Battling for the soul of the American republic


As the battle for Baghdad comes to a close in Iraq, a battle for the soul of the American republic has begun in Washington. This is a battle of ideas being waged by people with an imperial concept of American power, or "flag conservatives", with a diverse coalition of other groups. The flag conservatives have taken the view that America needs to fight a long war of self defense until the last one of the cold-blooded killers of September 11 has been hunted down and killed and until all regimes in the "axis of evil" - Iraq, Iran and North Korea - have been changed.

The opposing coalition does not support such an imperial expression of power. The opposing coalition counters that an imperial war will erase the very freedoms domestically that the US seeks to project internationally. This coalition spans the ideological spectrum, and includes conservatives such as Pat Buchanan, libertarians such as Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute and Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, mainstream democrats and the various groups who were active in the no-war movement.

This battle will intensify in the runup to the 2004 presidential election. The first shots have already been fired by some of those who are seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. For example, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts began to call for regime change in Washington while the war was under way, drawing considerable flak from the proponents of war. Similarly, Governor Howard Dean of Vermont made the anti-war issue a primary topic of his speech at the recent Democratic Party convention in Sacramento, and came in for sharp rebukes from the other side.

The "flag conservatives" are exultant since their long-standing objective of gaining mastery of the Middle East appears within reach. As discussed later in this article, Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz first articulated this viewpoint shortly after the first Gulf war in 1991. Facilitated by the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, the first campaign of the "war against terrorism" took place against the ragtag army of the Taliban, whose strength did not exceed 40,000. The regime in Kabul, which boasted that it would not be crushed as easily as the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, collapsed within two months.

The second campaign, which became the second Gulf War, took place against the woefully underfed, under-equipped and demoralized army of Saddam Hussein, whose famed Republican Guard simply became a mirage in the Iraqi desert once hostilities commenced. The Ba'ath regime in Baghdad, which had boasted that it was far stronger than the Taliban and would turn Iraq into a graveyard of the invading armies, collapsed within a month.

While temporarily restrained by global public opinion, the war machine being directed by the flag conservatives threatens to branch out toward the east and the west from Iraq, with campaigns directed at effecting regime change in Damascus and Teheran. In the not-too-distant future, campaigns may be directed at effecting regime change in Riyadh and Cairo. There are even rumblings of change in Islamabad, since Pakistan is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and it is widely alleged to be supporting terrorism in India.

Anyone who doubts this grim forecast need only consult the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America", published last November by the White House. It commits the US to supporting "moderate and modern government, especially in the Muslim world, to ensure that the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation". Having both the intent and the capability to make war, the Bush administration has sent a clear message to Muslim governments throughout the world. If they do not comply with US dictates, they will be forced out of power, and their leaders either killed or captured without even the pretense of due process.

Richard Perle, a key architect of the drive to topple Saddam, has declared that the war will not stop with Iraq, "We shall continue to fight against countries who harbor and develop weapons of mass destruction." He ruled out any United Nations role in the new war, since the Security Council "was created to manage classic crises such as Germany invading France with divisions of Panzer tanks. This institution is incapable of dealing with the toughest problems of our time such as ... terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction".

Today, the global military presence of the US encompasses more than 1,000 bases in nearly 100 countries. This number includes "ghost bases" which are not staffed with US personnel but are important repositories of military hardware and supplies that can be tapped on a moment's notice. These bases, like the forts of imperial Rome, are a perceptible indicator of Washington's ability to force a regime change when it chooses and where it chooses. Some have argued that the bases are primarily intended to convey a political message to countries in their neighborhood and to cultivate "relationships" with the host countries. Sometimes, the existence of the bases is kept a secret from the population of the host country.

The flag conservatives have sold the long war to the American people as a necessary war of self defense. Vice President Dick Cheney has said that the world before September 11 looks different than the world after September 11, "especially in terms of how we think about national security and what's needed to defend America. Every significant threat to our country requires the most careful, deliberate and decisive response by America and our allies." Roger Morris, who was on the staff of the National Security Council under presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, notes that President George W Bush waged war on Iraq by asserting that Iraq posed a clear and present danger to peace. Morris says that war was waged, even though the danger was neither clear to Iraq's Arab neighbors nor to the rest of the world; nor was it present in a one- to five- year time frame. By unilaterally attacking Iraq, the president "erased long-recognized limits on the right of any nation to attack another".

