By Taj Hashmi
20 March, 2013
On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 21, one wonders, if in accordance with the neo-con philosophy, America will be invading more “crappy little countries” in future in the name of “War on Terror”. Neo-con guru Michael Ledeen not only justifies punishing “crappy little countries” like Iraq, but he also confirms that America’s foreign policy hinges on “creative destruction” and “total war”; and that America needs to invade countries “every ten years or so”. We find Senator Fulbright’s “Voodoo Diplomacy” and Wesley Clark’s “Profits of War” theories that explain American military adventurism.
Keeping in view America’s erratic foreign policy – “kind of voodoo” to Senator Fulbright – the Iraq Invasion of 2003 helps us understand what America is going to do to Iran, Syria and North Korea, and possibly Pakistan, in the coming years. As per the “ten-year-rule”, another US-led invasion of a country is in order in this year. One may laugh at the hyped up American military / diplomatic endeavours, including trade sanctions against Iran and North Korea, to stop the former from acquiring nuclear weapons, and to prevent the latter from “attacking the West Coast of America”. However, as part of its “Voodoo Diplomacy”, America lied about the Gulf of Tonkin affairs and Saddam Hussein’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMD) to justify bombing North Vietnam and invading Iraq, respectively.
The invasion destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq. While around 200,000 Iraqi civilians had violent deaths, about two million Iraqis have died so far because of the 2003 invasion; and more are dying on a regular basis. There is an acute shortage of food, doctors, medicine, hospitals, schools and electricity (the average Iraqi household has electricity for 8 out of 24 hours every day). In short, there is high inflation (according to the IMF estimate the rate is around 75 percent); and around 27 to 60 percent of Iraqis are unemployed / under-employed. The per capita GDP in the second or fourth most oil-rich country in the world has fallen from $3400 to $800 today. It also cost more than $2 trillion to US economy; more than 4,000 US soldiers died in action; more than 32,000 seriously injured / disabled; and many more are still suffering from PTSD. Meanwhile, US contractors and officials are said to have plundered more than $60 billion from the development / reconstruction projects in the war-ravaged country.
Now it is evident that the much-maligned Military-Industrial Complex of America – Eisenhower held it responsible for all wars in the 20th century – was behind the Iraq invasion of 2003. We know, the “Profit of War”, not fighting the indefinable “War on Terror”, was the only motivating factor behind the invasion. No wonder, American neoconservatives succeeded in convincing George W. Bush that removing Saddam Hussein by force was the right thing to do to fight the “War on Terror”. In October 2007, retired General Wesley Clark exposed the hidden agenda of the neo-cons and the Military Industrial Complex in America:
About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon…. and one of the generals called me in. He said, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq”…. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?”…. He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He said, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
Wesley Clark also revealed that the neo-cons had decided to invade seven countries in five years that included Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Although America has not yet invaded all these countries, and invaded Afghanistan, instead of Syria or Iran, soon after 9/11, it was instrumental in toppling the Qaddafi regime in Libya, and has been destabilizing all the not-so-friendly and unfriendly countries in the Muslim World, including Syria, Iran and Pakistan.
Senior Bush’s National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft predicted, the Iraq invasion would turn the Middle East into a cauldron and would destroy the so-called War on Terror. He did not visualize that the end of Saddam Hussein would lead to the phenomenal growth in Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Arab World. One wonders if there is any room for a conspiracy theory that the US invaded Iraq to promote Shiite / Iranian influence in the entire region. However, as neither the conspiracy theory holds any water, nor the so-called “Intelligence Failure” theory, we find the “Voodoo Diplomacy” and “Profits of War” theories quite useful to explain why America invade countries.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no way out of the scenario that envisages more Western invasions of “crappy little countries” and the consequential growth in terrorism and asymmetrical warfare across the world. We find Reagan’s Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts very useful in understanding the “Voodoo Diplomacy” and “Profits of War” theories. Roberts believe that the American Empire “extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agri-business and the Israel Lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power”. He thinks the empire-builders have modified the US Constitution in the name of national security in such a manner that “Americans’ incomes have been redirected to the pockets of the 1 percent”. This appraisal is a good follow up of what Eisenhower, Fulbright and Wesley Clark have already elucidated in regard to America’s military adventurism in Iraq and elsewhere since the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902.
Taj Hashmi, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee