Standing on the eve of war against the land where Adam and Eve once stood, one cannot but marvel at the ominous confluence of forces funneling together to unleash unspeakable destruction as they steer our nation toward disaster. Like some bi-millennial alignment of celestial energy spawning a reordering of its universe, so has the melding of American supremacists, Christian fundamentalists and rejectionist Zionists in our halls of power reached a destructive critical mass for which war appears to be the only expression.
It has now been widely reported that the project to neuter Iraq was hatched years ago, by men who fantasized about reordering the Middle East to eliminate the mortal threat to Israel represented by any of its enemies with a military-industrial infrastructure. They were men with a plan but lacking the means to execute it, when along came George W. Bush with his potent cocktail of constituencies: Profiteering corporate godfathers seeped in the fields of energy and defense, and messianic Christian zealots salivating for Rapture. The trident was formed; Osama Bin Laden and the terrorism of 9/11 transformed President Bush into its retiarius.
For Christian fundamentalists, the notion of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction is not in and of itself anathema; it’s the timing that is bad. Armageddon can’t happen without forces of evil, presumably bearing nuclear arms, to fight the forces of good. But scripture dictates that the Jewish temple must first be rebuilt, and since that hasn’t happened, it cannot be Saddam Hussein, the incarnation-of-evil-du-jour, that bears those arms. What better argument to disarm him? After the temple is built, then we will find evil and arm it.
For American empire-builders, the religious fanatics can proselytize till the messiah comes or returns; what matters today is less Deuteronomy than hegemony. American hegemony, as in control of the Middle East’s oil and natural gas resources, and hence the world’s economy. How better to get there than by turning Iraq, with proven oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia’s, into the overseas address of the XVII Airborne Corps? Fort Braggdad has an irresistible ring to it. For the administration’s Likkudite Zionists, Oslo rejectionists one and all, and implacably opposed to any peace that entails Israel ceding an inch of occupied territory to the Palestinians, war on Iraq, while having the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis with weapons systems hitherto unused, will more importantly kill two birds with one stone. First, it will eliminate once and for all the one and only Arab military-industrial infrastructure that today produces Al-Sumood missiles, and if left unchecked, would tomorrow sprout deadlier –and farther-reaching–tentacles. Just as important, it keeps on the administration’s back burner (where it will hopefully burn itself out) any chance of progress on an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that might produce the least of all desirables, a viable Palestinian state.
The President’s malleable intellect (he was true to form in his speech to the white House press corps last Thursday, when he referred to the International Atomic Energy Agency as the IEAE) has been a Godsend to those in his administration who conspired to wrest control of foreign policy away from the Department of State. He continues to regurgitate that ‘they hate us because of our freedom and democracy,’ even as he orders war to give them freedom and democracy. And the contradictions don’t stop there. Today it is not Iraq that poses a threat to peace and security in its region, it is the imminent war that poses that threat. It is not the failure of the majority to heed the minority in the United Nations Security Council that will make that body irrelevant, it is the minority’s disdain for the will of the majority that portends world anarchy. If we don’t need the international community’s consensus to go to war to defend ourselves against a perceived potential future threat, other countries can adopt the same latitude, and we’ve made it legitimate for North Korea to attack us now.
President Bush says the coming war is about protecting the American people. If the threat is the terrorism that washed ashore on September 11th 2001, Iraq, which had nothing to do with that particular crime against humanity, is the wrong target. War on Iraq will only proliferate what we hope to pre-empt, and provoke what we’re trying to prevent.
We are going to war against a country that has not threatened or attacked us. We will win the war and lose the peace. Let us never again ask why they hate us.
TARIF ABBOUSHI lives in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org