U.S. Moves on Iraq

Gangster Logic for an Unjust War

Revolutionary Worker #1172, October 27, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org

While the media has focused attention on the slow diplomatic war dance at the United Nations, the U.S. government has rapidly been moving its forces into place for an invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The British Independent reports, "The past six weeks have seen intensive, and largely undisclosed, movement of American service personnel and material to the Gulf, and the Pentagon has secured the full complement of `roll on-roll off' ferries necessary to deliver heavy armour."

Without publicity, the U.S. troops in the Gulf region have risen from 20,000 in August to 35,000 soldiers now. U.S. naval and air forces around the Persian Gulf are now 25,000--including the Marine Expeditionary Force. The USS Constellation is scheduled to leave for the Persian Gulf on October 30.

Meanwhile, in some ways the open attack is already on: air attacks have escalated in the last two months, and Congressional officials say the CIA has stepped up covert operations and "psychological campaigns" within Iraq.

A massive, new, unprovoked and unjust war is being prepared. The United States government is making a massive grab for power in the heart of the Middle East to control and perhaps directly occupy Iraq, with the second largest oilfields in the world.

A million people died in this region during the 1980s, when the U.S. government backed Iraq's Saddam Hussein in an attack on Iran. Hundreds of thousands died during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s--when the U.S. and its allies bombed Iraq for over 40 days.

The Iraqi military was flattened by that last war and has not attacked anyone outside its borders since. Meanwhile, Anglo-American jets and cruise missiles have constantly violated Iraqi airspace, and their Turkish NATO ally has repeatedly invaded Kurdish regions of northern Iraq.

During this last decade, at least half a million children have died of preventable causes, because of the sanctions that the U.S. and UN have imposed on Iraq.

And now, after all this, the 20 million people of this poor third world country are facing a new attack. Day after day, the Bush White House insists the current government in Iraq must be removed by coup, and the new government must agree to be disarmed and occupied or else the U.S. will unleash its massive war machine to batter and invade--with war plans that include the bombing and occupation of Iraq's major cities.

It is a gangster threat--"an offer you can't refuse."

Steven Simon, a former member of the National Security Council, and now with the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) thinktank said: "Military operations could start in December. The Marine Expeditionary Force would be especially valuable with their experience of urban warfare. The war could last 10 minutes or 10 months, all depending on whether or not there is a coup against Saddam when the war starts. If there is not, and he is dug in with Republican Guards in Baghdad, and the U.S. and allies are unwilling to go in, there could be a stalemate lasting months."

The Gangster Doctrineof "Let's Roll"

As the troops move into place, the U.S. government has released a series of new war policies--designed to shape their global offensive.

On September 20, 2002 the White House published its new "National Security Strategy of the United States." This is a declaration of permanent U.S. military domination of the globe. It rejects any notion that other people and countries have national sovereignty. It insists that the U.S. has the right to launch attacks on other countries without warning, provocation or international approval. These aggressive declarations follow the earlier, pre-9/11 abandonment of international arms control treaties and moves to construct anti-missile systems that allow the U.S. to launch nuclear first-strikes.

The military policies for carrying out the new "National Security Strategy" are now being elaborated in guidelines from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The U.S. war machine is ordered to adopt a new, "can-do" mindset of global risk-taking, giddy imperialist self- confidence and ruthless attack. Rumsfeld openly intends to root out what he considers outmoded post- Vietnam caution and cold war assumptions about "containment" within the military high command.

In a memo to his military commanders, Rumsfeld said that the U.S. war machine should never allow the views of its allies or of the American public to influence its war aims. In addition, he added, the military should never "promise not to do things"--such as not to endanger civilians, or not to risk the lives of U.S. soldiers or refrain from bombing during the Muslim holy month. And it is important to note that the core policy in this memo was written before 9/11, in March 2001--then rewritten in several drafts over this past summer.

In a second statement of new military policy, Rumsfeld announced on October 12 that he had ordered his regional commanders to rewrite all of their war plans--to give up old assumptions involving large armies (of "overwhelming force") and give more reliance on fast invasion, smaller mobile armies and the "lethality" of new technologies.

It is an approach that seeks the ability to launch many wars quickly, in succession if necessary, in many places. These plans start with deliberate "smart bomb" attempts to "decapitate" opposing governments. And because they would involve smaller forces, the plan is to respond to setback in battle by escalating the use of weapons of mass destruction--to flatten anyone in sight.

Many voices within the U.S. power structure and military suggest this may not work as planned if the U.S. invades Iraq. General Joseph Hoar, a former American commander in the Persian Gulf told the Senate that in urban warfare, "All our advantages of command and control, technology, mobility, all of those things are, in part, given up, and you are working with corporals and sergeants and young men fighting street to street. It looks like the last 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan."

