The Iraqi Conflict: Hate Hitler or Heil Hitler?
Since the advent of the era of agriculture and humyn organization, there have been intellectual classes whose job it is to punish deviance, manage and control, to create the society’s established truths, and to prevent those with alternative modes of thought from reaching out to the general populace. These intellectuals are connected with the ruling establishment, and are members of a class of secular priests, who hold sway over security (in their political form) and prosperity (in their economic form). They command corporations, who hold the capital of entire nations captive. They command nuclear weapons and security policy, and are capable of unleashing nigh-infinite devastation upon the entire planet. In the modern day, the imperialism of great powers must be disguised through pious rhetoric and mindless patriotism. Several of these secular priests have recently compared President Bush's proposals for war against Iraq to the war against Hitler. They say that the 1991 Gulf War campaign did not inflict enough damage and carry enough cost to Saddam’s regime, and that the years of sanctions and inspections must culminate in disarmament or severe consequences will be inflicted. The critics think of the history of United States-Iraqi relations as being Iraq bursting out of nowhere and attacking Kuwait, then being driven back by idealistic United Nations (hereafter referred to as UN) defenders and then treated with a firm, unyielding hand as long as the dictatorial Saddam continues to violate international law. Further, many of these intellectuals argue that not attacking Saddam would be similar to the policy of appeasement taken place before World War II and that Saddam must be eliminated much as Hitler was. Ironically, given the state of affairs, the recommendations for war by these intellectuals actually echo Hitler's call for war against Poland and other states that were “unjustly” taking Germany's lebensraum, as opposed to the Rooseveltian model of a necessary intervention against a foe that was dangerous in the moment and not in a theoretical future. Further, the similarities that exist between the two situations are even more indicative, and speak volumes both about American myths about World War II and the involvement in the Iraq situation historically. The United States’ (hereafter referred to as US) calls for war in Iraq are not Rooseveltian idealism in practice, but rather Hitlerian imperialism.
One elementary distinction between the Rooseveltian model and the Hitlerian model is the element of declarations of war. In World War II, Hitler attacked other nations without declaring war upon them, or declaring war for trumped up reasons – Roosevelt, on the other hand, only became involved when Germany declared war upon the United States in an attempt to keep cordial relations with the other great Axis power, the Japanese. Two questions then must be asked in determining whether or not the Iraqi ‘war’ is Hitlerian or Rooseveltian: Did Iraq declare war upon the US, thus eliciting a justified US counter-declaration; and, was a legitimate declaration of war made upon Iraq? In addressing the first question, if evidence demonstrating a declaration of war upon the United States were to exist, it would be a massive surprise to the American people, as it has not received any press coverage. But no one, not even the most ardent champions of war and the people deploying the Rooseveltian analogy, has bothered to offer such evidence, mainly because it does not exist. Iraq did declare war against Kuwait, but all the available evidence indicates that this was because American diplomats green-lighted the endeavor in meetings with Saddam Hussein (the stand echoed on multiple occasions was “We have no opinion on your border dispute with Kuwait”, indicating a veiled carte blanche for Saddam Hussein to invade). This is a non sequitur, however, because Iraq immediately offered a peace settlement after discovering the response of the United States, a fact which immediately demonstrates the Hitlerian analogy (in other words, attacking a nation which retreats at the slightest threat of force). Further, the invasion of Kuwait does not prove the Rooseveltian analogy, in which American intervention occurred only after Pearl Harbor and a declaration of war, as there is a distinction between allied soil being under attack and one’s own soil being invaded. Meanwhile, much like the mustachioed German, the sub-literate American will attack without a Congressional declaration of war, simultaneously spitting on the Constitution and the UN Charter. The Bush administration argues that it does not need a declaration of war, because Congress ipso facto declared war by not doing so after the Gulf War. This is an profoundly expansive interpretation of executive power. It is also a flagrant violation of international law. The Bush administration’s arguments for preemptive warfare justify Osama bin Laden’s arguments for 9/11. The UN Charter asks that all nations refrain from the use of force except in self-defense, but it is clear in the rhetoric of the aggressors that those rules apply only to regimes who do not matter.