Furthermore, the president's writ went unchallenged on Capitol Hill, which was as Morris said, "another sign that any internal democratic restraint on the president's war-making was a dead letter". Morris noted that the terrorist attacks of September 11 transformed the president's image from being the butt of satire to that of a commanding leader in the mold of Winston Churchill: "Mr Bush took on his own reconstruction with earnest determination, even gusto, finding his yet undefined political destiny in an expansively defined war of terror."

Norman Mailer, one of America's leading men of letters, says that the war has gratified the need of the flag conservatives to avenge September 11. He argues that it is of no consequence that Iraq was not the culprit for September 11, and Bush proved that he would not let the lack of evidence get in the way of implementing his grand vision: September 11 was evil; Saddam is evil; all evil is connected. Ergo, Iraq. Bush has also promised the American people a bonus from the war, which will begin to accrue once democracy and free markets permeate the Arab world.

The casus belli

American scholars such as Yale's Paul Kennedy and Harvard's Joseph Nye have argued that this long war, based on "hard" military power, is not going to serve the vital interests of the US. So why is it being waged? At least four reasons suggest themselves.

First, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a special interest group in this country found itself marooned from reality. Its raison d'etre had disappeared. President Dwight D Eisenhower was the first man to suggest the existence of this special interest group, and he dubbed it the military-industrial complex. Being a former military man, he knew better than most the tenacity of this complex. As the Cold War came to a close with the fall of the Berlin Wall, members of this complex were seriously concerned that any "peace dividend" would drive them out of business. The "evil empire" of the Soviet Union had provided an eminent rationale for continued US military spending, and a new enemy had to be found quickly. After a process of trial and error, this enemy appeared in the face of militant Islam.

Second, the state of Israel was gripped with insecurity flowing from its 30-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It retreated from Lebanon and now faced an increasingly belligerent second intifada in the Occupied Territories that had begun to intrude into Israel. Israel turned to its patrons in Washington for assistance, using the ethnic ties of its leaders to the leaders of the neoconservative movement in the Republican Party. In the views of Mailer, Bush regards the protection of Israel as obligatory for strategic reasons having to do with his re-election in 2004, but also because of tactical military reasons. Israel's Mossad has the finest intelligence service in the Middle East at a time when there was a paucity of Arab spies in its American counterpart. Mailer argues that by threatening to go to war against any Arab country that poses a threat to Israel, the president can also satisfy the more serious polemical needs of a great many neoconservatives in his administration who believe "Islam will yet be Hitler redux to Israel".

Third, US dependence on imported oil, especially from the Middle East, has continued to grow as Americans, having few incentives to invest in energy efficiency, continue to buy increasingly larger and heavier sports utility vehicles typified by the Hummer, a civilian variant of the army's Humvee. The US accounts for a quarter of the world's oil consumption, and is forced to import more than half of its requirements. Much of this comes from the Persian Gulf, and this dependency is likely to grow over time as domestic production dries up. The surest way for the US to sustain its overwhelming dependence on oil is to control 67 percent of the world's proven oil reserves that lie in the Gulf.

Fourth, and most importantly, a small group of people began to argue for the virtual American takeover of the globe within a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the leading exponent of this position was Wolfowitz, at the time a little-known defense under-secretary for policy reporting to Cheney, then defense secretary. Wolfowitz drafted a document that envisioned the US as "a Colossus astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through military and economic power". Not in so many words, he called for the establishment of Pax Americana. The proposal drew so much criticism that it was withdrawn hastily and repudiated by then-president George H W Bush. The document was re-issued in the fall of 2000 during the presidential election campaign. It laid out in plain English a game plan and script for the Americanization of the globe under an ambitious rubric, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC, which described US armed forces abroad as "the cavalry on the new American frontier", became US foreign policy after September 11.   More >>

En masse regime change in the Middle East

Norman Podhoretz, the godfather of the neoconservatives, has called for en masse regime change in the Middle East. Podhoretz's list of the "axis of evil" goes beyond the three countries cited by Bush in his January 2002 State of the Union speech, and includes Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Syria. He wants the US to unilaterally overthrow these regimes in the Arab world and replace them with democracies cast in the mold of US presidents Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson.

