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Bush does not take ‘Yes" for an answer
By Karamatullah K. Ghori

Toronto: One not taking ‘no’ for an answer may be a cliché, but George W. Bush does not believe in taking ‘yes’ for an answer, if that ‘yes’ comes from the lips of Saddam Hussain.

Apparently Bush dreads being outfoxed by Saddam just as his father was in the wake of the Gulf War. And since the son has taken it upon himself to fulfill the unfinished agenda of his father, he seems desperate to plug every hole that may allow Saddam to escape the dragnet now in the works in Washington to catch him and annihilate him. It does not, really, matter to the war-mongers nestling under Bush if another hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are also slaughtered in the process. 

Bush, true to his Texas upbringing, has quickly stylised his plans to terrorise the Iraqis into a personal vendetta against Saddam. He has publicly declared that he "hates" Saddam because " this man… tried to kill my dad."

So, as far as the ‘leader’ of the ‘free world’ is concerned, the cat has come out of the bag. The emperor, the world’s newest Caesar, has spoken and his word should be accepted by the world as the Gospel truth. Saddam became the nemesis of Bush Sr. Hence Bush Jr. decideds to take the law into his own hands—just as Lone Ranger did in the cowboy culture of Texas—and become Saddam’s nemesis. Bush is determined to sabotage and shoot down any plan, conceived anywhere—whether at UN or elsewhere—that may provide his quarry an escape route. He wants to settle for nothing less than the elimination of Saddam and his regime from Iraq. He wants, in true Bibilical fashion, Saddam’s head on a platter.

The tripartite agreement reached in Vienna on October 1 between Iraq, IAEA ( the International Atomic Energy Agency) and UNMOVIC (United Nations’ Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) should be considered a landmark accord that points a clear road map for UN and Iraq to mop up the remaining work on Iraq’s suspected weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The UNMOVIC Chief, Sweden’s Hans Blix, rightly felt satisfied that Iraq has now committed itself to allow UN weapons inspectors " unconditional and unrestricted" access to any sensitive or suspected site in Iraq, other than the 8 Presidential sites for which there is a separate protocol in place since 1998. Kofi Annan himself had hammered out that protocol in the teeth of a war-like situation similar to the one currently in evidence. And yet Iraq was bombed by Clinton, in December of that year, to serve his own agenda ( He was not haunted by a revenge phobia like his successor, but the Lewinsky scandal was raking his nerves ).

However, Blix’s satisfaction stirred confusion and consternation in the ranks of the Bush hawks in Washington, and they quickly hunkered down to tear it to smithereens. Because the Bush vendetta-agenda goes far beyond the limited UN exercise to defang Iraq completely, the Bush hawks wasted no time in deploying new tactics to circumvent the Vienna accord.

The charge to steal all thunder from Hans Blix’s excellent work in Vienna was led by the supposedly moderate Colin Powell who angrily retorted that U.S. will " thwart" any attempt to send the UN inspectors into Iraq without a strongly worded new UN Security Council resolution. An Anglo-American draft, cobbled together in London and Washington, is already on the Security Council’s table. It will be very magnanimous to describe this text as a draft resolution while, in actual fact, it is an ultimatum, a death warrant for Saddam and his regime.

The Anglo-American draft seeks UN authority to mandate the inspectors to demand land and air corridors from the Iraqis to carry out their work unhindered and unopposed. Which would mean the right of the UN or its Security Council members (obviously the permanent 5 only ) to station troops on the Iraqi soil. Otherwise the corridors will become meaningless. So, under the cloak of UN, U.S will get the ‘automatic’ right to deploy its forces inside Iraq without having formally declared war against Iraq. What Washington wants from UN is the ideal mix of being able to eat its cake and have it too. 

Eversince he delivered that haughtily aggressive and belligerent address to the UN General Assembly on September 12, Bush has been holding a gun to the head of the Security Council to prove its "relevance" to the ‘imminent danger’ from Iraq to the security of U.S. To him the only way for the Security Council or, for that matter, the whole UN, to justify their existence is to sign on the dotted lines of any blueprints of war prepared in Washington.

On cue from Bush, the State Department and Colin Powell himself—who did not need much persuasion to shed off his feigned peace mould - is mounting a concerted assault on the UN peace apparatus to either beat them into submission to U.S. diktat, or numb them into silence.

Hans Blix is being worked upon to compromise his independence. Before him, the two heads of UNSCOM—another Swede, Rolf Ekeus, and the arrogant Aussie, Richard Butler, had been prevailed upon to toe the American line. Ekeus became ambassador to Washington after retiring from UNSCOM and Butler was absorbed in the Council of Foreign Relations—both amply rewarded. 