Roosevelt’s intervention was prompted by the attacks upon Pearl Harbor, done by a member of the Axis, and Hitler’s troops were attacking Britain, occupying France and striking into Russia. Hitler’s attacks, in comparison, were upon nations that had not attacked Germany or its allies. There has never been any evidence offered that an Iraqi ally attacked US soil, or that Iraqi troops are currently occupying Israel or Kuwait, which makes the conflict preemptive at best and murderous at worst, demonstrating the Hitlerian model. Some commentators attempt to make a dubious link to Osama bin Laden and demonstrate that an ally of Iraq did attack the US, but an intelligent and informed eighth-grader could see the problem with that argumentation. Note that if there is any doubt that Osama is connected to Saddam, the only argument that the conflict is direct retaliation disappears, and the war becomes Hitlerian imperialism under a cloak of moralistic righteousness. Osama and Saddam are ideological opponents; the former is an Islamic fundamentalist, the latter a secular nationalist. Of course, if one adopts the Nazi framework that there are those who support the party line and those who do not and no other groups, then perhaps the two are in the latter category. However, merely being an enemy of the US does not mean that one will ally with those who have opposite intentions. In fact, the CIA report issued to the Congress last October not only declared that there was no tangible connection, but also that an attack would probably increase terrorism, and that Saddam would be committing suicide if he funded any al Qaida cells, as their attacks will eventually plague his nation. William Safire’s article in the New York Times, “Saddam’s Al-Qaida Link” is a rare example of an attempt to link the two, and expresses two rather specious connections. The first is a supposed al Qaida cell operating in Kurdistan. Like the majority of Arabs, these al Qaida members assaulted Kurds who are interested in freedom in Iraq. This level of a connection is ridiculous. The US has given money to the Iraqi Kurds to kill their Turkish cousins, has refused to fund them for any other reason (including insurrection against Saddam), and has sponsored Turkish ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish population. Are Safire’s readers now to assume that the US government is an al Qaida stronghold? Given the links between the US and al Qaida from the past, this would be far more convincing. Further, even if Saddam were financing al Qaida members to kill Kurds, this would illustrate that he is essentially hiring them as mercenaries, not that he agrees with their attacks on the US. The other link he makes is that a Mr. Zarqawi received medical assistance from a Baghdad hospital and then made his way to the Kurdistan al Qaida camp, carrying a poisonous chemical named ricin that is “well known to Iraqi chemists”. More tenuous argumentation cannot be found outside of Nazi archives, which is unsurprising considering Mr. Safire’s assistance in helping Nixon lie and finagle through six years of corruption, although readers are now to assume that Mr. Safire has become a top flight intelligence agent with impeccable credentials and absolute honesty. All the evidence Safire cites, from himself to Mr. Colin Powell to the Kurds (who will given a chance to live if they attack their cousins across the border in Turkey), is completely unbelievable. This is particularly obvious when one considers the numerous falsehoods constructed in Mr. Powell’s speech before the UN. Mr. Powell argued that a group called Ansar al-Islam was the missing link between Saddam and Osama, and that this group was developing chemical weapons. He was lying on both counts. Numerous journalists, including reporters from the BBC, investigated into Ansar al-Islam. It is essentially a group engaged in particularly bloody local politics and has no demonstrated connection to either Saddam or Osama. The supposed “chemical warfare installation” was a number of concrete huts and a kitchen, the journalists upon the scene concluded. The Safire article is typical of the level of integrity and quality of the intellectual classes who attempt to argue the Rooseveltian metaphor. Ironically, the mere attempt to link terrorism done by one group to a country composed virtually entirely of another group is Hitlerian in content. Hitler alleged that there was an international conspiracy of Jewish Communists and bankers. Such irrational guidelines fundamentally direct the notions of the intellectual classes when dealing with US culpability. Thus, mountains of evidence demonstrate that there is no ally of Iraq attacking America or American allies, showing once more that the US is engaging in preemptive imperialist conflict, which will incidentally escalate the cycle of violence.
