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War-monger Bush on war-path against Iraq
By Karamatullah K. Ghori
|Toronto: The Iraqi government’s decision of September 16 to allow unconditional return of UN arms inspectors to Iraq should have, logically, deflated George W. Bush’s hysteria to inflict war on that country. But there is nothing logical about Bush. So, quite to the contrary, it seems to have whetted his appetite for war all the more.
That Bush and the pack of hounds and wolves around him are least inclined to give peace a chance has long been beyond doubt. Bush went before the UN General Assembly on its current year's inauguration day, on September 12, only reluctantly in response to a rising demand not to skirt around UN. But his performance was undignified and hectoring. He devoted all his attention to Iraq, packing half-truths and blatant lies in his venomous diatribe against Iraq, its leader and its people. By even rigidly conservative accounts, at least one million Iraqis have perished in history’s most stringent and suffocating sanctions in the past 12 years. These sanctions, as the whole world knows, are not being relented or eased because of U.S. arm-twisting of UN. Yet Bush had the gall to assert that he was moved to seek Saddam’s overthrow as Iraqi leader because of the suffering of the Iraqi people.
Naji Sabri, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, had the last word on the Bush address. Exercising his right of reply on September 19, Sabri summed up the Bush rhetoric as a bag of “utmost distortions”.
It is obvious that Bush and his hawks are not interested in taking “yes” for an answer. Earlier, they were tilting at all the windmills to demand that Saddam readmit the inspectors so that they may resume scourging Iraq all over again. But no sooner than Saddam agreed to give the green light to inspection, the Bush hawks have gone on a new tangent. Now Bush and cohorts are saying in unison that inspection is not the end to them but disarmament of Iraq is the goal. That too, according to an erstwhile moderate Colin Powell, only “in the first instance”. Obviously in the second instance, the Bush regime will demand to foist a leadership of its own making on Iraq; and in the third instance assert its right to redraw the political map of the region around Iraq. That Powell has chosen to shed his guise of a moderate and join the ranks of hawks like Rumsfeld and Cheney is least surprising. After all, he was the man who presided over the entire planning and execution of the Gulf War as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush Sr. His dissemblance of a moderate was misleading and devious.
To counter, and possibly pre-empt the UN Security Council as the pivot of all further initiatives in relation to Iraq, Bush quickly cobbled together and sent to Congress, on September 19, the draft of a resolution authorising him the use of force against Iraq. Congress may debate the draft, and some opposition to granting him this right may still be raised, but in the end Congress is expected to meekly rubber stamp the special privilege that a war-monger Bush is desperately seeking from it. This notwithstanding an appeal , signed by 1200 eminent American historians on September 17, to Congress not to take this matter lightly and exercise its obligation to uphold and safeguard the American constitution. Incidentally, September 17 was Constitution Day in the U.S. national calendar.
But the Bush mafia does not stand on niceties of any kind, constitutional or not. This regime has flouted international commitments and treaties like worthless paper. Its roster of denigrating international treaties-such as the Kyoto agreement on environment, and the charter of an international criminal court etc.-is littered with broken pledges and open contempt for civilised international conduct. And now this Washington cabal, which considers itself answerable to none, is out to bamboozle the UN.
In his tirade against Iraq, Bush is using the same mantra, vis-à-vis the UN, that he thinks he used successfully in the past one year, in regard to the rest of the world, in his crusade against terrorism: 'you are either with us or against us. ‘So he is badgering the UN to meet his expectations and give him a carte blanche to wreak vengeance on Iraq, just like his own Congress did last year. In his words, UN must “prove its relevance” by relenting to his diktat. If it fails to do that, then it would prove to be as worthless as its precursor, the defunct League of Nations, was. Therefore, in order to further prove his determination, he is holding a gun to the UN's head to either bend to his demand or he would go it alone. His fixation to wreak havoc on Iraq is so obsessive that he would be completely loath to surrender any initiative to the UN.
But Saddam Hussain's clever move to readmit the UN arms inspectors into Iraq has pulled the rug from under the Bush feet. This time round, Saddam seems determined to control his impulses, particularly his gambler’s instinct. Historians have been arguing since the Gulf War that Saddam could have blunted the entire thrust of Bush Sr.’s military juggernaut against him if he had pulled out of Kuwait, voluntarily, in the last minute before war was unleashed on him. The years since then seem to have matured the Iraqi dictator besides also mellowing him.
His gambit to invite the inspectors back has, at the very least, divided the Security Council. Much to the chagrin of Bush and his war-mongering minions, Russia has come out strongly in favour of giving the Iraqi initiative a fair trial. Moscow also feels that there is, rightly, no need for a fresh Council resolution on Iraq, a ploy desperately sought by Washington. The Bush hawks are crying themselves hoarse demanding yet another strongly worded resolution to drive the daylight out of Baghdad if the US demands are not met. What the US wants from the Council is to sign on the dotted lines and serve a death warrant to the Iraqis.
