FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Colony By Any Other Name

A recent report in the New York Times outlines new U.S. demands being made on Iraq. The article states, in part, the following: “the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law.” So much for Mr. Bush’s vision of a democratic Iraq.

That one phrase contains two alarming concepts that should send up red flags in the halls of Congress, the United Nations and throughout the Arab world, although it is probably only the latter that will react. A look at each concept, and the expected reaction from those potentially impacted, is somewhat frightening.

The U.S., says Mr. Bush, must have ‘broad authority to conduct combat operations.’ In 2003 Mr. Bush sought that authority and, with the willing acquiescence of a Republican-controlled Congress, easily gained it. Since then, Republicans and Democrats alike have extended his ‘authority’ to ‘conduct combat operations’ at whatever level he chooses. It appears unlikely that he will be denied this ability anytime during the final year of his reign of terror.

What is the likely reaction of the United Nations? With the U.S. having veto power, there is little that body will be able to do to stop Mr. Bush’s imperial destruction of Iraq, already well underway. Yet member nations will not quite so easily embrace these new U.S. demands on Iraq, demands that the U.S., disdaining international law and public opinion, can enforce through Congress and the military.

It seems difficult to accept the idea that a nation can run roughshod over the citizens of another nation simply because it gives itself the right and authority to do so. The world has been horrified by such actions in the past: when Germany invaded Poland, Austria, France and other nations during World War II, it, like the U.S. today, simply gave itself the authority to do so. When Russia invaded Afghanistan it was simply, like the U.S., giving itself the authority to invade a sovereign nation. Even when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, it had simply granted itself the right to do so, although long-standing disputes over borders and oil were the reason for that invasion. The U.S. was less amenable to the idea of such an invasion at that time than it has been more recently.

Lastly, however naïve one might be, one cannot believe for a moment that Iran, Saudi Arabia and their neighbors will be particularly happy with the U.S. granting itself ‘broad authority to conduct combat operations’ in Iraq. With Mr. Bush ignoring the findings of the National Intelligence Institute, which reported in late 2007 that Iran had ceased its nuclear weapons program three years earlier, Iran has no reason to embrace additional and extended U.S. military presence in Iraq. Throughout the Middle East, nations have watched first-hand as U.S. imperialism has been hard at work. Unlike most U.S. citizens, the citizens of many of Iraq’s neighbors have experienced the ‘collateral damage’ of the war as Iraqi citizens by the millions have fled their own country for the relative safety of neighboring nations. The sheer number of these refugees has burdened the economies and infrastructure of their host countries, and additional U.S. violence and terror in Iraq will only increase their numbers.

The second troubling point concerns the work of civilian U.S. contractors. One wonders why a ‘liberated’ Iraq needs to provide these contractors ‘legal protections from Iraqi law.’ Why, one might reasonably ask, should the businesses of a foreign nation be allowed to violate local law?

The concept seems extraordinary, except when viewed from the distorted perspective of its author. Mr. Bush has taken it upon himself to violate the Constitution and make himself exempt from U.S. laws. For example, he feels completely justified in the following behaviors: invading sovereign nations that pose no threat to the U.S.; wiretapping the private conversations of U.S. citizens; authorizing ‘interrogation techniques’ that the Geneva Conventions and the rest of the world ban as torture; establishing torture centers in foreign countries; removing due process from persons who he deems undeserving of it; evicting from political events spectators wearing shirts with such controversial slogans as ‘support human rights’ to name just a few. That he now wants to allow U.S. businesses in Iraq, many of the largest there on ‘no bid’ contracts, to enslave local citizens by violating wage and safety rules, steal natural resources and generally behave as tinpot dictators, all the while amassing fortunes for their top leadership, and leave in their wake suffering Iraqis without any recourse, is not surprising. And since Congress has allowed him to violate U.S. law every step of the way, he has no reason to believe he will be thwarted now.

This is Mr. Bush’s brand of liberation. This is what happens when the mighty U.S. focuses its murderous attention on a nation with natural resources that will further enrich, beyond the dreams of most Americans and certainly far outside the imaginations of the Iraqis who own the oil, U.S. political leaders and their corrupt and greedy cronies. Liberation to Mr. Bush apparently means destroying the men, women and children who stand in the way of corporate profits. Democracy means capitalism, and it will be forced upon the unwilling, should they be so unfortunate as to possess some resource that the U.S. wants.

The U.S. is currently slogging through a primary season, where the Republican candidate, who at this point seems likely to be either Arizona Senator John McCain or former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, seems determined to continue Mr. Bush’s murderous policies if elected president. On the Democratic side, either a President Obama or President Clinton may talk of change, but their voting history does not indicate that there will be much action behind the rhetoric.

So it seems apparent that Mr. Bush expects the people of Iraq to resign their nation to its new status as stepchild to the wealthy American empire, useful only for oil and the cheap labor needed to refine it. He seems to believe, perhaps not incorrectly, that his successor will agree.

Unfortunately for the president and whoever follows him into residence in the White House, the Iraqi people have proven themselves unwilling to settle for this second-class standing since the start of his war. But he has never been one to let facts stand in his way; now it seems only the bloodied bodies of his Iraqi victims can do anything to prevent the realization of his obscene imperial goals.

ROBERT FANTINA is author of ‘Desertion and the American Soldier: 1776–2006.

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail