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Bush Persistently Hawkish as Republicans,
U.S. Allies Criticize Plans for Iraqi Invasion

by Greta Knutzen, FTW Staff Writer

[Copyright 2002, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be copied, distributed, or posted on the Internet for non-profit purposes only.]

Aug. 27, 2002, 12:00 PDT (FTW) -- The Bush Administration's unilateral, illegal commitment to an Iraqi invasion has little to do with the prosecution of the "War on Terror," critics say, and everything to do with politics and a looming global oil shortage.

"[Bush's insistence on the ouster of Saddam] is not about the security of the United States…This is about domestic American politics," former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter was quoted as saying in a July 24 report from "The national security of the United States of America has been hijacked by a handful of neo-conservatives who are using their position of authority to pursue their own ideologically-driven political ambitions. The day we go to war for that reason is the day we have failed collectively as a nation…It is a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America…"
Despite significant domestic and immense international opposition to an U.S. invastion of Iraq, the Bush camp has not altered its course or tempered its rhetoric toward war. Instead, the U.S. has committed massive resources and deployed more than 100,000 troops to the Middle East theatre.

"The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in California is preparing to have 20,000 Marines deployed in the [Iraq] region for ground combat operations by mid-October," Ritter told William Pitt Rivers of"…When you deploy that much military power forward -- disrupting their training cycles, disrupting their operational cycles, disrupting everything, spending a lot of money -- it is very difficult to pull them back without using them. You got 20,000 Marines forward deployed in October, you better expect war in October."

The August newsletter from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, as well as FTW's research [see story this issue], reiterates Ritter's position: "The U.S. al-Udeid airbase in Qatar is one of a handful of bases in the Persian Gulf region where extensive work is being done in advance of military operations against Iraq… [T]he intelligence and clandestine operations war against Iraq is already ongoing. Information war is part of that package. Statements about U.S. war plans, attack schedules, or methods must be seen in the context of the necessary propaganda, cover, and deception operations. Barring an act of God, the war's result -- the overthrow of Saddam, at the very minimum -- are foregone conclusions."

The Bush Administration represents a small, but powerful Republican clique populated by military hawks and oilmen. Their commitment to overthrowing the Iraqi regime has little to do with terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. Rather, the current Iraqi government is an obstacle to the imposition of American interests in the world's main oil-producing region. The only outstanding issue on the agenda is how best to justify such a patently illegal invasion.

This is evidenced by the administration's unwillingness or incapability to answer sensible and reasonable questions on the subject, much to the consternation and frustration of potential international allies. In recent months, the Bush Administration has employed many strategies in an effort to drum up support for a war in Iraq. But none have achieved the magic formula of generating support for the administration's war, agitating many potential allies.

In a recent interview with Fox News, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld argued America cannot afford to wait for proof that Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction, comparing this present prelude to war to the "prelude to World War II," when the Allies appeased Hitler instead of standing up to him.
"The people who argue [against invading Iraq] have to ask themselves how they're going to feel at that point where another event occurs and it's not a conventional event, but it's an unconventional event," said Rumsfeld. "And ask themselves the question, was it right to have wanted additional evidence or additional time, or another U.N. resolution? I mean, these things are hard to judge. And I'm not the one to answer them. They're to be answered by society. They're to be answered by time and history. They're to be answered by presidents. I can only help elevate the discussion so it's looked at in a rational way."

But as Saddam appeared willing to renegotiate for the return of weapons inspectors, the administration upped the ante and demanded a regime change on moral grounds. This approach made the search for allies quite difficult. It negated the option of arriving at a peaceful solution through diplomacy and ruled out the prospect of reinstating weapons inspectors -- the favored strategy of most potential allies. Increasingly, the consensus among critics of the pending invasion is that Saddam is only a threat if the U.S. attacks him.

So far, Israel is the only nation that has come out in support of a war in Iraq. Traditionally steadfast U.S. allies such as Britain have registered strong opposition. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair has faced immense opposition from within his government and from the population to the idea of Britain's involvement in an invasion. Recent efforts to drum up support from allies reveal the extent of the ignorance and arrogance of present U.S. foreign policy.

U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was recently despatched to Britain to present the "powerful moral case" for deposing Saddam Hussein. Echoing Rumsfeld, Rice's brief was to draw an analogy between Saddam and Hitler. "History is littered with cases of inaction that led to very grave consequences for the world," Rice informed listeners on BBC radio. "We just have to look back and ask how many dictators who end up being a tremendous global threat and killing thousands, and indeed millions of people, should we have stopped in their tracks? We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing." Rice's statements did not go over well and met with near unanimous objections from the British listening audience.

The Times of India reported the British response. Tony Lloyd, Blair's former junior foreign office minister, condemned Rice's comments as "very much like the kind of rhetoric we sometimes do hear from fairly tin pot regimes around the world where the agenda isn't to convince the outside world but to make sure the public at home believes the regime."

Gerald Kaufman, another former minister and senior member of Blair's governing Labor Party, warned of "substantial resistance" in England's parliament if Blair follows into war "the most intellectually backward American president of my lifetime."

In the U.S. in recent weeks, Republican heavyweights have entered the debate urging restraint. Henry Kissinger, Lawrence Eagleburger, Brent Scowcroft and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf have come out against the present administration's approach, and for good reason. They seem to recognize that an invasion will characterize the U.S. as an imperialist occupying force, thus alienating and isolating the U.S. within the international community.

Eagleburger, secretary of state under President Bush's father, told ABC News on Aug. 15 that action against Iraq would not be "legitimate policy at this stage, unless the president demonstrates to all of us that Saddam has his finger on a nuclear, biological and chemical trigger, and he's about to use it."

Schwarzkopf warned that the U.S. should not "go it alone" and said the success of Operation Desert Storm was based almost entirely on the existence of a broad international coalition.

On Aug. 15 Brent Scowcroft, who has advised many Republican presidents including the current president's father, appealed to President Bush to halt his plans to invade Iraq and warned of the consequences of an attack on Iraq in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote, "Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991 when Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict. This time, using weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond, perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing Armageddon in the Middle East."

Scowcroft also argued an attack on Baghdad would alienate the Arab world and would end much of the cooperation Washington has received in its current battle against Al Qaeda. "An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global terrorist campaign we have undertaken," wrote Scowcroft.
Henry Kissinger waded into the debate, urging caution and reminding the administration that there is no legal precedent for its war. "America's special responsibility, as the most powerful nation in the world, is to work toward an international system that rests on more than military power -- indeed, that strives to translate power into cooperation," Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post. Any other attitude will gradually isolate and exhaust America."

This isn't to say that we can trust Kissinger's comments. After all, this is a man who has had his fingers in every stinky pie created in recent history. Indeed, judging from a statement he made at a 1991 Bilderberger conference in Evians, France, an isolated and exhausted America might be precisely what Kissinger desires.

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful," Kissinger told the Bilderbergers, an international group made up of political and financial elites. "This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence…The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World government."

In many ways Bush has achieved a fait accompli, as he is in a position to start this war before anyone can remove him from office. If he plays his hand, the world will have little choice but to follow his lead off the cliff.

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