But what the neoconservatives seek is not just a political transformation of the Middle East. Their end game is to bring about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam". These ideologues are fundamentally confrontational in nature. They recognize that American military intervention in the Middle East will provoke terrorist attacks on Americans, both at home and abroad. They welcome such attacks, as they would provide the US with the pretext for even stronger military intervention. Neoconservatives believe that the US will emerge triumphant in the end, provided that it shows the will to fight the war against militant Islam to a successful conclusion, and provided too, that it has "the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties". All of these policies suggest that the neoconservatives believe they have liberated the US from the constraints of history in a post-September 11 world.

Contrarians in the true sense of the word, the neoconservatives pride themselves on being politically incorrect. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, provides a particularly horrific example on the magazine's web site. He argues that if terrorists from Muslim countries detonate a "dirty bomb" in the US, the US should launch a nuclear attack on Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Lowry justifies this outrageous proposal by portraying it as a deterrent to terrorist attacks, believing that Muslim militants would not want to risk the destruction of their holiest shrine.

Professor Elliot Cohen is the most influential neoconservative in academe. From his perch at Johns Hopkins, Cohen refers to the war against terrorism by a chilling name: World War IV (citing the Cold War as the third world war). His viewpoint is diametrically opposed to that of the distinguished historian of war, Sir Michael Howard, who has cautioned that the fight against terrorism is not even a war, let alone a world war. Cohen claims that America is on the good side in this war, just like it has been in all prior world wars, and the enemy is militant Islam, not some abstract concept of "terrorism".

Cohen argues that the US should throw its weight behind pro-Western and anticlerical forces in the Muslim world, beginning with the overthrow of the theocratic state in Iran and its replacement by a "moderate or secular" government. After September 11 he was one of the first neoconservatives to call for an attack on Iraq, even though there was no credible evidence linking Iraq with the attacks on the US or al-Qaeda.

A few months prior to the invasion of Iraq, the neoconservatives launched a bipartisan Committee for the Liberation of Iraq with much fanfare. One of its prominent members is the 81-year old George Schultz, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Schultz served as secretary of state in the Ronald Reagan administration and treasury secretary in the Richard Nixon administration. Several key members of the Bush administration have worked for him - including Cheney, Paul O'Neill (the former treasury secretary) and Rumsfeld - while Secretary of State Colin Powell worked at the National Security Council when Schultz was secretary of state. Schultz began to call Saddam a menace to peace for months prior to the war, and forecasted that the US would attack Iraq by the end of January. His words confirmed the suspicion of many that the Bush administration merely wanted to use UN Resolution 1441 as a cover to attack Iraq.

For Bush, overthrowing Saddam served a political, ideological and personal agenda. Politically, Saddam was the best available substitute for the unlocatable Osama bin Laden - and even if the US could not find Saddam, it could at least depose him and say, "Saddam can no longer threaten us with his weapons of mass destruction." Ideologically, this long war and the doctrine of preemption express the militarism, unilateralism and fear of international institutions that characterize much of the Republican power base in the American south and the mountain states.

Conventional wisdom had argued that a US attack on Saddam would fuel popular uprising against other Arab governments. But the neoconservatives turned this argument on its head. Regime change in Baghdad could stimulate regime change elsewhere in the region, and that would be all for the good. Victor Davis Hanson, professor of classics at California State University, Fresno and an advisor to Bush noted, "Baghdad for the Bush administration was never the end. It was the beginning. And that's why it's such a controversial move because it threatens every idea of stability, every idea of normality, every idea of who's friendly and who's not in the entire post-war world. It's the most revolutionary event, I think, in our times. At least, it rivals the change in the map in eastern Europe."

The original imperialists

As we begin the 21st century, are we witnessing a re-enactment of the 20th century? The ideas of World War I British imperialists such as Mark Sykes and Leo Amery bear an uncanny resemblance to those of today's American neoconservatives. As Yale historian Paul Kennedy puts it, they "wanted to diminish French, Russian and German influence in the region. They sought secure access to Middle East oil, and to sites for staging posts and air bases. They also believed that British genius could reconcile Arab and Jewish interests in Palestine. All this turned out to be a romantic delusion".

Baghdad experienced its first "liberation" in 1917. The liberator was Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude. The Mesopotamian provinces of Baghdad and Basra were the first to be liberated by the British from the Ottoman Empire. Palestine was next, followed by Syria and Lebanon. In a few years, the Arabs were rioting in Palestine and rebelling in Iraq.

An uprising of more than 100,000 armed tribesmen against the British occupation swept through Iraq in the summer of 1920. Air Commodore Arthur Harris, reacting to the Palestinian revolt, declared, "The only thing the Arab understands is the heavy hand, and sooner or later it will have to be applied." The Royal Air Force was brought into action, and thwarted the rebellion by killing nearly 9,000 Iraqis. But there was great concern in Westminster, since the operation had cost more than the entire British-funded Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1917-18. Then-secretary of state for war and air Winston Churchill suggested the use of chemical weapons against "recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment". Specifically, he suggested the use of poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes "to spread a lively terror".

All of this came at a bad time. The economy of the British Empire was collapsing and the Crown's time, energy and resources were needed to revive it. An exasperated Churchill told His Majesty's government that it was spending millions for the privilege of sitting atop a volcano. Lamenting on the British experience in Palestine, the "last lion" was to write, "At first, the steps were wide and shallow, covered with a carpet, but in the end the very stones crumbled under their feet."

Much has changed during the past century. A former colony across the Atlantic has eclipsed Great Britain, and is the new home to an empire on which the sun never sets. The armies of the new empire have invaded Baghdad, with the armies of the old empire in tow in Basra, bearing this time the gift of democracy.

The tactics of liberation have changed as the empires have changed places, but the objectives remain the same. Iraq remains the linchpin to the Middle East, and whoever controls Baghdad will control the Middle East. As the French say, "Plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose [the more things change, the more they stay the same]."

The neo-imperialists

In the same year that Baghdad fell to the imperial British army, Vladimir Lenin published a trenchant piece, "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism." In it, Lenin wrote, "I trust that this pamphlet will help the reader to understand the fundamental economic question, that of the economic essence of imperialism. For unless this is studied, it will be impossible to understand and appraise modern war and modern politics."

This year, as Baghdad is liberated for a second time, Niall Ferguson, an economist and historian at New York University and Oxford, has published a book with a very different message. Noting that the British Empire was the chief promoter of progressive thought around the globe for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Ferguson suggests that the world would do well to get itself another essentially "good" empire to maintain order. The good empire he's talking about is exactly what the flag conservatives want to establish in the US.

Ferguson believes that the US should sustain networks of trade, aid, investment and defense that will mimic the British world order. Rogue states will be curbed, failed nations healed and brushfire wars smothered - by aid and investment where possible, by arms where necessary.

It will, of course, be an imperialism that dare not speak its name. Some of the imperialists in progressive non-governmental organizations will even believe that they are anti-imperialist. And the logos under which they operate will be derived from the UN or the International Monetary Fund rather than from the US. But the underlying networks of cooperation that sustain this new imperialism are likely to link the US with such "Anglosphere" nations as Britain and Australia and perhaps, in due course, India and South Africa, which share a similar heritage.

In a widely quoted speech that he gave recently at the University of California, Los Angeles, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director James Woolsey addressed Arab leaders directly, "We want you [to be] nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you - the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family - most fear: We're on the side of your own people." Woolsey noted proudly that the US was engaged in fighting World War IV.

The import of his remarks will not be lost on Muslim and Arab leaders. A fundamental change has occurred in the tactics of implementing regime change. What was formerly accomplished through covert "black" operations is now being accomplished through overt military operations. In the near future, regime change may be expanded to include not just those unelected despots with access to weapons of mass destruction, but any rulers who stand in the way of the neoconservative agenda of global domination.

