Marjorie Cohn: Stop the Beast
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 buildings.
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 and reason.
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 Jones Show.
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, a contributing editor to t r u t h o u t, is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.