In the Rooseveltian metaphor, the fascist opponent was an industrial monster of
gigantic proportions that had recuperated from World War I; Hitler, on the other hand, chose targets which had been devastated by the previous conflict in order to consolidate his power base. The main argument offered for the dangers Iraq poses has to deal with alleged weapons of mass destruction (also known as WMDs). This is the perfect target for the commissars, as WMDs can be hidden effectively and inflict great damage. However, the intellectual bankruptcy of the position is at once revealed when one considers that these analysts did not raise their pen in any sort of righteous indignation against Iraq's usage of chemical weapons when they were being used. These crimes were retrospectively discovered when the ideological requirement was to demonize Iraq in order to push the rejectionist Oslo accords. Before moving onto consider the WMD stockpile, it is worthwhile to consider momentarily why there is such a frantic search for proof that Iraq has some sort of weaponry to put him into material breach of UN conventions. The reason is that, as virtually every commentator concedes, the Iraqi military and populace has never recovered from the Gulf War, and thus the only way that a minimally plausible threat can be concocted is to propose that Iraq can do damage despite it’s conventional weakness with unconventional weapons. If it is true that Iraq’s WMD stockpiles are similarly weak or nonexistent, the US action in Iraq would be illegal, vicious and Hitlerian. To answer the question: Does Iraq have WMDs? If it does, the arsenal appears to be strategically insignificant; Scott Ritter, the former UNSCOM chief, said that Iraq “has been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history”. Hans Blix, the lead weapons inspector, noted that if Bush actually was concerned about WMDs in Iraq, he would adopt an entirely different stratagem, perhaps the methodology currently being advocated by France and Germany to strengthen the inspections rather than stopping them, an intuitive response if one’s goals are not imperialist. The US has demonstrated just how fiercely it resents weapons of mass destruction by selling them to dictators across the world, not signing the Biological Weapons Convention enforcement protocol due to intense biotech lobbying, and violating the NPT (itself a flawed treaty, as it allows original nuclear weapons states to keep their weapons virtually indefinitely). It is a characteristic of totalitarian states that crimes of others will be bitterly resented while the flaunting of international law and the atrocities of the state will be glossed over with apologetics. Despite years of inspections, weapons of mass destruction facilities have failed to procure proof of any sort of weapons program that would threaten the US, for if it had, the headlines of the New York Times and the covers of Time and Newsweek would be filled with righteous outrage over America’s former client acquiring weapons America gave him the wherewithal to get, the Colin Powell report notwithstanding. This is damning, considering the tremendous success rate for UN inspections. The best job that has been done was the report presented to the United Nations by Mr. Powell, but even this speech was riddled with flaws that a more skeptical observer could pick up. The “overwhelming evidence” amounted to a few tapped phone calls and some satellite photos. As for US credibility for utilizing photos, one should remember that in the Kosovo conflict, the US consistently manipulated footage to put evidence in the best possible light; for instance, in order to prevent criticism of so-called “smart” weaponry devastating civilians, the US accelerated flight tapes in order to make it seem that the pilot was going too fast to stop and adjust her aim. Mr. Powell’s speech presented very few pictures of plants in ordinary conditions, meaning that one would have to take his word at face value that those were not the regular conditions of the plants. The Iraqi response to Powell’s allegations was to reanalyze the scales and the location of the plants, and to then claim that the plants produced short-range missiles. There was no rebuttal by Mr. Powell. The CIA’s evidence and behavior in general has been atrocious, consistently planting evidence and lying to the American public about everything from Soviet missile dangers to international terrorism. If Soviet Russia had demonstrated “irrefutable evidence” that the US was militarizing in space twenty years and ago and used “human (sic) sources” for most of their strongest claims, none in the hallowed halls of the United Nations would have believed them. Given that most of the evidence in Powell’s speech was indicated to be from American intelligence, the credibility of his claims is flawed. He did make a reference to a “fine” file ostensibly created by British intelligence. However, it was in fact a hamhanded public relations piece constructed by Tony Blair’s top PR agent and a number of lower office men. It used information taken from a misquoted twelve-year-old student paper. Of course, no one denies that Iraq is likely not in violation of numerous conventions and norms of international law, but it has offered to comply fully if the sanctions regime were dismantled, meaning that the best argument that Mr. Powell can make is that currently the Iraqis are not trustworthy, not that they are inevitably so. The history of the US torpedoing international agreements that would have begun to restore Saddam to the fold indicates that there is clear fear that Saddam may not be a bad enough “bad guy”. In addition, the effectiveness of inspections also proves that these facilities must not be very prevalent or powerful, as the inspectors cannot find them in a nation the size of California. Imagine a team of inspectors proportionally sized searching the United States. In this nation filled with weapons of mass destruction, it would take a matter of days to find untold quantities of weapons. Also, the amount of omissions in the speech indicates Mr. Powell’s disdain for elementary rationality and facts. Chemical and biological weapons may be dangerous, but they are only effective if they are optimally used, and even the United States with its comparatively infinite resources cannot use such weapons to achieve maximum casualties. Further, the weapons can be effectively countered with advance warning, and the US and several other nations have prepared counter-CBW teams and equipment. And the usage of CBWs assumes a substantial launch system, replete with the necessary infrastructure, i.e. fuel, trucks to ship materials, silos, and so on and so forth. Mr. Powell’s speech barely touched upon the most important part of using any weapons: the delivery mechanisms. In addition, as noted by Ritter, chemical and biological weapons have a limited shelf-life. Every weapon in the alleged Iraqi stockpiles except for the mustard gas would have gone bad by now, even if they hadn’t been destroyed. But, according to Hussein Kamal, Saddam’s son-in-law (who ended up being murdered by the dictator), all the weapons and molds were destroyed, and there were no missiles left in Iraq. Thus, at worst, Iraq is like a baseball player with no arms: they ruefully await being able to pick up the bat so they can protect themselves from the incoming ball, but it’s not happening. Thus, there is no immediate threat from Iraq (as conceded continually by every commentator), and the Hitlerian model is spectacularly demonstrated once more.
