ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 24
Columns - Issue of the week

The Americans are not so dumb

By Ameen Izzadeen

Donald Rumsfeld, the arrogant Defence Secretary who brought the US military into disrepute is gone and is replaced by Robert Gates, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It was in Rumsfeld that US President George W. Bush first confided his Iraq plan. It was music to the ears of Rumsfeld who together with the think-tank, Project for the New American Century, had conceived a similar plan.

Rumsfeld then set out to rope in the US military bigwigs who initially scoffed at the plan. They pointed out the difficulties and obstacles in executing the plan. But Rumsfeld would not buy any of their counterpoints. As the head of the Pentagon, he ordered and the generals carried out the plan against many odds. Some of them recently went public castigating Rumsfeld.


The Project for the New American Century, architectured by Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Zalmay Khaliizad and the likes, called for a significant increase in US military spending; the strengthening of ties with US allies and challenging regimes hostile to US interests and values; the promotion of the cause of political and economic freedom outside the US and the preservation and extension of an international order friendly to US security, prosperity and principles.

In short, it was all about America and American interest at the cost of the rest of the world.

In 1988, the PNAC members, who are largely neoconservative Republican extremists, in response to Iraq's reported non-cooperation with the UN weapons inspectors, wrote to the then US President, Bill Clinton, urging him to oust Saddam Hussein, using US diplomatic, political and military power.

Their letter argued that Saddam would pose a threat to the United States, its Middle East allies and oil resources in the region if he succeeded in maintaining his stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The letter also stated "we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections" and "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council." The letter argues that an Iraq war would be justified by Saddam's defiance of UN "containment" policy and his persistent threat to US interests.


Another report titled Rebuilding America's Defences prepared by the team in 2000 called for improved planning and noted that "while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for US military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein".

"Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests in the Gulf as has Iraq. And even should US-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in US security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region."

In short, the PNAC project was aimed at total subjugation or domination of the world by the United States. It was and is an imperialistic agenda which serves the interests of corporate America and the Zionists.

If the PNAC recommendations are brought before the American people in a referendum and its hidden motives exposed, I am sure it would be defeated outright. The defeat of the Republicans in Tuesday's mid-term Congressional elections is an indication that the American people are tired of being misled by the neoconservative cabal and a president who sells American militarism to the unsuspecting masses. The Democratic victory signals American reawakening.

Although the Bush administration is a virtual pariah in the sight of the peace-loving majority in the world, the American people are not. When some 59 million Americans re-elected Bush at the 2004 presidential election, the London Daily Mirror on its front page asked, "How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?" But at the same time some 50 million Americans did not vote for Bush in 2004 and Tuesday's election results showed that a large majority of Americans did not want to be called dumb by the rest of the world.

Now they expect a change in the president's Iraq policy. The change in the Pentagon leadership is welcome but it should not be cosmetic. If the Defence Secretary-designate Robert Gates continues his predecessor's policy, with Bush, Cheney and the rest of the neoconservative cabal calling the shots, it will be tantamount to a betrayal of the verdict the American people have delivered. If the Democrats do not work towards an early end to the occupation in Iraq, their success at the 2008 presidential race will be doubtful.

Some analysts believe that once the dust settles, the Democrats, who like the Republican politicians, are funded by corporate America, will go along with Bush's Iraq policy though they may subject the President's proposals to a greater congressional scrutiny.
The Democrats did vote for the war on Iraq and had voted with the Republicans when the Bush administration presented the draconian Patriot Act and the Military Commission Act-legislation that erodes liberty and goes against the values on which the founding fathers of America built their country.

Iraq Study Group

Gates, however, is said to be a realist. He is a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel headed by James Baker (Republican) and Lee Hamilton (Democrat). The group has prepared a paper which recommends, according to a leaked account last month, a phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and (diplomatic) engagement with Syria and Iran to bring the violence in Iraq to an end. Since it was Baker, the Secretary of State under George Bush Snr., who recommended Gates to Bush for the Defence Secretary job, we can assume that the new man at the Pentagon would push for the implementation of the Iraq Study Group recommendations to end the war which is costing the American people nearly 3 billion dollars a week. But foreign policy is the prerogative of the President and we don't know whether Gates will simply follow Bush edicts. Because there is Vice President Cheney, one of the chief architects of the Iraq war. With many of the neocons such as Richard Perle and Paul Wofowitz now admitting Iraq was a mistake, it was largely Cheney who is left with the president to carry forward the vision of the Project for the New American Century.

What does the verdict portend for the people of Iraq?

Nearly 655,000 Iraqi people have been killed as a direct result of the American invasion-maybe the figure is not big enough for the Bush administration to wake up because its predecessors' policy of continuing with crippling sanctions on Iraq for 12 years prior to the invasion in March 2003 had killed one million Iraqis, half of them children. Some 2,900 American soldiers have also died in the 44-month occupation of Iraq.

A video clip posted on an antiwar website (go to shows how US soldiers have become sitting or standing ducks to an Iraqi sniper called Juma.

Iraqi people would be happy to see an early withdrawal of the American troops. They are also worried about a viewpoint prevalent among many Democrats that the problem of Iraq could be solved if the country was divided along sectarian lines into three -a country for the Shiite in the south, one for the Kurds in the north and another for the Sunnis in the centre.

Iraqis, perhaps with the exception of the Kurds, however, want their country to remain in one piece and the prevalent viewpoint among the Iraqis is that the Americans should set a timetable for the withdrawal. A motion signed by 100 MPs has been presented to the 275-member parliament but filibustering keeps the motion being taken up for a debate.

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