With the Kosovo war, the criminal mendacity of U.S. foreign policy seemed to have reached its limit. The lies, the venality, the puffed-up grandiosity of our preening leaders and their repulsive spokespersons surely, you think, it can’t get any worse that that. But just wait until you see what they have cooked up for us come September a major new offensive in the U.S.-British war on Iraq, according to news reports. And preliminary indications are that it can indeed get worse.
RUMORS OF WAR
The war on Iraq is not starting up again because it never stopped. Since 1991, the U.S.-British attack has been continuous, albeit varied in its intensity, and casualties have been high. As many as one million Iraqis, mostly children, the elderly, and women, have been murdered by US sanctions, felled by malnutrition, disease, and the intolerable conditions imposed by the blockade. And also killed, in increasing numbers by the bombing raids carried out against Iraqi cities and villages. These raids have been stepped up, lately, as if in preparation for something bigger and the propaganda war is also picking up, as witness this dispatch from the Associated Press that reads like something out of "Ripley’s Believe It Or Not."
AN UNSUBTLE SHIFT
AP reports that, after bombing Ba’shqua, a small town a few hundred miles north of Baghdad, and killing two civilians, a small child and a grandmother, "the US military "denied responsibility for the deaths." This is a distinct shift away from their old stance, when Jaime Shea routinely reiterated his "regrets" over the inability of US super-weapons to "surgically" target specific sites with hundreds of sorties flown over Yugoslavia every week, and in view of the vagaries of weather and visibility, mistakes were made. But this time they are singing a different tune: according to Lt. Col. Mike Waters, the Pentagon’s man on the ground at Incirlik air base in Turkey, "Saddam Hussein is killing his own people by firing at us. If the artillery doesn’t explode when it’s fired up, it will come down and explode on the ground." Here is a new message, new evidence of Allied megalomania: fight back and be struck down where you stand. The act of resistance will be your last.
THE GODS THEMSELVES
How neat, how clean, how convenient and how demented. In other words, the death of those two Iraqis was due, not to Allied bombs, but to a form of modern-day divine intervention. In the enormity of their lies, which have taken on all the characteristics of a full-blown delusional system, the military and political leaders of the Allied nations have become like those Roman emperors who imagined themselves gods; like Caligula, who had his palace outfitted to look like Olympus, and, as the Roman historian Suetonius tells us, occasionally "affected a golden beard and carried Jupiter’s thunderbolt, Neptune’s trident, or Mercury’s serpent-twined staff. He even dressed up as Venus and . . . wore the uniform of a triumphant general, often embellished with the breastplate which he had stolen from Alexander the Great’s tomb at Alexandria." It is easy to imagine Clinton as a 21st-century Caligula, but where is our Suetonius? (And, more importantly, for those who know their Seutonius: where is our Gaius Sabinus?)
NO KNOWN ANTIDOTE
Colonel Waters’ explanation of how those two Iraqi civilians came to die sounds suspiciously like that of Caligula, who, Suetonius relates, "sent a colonel to kill young Tiberius without warning, on the pretext that Tiberius had insulted him by taking an antidote against poison his breath smelled of it." Unfortunately, there is no known antidote for the poison of Western imperialism, which has infected the collective brain of our ruling elites. The result is the rampaging madness of our murderous foreign policy.
IRAQIS COMMIT AUTO-GENOCIDE
This time, there are no regrets. If the Iraqis are dying, it is their own fault, not ours. The sanctions are Saddam’s fault, since he has refused to surrender. The starving children are also Saddam’s responsibility since he is supposed to be stealing the food and medicine and building palaces with the proceeds of his oil money. On top of all this, we are asked to believe that the Iraqi government is engaged in a massive auto-genocide. This obvious lie is repeated endlessly, hypnotically, to a mesmerized and massively indifferent American public, which is prepared to believe anything about Saddam. But just how long can they expect to get away with it? When the bombs really start falling in massive numbers, and the Iraqis have the hubris to actually fight back, are we going to have to listen to US officials blandly declare that "Saddam is killing his own people"?
COUNTDOWN TO WAR
The countdown to war begins at the mid-September meeting of the foreign ministers of the UN Security Council member states. Once again, Britain is the spearhead of the operation: it is the Brits who are expected to submit a resolution that will provide a new legal rationale for renewed military action against Iraq. Though backed by the US, Britain is taking the lead politically as well as rhetorically. Just as President George Bush has his spine "stiffened" by the harpy Thatcher, so Clinton is being continually hectored into action by Blair and the British Foreign Office. This is a development that no doubt pleases the "Atlanticist" conservative intellectuals who surround George Dubya, but the conservative grassroots have to ask: is the US military now taking its marching orders from Number 10 Downing Street and is this what they mean by "NATO expansion"?
WHOM THE GODS
WOULD DESTROY . . .