In words that echo the logic that was used for striking Baghdad, well-known Islamaphobe Daniel Pipes issued a report in the year 2000 that warned that Damascus was developing weapons of mass destruction and encouraged swift preemption by the US. Pipes co-chaired the task force that produced this report with Ziad Abdelnour, an investment banker who since 1997 has led an organization called the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon. "If there is to be decisive action, it will have to be sooner rather than later," warned the document, which was signed by a task force of 31 members, including several people who now hold senior foreign policy positions in the Bush administration.

Some experienced Washington journalists have spent time with the neoconservatives and come back to report that growing Islamic militancy in the Arab world is precisely what these people want. It justifies the US extending the conflict to other nations until the entire region is transformed. In a sense, this parallels the beliefs of the growing number of evangelical Christians who see chaos in the Middle East as a prelude to the coming rapture. It's hard to say which idea is more dangerous.

Will they succeed?

It is important to note that while the recent US victories in Afghanistan and Iraq were apparently achieved at low cost, the real cost was considerably higher. Firstly, they were achieved at low human cost to the US, but considerably higher human cost to the Afghans and Iraqis, a fact that has led to rising anti-Americanism throughout the globe. Secondly, they were achieved at considerable economic cost to the American taxpayer, even though the enemies were primitive Third World nations. In the recent war on Saddam's regime, part or all of the eight of the 10 infantry divisions of the army were either tied down by the war or were standing by to go to the war zone. Five of the 12 aircraft carriers were actively engaged in operations. All this military muscle had to be used to subdue a regime that spent about $1.4 billion a year on defense, compared with the $400 billion a year spent by the US.

George Magnus, chief economist at UBS Warburg, estimates that the continuation of the ongoing war could see defense spending rise from 4 percent of GDP to as much as 9 percent in the coming years. This development will not impress the financial markets, since it comes on the heels of the largest budget and trade deficits in US history and continuing high rates of unemployment. David Hale of Hale Advisors, an economics consultancy, commented, "It is unclear if America is truly prepared to accept an imperial role on a sustained basis." Despite the September 11 attacks, the sustained threat to the US from terrorism is less obvious than the threat from the USSR. David Landes, a Harvard economic historian, found that even in Great Britain - where attachment to empire ran deep - economic necessity meant that the rapid liquidation of imperial liabilities in India and the Middle East after World War II met with little opposition. "Once the potential cost becomes apparent, the willingness of the American public to pay for their country's new security strategy will be tested to the limit."

Speaking of the neoconservative desire for changing the Arab world, Paul Kennedy reminds Americans of the failed British experience and questions whether the US fare any better. And lest anyone say that America is not Britain, he cites America's poor track record of trying to transform the societies of Central America, Cuba and the Philippines. "We took over the latter two territories more than a century ago, yet Cuba's history has been a shambles and the Philippines is now receiving fresh cohorts of US military advisers. Why do we think we will do better in Syria or Iraq or Saudi Arabia?"

In the wake of the easy Iraqi conquest, the American generals who led the war have touted their campaign as one of the most successful in military history. For example, Marine Lieutenant-General Earl Hailston declared from his headquarters in Bahrain, "We fought like we'd never fought before," citing the campaign highlighted the military's lethal technological advantage and the ability of US forces to conduct operations seamlessly across the military branches that historically had been riven with age-old rivalries. Such statements lend credence to the desire of the flag conservatives to have the American military serve as the cavalry along America's frontiers.

Historian and political analyst Francis Fukuyama has noted that the US conquest of Iraq is likely to mark the zenith of its perceived strength, both in a military and political sense. He advises the US to exploit this moment of strength not by thinking of moving against Syria, Iran or North Korea, but by contracting its empire. He goes so far as to suggest the US withdraw all of its military forces from Saudi Arabia, where their presence has been exploited by bin Laden to pursue his campaign of terrorism. In a similar vein, Seyom Brown of Brandeis University, Massachusetts, argues that the world's only superpower needs to restrain itself. He comments, "Rather than loosening the constraints against the resort to war, we ought to be retightening them."

