Unipolarity meets its check in Iraq

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Government And Politics, Iraq, Saddam Hussein Views: 3519
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Kaiser bush and the chancellors who led him by the hand into the Iraqi quagmire - Vice-President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld and the other suspects - say Iraq is the new epicenter of terrorism, the front where freedom and terrorism are colliding in mortal combat. 

The Bush White House has turned goalpost shifting into a fine art. This is another attempt to shift the goalposts. But apart from the American people, gullibility's first candidates, few people are fooled. 

As the post-colonial generation knew only too well, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The resistance in Iraq is now a movement of national liberation with Iraqis, whatever their differences among themselves, agreeing on one thing: they want the Americans and the Brits out. 

To prove the point, they are laying down their lives. It is easy to denounce suicide bombings, more difficult to understand the anger and despair fuelling this enterprise. 

Only self-delusion of a high order can attribute the resistance in Iraq to 'Saddam holdouts, regime dead-enders and Taliban lookalikes', as the Americans with growing shrillness want the rest of the world to believe. If Saddam holdouts are indeed leading and inspiring the resistance, you couldn't pay a greater compliment to Saddam Hussein. 

Iraq, as the evidence increasingly suggests, is this generation's Vietnam, its importance far transcending the frontiers of Iraq. For what it amounts to is the first real check to the American Empire's arrogance acquired after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet-style communism. 

America dominated the globe culturally and financially. It was also the greatest military power on earth. But for the neocons and Republican right-wingers swept into positions of power with Bush, this wasn't enough. They wanted a more brazen form of dominance underwritten not by any subtle reminders of American strength but by the readiness to use military force, thinking enshrined in the Bush doctrine of "pre-emptive" action against real or even perceived threats. 

But brandishing a doctrine is one thing, testing it quite another. The destruction of the Twin Towers provided the perfect excuse for the Republican right-wing to play out its neo-imperial fantasies. Afghanistan was attacked and then, amidst a frenzy of goalpost shifting, Iraq. 

Saddam did not fall on his knees to beg George Bush and his chancellors not to attack him. Short of that, he did everything, swallowed every humiliation to prevent war. But Bush and his cohorts, with Israel pushing constantly from the sidelines, wanted war. They wanted their doctrine made flesh. They wanted to change the Middle East balance of power in Israel's favor, for all time to come. They wanted Iraq's oil. 

Above all, they wanted the world, especially the potentates of the Islamic world, to know that outright destruction would be the price to pay for thwarting American designs. The cruise missiles, the daisy-cutters, the bunker-busting bombs, the whole range of precision-guided weaponry would see to that. 

Remember that the operative words were "shock and awe". Saddam's Iraq would be destroyed through "shock and awe" tactics. At the same time, the world would get a salutary lesson about the extent of American power. 

Only the majority of Americans and Brits were foolish enough to think that the war their leaders were selling was about weapons of mass destruction or Iraq's links with Al Qaeda. People elsewhere had no such illusions. 

To the clink of champagne glasses in conservative power centers in Washington, the Iraq invasion brilliantly vindicated "shock and awe", hapless Iraq standing no chance against the dazzling display of American air power. In those days a self-satisfied smile played on Rumsfeld's lips, the chief choreographer of the fireworks display the world was treated to. 

If the rest of the invasion had gone according to script, the lines crafted by the armchair warriors back in Washington, the neocons would not even have paused to draw breath. Their next target would have been Syria. (I am not making this up. All the neocon texts scattered about the think-tank community in Washington say as much.) Then Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Then Iran. Then God knows what. 

It's also not too much to think that as the neocon war plans unfolded, at some point our famous laboratories in Kahuta might have been caught in America's crosshairs. 

That all this hasn't happened, that Washington's computer-punching Mongols have been checked in their tracks, is not because of American forbearance but Iraqi resistance. 

The invasion went according to plan. The aftermath has been a nightmare of unforeseen disasters, starting with the absence of garlands to welcome the invaders and now a war of attrition sapping American morale, taking a steady toll of American lives and, worst of all, imperiling Bush's re-election chances. You don't catch Rumsfeld smiling that much any more. 

Napoleon received his first check in Spain. He had defeated every army on the battlefield but when he occupied Spain, he faced an enemy in the form of a guerrilla resistance he couldn't defeat because, just as the Americans are discovering in Iraq, it was invisible or at least hard to pin down. 

Hitlerian over-stretch received its check in Russia, from the Red Army and the Russian winter. The US is a nuisance. Every imperial power is. But under George Bush it would have been a bigger nuisance, a greater threat to Muslim countries not bending to its wishes, if Iraq had not happened, if the American Empire had not received a check in the Iraqi desert. 

It's clear America is not winning this war. In fact, it's becoming clear this war is un-winnable. Comparisons with Vietnam seemed far-fetched in the beginning. As the US finds itself bogged down, not any more. 

Vietnam's biggest lesson was not about the perils of jungle warfare but how America's best and brightest got the whole thing wrong. A costly adventure, which ultimately seared itself into the American psyche, carried out for all the wrong reasons. Iraq is proving to be the same thing, the best and brightest of another generation of Americans once again getting it all wrong. 

With victory uncertain, defeat too awful to contemplate and an abrupt withdrawal out of the question for reasons of imperial prestige, let alone what this would mean for Bush's re-election, what's to be done? We are faced with a startling prospect: the infallible empire stumped for answers. 

The US lost its soul after the attack on the Twin Towers. It jettisoned many of its cherished values and allowed itself to be hijacked by a sinister cabal of strategic quacks, none of them familiar with actual combat (most of them draft-dodgers during Vietnam) but all of them fierce armchair warriors. 

During the Vietnam War America's best and brightest were at least well-meaning. Even though their actions were a prescription for disaster, they thought they were doing good, making the 'free world' more secure. They were not making a bid for empire. 

The professors who scripted the Iraq adventure can claim no such excuse. Their actions were malevolent from the start. They started the war on false assumptions, knowing those assumptions to be false. They sinned knowingly. 

Less for Iraq's sake than America's own, these professors need to be ousted - the Cheneys, the Rumsfelds, the Wolfowitzs, who have turned deceit and lies into their country's guiding principles. With them around, forget about the United States recovering its soul. 

Regime change in Washington then: a more pressing necessity than it ever was in Baghdad.

Source: Dawn


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Government And Politics, Iraq, Saddam Hussein
Views: 3519

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Older Comments:
MUZAMMIL FROM MALAYSIA said:
I love reading the article as it represent what I think about Bush and his idiotic-war-mongering neo-con advisors!

Well done George the Bush and Gang!
Look who is crying now!
Ha! Ha! It fits you well George and Gang!

However, you are too arrogant to admit your mistake! No, we never make mistake! Iraq is
going very well! Ask Rumsfeld the Donald Duck! Or Ask Cheney!

Bull..!!

Well George, read my lips. You will go down in history as the worst US president ever live! Good job George! You screwed up big time in US and now in Iraq!

Perhaps you should listen to dad who did not
invade Iraq when he was president?

Nah! You never make mistake, right George? Right Donald duck Rumsfeld?

Bull..!
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NURU MUHAMMAD FROM NIGERIA said:
It was said that when God wants to destroy a nation, understanding is turned upside down.
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HJ ZIN FROM MALAYSIA said:
Ramadan al-Mubarak greetings!

The scenario pictured by Ayaz Amir is plausible.

But what will change?
I am not hopeful about change in US politics and the lack of interest of (foolish?) voters about the administration's painful effect on other people. There will also not be short supply of other Cheneys, Rumfelds and Wolfowitzs!

Each Muslim is a leader; let's focus, think and articulate on what can we change within our own circle of influence?

To editors of iviews, keep up your good work!

Hj Zin, Malacca

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