For background, see:
Marjorie Cohn | Bush Setting Up Attack on Iran •
Marjorie Cohn | Aggressive War: Supreme International Crime •
Stop the Beast
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 05 June 2006
To date, the Iraq War represents the fullest
and most relentless application of the Bush Agenda. The "freer and safer
world" envisioned by Bush and his administration is ultimately one of an
ever-expanding American empire driven forward by the growing powers of the nation's
largest multinational corporations and unrivaled military.
-Antonia Juhasz, The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy
at a Time
In an annual security conference on Saturday, Donald Rumsfeld assured the audience,
"We don't intend to occupy [Iraq] for any period of time. Our troops would
like to go home and they will go home."
Why, then, would the United States be building an enormous embassy in Baghdad
and a base so large it eclipses Kosovo's Camp Bondsteel, which had been the
largest foreign US military base built since Vietnam?
The new embassy, which occupies a space two-thirds the area of the national
mall in Washington DC, comprises 21 buildings that will house over 8,000 government
officials. It has a huge pool, gym, theater, beauty salon, school, and six apartment
The gargantuan military base, Camp Anaconda, occupies 15 square miles of Iraqi
soil near Balad. The base is home to 20,000 soldiers and thousands of "contractors,"
or mercenaries. The aircraft runway at Anaconda is the second busiest in the
world, behind only Chicago's O'Hare airport. And, depending on which report
you read, between six and fourteen more US military bases are under construction
in Iraq. It doesn't appear we'll be leaving anytime soon - or anytime, really.
Bush's trumped-up war on Iraq has claimed nearly 2,500 US military lives and
tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Thousands of US soldiers suffer in military
hospitals, most with head injuries, many missing limbs. Thousands more have
PTSD. Our economy is in shambles from the war and Bush's tax-cuts-for-the-rich.
And America's moral standing in the world continues to plummet.
So, with all the construction activity in Iraq, and with an overextended military
and an under funded budget, how could the Bush administration possibly consider
expanding the fight and attacking Iran? Logic and reason say it couldn't happen
and shouldn't happen. But this administration has rarely paid much heed to logic
The plan to attack Iran has long been in the works. Bush gave us a preview
in January 2002 when he inaugurated it into his "axis of evil." His
2006 National Military Strategy says, "We may face no greater challenge
from a single country than from Iran." On Saturday, Donald Rumsfeld called
Iran the world's leading terrorist nation. Does any of this have a familiar
ring to it?
To understand why the US may attack Iran, one must consider the underlying
motive of US militarism. The recent US strategy is calculated to maintain economic,
political and military hegemony over oil-rich areas of the world. A 1992 draft
of the Pentagon Defense Planning Guidance on post Cold War Strategy that was
leaked to the New York Times said, "Our overall objective is to remain
the predominant outside power in [the Middle East and Southwest Asia to] preserve
US and Western access to the region's oil."
Truthout writer Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who spent eight months
in occupied Iraq, told a gathering at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on Friday
that the US has been conducting ongoing special operations inside Iran. He cited
unmanned surveillance drones flying over Iran. Jamail predicts Bush will invade
Iran before the November election.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern agrees with Jamail's prediction, but thinks
it will happen in June or July. "There is already one carrier task force
there in the Gulf, two are steaming toward it at the last report I have at least
- they will be there in another week or so," McGovern said on the Alex
Team Bush is following the same game plan used in the run-up to Iraq - hyping
a threat that doesn't exist and going through the motions of diplomacy.
Bush & Co. are not motivated by rationality. They act in the interests
of the huge corporations, at the expense of humanity. During the Bush years,
oil companies have earned record profits. Dick Cheney's Halliburton has landed
many of the juiciest contracts in Iraq. New Iraqi laws that US ambassador Paul
Bremer put in place lock in significant advantages for US corporations in Iraq,
including corporate control of Iraq's oil.
Neoconservative Thomas Friedman, in a March 1999 New York Times article illustrated
by an American flag on a fist, accurately summed up US foreign policy:
For globalism to work, America can't be afraid to act like
the almighty superpower that it is ... The hidden hand of the market will never
work without a hidden fist - McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas,
the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for
Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy
and Marine Corps.
As long as we allow our government to pursue this strategy, Abu Ghraibs and
Hadithas will continue to emerge, our soldiers and thousands of people in other
countries will continue to die, and our economy will continue toward bankruptcy.
It is up to us to stop the beast - now!
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, President-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She writes a weekly column for t r u t h o u t.
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