• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The US Could be at War for Years

A Pentagon-dubbed ‘decapitation’ mission, a pre-dawn air assault with Saddam Hussein as its reputed target, may have been President George Bush’s best chance to stave off a protracted war, which could spell ultimate defeat even if American troops score strings of tactical victories.

But even if the Iraqi president is killed or captured, could the American people still be facing years of war, in Iraq or elsewhere?

The issue was raised in Israel well before the assault began, prompted by remarks earlier this week by former prime minister Shimon Peres.

“The war in Iraq is just the beginning,” Peres told Israel Channel One Television. “Problems of the first magnitude can be expected therafter, as well: Iran, North Korea, and Libya.

“The problem is, can you simply abandon the world to dictators, to weapons of mass destruction?”

Asked if that meant America might then be facing as many as five or six years of war at this point, Peres replied, “That is very possible. I don’t know how long it will take, but the problem is a global one, and it will not end in Iraq, even if a new regime is instituted – say a regime like Jordan’s, not a democracy, but orderly and responsible rule.”

Taking a narrower view, former army chief, cabinet minister and peace negotiator Amnon Lipkin-Shahak said the American campaign in Iraq could be relatively brief.

“There is a good chance that there will be a collapse of the Iraqi will to fight. Part of this will depend on how the Iraqis perceive the American offensive,” Lipkin-Shahak said hours before the attack began.

“The Iraqis already understand American determination, American psychological warfare will add to that perception of determination, and the moment that the Iraqis understand that the Americans mean to go all the way this time – and not to stop somewhere in the middle as they did the last time [in the 1991 Gulf war], the collapse will be that much faster.” Other Israeli officials have speculated that even if the United States can achieve a relatively swift military triumph in Iraq, the subsequent occupation of a nation the size of California could prove a tar baby of major proportions, and an uncomfortable, perhaps dangerous echo of the Israel’s military experience in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. The killing or capture of the Iraqi leader might help shorten the war’s timespan, but it is overly simplistic to believe that the removal of Saddam Hussein or his sons would spell a swift conclusion, said Haaretz intelligence analyst Yossi Melman. “One must give Iraq’s generals, its leadership, and the [ruling] Ba’ath Party due credit,” Melman observes. “It is not just a regime ruled through tyranny and terror. There is that, to a great degree, but these people are also guided by ideology, that of the Ba’ath, the common cause, the notion of the Iraqi nation.

“Some of them are certainly Iraqi patriots. It’s not that they blindly obey Saddam Hussein just because they fear him. True, he has sewn the seeds of fear and terror in the 30 years he’s ruled there, but there is more than that, and that’s why it will not be so easy.” One particular problem for the campaign against Saddam Hussein is his intensely loyal inner circle, including a core of some 10 top generals, key players in his rule, many of them members of Saddam’s family clan.

Now that the apparent ‘liquidation’ bid has apparently failed, the Americans can be expected “to concentrate on breaking lines of communication, targeting the regime’s command and control centers, in a ‘divide and rule’ strategy, to isolate Saddam Hussein and his central command from the other, more peripheral areas of Iraq – in sum, to push him into losing control of the situation.”

The question of whether the Bush administration will follow an Iraqi campaign with threats of military force against other nations on the White House blacklist may in the end be decided by domestic considerations, rather than the desire to bring about changes in regimes that, in terms of nuclear potential alone, are potentially far more dangerous than that of Saddam.

“If he is still at war when he runs again, even if he is winning that war, I don’t believe he will be re-elected, if only because of the economy,” says Melman. Perhaps the greatest single failure of the American military and intelligence effort occured long before the overnight Tomahawk Cruise missile attack was launched, Melman concludes. “Had U.S. intelligence services succeeded previously in an operation against Saddam Hussein, the war might well have been prevented entirely.”

BRADLEY BURSTON writes for Ha’aretz.

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail