by Brian Becker
Jingoism, war mongering, demonization and outright racism are the unified "face of the nation" as President Clinton prepares to order the military destruction of Iraqi factories that produce medicine, food, and other essential industrial facilities in Iraq.
TV analysts and media pundits, who have little if any real knowledge of Iraq, compete with each other in Jerry Springer-type antics demanding punishing attacks on the "madman" Saddam Hussein
Only one or two voices in Congress timidly suggest that Congress should be convened so that it can be "consulted" about the coming war. And then, it is not so much to uphold the Constitution that grants only the Congress the legal authority to take the country to war. Oh No, Congress should reconvene only to "send an even more resolute message to Saddam that the U.S. means business."
The war fever has reached a surreal level. Caspar Weinberger appears on TV talk shows to demand an immediate bombing of Iraq because "people just can't deal with Saddam." This from the Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration who personally participated in massive arms sales to Iraq as the U.S. egged on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's.
The coming war on Iraq is an example of extreme imperialism, extreme racism, extreme lawlessness. U.S. weapons of mass destruction will reign down on a small and basically defenseless Third World country. Working people will be killed. Their homes, neighborhoods and workplaces will be reduced to smoldering ruins.
People in the United States are not used to bombs going off in their cities.
Just remember the anguish, grief and mourning that rattled this country on the morning of April 19, 1995 when one fascist individual bomber, set off one bomb, in one building, in one city. The hue and cry against "terrorism" in Oklahoma City was tearfully communicated by the same TV personalities and politicians who today blandly demand that the Pentagon drop not one but hundreds or thousands of bombs on Baghdad, a city where 5 million human beings live!
When does the bombing of large cities fail to meet the definition of terrorism? Is it when Iraqi's do the bleeding? If the victims are Sudanese, or Afgani's? If the bombs read "Made in the USA?" Or if the planes that drop them are manufactured by Lockheed-Boeing?
What has prompted this crisis, this new war? Has Iraq invaded its neighbors? Iraq is a broken country. Economic sanctions over the last eight years have killed more than 1.6 million civilians, according to the UN's own statistics. Industrial goods have vanished, along with the food and medicine. Unable to sell its oil, Iraq's economy and its people are being strangled.
After 9,000 UNSCOM inspections and the destruction of all or nearly all of Iraq's military capabilities it is hardly credible to assert that Iraq poses a severe military threat to its neighbors. Moreover, it is the United States that has militarily "taken over" the region with tens of thousands of troops, warships and aircraft carriers, and hundreds of fighter planes and bombers now permanently positioned throughout the Persian/Arabian Gulf.
Iraq's Real Crime
The truth about the U.S.-Iraq confrontation is simple. The U.S. political/economic/military establishment wants to overthrow the current Iraqi government and replace it with a Saudi or Kuwaiti-type regime. Saddam's crime in the eyes of the U.S. imperialist establishment is that he is not the Emir of Kuwait, he is not King Faud of Saudi Arabia, he is not Sheik Zhayeed of the UAE.
He is not an absolute puppet. The Baathist regime in Iraq, which has its social roots in the profound anti-feudal and colonialist revolution of 1958, nationalized western oil companies that had entirely dominated and made super-profits from the country's vast oil reserves.
Iraq used the profits from its oil to develop on an independent road. It became a major force in a region that the United States, British and French governments had ruled either directly as colonial powers or through the neo-colonial device of control over oil resources, oil refining and shipping.
The United States government wants to overthrow Saddam for exactly the same reason that the CIA in 1954 overthrew the democratically-elected government of Dr. Arbenz in Guatemala. What prompted that bloody coup? Arbenz had the nerve to nationalize the United Fruit Company plantations in Guatemala.
Iran 1953 -- Iraq 1998 -- Understanding US Destabilization Strategies
It is the same motive that led the United States to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Dr. Mohhamad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. It is highly instructive to note the similarities between Iran in 1953 and Iraq today. The U.S. media described Mossadegh in virtually the same colorful, demononizing language that they use against Saddam Hussein today. He was a madman, a lunatic, a threat, ad nauseum.
What was Mossadegh's real crime? He nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), today known as British Petroleum (BP).The United States and Britain slapped an airtight economic embargo, or sanctions, on Iran after Mossadegh nationalized the AIOC. He had hoped that Iran's oil wealth could be used to develop the country and overcome its deep poverty.
The sanctions on Iran then, like Iraq today, strangled the economy. Even the middle classes suffered greatly. They turned against the Mossadegh government. The CIA then took advantage of this social and political discontent and organized the bloody coup. Thousands were killed and the CIA brought to power the Shah of Iran, one of the vilest monarchies in modern history.
Upon taking power, the Shah promptly privatized Iran's oil company, returning it to a consortium dominated by British and U.S. oil monopolies.
The CIA coup in Iran was led by Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. As a perk for his good deeds, Roosevelt was named Vice-President of Gulf Oil a few years later. Gulf was one of the companies in the consortium who received the de-nationalized Iranian oil concession following the CIA coup.
The War Against Iraq is a Racist War!
More than 1.6 million Iraqi's have died from the sanctions during the last eight years. Those who have died have been largely infants and their grandparents. Economic sanctions kill the most vulnerable in society. Those who are most likely to fall ill from lack of nourishment, or from intestinal parasites. One out of every four children in Iraq are malnourished. Once they drank pure water but now the water is poisoned. The U.S. won't let Iraq import chlorine or spare parts for its water system.
These people are dying for one reason. They are Iraqi's and for that reason alone they have become victims.
This is part of a long pattern of genocide and murder practiced by the U.S. Ruling Class in the United States. It's been acceptable as long as the victims were Indian people, or people of African descent, or for Latinos, or Asians, or Arab people.
The decision makers in the United States ruling class openly promoted an ideology of white supremacy for nearly four hundred years. Today, they don't speak in the language of open white supremacy. The fierce civil rights struggle in the 1960's required the U.S. ruling class to adjust its language.
But it is the same class of people. They are rich_very, very rich. They are powerful, not only in their own country but all over the world. And they are almost 100% white. Their motive is profit and domination on a world scale and they will try to destroy anyone, regardless of race or nationality, who resists their empire.
But the vicious and racist character of their policy is unmistakable.
The ruling class politicians openly proclaim that Iraq must be bombed because of "Saddam's defiance." What arrogance! Iraqi's are not supposed to be defiant. They are supposed to act like colonial slaves.
How many times through history have we examples of British "punishing" rebellious and "defiant" colonial subjects in China, Ireland, or India. Think back to the "rules of conduct" practiced by the US ruling class in the southern half of the United States against "defiant" slaves. Acts of defiance were treated with the greatest brutality as a chilling example for other slaves who might dare to resist, rebel or engage in "defiant" behavior.
What today is Saddam's "defiance?" The Iraqi government has ordered foreign weapons inspectors to leave their country. These inspectors are not neutral technicians. They are the operatives of the countries who have acted as the colonial and neo-colonial overlords over the Arab world for the past century.
Iraq has told the US and British operatives, and their salaries are paid by their home countries, to leave Iraq. He has accused them of being spies. Of obstructing the process to end economic sanctions. He has basically told the U.S., "if you have decided to never lift sanctions anyway, why should we let your agents roam through our country at will."
At its worst, the Iraqi decision to expel foreign inspectors -- after 8 long years and 9,000 inspections -- is an act of sovereignty. In no way can it be construed as an act of aggression against another country. To believe that Iraq must be bombed for this particular act of "defiance," requires one to be very confused or an absolute fool. In the case of the media pundits and politicians we are sure that they are not confused!
At the beginning of all imperialist wars, the masses of people are often caught up in the war fever generated by the ruling class. It is they who dominate the airwaves and print media. The U.S. political and military establishment know full well that if the war goes badly people tend to learn the truth and become a mighty opposition to imperialist aggression.
Today we are witnessing a military strategy predicated on this assumption: the war must end quickly and the "other side" must do all the bleeding. Otherwise the Vietnam Syndrome will become a major political factor. The question for the ruling class militarists is this: how to create oceans of blood abroad and maintain social peace at home. Thus, we will see ship-based cruise missiles and B52 bombers dropping 3,000 pound bombs from 30,000 feet, rather than any US ground troops.
We believe that it is the duty of all justice-loving people, all those who oppose racism and imperialism to extend a hand of solidarity to the Iraqi people at this crucial moment.
Patriotism is the last refuge for scoundrels. It is better to stand up for the truth. To expose the war-makers. To combat the racist propaganda of the Pentagon killing machine and to attempt to build a new mass anti-war movement that can demand that money be spent for jobs, health care, housing and education rather than imperialist adventures on behalf of Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, Chase Manhattan and Citibank!
Copyright © 1998 Brian Becker - All Rights Reserved