Much has been written about the psychological effects of war on the defeated, and on those who actually have to live under the daily threat of sudden death. I believe the psychologists when they say that these people will bear the scars of their experience through all the days of their lives. But there is another aspect of this question, and that is the effect on the victors: the conquered are humbled, humiliated, and enslaved. But what of the alleged "conquerors"? What is needed is a medical study of the mind-numbing effect of war propaganda on the nation’s mental health. It may turn out that the psychological scars of "victory" are less terrible, yet uniquely torturous. For once again we face the horrible prospect of having to hear Tony Blair’s shrill pontifications on behalf of this no doubt oh-so-"progressive" war. And that is enough to drive anyone mad.
The first hard news of pending military action against Iraq an Agence France Presse dispatch which we linked to from this site is written in an oblique and even mysterious style. It quotes a nameless Western diplomat "well acquainted with Iraqi affairs" who warns that the British resolution, if adopted, "will provide the United States and Britain with a new legal tool to take measures against Iraq. Pressure is rising in the United States to impose a deadline on Iraq to meet conditions set by the United Nations, after which Washington must act." The diplomat went on to state, with an air of considerable authority, that "the US administration is under pressure to act quickly with only six months left before the start in earnest of the US presidential election campaign." Under pressure from whom?
Desert Storm II is brought to you by the same bipartisan cabal of politicians, profiteers, and ideologues that hailed President George Bush’s crusade for a "New World Order." Fresh from their great "victory" in Kosovo, where the last of the Serb civilians are being hunted down and expelled, the NATO-crats are now setting their sights on Baghdad. And while there was some dissent in ruling circles about the wisdom of Bill and Tony’s Excellent Adventure, there is unity on the question of war with Iraq. The war-loving "progressives" of the Blairite Left and the war-crazed Tories in England and America, the Democrats and the Republicans, the oil companies and the arms industry, the foreign lobbyists and their American fifth column soon they’ll all be clamoring for the Allies to "finish the job." Will we wake up one morning, some day soon, to find that US troops are in the middle of Iraq, fighting alongside the British on the road to Baghdad? The only question is: when?
A CALL TO ARMS
Under these circumstances, it is necessary for the antiwar movement to once again rev up its reluctant motor or motors and swing into action. Literally, that is what is needed not editorials, articles, "links," and cyber-talk, but action to stop this war before it starts. The fate of thousands of Iraqis is in your hands. Americans, and West Europeans, as residents of the aggressor nations (or, rather, subjects of the aggressor governments), have a particular moral responsibility to act before it is too late. In the days before the foreign ministers’ meeting, the first two weeks of September, a visible and vocal protest of an exemplary nature is called for. We may not be able, as yet, to mobilize great numbers, but what is important is the visibility of these actions. We must raise the issue of Iraq, before our elected officials, and in public forums, oppose the war plans of this administration, and expose the criminal sanctions that are killing Iraqi children. Whatever the crimes of Saddam Hussein, he will have to answer to his own people, and to history, not to some judicial or political authority acting in the name of a "New World Order." Our concern is with the crimes of our own governments, who bomb and starve children in the name of "international law" and use war as a rationale to expand their own power over our lives.
As one of the most cravenly loyal Democrats in Congress, San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi slavishly followed the Clintonian line on Kosovo, and is sure to back any action in the Gulf, just as she has in the past. How is it possible that in San Francisco, that supposedly anti-war leftist’s paradise, Pelosi is allowed to get away with being one of the biggest warmongers in Congress? It’s a mystery to me, but one theory is that San Francisco leftists give her a free pass because she is so politically correct on other issues. The proof of this will be the response to the call of the San Francisco Antiwar Action Group to intervene at a public meeting called by Rep. Pelosi, on Saturday, September 18, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. The meeting will be at the Herbst International Exhibition Hall, between Montgomery and Moraga Streets, above the Main Post in the Presidio. Call her office (415-556-4862) for directions. Now is the time for Left and Right to unite and fight against the Clintonian war machine before it starts raining mass death on Iraq.
MAKE PELOSI ANSWER
This is a rare public appearance for Pelosi: she almost never faces her constituency, and her bugged-out eyes practically pop out of her head in panic whenever she is confronted by them in large numbers. And that’s what we need: large numbers of people who want to know how she can be so concerned about "Livable Communities" the ostensible subject of this meeting and support Clinton as he makes whole countries Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq unlivable. Give me a break! Let her answer to her constituents for her complicity in Clinton’s crimes if she can. Click here if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to get involved. If you live elsewhere, click here to send her an email.
COME ON, YOU GUYS GET BUSY!
Come on, all you San Francisco lefties, Commies and concerned "liberals" alike and all you libertarians out there wake up and let’s get busy. We have to start exposing this one before it starts.