Even a nation as uniquely powerful as the US cannot remake the political systems at the heart of the Islamic world. Last December, the Financial Times editorialized that "dropping a big enough stone in the Iraqi pool would not unleash a wave of democracy in the region." It is likely that the Muslim world will view a string of US military attacks on Muslim countries as the aggression of an oil-thirsty superpower on the Muslim world, not a march to liberate people from tyranny. And, were democracy to arrive miraculously in the Arab countries, it will result in the election of openly anti-American leaders.

Robert Baer, a former field officer of the CIA in the Middle East, notes that bin Laden would be elected in a landslide in Saudi Arabia if a free and fair election were held there tomorrow.

Policy makers in Washington, including those with an open mind in the administration and the Congress, should seriously consider the dangers in pursuing a hubris-laden Middle Eastern policy that has strategic myopia written all over it.

 

Ahmad Faruqui, PhD, an economist and defense analyst based San Francisco, writes frequently on the Middle East and South Asia. He is the author of Rethinking the National Security of Pakistan.


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  17 Comments   Comment

  1. mmdvc

    Hi Akbar,

    Been busy. Hope all is well with you.

    Didn't really get a rise out of me; I just wanted to prove the point that some people will continue to have a closed mind about things no matter what, and you have done that for me. That's too bad because maybe the world has a chance for the first time in decades to deal with issues that are really a problem for us all.

  2. King from UK

    Great article...I guess "will malven" has eating freedom fries....

  3. Will Malven from USA

    This article is classic diatribe without even a remote claim to veracity. First, pick your target group, presumably those who disagree with your point of view. Second, label them, preferably with something seemingly innocuous but designed to denigrate them in the eyes of the target audience, in this case, "flag conservatives." Guaranteed to send shivers of fear down any "sensible" person's back. Third, be sure to liberally sprinkle your article with quotes from supposed authorities or better yet "scholars." Notably, in this case, Norman Mailer who is, we are informed "one of America's leading men of letters." Surely an unimpeachable source if ever there was one.

    Please Mr. Faruqui a specious argument, even one so elaborately gilded as your own, is still a specious argument. Facts, not opinion, sir.

    Using the ill-considered or ill-chosen words, often taken out of context, of well intentioned but perhaps over-zealous supporters of America and her president as evidence of a nefarious plot for world domination, is as disingenuous as it is wrong.

    The use of "noted" scholars from the academic and artistic worlds, most of whom have never gotten over their anger and resentment over the fact that George Bush and not Al Gore is president, to support one's argument is, I'm sad to say, laughable.

  4. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Obviously I got a rise out of you or else you wouldn't have responded to my post, telling me I am living in the past, where I have clearly stated that history is there for us to learn from, that includes you and I. As far as history goes, the installation of puppet regimes has not stopped, As Chalabi, good friend with Richard Perle, is being favoured by the US administration as the next leader of Iraq. Are they LEARNING from history, are you denying this truth?? What basis are you arguing on?? Who is living in the past, you or I? I am looking towards change, you are accepting the same old tricks of promising democracy yet exchanging Saddam's regime for a new one! Good job in avoiding the truth. 😀

    To Quote mmdvc:

    "Iraq, as much of the arab world, was supporting terrorism and the whole world said they had WMD. "

    Proof please? The Bush administration is burying it's head in the sand because they still haven't found those WMD's or Saddam, avoiding attention by making up stories of it being harboured in Syria. Again, where's the proof? How many times did the adminstration change its reasons for invading Iraq?? First it was to free the Iraqi people (chaos), to get Saddam (missing), then to get those Weapons of Mass Destruction (none found). So what is the basis of your argument? What you need to understand is that if this sort of conduct carries on, the USA is going to go down hill from here. You can fool some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

    Not only do I recognize that the puppet heads of Arab states receive US Aid as well as Israel, but it is widely known that Hosni Mubarak's government in Egypt receives the second largest amount of aid from US Congress, next to Israel. A measure to shut them up and keep them at bay, as a bribe. You say I think it is okay that arab government's that also receive financial aid, stick to the truth instead of assumption

  5. mmdvc

    To: Akbar

    Thanks for proving my point about history and living in the past.

    RE: WMD-OK you are right; even though the UN has been saying it for years and years, I'm not going to believe them either.