The World is the Point

Now the world is shaking with the pounding pace of U.S. military deployment--and the international structures of power and economics are being wrenched and forcibly recast. At the same time, the U.S. is strong-arming other major powers and allies into supporting its goals. (See "An Offer the Allies Can't Refuse")

Military analyst William Arkin noted that in the four months after September 11, thirteen military tent cities were thrown up by the U.S. in nine different countries. Many included "expeditionary airfields" that have now become full and apparently permanent military bases.

In the last years, the U.S. has expanded its military power from northeast Africa deep into Central Asia. This includes bases and deployments in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia, Georgia, Philippines, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The U.S. has recently negotiated access to airfields in energy-rich Kazakhstan and is pressuring Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Somalia for military access and intelligence installations. The U.S. already uses Jordanian airbases at Ruwayshid and Wadi-al Murbah.

All these moves, seen together, systematically project and entrench U.S. power around the largest oil and gas fields of the world--in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions--and at the major naval chokepoints for global oil traffic.

And there is every indication that this is intended as permanent--as the "facts on the ground" for a new U.S.-dominated world order.

In an August briefing, General Tommy Franks, the head of the Pentagon's Central Command, suggested that the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan might settle in for the long haul--he compared it to the 50- year U.S. occupation of southern Korea.

This same General Franks recently moved his personal headquarters from the eastern United States to the new U.S. war base at Qatar--in the very heart of the Persian Gulf itself. However, that may not be the limits of Franks' ambitions: He is openly discussed as a candidate for future military governor of post- Saddam Iraq--ruling at gunpoint in an indeterminate period of colonial rule.

A long-term U.S. occupation of Iraq could establish a large and direct beachhead right in the heart of the oilfields-- similar to the way the occupation of western Germany after World War 2 placed U.S. troops in the strategic heart of Europe.

It would allow the U.S. forces to shift from bases in Saudi Arabia (which inflamed Muslim sensibilities). But it would keep U.S. armies within striking distance of Saudi oilfields--in case of upheaval in Saudi Arabia. And it would place U.S. forces directly on a long border with Iran--the largest nation in the region.

The U.S. war makers say they are attacking Iraq because it is strong and threatening. But in fact they are attracted to this unprovoked war precisely because Iraq's military is greatly weakened by war and sanctions.

Long-term U.S. occupation of Iraq's oilfields is openly discussed as a "great opportunity" by the so-called "war party" high in the U.S. government. Their out-of- government spokesmen like former CIA head James Woolsey and war-planner Richard Perle are practically giddy about these ambitions: talking about reshaping Iraq to serve the U.S., and using it as a base and a model for reshaping the whole region--including Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. (Woolsey says all this "is do-able", while one British official told the Atlantic Monthly these was "the ruminations of insane people.")

These wild ambitions are not about the "safety of the American people." September 11 has become the excuse for launching a global offensive that has been many years in the making. The new "Bush Doctrine" of unchallenged U.S. military supremacy was first articulated by today's Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 1992, a full decade ago. Plans for a war on Iraq were in the works for years. Even the attack on Afghanistan was on Bush's desk before 9/11.

The Gangster's "Opportunity"

"The international system has been in flux since the collapse of Soviet power. Now it is possible--indeed probable--that that transition is coming to an end. If that is right, then...this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity."

Condoleezza Rice, George Bush'skey strategic advisor and personal tutor

From a close look at the threats, realignments, power grabs and war preparations unfolding around Iraq, it is clear that a massive attempt is going on to recast the power relations of the "international system." Some people have suggested that the war drums are beating to divert people from domestic economic problems, but in reality these war drums are connected to a major recasting of economic and political relations in the world. No country in world history has ever launched such an open and reckless grab for world domination. The U.S. is moving militarily and politically to grab strategic places on the globe, starting first and foremost with the major oilfields.

In this moment, the U.S. government is moving in the name of the people of the United States-- in the name of protecting and avenging them. But nothing could be more deceitful. These are moves that are only in the interests of U.S. corporate and finance capitalism--they are starkly against the interests of the people of the world, including the people of the U.S.

Immediately ahead lies the planned murder and conquest of Iraq's people--but that is clearly just one more step in a much larger, long-planned takeover of the planet itself. This path lies over the bodies of the world's people, including this new generation of U.S. soldiers who they intend to use and discard. It would produce a nightmarish future McWorld--locked down for plunder by U.S. corporations and troops.

This must be exposed, resisted, and defeated. A great solidarity among people all over the world is needed to accomplish this. And for this to happen, it is especially important that a powerful movement emerge, right here, within the U.S. itself.

There are moments of history when each of us is tested--when people must see clearly and act fearlessly--when it is shameful to allow official lies and media hysteria to impose confusion or passivity.

This is such a moment. This is a time for resistance.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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