Blix is showing early symptoms of going down the same route. After briefing the Security Council in New York, on October 3, on the success of his mission in Vienna, Blix dashed off to Washington on October 4 for a tete-a-tete with Powell. He emerged from that meeting to suggest that his inspectors should not be rushed into Iraq without the Security Council settling on a new resolution. One should ask what was the need for him to be debriefed, in private, by the U.S. Secretary of State? Is this not a leaf from Butler’s book who regularly consulted the Americans both before and after every mission to Baghdad? Does Blix owe a special obligation to Washington? Is he going to show the same consideration to other permanent members of the Security Council?

So far, the only glimmer of hope, although a faint one at that, in the gathering gloom at the Security Council is the refusal of Russia to jump on the American bandwagon and yoke with the Washington war-mongers. The Russians, as repeatedly articulated by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, see no rationale or justification for the Council to adopt another resolution on Iraq. There are already more than a dozen such resolutions in place.

Similarly, the French have also, so far, been pursuing a rational course independent of Washington. The French preference is for a two-tier approach. One resolution should call upon Iraq to comply with the inspection requirements and a second one, if at all necessary and warranted by circumstances, to authorise the use of force. However, the French are not in favour, at all, of an ‘automatic’ right for the U.S. to use force in the event of Iraq’s failure to comply.

However, Bush, thoroughly consumed by the baser instinct of revenge, is unlikely to be won over by rationality or common sense. To him there is no second choice. To put teeth into his ‘pre-emptive’ strategy, he and his hawks have been badgering Congress too to come on board the war wagon set rolling by him. The House of Representatives has already signed on his draft seeking a mandate for war against Iraq. There is some opposition to him in the Senate where the Democrats have a wafer- thin majority and their leader, Senator Tom Daschle, is resisting the bulldozing tactics of Bush. But the Senate, like the House, will eventually succumb to the relentless pressure being mounted on it by the Bush war-mongers, both in government and outside of it.

Bush is receiving a lot of help from a slavish U.S. news media controlled, almost entirely, by huge multi-national corporations that hope to reap a rich harvest of defence contracts from another war. The media is going to town in demonising Saddam and his ‘evil regime’ beyond all bounds of decency and decorum. The ‘free press’ has removed all stops on the road to silence all dissent and gag all free expression.

The Bush war ranks are also receiving considerable, though gratuitous, fillip from neo-conservative and Christian right intellectuals who have all come out of their closets with vengeance since the events of September 11. These intellectual pirates are in the front ranks of those now openly advocating an imperial mode for U.S. because of its unprecedented and unrivalled military strength. They have not only quickly adopted Bush as one of their own, but are also vehemently preaching the virtues of a reincarnation of imperial Rome in today’s U.S. They argue that the military reach and ubiquitous fire power of U.S. is ‘ so awesome’ that even Rome would feel envious of it. These dreamers of a global Pax Americana are hawking the need for U.S. to discipline the ‘rogue states’ by force and, if necessary, occupy them as colonies in order to stamp out ‘ their terrorism.’ The dishonesty and hubris of these ‘intellectuals’ is, simply, astounding. 

The empire mode is visibly dictating the aggressive agenda that U.S. must pursue to shape the world in its image. The purveyors of this policy are telling Bush that for an empire there is no need to be hamstrung by the lack of concurrence from any individual, country or even a global organization like UN. Washington has the capacity to ‘go it alone’ and must use its colossal power to force the renegades and the mavericks to fall in line behind it, or be prepared to pay the price of their temerity. The Washington war lobby is at one that Bush must not lose this momentum, this surging tide of events, to ride on it and wipe off the likes of Saddam from this earth. Donald Rumsfeld, second only to Dick Cheney in tendering counsel of war to Bush, has haughtily boasted that the world must be made to understand that the Americans cannot be forced to change their way of life.

All this raw arrogance is gathering critical mass by the day despite saner advice to the contrary from notable Americans.

Former President Jimmy Carter has blasted the muscle-flexing of the Bush war-mongers. Senator Edward Kennedy has lashed out at the policy of going in for war without having exhausted the prospects of a negotiated and peaceful settlement. Senator Daniel Inouye, a war-veteran, and one of the most respected members of the Senate, has questioned the morality of Bush’s pre-emptive war and said: " To attack a nation that has not attacked us will go down in history as something that we would not be proud of." 

Three sitting congressmen who recently visited Iraq in open defiance of the Bush administration have accused Bush of misleading the American people.

Veteran generals and war heroes have testified before Congress and advised Bush not to embark on a unilateral war against Iraq. They included: General John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Wesley Clark, former NATO military commander who led the war against Yugoslavia in Kosovo; Gen. John O.Hoar, former chief of the Central Command; General Anthony Zinni, retired Marine Corps general, who was Bush’s special envoy to the Middle East.

But all this counsel for sanity is unlikely to deter Bush from his personal vendetta against Saddam Hussain. So the tumbrels of war are being loaded with obscene glee and fervour. The military juggernaut that Bush and his minions are so boastful about is being primed to roll out at a moment’s notice. The war drums in Washington are beating to a frenzied pitch. The noise is simply deafening. It is war season, again, in a country which has been at war, regularly every year in the past fifty years, against another country. 

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