’s Die Tageszeitung, Zumach reported that the Bush administration is keeping details of Germany’ involvement quiet and building up a larger case against the country in order to force it to acquiesce to any subsequent actions the U.S. may take against Iraq. But this backroom political maneuvering is just the kind of mamby-pamby diplomacy that got us into both the terrorist and Iraqi problem in the first place. It’s time to cut the head off the snake. Invade Berlin.
It’s better to go after the drug pushers than the drug addicts. Why put all the blame on weapon-addicted tyrants? During the 90s, the German government’s reaction to the discovery that its businessmen were arming Iraq was tepid at best. Government spokesmen tried to place the blame of the development of Iraq’s weapon program on other states, even though 70% of the technically sensitive material needed came from Germany. 170 German companies were investigated at the opening of the Gulf War, but most of the cases were dropped or dismissed in court and only a handful of businessmen went to prison.
On the terrorist front, the three ringleaders of the 9/11 attack developed the plan while living and studying in Hamburg (It has been repeatedly pointed out that none of the terrorists came from Iraq). These three were the brains and held the technical expertise of the attack; the German crew flew three of the four planes on September 11.
The German political scene is suspicious as well. Gerhard Schr?der won his recent bid for Chancellor on an anti-American platform. In September, his justice minister compared President Bush’ methods to those of Hitler. In January, Germany will become a non-permanent member of the Security Council and will be in yet a stronger position to poison the United Nations with its hatred of the United States. The time to act is now.
The expurgated section of the Iraqi document also lists 24 U.S. companies that aided Iraq in its military buildup. Lest the Bush administration be accused of hypocrisy, and since it has its holsters on anyway, it would be political wise to force regime changes on these companies as well. (It would win votes as well, showing that Bush can respond with armed force against corporate scandals.) Alongside Bagdad and Berlin, it is time to send the marines into the corporate offices of Honeywell, DuPont, and Hewlett Packard. Let the wars begin.
MATTHEW ALBRIGHT lives in Durango, Colorado. He is the author of “Profits Pending: How Life Patents Fail Science and Society,” which will be published in May, 2003 by Common Courage Press.