On Native Ground
THE U.S. RULES SUPREME. GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?
by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- It's now official. The United States now reserves the right to attack any nation at any time for any reason.
This is according to "The National Security Strategy of the United States," the official foreign policy blueprint of the Bush administration that has just been submitted to Congress.
According to a story about the 33-page document in the Sept. 20 edition of The New York Times, the U.S. is determined to not allow any other nation to catch up with its huge advantage in military power. It dispenses with most of the existing policies that have been in place since the end of World War II - containing threats to U.S. security by using America's military might to deter aggression - in favor a policy where the U.S. "will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively."
This strategy is hardly new. There was a story in the Sept. 15 edition of The Sunday Herald of Scotland outlining how the Bush team was planning to oust Saddam Hussein and take military control of the Persian Gulf well before George W. Bush took office.
The plan, entitled "Rebuilding America's Defense: Strategies, Forces and Resources For A New Century," was drawn up in Sept. 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a neo-conservative think tank. The authors (surprise!) are the current architects of the impending Iraq war - Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby.
The 2000 report (available for downloading at http://www.newamericancentury.org) is actually a reprise of an earlier strategic proposal drawn up for the Pentagon by Libby and Wolfowitz in the early 1990s. That plan envisioned a world where the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy is establishing permanent U.S. dominance over the Persian Gulf region and any other part of the world where U.S. interests lie.
Eight years later, Libby and Wolfowitz's ideas finally found fertile ground as they became part of the incoming Bush administration's foreign policy - a process that was accelerated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
All of this thinking is steering the preparations for war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's surprise capitulation to the demand that he unconditionally allow United Nations weapons inspectors into Iraq will not slow down the Bush administration's war plans.
Despite the lofty rhetoric, the message President Bush delivered in his Sept. 12 speech to the UN was a simple one - the U.S. is ready to invade Iraq no matter what the UN or Iraq decides to do.
The Bush administration immediately scoffed at Saddam Hussein's offer to the UN and continues to harp on the 14 UN Security Council resolutions that Iraq is in violation of, but it will probably not mention that they deal with Iraq destroying its weapons of mass destruction and pledging to build no more of them. None of the 14 deal with "regime change," the odious euphemism President Bush has been using which in plain English is the overthrow of another nation's government.
The Bush administration hasn't given up on the "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" justification for war. They seem unconcerned that that story is about to fall apart because the UN inspectors will likely confirm what the rest of the world already knows to be true - Iraq no longer has these weapons in sufficient quantities or in enough of a deployable state to be a credible threat to his neighbors, and shows no signs of getting them soon.
This fact probably won't get in the way of President Bush's desire to go to war. He is pressuring Congress to give him a resolution authorizing the unlimited use of force in the Persian Gulf Region and pressuring the UN to come up with another resolution to force Saddam Hussein to comply with disarmament demands or face military action. All the steps for providing a justification for war are being put together, except for a plausible explanation for war other than the flimsy excuses now being offered.
Even if the UN inspectors come in, have free and unfettered access to Iraqi weapons labs and pronounce Iraq as being a nation that offers no threat to the world, the Bush administration will still be calling for Saddam Hussein's ouster. Why? Because they said so.
A prudent leader would claim victory if Iraq complied fully with the UN without having to fire a shot (notwithstanding the almost weekly bombardment of Iraq by U.S. and British warplanes over the past decade). But President Bush isn't a prudent leader, and peace isn't in the apparent best interest of the Bush administration.
A war with Iraq will distract voters from the corporate corruption scandals and the floundering economy, with the added bonus of opening up Iraq's oil reserves to Western oil companies if the attacks are successful. With the midterm Congressional elections just a few weeks away, the Republican Party is playing the war card because they have nothing else in their deck.
A "Pax Americana" was not what Americans had in mind in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But that's what the Bush administration has in mind. It's good for them politically and good for their corporate backers. That having an imperial America rampaging around the globe might make the world a more dangerous place for all of us hasn't entered their minds.
Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 20 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books).