    I think you are also right about financial aid for all these countries. But then if it is OK for arab countries to give money or "other forms of support", I guess there would be no double standard because it's OK for one guy and not the other. I always thought the financial aid we have been giving Arafat over the years would be better spent buying each person in Palestine a villa on the Rivera.

    So Akbar I think you should learn from history. Arab countries have been invading and killing each other and others for centuries, long before the US even was a country. History ought to tell you it gets you no where. There is plenty of blame to go around from all sides for the past, and that's the point. Keep burying your head in the sand, live in the past and refuse to look at the truths of the situation and wonder why the twist and turn routine has no credibility in the West anymore.

    By the way, since I am not jewish the Israel thing won't get a rise out of me, but nice try.

  6. mmdvc

    TO: Akbar

    RE: WMD-OK you are right; the UN has been saying it for years but better to bury your head in the sand and say it's baloney.

  7. Yahya Bergum from USA

    There is undoubtedly (at least) one Muslim American imperialist who wishes to know the identities of American imperialists apparently inclined to oppose Allah (God). For that purpose (alone) this article was well worth reading.

    On a related note, I would be very concerned if the people of Iraq were to thank anyone but Allah for their freedom. I think it is good for us to praise Allah. I think it is good for us to thank Allah for what we have received (especially if we have frequently requested it - in prayer).

    Thank you, Allah - for the opportunity to assist others. Praise be to you, Allah, who art the Lord of the Worlds - unequaled and without partner.

    As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.

  8. Akbar Khan from Canada

    No one asked the United States of America to bring Saddam Hussain into power in 1979, to train him to start a war with Iran in order to topple the "dangerous" Ayatollah!

    The whole world DID NOT SAY that Iraq had, or has WMD, the whole world was convinced that Iraq does NOT, and that teh United States, and Israel DO, so I guess you are getting your "truths" from ZNN (Zionist News Network). On the other hand, yes you are right it will make no differnce what the "West" does, but not b/c anyone is twisting facts, it's because no matter how hard Bush tries to say this is a battle between "Good versus evil, and good will overcome the evil," or how "either you're with us, or against us," or Tony Blair saying "His (Saddam's) military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them," these are your twisters of the truth buddy! If you simply stopped sending MONEY to Israel, which receives more money from US Congress than the entire world put together, then maybe the genocidal, apartheid like tactics being carried out by IDF on Palestinians and their lands would stop the arabsfrom being enraged at more US intervention. You have no right to go around flaunting yourselves as the police man of the world, and you have no right to declare another false promise this road map piece of crap that is another illegal attempt by US administration trying to get arab states to cease their financial assistance to Palestine, meanwhile US monetary funding, grants, and loans to Israel keep flowing.

    MMDVC, if you do not know history, then you have no future. If that is the outcome you want, then I hope you get it! Remain a sitting duck forever. Until the American people who are like "mmdvc" learn the importance and value of history, and how we learn from mistakes in history so that we can improve, not keep falling for these false promises by the Western imperialists for the last 50 years to have the Palestinian state back that was stole

  9. mmdvc from usa

    I think the author uses random quotes from various government or academic sources to promote his bias point of view. Further he ignores basic truths. Iraq, as much of the arab world, was supporting terrorism and the whole world said they had WMD.

    I am convinced it will make no difference what the West does because the arab world will just twist and turn the facts. We should not interfer with your governments on one hand, but should take the wrap for abandoning the arab people for not improving those same governments on the other. Help us out, but get out and oh by the way you are responsible for a middle east road plan. Get real.

    Until the arab world forgets the past and decides to join the human race, nothing is going to change except we will not tolerate the baloney anymore.

  10. mat

    Well I like this new Iviews's "either you are with us or against us or you just totally weirdo" kind of labelling.Kind of cute.

  11. Mohammed Elbadawi from UK

    If one bothers to look at the way in which stability has been established in the world, it has always required a power that is dominant over the other states around.

    The fact that the current holder of this power has an ethos of thinking it knows best is irrelevant. Show me an islamic state that doesn't think exactly the same thing.

    The fact is, whilst we have faith as Muslims, we cannot prove that which we believe - and so cannot force others to follow rules that they may see as draconian or pointless.