The commissars shield their flanks from their lack of evidence by suggesting that Saddam’s nuclear weapons could be used as a deterrent in future conflict, so one must attack now even if there is no reason to suspect that he has weapons now. They suggest that Iraq could attack conventional targets with impunity using their WMD capacity as a barrier to interventionism. This argument is specious for multiple reasons. First, to be an effective deterrent, one must have enough weapons to make an opponent seriously have to calculate the risk of attacking. Even the SCUDS that were deployed against Israel were not sufficient to deter the Israeli assault, and all commentators concede he has less access to WMDs than before the Gulf War and years of murderous sanctions, and less capacity to build up an infrastructure to make them. Most deterrence analysts believe that the weapon total must be enough to reduce a nation to complete and utter poverty, destroying enough of the military and civil infrastructure to prevent a rebuilding. Further, weapon totals and delivery systems must be sufficiently protected and numerous as to prevent the effectiveness of a first strike. Even the Soviet Union was not operating at that level of capacity for much of the Cold War. However, were it proved that Saddam could seriously get access to sufficient weapons to be able to harm the US, the only scenario in which they would be used would be if Saddam were suicidal, and he is clearly quite rational, as demonstrated by his consistent attempts to appease the international community and avert a war which would topple his regime. (Incidentally, some may say that Saddam’s mistreatment of the Kurds demonstrates his sadism and irrationality, but in fact the Kurds are disorderly elements and potential dangers to his regime, making his actions against them rational, though morally repugnant). Suppose, then, that Saddam got access to enough Anthrax to halve the US population. Then suppose he decided to attack Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The US and Israel would immediately threaten a war and prepare their own WMD stockpiles. Saddam would be forced to enter into a conflict in which he would die. The history of the Twentieth century proves that such an event would never take place: though the world would teeter on the edge, both sides would back down. Unless one assumes Saddam is a raving suicidal maniac, the scenario collapses immediately. Analysts offer the example of the Soviet Union to prove that WMD deterrence prevents intervention, but the real reason the US turned to WMDs at all was to beat the Soviet Union’s conventional force superiority within its domains. Thus, attacks upon the Soviet Union were not considered merely due to conventional troops; NATO was not strong enough to attack the USSR directly. However, clandestine support for groups such as Afghani fighters continued, and in fact repelled the Soviet assault. The Soviet Union’s weapons did not protect them from US-funded resistance fighters, and thus the scenario collapses due to the empirical analysis. Finally, this is not the Cold War. The US has developed advanced weapon systems that would allow it to partially or completely debilitate the entire Iraqi strategic arsenal in one blow. These include nuclear bunker busters and space weapons. The National Missile Defense program was in fact a mere pretense to launch offensive space weaponry, as noted by Karl Grossman (an award-winning author on space militarization) and others military analysts. These include microwave and beam weapons that can leave behind “entire cities of microwave grilled people”, “holographic decoys”, and “destructo-swarmbots” (taken from Pentagon sources quoted by Karl Grossman). These space weapons are capable of destroying a nation such as Iraq’s entire strategic status within seconds, which in fact causes proliferation pressures, as countries feel they must defend their stockpiles by having more than can be destroyed. These paranoiac delusions of future dangers from Iraq are shared only by the commissars and the American people they attempt to delude: even Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek expressed feigned astonishment at the fact that Turkey and most of the Arab states do not view Saddam Hussein as a threat to their regimes.
