A view of Iraq from the Moscow Times
Source Ken Hanly
Date 03/10/14/00:16

The Moscow Times, Friday, Oct. 10, 2003.

Global Eye -- Red River

By Chris Floyd

On March 17, 2003, George W. Bush appeared before the American people to
announce that he had ordered the invasion of Iraq. In a short speech, Bush
declared that there was "no doubt" that Saddam Hussein possessed a
storehouse of weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to
the security of the United States and the world.

This was offered as a straightforward and unambiguous statement of fact,
unqualified by any caveats. It was, of course, a blood libel, the
culmination of an intensive propaganda campaign designed to whip up war
fever in the populace with lurid images of Saddamite nukes mushrooming in
Manhattan and robot spy drones spraying anthrax all over Boise, Idaho.
Later, with the bloodletting underway, chief warlord Don Rumsfeld, bolstered
this iron certainty about the existence of Iraq's fearsome weapons,
announcing forthrightly: "We know where they are." He even pinpointed the
location: "the area around Tikrit," Saddam's hometown. Again, there was no
ambiguity, no doubts, no qualifications.

Then last week, the Bush Regime's own CIA hireling, David Kay, leader of the
search for Saddam's smoking guns, confirmed what the rest of the world has
known for months: there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There
was not even an active program to develop them. In the face of these facts,
the Bushists -- and the lapdogs they keep kenneled on that little island
north of France -- were reduced to making the ludicrous argument that their
war of aggression was justified by Kay's alleged discovery of some evidence
that Saddam had a plan to one day re-start a weapons program that could have
led to the development of WMD somewhere down the line. This assumed, of
course, that any such new capabilities would not have been immediately
destroyed by the ongoing Anglo-American bombing campaign against Iraq (which
raged unabated for 12 years) or taken out in a limited strike like the 1998
Desert Fox operation, or -- and here's a novel idea -- circumvented by the
presence of United Nations inspectors crawling all over the country.

In fact, there were many options short of war that could have been taken had
Saddam actually possessed any WMD. Kay's report, along with dozens of
pre-war intelligence concerns that have since come to light, show clearly
that there was absolutely no justification for launching a full-scale
conquest of Iraq in mid-March 2003. Even by the barbaric standards of the
Bush Regime, which holds -- in contravention of international law and
American tradition -- that aggressive war is justified under certain
conditions, the invasion of Iraq was a wanton criminal act. Their own
evidence proves that their own conditions were not met. Even by their own
lights, the Bushists cannot justify the decision to go to war in March.

No, that particular date was chosen for one reason only: to get the
long-planned conquest of Iraq out of the way before George W. Bush's
presidential campaign next year. Thus, every Coalition soldier killed in
Iraq has died solely for the personal aggrandizement of George W. Bush.
Every one of the estimated 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians killed in the
invasion (according to a detailed body count carried out by an anti-Saddam
Iraqi dissident group) died for the personal aggrandizement of George W.
Bush. And the soldiers and civilians go on dying, day after day.

All this blood and destruction so that Bush might remain in power, and dole
out the plunder of two nations -- Iraq and America -- to the gilded
corporate mafia he represents. And now the greatest prize in the history of
the world beckons: domination of the world's oil reserves, precisely at the
point when the rising, insatiable demand for oil is about to exceed the
remaining supply. Nations will be increasingly desperate, willing to pay any
price -- financial and political -- to those who control access to the
precious, dwindling resource.

For the criminal mind, this is indeed a prize worth lying for, worth
cheating for, worth killing tens of thousands of innocent people for. And as
often noted here, a gang that doesn't blanche at aggressive war will
certainly have no scruples about subverting the political process -- by any
means necessary, even violence -- to maintain their power.

Yet the political fate of George W. Bush is insignificant. What matters now
is the fate of the Republic itself. Always an imperfect instrument -- as are
all human constructions -- and buffeted by decades of militarization and
vast corruption, the Republic nevertheless has served as a vehicle to carry
forward some of the best instincts and noblest aspirations of our fragile,
conflicted and unstable human nature. But Bush has crossed the Rubicon. He
has taken the worst aspects of U.S. society to unprecedented extremes,
breaking down the already-weakened civic and social structures of the
Republic. The center will not hold; the rule of law will be replaced by the
rule of shock and awe, the rule of arbitrary force, rampant corruption,
witless diversion, sugared piety, aggressive nationalism and empty pomp.
These perverted values are already ascendant in American public life today.

With Bush's criminal war and autocratic decrees -- remember, he's asserted
the right to imprison or even kill any American citizen he designates an
"enemy" -- the traditional restraints on arbitrary power have been broken,
and the pattern of lawless tyranny established. Even if Bush himself should
fall, someone else -- perhaps more charming, clever, capable, seductive: a
true Caesar instead of a clownish thug -- will step in and take these
developments to their inevitable conclusion.

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