"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Little Drummer Boys

The last few months has seen a unusual occurrence in the world of political punditry, that of the 'post conflict war monger soul search'. A process by which those in the media and political nerve centre can disown their foaming at the mouth pre-war scaremongering on the basis they were unaware people would die and a country would be left in ruins. It truly is a wondrous sight to behold. Seeing these public persona's contorted by the guilt of a mistake that couldn't possibly have been foreseen one might ask, who could have predicted the daily violence that rocks Iraq today three years ago?

right-wing intellectuals who demanded George Bush invade Iraq now admit they got it wrong. The Independent's article under the headline "Are you listening, Mr President?" reports that Richard Perle, Andrew Sullivan, George Will, Bill Buckley and Francis Fukuyama apparently regret the way war has turned out. The breaking point for them has been the continuing conflict being played out by competing factions under the watchful gaze of the seemingly permanent US occupiers. An unfortunate and 'unpredictable' result of 'liberation'.

The problem no doubt with this continuing resistance is that securing US interests in the region is becoming problematic, with the installation of a reliable permanent puppet regime becoming more difficult. On the upside, as these remorseful politicos will also admit, continuing conflict warrants continuing occupation. Bringing 'peace' and 'stability' to the Middle East is no easy task.

Collateral damage, an often used term that exemplifies the consequences of war is also useful in putting this retrospective preaching in perspective. A euphemism used to describe the "inadvertent casualties and destruction inflicted on civilians in the course of military operations," is a product of political leaders recognition that the reality of war must be disguised in order to gain support, while at the same time removing any doubt that your enemy might be human. So just as history predicts the death of innocents, it can also predict the reactions of people to bombing, occupation and suppression. It is impossible to separate war from it's consequences.

The idea that Iraq would fold under western military occupation is easily rubbished, Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus;"Top analysts in the CIA and State Department, as well as large numbers of Middle East experts, warned that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could result in a violent ethnic and sectarian conflict. Even some of the wars intellectual architects acknowledged as much: In a 1997 paper, prior to becoming major figures in the Bush foreign policy team, David Wurmser, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith predicted that a post-Saddam Iraq would likely be "ripped apart" by sectarianism and other cleavages but called on the United States to "expedite" such a collapse anyway." Past experiences supported by pre-war intelligence was quite accurate in its predictions; no weapons, no friendly welcome and no submission to western imperialism. Pseudo democratic institutions would not be accepted and natural resources would be more difficult to acquire than the simple stroke of the pen.

Are we seriously supposed to believe those within the US/UK administration were not privy to this information? Are we seriously supposed to believe Richard Perle was unaware of his own predictions? Are we to seriously believe anyone thought that Iraqis would role over and die?

The Independent's headline, "
NeoCon allies desert Bush over Iraq" suggests there exists some sort of disagreement when it comes to the major foreign policy goals between the US administration and the media that bolsters its control. Disagreement on 'minor' issues such as this do not indicate a departure from the intrinsic process of hegemony. As with many interventions the plan is much bigger than the conduit. Bush is expendable. The goals are still crystal clear.

Richard Perle may find criticism with the handling of the post liberation plan, but that in no way suggests the war was a mistake. The objective remains, "
We will look back on the liberation of Iraq and the subsequent establishment of a decent, humane government there as a turning point in history." But the establishment of a favourable government rests on three pre-requisites; "Can such a government reliably protect U.S. interests in the region – that is, be pro-Israel, anti-Iran and a secure supplier of oil?"

Infamous political commentator Andrew Sullivan is experiencing a sense of 'shame and sorrow', for the "tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis." A tough lesson he seems to have failed to learn from; "IRAN VERSUS AMERICA:
The threat is real. And explicit." While George Will, in conversation with Senator Kerry, contemplates not whether war is unavoidable, but what kind of war to choose; "Iran's radical Islamist regime is undeterred by diplomatic hand-wringing about its acquisition of nuclear weapons, which may be imminent. Is preemptive military action against Iran feasible, or are its nuclear facilities too dispersed and hardened?"And so continues the drum beat of war.

With the Iraqi threat, if not the war, successfully sold to the public and any dissent successfully contained by the compliant liberal media there is obviously a certain confidence in what well thought out deception can achieve. Amazing as it sounds, Iran is being poised as the next lucky recipient of western democracy and all the freedoms that come with it.

The irony being that those that have learnt from the mistakes of the last intervention are even less concerned with evidence of a threat than ever before. Where there was a despotic tyrant, there exists only a hardliner. Where there were weapons, there exists only the desire to attain them. The desire, as with the 'weapons', does not necessarily need to be factual or even plausible. It is very probable that in five years times that conversation about setting our sights on Iran and that memo suggesting the facts be fixed around the policy will be leaked. Then we'll all join in the chorus of "I told you so," the pundits will blame someone inconsequential, they'll get fired up about some other issue and the history books will be updated with all the key facts omitted.

The Iranian episode unfolding on the pages of the news media starts from two basic premises, the first being a nuclear Iran is a threat and the second that this threat must be dealt with in some way yet to be agreed. Both wholly flawed, yet mercifully unquestioned. Therefore Iran's 'inalienable right' to 'develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination' afforded to it by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty must be re-branded as hostile posturing. And the failure of cynical negotiations must be cause for military resolution. Not that the similarities between the lesson we've just learned and the class we're preparing for have escaped everyone,
"It looks so deja vu," commented Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, "I don't believe we should engage in something that might become a self-fulfilling prophecy," in the understatement of the year.

Following a similar formula to Iraq, the intelligence is being cleverly filtered to ween out anything or anyone that doesn't fit the policy presently being unveiled to the general public. So the likes of Scott Ritter and Hans Blix are being replaced with the
IAEA, there is "no evidence of a nuclear weapons program or any diversion of nuclear material," in the 'to be ignored and suppressed' category. While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's every rant gets a headline, interesting tit bits such as Iran's decision to employ a "euro-denominated international oil-trading mechanism," in an obvious attack on "U.S. dollar supremacy in the international oil market" are noticeably absent. Leaving absolutely no reason for anyone to be in doubt as to why Iran is 'next'.

As with many events in the international world of politics, the Iran 'crisis' has not appeared out of thin air. The reasons behind the US insistence that John Bolton should serve as their ambassador to the UN are becoming more and more apparent;
"the Security Council should issue a "vigorous response" to Iran's nuclear ambitions or the United States might have to consider other steps." The UN is again to serve legitimacy to US et allies imperialism and the Richard Perles and Andrew Sullivans of this world will again promote the interests of those in power, in spite of what you read in The Independent.

Richard Perle Q&A
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) full text here:

In 2004 George Will asks Kerry:
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov:
John Walsh at Counterpunch
Iran Oil Bourse
The 48 Hour Media-blitz for War with Iran

Stephne Zunes
David Traynier Letter to Paul Reynolds
Persistence of Vision