The commissars also argue that Saddam is guilty until proven innocent, and that he must present tangible proof that he has abandoned his weapons program or risk punishment underneath UN resolutions. But Saddam has claimed repeatedly to not have any more weapons of mass destruction, and the inspectors have found no evidence to argue with this, though they are worried by Iraqi recalcitrance. They didn’t have any reason in 1997 and 1998, either, when they were withdrawn by the Clinton administration in order to drum up support for another attack upon the people of Iraq. This was during the last leg of the disarmament process, in which under 20% of the project had yet to be completed. By removing the inspectors, the US was able to paint Saddam as the uncooperative rogue leader, and allow a future final conflict to install a dictator (or democracy, for that matter) friendly to US interests and to gain access to the profits from Iraqi oil. The extent to which the Gulf War and subsequent policy devastated Iraq is little acknowledged in the mainstream press. Conservative estimates indicate that the sanctions regime placed upon Iraq has killed several hundred thousand people. The mere quantity of deaths brings the Nazis back into mind. These sanctions are supported virtually in exclusion by the United States (and its junior partner and client terror dog, Israel). The sanctions prevent items such as baby clothes, cancer medicine and ambulances from being shipped into Iraqi soil. Even more obscure is the Depleted Uranium debacle. These munitions are made from the waste product of refining weapon-grade uranium. They are sixty percent as radiological and every bit as heavy. Their high density makes them capable of piercing heavy armor, and their tendency to ignite into superheated radiological gas clouds make them optimal armor piercing weapons. The residue left from these weapons has been directly linked to eighty-fold increases in cancer and such spectacles as children being born with their internal organs on the outside of their body. In a few generations, forty percent of the population of Iraq may fall from these weapons. Iraq has never recovered from the murderous post-Gulf War assault. Some may argue that only the general population has suffered and that the military is mostly intact. For one, this is not true – the military has also suffered, particularly due to the fact that the sanctions are quite effective at keeping out dual-purpose items, and also because the sanctions prevented capital from flowing in that could have been used to rebuild the military (for example, money from Iraq’s tremendous oil supplies). For another, even if this were true, it would only fuel the arguments for immediate withdrawal of the sanctions. Saddam has repeatedly declared that if he was not cooperating with international authorities, it was because the sanctions regime, legally expired, was not being eliminated, and that he would begin to play ball when Britain and the US did. Reasoned discussion in the United States has politely ignored this fact, as it would cast a shadow upon the military parade and would make US citizens less willing to blindly follow the trumpets of war. Such elite obedience is a hallmark of totalitarian states.
The insincerity of all this argumentation is proven at once with a cursory examination of the North Korea issue. Unlike Iraq, North Korea actually has the will and the capacity to fight. They have weapons of mass destruction, for one. North Korea was able to justify attaining these weapons by pointing to the United State’s violation of the 1994 agreement set up between the two nations (by failing to send the advanced nuclear reactors which do not produce fissile material), a fact missing from most analysis of the North Korean scenario. North Korea also has batteries pointed at South Korea. America’s South Korean allies tell Mr. Bush, rightly, that North Korea is no problem as long as they are treated with courtesy and do not have to deal with US violation of agreements. Thus, American policy has been one of diplomacy and accommodation. The message is clear: The United States only kicks people when they are down. This is actually a key part of deterrence doctrine – the concept of projecting a position of a brutal and less than rational national strategy, in order to make people afraid of messing with the psychopathic superpower. America is doing a phenomenal job of learning from its thick-mustached idol. Unfortunately, this message indicates to those afraid of US intervention in their countries that the answer is to proliferate. People are not stupid or cowardly – when their interests are being attacked, they will find a way to defend themselves, and one way to do that is through acquiring weapons of mass destruction; another is to support terror networks. The ensuing cycle of violence is of tremendous importance to American citizens and principled cosmopolitans everywhere, but not to US planners. This proliferation incentive is particularly inviting when the US itself has done so much to be a proliferating force, through frequent violation of international treaties and through its sale of military equipment. It is also inviting because the US’ space militarization and other first strike capacities can always be trumped by having more weapons. Arsenals of sticks and stones are beginning to give people the confidence to hurl harsh words. All these results indicate that the US, like Hitler, attacks weak states to build up its power base and to terrify the world, again calling the sincerity of the Rooseveltian metaphor into question.
