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?
These 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
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
David Traynier Letter to Paul Reynolds