It’s tempting to think that George Bush and his warmongering White House are on the defensive. The war on Iraq has proven to be the disaster predicted before the illegal invasion four years ago. We all knew “weapons of mass destruction” was a cynical ruse. It was always about oil and empire.
And so Iraq is a quagmire of Bush’s making. 3000 US troops have died but more than 100 times that number of Iraqis have been killed. The internal conflict rages out of control. Popular opinion in the US strongly opposes the war and overt opposition from within the ranks of front line troops has been growing unprecedentedly.
Despite threats of court martial more than 1000 serving US troops have joined a website appeal to bring the troops home.
But Bush is escalating the war with his “surge” of 20,000 more troops announced last week.
Should we just shake our heads with Jim Anderton and see this as a repeat of the US bloody-mindedness in Vietnam which ended in a rout?
No, because US war drums are beating again but the focus is shifting from the unholy mess in Afghanistan and Iraq to “regime change” in Iran. Congress has approved more than $100 million to finance covert and overt activities to provoke insecurity and undermine the country’s economic, social and political stability.
But Bush has bigger plans. He has rejected proposals from his own officials for negotiations with Syria and Iran to help de-escalate the war in Iraq. Diplomacy is anathema to Bush. Instead a full-scale air attack on Iran will be the centrepiece of the new strategy. The 20,000 extra troops for Iraq are a sideshow to the main event.
The attacks will be conducted from the Persian Gulf where fully armed US aircraft carriers and support ships have been gathering over the past two months.
Bush used his “surge” speech to prepare the US population for the next war. He says the new strategy “begins with addressing Iran and Syria…we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq”. Simplistic, hypocritical and deadly.
Shortly following his speech US troops attacked an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and detained five Iranian representatives.
Bush wants the Islamic leadership of Iran overthrown because of the country’s growing strength in the region. Iran’s nuclear programme will be the nominal target despite no evidence it is for anything other than peaceful purposes. Bush hopes the attack will cool the situation in Iraq as well as undermine Iranian support for Syria and the Palestinian struggle. The big bonus will be greater control of the oil and gas reserves of the region.
The 20,000 extra troops fit into the plan because they will be used for no-holds-barred attacks on Iraqi militias aligned with Iran.
And so with the cards stacked heavily against him in Iraq Bush will try the gambler’s double-or-nothing strategy.
The attack on Iran is predicted to take place before April. Bunker busting bombs and possibly tactical nuclear weapons would be used to penetrate and destroy Iran’s uranium processing plants. The US will claim the attacks are aimed at the regime but will of course include attacks on electricity and water supplies, sewage treatment plants, major transport networks, government buildings and the Iranian leadership.
The one country in the region which supports this strategy is Israel which has nuclear weapons of its own and which fears a strong, Palestinian-supporting, anti-zionist country in the region. Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It’s not whether you support justice and international law but who your friends are which counts.
As with the attack on Iraq, the plan once more is to replace the rule of law with the brutal thuggery of the schoolyard bully. The US will bypass the United Nations and create another feudal hell-hole in the Middle-East.
With Bush cornered in Iraq the US is at its most dangerous. It is a threat to its own citizens as well as to peace and security everywhere.
In the meantime Bush will keep his cards close to his chest to allow less time for an international coalition to develop anti-war momentum.
Once more decent people in the United States and around the globe will unite in opposition to Bush’s latest war plans.
If we are to stop this madness the world must mobilise to stop the number one terrorist state. New Zealanders need to play a full part in this alongside the majority of humanity.