The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the arguments for war is further proven when considering the comparative strength of the US and Iraq. America’s intervention in World War II was costly, requiring the imposition of a command economy (including rationing and the complete conversion of civilian production to military production), the deaths of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, and the detonation of two nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Gulf War unleashed more raw tonnage than was used in the whole of World War II, leaving the Iraqis no chance to fight back.
This would not be so devastating to the proponents of war if the American military was not adequately prepared to deal with an opponent such as Iraq, a country which could not pose a threat to many of the countries in its region. However, clearly this is not the case, and the American hegemonic machine is capable of mass destruction on an untold scale. An entire nation was reduced from an aggressor status to absolutely nothing in a matter of weeks in the original Gulf War. The US’ tremendous quality of equipment comes from its budget, which is seventeen times the amount of its regional adversaries combined, and accounts for a large percentage of military spending in the world, almost double the percentage of the US's economy in the world. The infamous army of Saddam Hussein failed to defeat post-revolutionary Iran after eight years of armed struggle financed by the US, Arabic states and European countries. Further, the country has lived under a state of continual bombardment and sanctions. The way this demoniacal adversary was displayed simultaneously as "cadaver and world-wide menace" may remind several of the portrayal of the Soviet Union throughout this century, and of the portrayal of opponents in the Hitlerian states. The media has consistently, since the days of Walter Lippmann, portrayed American opponents as deadly figures of Satanic proportions who threaten US economic and social life at the roots, then pretend to be amazed when the American military machine crushes the target. The fact is that Saddam is not a threat, evidenced by the fact that he needed American support even after the Gulf War, when Iraqi Kurds joined with Iraqi dissidents (including a few Generals) and formed a rebel army. This army immediately requested US support. Not only did the US turn down the offer, United States General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwartzkopf authorized the usage of Blackhawk helicopters and other military implements to put down the revolt.
Roosevelt’s intentions in World War II were reasonably principled and well meaning, though we must never forget the increasingly overwhelming evidence that Japan would have surrendered without the detonation of the nuclear weapons and that the firestorms in Dresden and Hamburg actually strengthened German resolve and lengthened the war; meanwhile, Hitler’s early conflicts against nations such as Poland were like shooting fish in a barrel: easy and costless, leading to an expansion of Germany’s borders and the beginning of a new thousand-year Reich. The intentions of US planners in Iraq must then carefully be analyzed. As proven elsewhere, any pretense of non-proliferation efforts must be discarded as the purest hypocrisy. The concept of self-defense runs into the problem that clearly the planners mean the right of self-defense to be exclusive to the US and its allies and to be deployed when the US wants it to be. Thus, that argument inevitably leads to the “Why?” once again. Democracy cannot be the issue, because mere history shows how little the US cares about democracy in Iraq and elsewhere. In fact, the government has been rather forthright about this, talking about the need to preserve “stability” in Iraq, perhaps with a repressive junta, perhaps with an ostensible democracy in the Costa Rican mode (which constitutionally outlaws the Communist Party and is deeply tied to US capital). If one wants further proof, one can look at the horrendous civil liberties records of the US itself, Israel, and other client states all over the globe. Studies have repeatedly shown that states that torture their people or commit consistent humyn rights violations get disproportionate amounts of US aid. Perhaps a look at enduring elements of US foreign policy may answer some of the questions. The necessity to keep an iron grip upon Middle East oil reserves and other resources has been recognized since Eisenhower, who talked about the Middle East region as the ‘greatest material prize in history’. President Nixon conceptualized a system of mostly non-Arab “cops on the block” who would control the Arabs and prevent them from organizing to keep the resources that they own in their hands, as well as “Arab facades” (such as Saudi Arabia) who would be weak but brutal states capable of functioning as effectively a business proxy. In other words, the bulk of American foreign power must be aimed at preventing people from protecting themselves from theft. The history of post-9/11 foreign policy is especially revealing given this history. Afghanistan had one of the largest oil pipelines in the Russian region. Oil experts referred to the pipeline as the only sufficient infrastructure to ship Russian oil, and were concerned about the unwillingness of the Taliban to allow the pipeline to flow. The apologetics for Russian state terror against the Chechen rebels are necessary in order to make sure Russia stays cozy with the US and offers preferential rates for oil trading. Iraq has huge untapped oil reserves, the second largest in the world. In every scenario, the need to dominate oil reserves and coerce those who own them is clear. This alone is insufficient, however. In general, the US conceptualizes a “Grand Area” friendly to the interests of US corporations at the cost of the people of the regions. One way to achieve this is to project an image of “calculated irrationality”, what people know as “bullying” in more principled circles. Once the possible motives are looked at, the Hitlerian analogy is once again confirmed spectacularly: any statement of benevolent concerns on the part of those in power is sheer fraud.
