WHAT WE THINK
December 13, 2002 | Page 3
FOUR AIRCRAFT carriers, 60,000 soldiers, 200 warplanes, 24 Apache helicopter gunships, innumerable heavy tanks and bombs. By the middle of December, the U.S. will have all of this in or near the Middle East in anticipation of a full-scale military assault on Iraq, according to the New York Times.
And as Socialist Worker went to press, Gen. Tommy Franks was leading a weeklong war exercise in Qatar with 1,000 military planners to tune up the massive command-and-control center that the U.S. quietly built there in the last year.
"[The exercise] bears the innocuous name of 'Internal Look,'" wrote Britain's Independent newspaper. "But the American military's elaborate command-and-control exercise, which begins at a base in the Qatari desert today, looks very like a dry run for a war against Iraq which many believe is inevitable It will test commanders with many war scenarios, covering an American attack on Iraq and the retaliation it might provoke, as well as Iraqi counterattacks, and even pre-emptive strikes by Baghdad."
Iraq delivered its report to United Nations (UN) weapons inspectors on December 7 stating that it possesses no weapons of mass destruction. And there are some opposed to Bush's war drive who believe that the inspections process may delay or even prevent the U.S. from launching an attack against Iraq. But Washington has already made it clear that--whether or not there's any evidence of a "material breach" of the UN resolutions on weapons inspections--war is coming.
Kenneth Pollack, a member of the National Security Council in the Clinton administration who's now a Brookings Institution analyst, has already begun pressing the administration to drop any pretense of caring about inspections. "If you think the result of the inspections process will be ambiguous, then the best time to strike is now," said Pollack. "You should make a crisis now because you are not going to have any better cause for a crisis in six months. It is a fantasy to think the inspectors will come up with a smoking gun."
The warmongering of people like Pollack prove that the threat of war against Iraq really has nothing to do with Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. This war is about oil. The U.S. wants control over oil profits--and it wants to establish that the U.S. is militarily dominant in the Middle East.
The code words used by the Bush administration to describe this war aim is "regime change"--but the phrase should really be "Saddam change." The U.S. doesn't have any problems with strongman dictators--as its support for authoritarian regimes makes clear. The problem is a dictator who won't follow U.S. orders.
War against Iraq is about making clear that the U.S. will call the shots. "Iraq, the hawks argue, is just the first piece of the puzzle," according to a Boston Globe article. "After an ouster of Hussein, they say, the United States will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will be able to rely less on Saudi oil."
"The goal is not just a new regime in Iraq. The goal is a new Middle East," Raad Alkadiri, an Iraq analyst with a Washington-based energy consulting organization, told the Globe. And the U.S. won't stop there. The Bush administration is seeking domination on a global scale.
We need to mobilize an opposition to this war--and to every attempt by Washington to impose its will on the world.