It is not only Russia alone that wants a renewed inspection regime to be given a fair chance to prove its relevance. Most other members of the Security Council are in favour of UNMOVIC, the successor to the failed inspection mechanism UNSCOM, having a crack at a new inspection programme to rid Iraq of whatever weapons of mass destruction it is still suspected to harbour or conceal. The chairman of this new body, Sweden's Hans Blix, thinks his team will be ready to move into Iraq by the end of October. Negotiations between Blix and the Iraqis on the modalities of renewed inspection are expected to be finalised by October 2, after which Blix can start assembling a team of new inspectors who will have six months to report back to the Council on progress or otherwise of their mission. Blix has an impeccable reputation as an honest broker. He headed the IAEA in Vienna for 16 years ( 1981-97 ). Incidentally, IAEA had declared, back in 1997, that Iraq posed no further threat in the field of nuclear capability or weapons.
But all this upsets the Bush agenda to unleash terror on Iraq as early as possible because, in his febriled imagination, the Iraqi threat is growing by the day. So he wants Congress to give him full powers to wage war on Iraq on any pretext, and is going full speed ahead with military planning to realise his objective.
That Bush was manoeuvred into the White House on the sly to deliver on the expectations and ambitions of the military-industrial complex is becoming ever more clear with Bush’s paranoid concern to wreak war on Iraq. As long as he is president of U.S. he will have no agenda other than war. He made it crystal clear three months ago, in June this year, in his speech at West Point, the U.S. military academy. He said : “America has, and intends to keep, military strength beyond challenges, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.” His bottom line is overwhelming American fire power to intimidate all others. Small wonder, that the current US military budget, of $ 428 billion, is larger than those of next 15 nations combined. U.S. spends 80 per cent of the world’s total budget on military research, so it will have weapons that no other country may possess. The Bush military planners are threatening to use weapons against Iraq never seen before. For these purveyors of doom and destruction, Iraq has been a favourite testing ground for all new weapons since the Gulf War.
The unilateralist tendency of the Bush regime was presaged lucidly beyond doubt by his national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, during the election campaign when she intoned that his foreign policy would, “proceed from the firm ground of the national interest and not from the interest of an illusory international community.” Small wonder that Bush and company so regularly pour scorn on the global community, as they are doing in this instance.
A huge U.S. military buildup, reminiscent of the Gulf War, is taking place in Iraq’s vicinity at a feverish pace, with a lot of help from a supine Britain whose dignity and self-respect has been pawned to Washington by an obsequious Tony Blair. A batch of the ‘white elephant’ B-2 hi-tech aircraft ( costing $ 2 billion a piece ) has moved to Diego Garcia, the British military base in the Indian Ocean. These aircrafts are being fitted out with lethal, laser-guided, bombs to wreak untold havoc on the Iraqis and jam all their radars. The ferocious B-52 bombers are also moving to the same base from Britain and U.S.
The Bush war machinery is receiving a lot of unheralded help from some oil-rich mini states on Iraq’s fringes.
Kuwait is already home to more than 5,000 U.S. troops, plus a huge arsenal of weapons. Another 2,000 U.S. marines will be staging amphibious exercises in Kuwait later in September, to gear up for eventual landing on the Iraqi shores.
Qatar may be home to the globally famous ( and to Bush, notorious ) Al Jazeera television which has accorded a new voice and respect to Arab tele-medium. But Qatar is also the largest depot of lethal U.S. military arsenal, which is being rapidly beefed up even further. In addition, because of the likely Saudi abstention on the American side if Bush goes it alone sans UN, Qatar is being converted into operational headquarters for war on Iraq. The American military commander for the Gulf, General Tommy Franks, is setting up his apparatus smack in Qatar, with an advance guard of 600 military advisors.
All stops are, obviously, being removed from the way of the Bush juggernaut to enable a war-mongering son to fulfill the legacy of a war-monger father. Colin Powell's testimony before Congress on September 19 is a clear indication that U.S. does not intend to give UN inspection mechanism a free hand to do its job. It would, for the Bush hawks, be too time- consuming. They, goaded by Israel and the Zionist lobby in U.S., are in a hurry to get done with their life ambition of pulverising Iraq before the mid-term elections in early November.
Even in the remote possibility of UNMOVIC conducting fresh inspections, U.S. will, most certainly, pull all strings to sabotage their work.
Most UNSCOM inspectors worked as spies for CIA and Mossad, and many confessed to it once UNSCOM crumbled. All those Iraqi sites hit by Clinton's Operation Desert Fox (when he was mired, up to his neck, in the Monica Lewinsky scandal ) in December, 1998, were those that had been visited by weapons inspectors in the past 6 months. The tale could well be repeated despite all of Iraqi effort to co-operate with the renewed programme. U.S. will weigh in, for sure, in the selection of new inspectors. Free and unfettered inspection right will give a virtual Iraqi death warrant in the hands of each inspector. Any one of them could cry ‘foul’, accuse Iraq of breach of faith and clear the way for the Bush hawks to swoop down on Iraq. Scott Ritter, now the loudest critic of the Bush plans but Iraq’s principal tormentor before, almost single-handedly precipitated the 1997-98 show-down by insisting on inspection of Saddam Hussain's palaces. The same trigger would still be available to new inspectors. Iraq's fate would still be on the line. q