Roosevelt was fighting an enemy that refused to sue for peace or surrender until the absolute end (an enemy that might be found in North Korea); Hitler was fighting enemies who were perfectly willing to appease and acquiesce for as long as possible. History will likely never know if Iraq would have abided by the peace settlement it offered because the settlement was rejected and relegated to the deepest recesses of unmentionable facts. Saddam knew he had performed a serious gaffe when the US began to get angry from the invasion of Kuwait – he had made his employers angry, and thus immediately offered to pull out, likely leaving behind a puppet government in the conquered area, much as the US had done in Panama. Virtually every Arab state and the majority of the American populace supported the peace settlement, but the Hitlerian offender, the United States, rejected it. The peace settlement was then thrown into the Orwellian “memory hole”, never to be seen again… at least not in acceptable discourse in the countries of the offenders. Further, the offender of international law in many respects in this case is the United States. The United Nations Charter specifically restricts the resort to force except for self-defense and only until the Security Council has acted. Perhaps Saddam was in violation when he invaded Kuwait, though he was also in violation of international law during the years America supported him. However, a unilateral US strike would place America into the category of North Korea and Iran, doing what it wants when it wants. The evidence is clear: Iraq is a chastised and pummeled state, with a weaker military than even the much smaller Kuwait, which attempts to comply with international law as much as possible while retaining the barest semblance of sovereignty. The United States is the “rogue superpower” that transmutes appeasing gestures by other countries into proud rhetoric about the efficacy of violence and then embarks on another farcical “moralistic crusade to end inhumanity”.
Another distinction between the Hitlerian analogy and the Rooseveltian analogy is the commitment of US state authorities to international terrorism and the flaunting of international order and law. Just as Hitler was openly disdainful of the League of Nations and peace proposals, “principled” leaders of state action such as Madeleine Albright have noted that the US will act unilaterally if it must, multilaterally if it can. In other words, regardless of international opinion and law, the US will do what it wants, categorically. Further, official US doctrine has been to endorse and engage in “low intensity warfare”, “counterinsurgency”, or other actions that correspond precisely to terrorism. These methodologies involve brutal violence culled from Nazi archives (gained in the little known “Operation Paperclip”, discussed at greater length later) deployed against those in the population who begin to take a progressive or populist stance. Mildly social-democratic or labor-oriented parties have been brutally slaughtered everywhere from Nicaragua to Grenada to Vietnam to Indonesia. Perhaps in the abstract the point is not quite clear. Here are some examples of counter-insurgency principles:
Strafing fishing boats and hotels, bombing petrochemical facilities, poisoning crops and livestock (Cuba)
Allowing paramilitary forces in client states to leave womyn hung on the side of the road, breasts cut, faces slashed (South American nations)
Funding entire armies of mercenaries to let a populist country stew in it’s own juices and undergo internal collapse (Nicaragua)
Giving tacit support for the destruction of an entire political party, as well as hundreds of thousands of assorted miscreants (Indonesia)
Bombing dikes to allow water to rush out and kill crops (Korea)
Pressuring nations not to send assistance (such as water buffalo or bananas) to targets of the counter-insurgent’s wrath (Vietnam, Nicaragua)
Supporting juntas and coups with atrocious humyn rights records in order to terrorize the populace back into “stability” (Chile, Nicaragua, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Greece)
Prompting the invasion of a country and then giving money to religious fundamentalists to humiliate a hated enemy (Afghanistan)
Utilizing chemical and biological defoliants and “anti-personnel” weapons (Vietnam, Cambodia)
Littering countries with mines and bomblets that remove limbs, cause grievous injury, and prevent ambulances and commercial vehicles from driving through areas (Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan)
These actions continue to be undertaken by the US and its clients. In Indonesia, Sudan, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Grenada, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, Panama, Columbia, and elsewhere, the price of US imperialism and terror continues to extract a fresh toll. The United States is one of the only countries in the world to have its head of state officially indicted by the International Court of Justice (Bush, after the invasion of Panama) and to have officially flaunted another Court ruling (regarding Nicaragua). It is also one of the most rejectionistic nations inside the UN Security Council and General Assembly. The US ignores resolutions by the UN that Israel must acknowledge Palestinian self-determination, that all nations must stop terrorist activity (issued at the time of the Nicaraguan atrocities), and that nuclear weapons should not be proliferated. The US violates the Chemical Weapons Convention, international law regarding space militarization, and has refused to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. To compare: Iraq was going to sign onto the CWC before the US attacked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; Iraq has signed the Biological Weapons Convention enforcement protocol; Iraq is not in violation of space militarization treaties. The history has a clarity rare in history: The US, like the Nazis, is officially committed to defying international law and elementary morality in order to preserve its power and prestige.