    Whilst the US and its allies should seek to be delicate in its tactics, it should remain pro-active in the fight against regimes that support the killing of innocents, or threaten stability and freedom in those parts of the world where one can choose the way in which to behave.

    Naturally, the US may have ulterior motives in tackling some countries over certain other ones: but that does not mean to say that they should therefore adopt a laissez faire approach across the board.

    Clearly given the links between Israel and the US, it would be nonsense to suppose that they will tackle the problems there in the same way as with Iraq or Afghanistan - but I think one would have to be very naive to suppose that the US government do not want a peaceful resolution to this confilct, but one must remember that there are two sides to the story, and whilst one has been favoured in the past; a sea-change is occurring in opinion in the US. A desire for stability and fairness will see new initiatives tried.

    Israel is to potent a threat to stability in that region to be ignored - and sometimes the best way to contain a problem is to control it.

    So don't be so quick to judge the US imperialists. Whilst superficially it may bruise pride, the fact is having a strong, fairly free nation suppressing too much extremism is much better than any of the alternatives I can envisage.

  12. anonymous from God bless the USA

    Our men and women of the US armed forces have given and

    continue to give their lives for your freedom of speech. Be

    thankful.

  13. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Very nice article showing the author putting his knowledge to use. One thing I would add thought would be to remember that the division of Iraq from the Ottoman Empire in 1917 was with the assistance of teh traitor Faisal...and later on the removal of things liek the hijab and the call for arabic to be banned and replaced with latin, by the other traitor Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. America has many strategic interests which they will never cite as being their true reasons for this "regime change" phenomenon once again, and always instead give some fabricated, out of proportion motives for getting those evil terrorists and dictators...so what I am trying to say is that this is good education for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to read these articles and possibly take the initiative to go and do some personal research and gain knowledge for themselves. As many Muslims are aware of the motives of the Bush Administration, we should do whatever we can to unify....support each other, and take action across the United States to make the American people understand where Muslims are coming from when we say we don't want strangers in our lands telling us what to do and what not to do. So definitely this is a battle, a struggle to spread KNOWLEDGE, and develop UNITY. Put aside cultural, political differences, and say that if we are Muslim, let's do what our beloved Prophet would have done by referring to his life and the examples he gave us.

  14. Parvez from uk

    I recently saw an interview given by Ricard Perle(RP)on Newsnight (BBC) with regards to the murder of civilians in Iraq and the withdrawl of US troops from Saudia Arabia (SA).

    I was amazed at his opnesses of his contempt of the SA regime, an american friend for the past 50 yrs and an Allie in the previous Gulf War.

    He called the SA regime; a)Dictatorship, b)Promiting Terriorism, c)He declared that the US had "Tolerated" the SA regime up until now and hinting that their lifespan as an allie had experied. He also suggested that the withdrawl signalled the first steps in the US distancing itself from the SA regime.

    I previously wrote on this matter, highlighting that a majority of the highjackers of 911 were Saudia's and that the US recognised that the winds in SA were changing and that the US will eventually be kicked out of SA if the there ws to be A revolution or even reform.

    The US knowing this, wanted to maintain an influence in the region and on oil, in step Iraq and Sadamms regime and under the cover of WMD a plan to invade and hey presto a new pad. Before the invasion of Iraq, the oil production was between 2-3 Mln barrels a day the capacity of Iraq's reserves "THE SECOND LARGEST" can be taken to 8-9 Mln barrels a day.

    This Invasion was sold as the US's right to defend itself from a clear and present danger from WMD, It is true but the reality is that it is OIL not biological weapons that my really hurt the US.

    If the US really believs that it has the right to take out whoever it feels like, under the falsehood of protecting its interets with what ever means nescearry, why shouldn't anyone else do the same.

    You cannot ask others to obey the LAW and flaot it yourslef when it suites you.The result is there is no difference between their actions and the so called terriorists.

  15. Parvez from uk

    A very informative article highlighting the dangers facing the Muslim Nations and the "World" at large. History judged Hitler as a madman,hell bent on his vision for the world, history will judge current US foriegn policy with the Same light.

    Might is not right and like all BULLIES the US is picking fights with all those that are weaker.

  16. Max from UK

    Dont waste your time, theres nothing there to save.