There are some places where the Rooseveltian analogy may make sense, but these areas are even more indicative than the Hitlerian similarities. Saddam Hussein is indeed a murderous monster. He did use chemical weapons upon his own people, and is a brutal dictator who keeps an iron-fisted control over the population. However, these are exactly the qualities that endeared him to US planners and ensured him ecstatic support and funding to deal with the issue of the Iranian popular revolution and other problems. Hitler was also a murderous monster, engaging in actions of repression and genocide. However, the reason why he was able to exist at all was because of the European state’s extortion and robbery of an exhausted Germany through the Versailles Treaty. Further, German and international business and political forces (as indicated in such films as Cabaret) wholeheartedly supported Hitler as a force to fight the Communists. This support continued after the war in the form of Operation Paperclip, which transferred Nazi specialists in terror all over the globe, the least of which was the control of German scientists for usage in post-war rocket projects. Nazi groups were funded and supported in order to crush partisan resistance fighters in former Nazi territories, and such figures as the Butcher of Lyon were taken to South America to teach fledgling dictators and their minions how to suppress populist resistance. In that sense, the death squads supported wholeheartedly by the US in South America are the ideological descendants of those responsible for Nazi death camps. However, in both scenarios, the darling of international power overstepped his boundaries and began doing things that displeased those in power.
Another revealing similarity is the result of the wars upon peace and stability in the area. Numerous historians, Howard Zinn among them, have noted that Hitler’s initial policy towards Jews was one of deportation and removal. Had World War II been delayed, more Jews would have been removed, and would not have been killed. It was only the pressures of the war that began to make Hitler consider the “Final Solution”. Further, the US failed to do a number of things that may have prevented atrocities, including bombing the tracks to Auschwitz and making concessions to get Jews deported from Hungary. The same thing happened during Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo. Contrary to popular belief, the ethnic cleansing and other effects of “Operation Horseshoe” only came after the bombing began, as evidenced by the chief NATO officer denying that the bombing had anything to do with ethnic cleansing. Those who advocate the resort to force against Saddam’s regime must take similar considerations into account. The CIA noted that an attack against Iraq would spark anger in the Middle East and would likely cause a new wave of terrorism to drive the imperial aggressors out. The chaos caused by the destabilization of Saddam’s regime would make the area a ripe fruit for terrorist recruiters, as well as allow terrorists access to weapons previously controlled by the Iraqi government. Further, bombing weapons of mass destruction facilities often leads to their detonation or aeration, causing further innocent casualties and potential damage to US land troops. In general, chaos and violence in Iraq is worse than even slow proliferation, even if that slow proliferation were happening.
Much like Roosevelt’s defiance of his country’s stated calls for non-involvement, the United States and other warmongering countries are ignoring the requests of their people. The calls to war against the Axis powers were unpopular in America for quite some time. The US had had too many of its men die in World War I, though admittedly not as many as Europe had to suffer. US citizens felt that they should leave well enough alone, and that involvement with international affairs was anti-American and dangerous. After all, hadn’t US involvement in World War I caused this Hitler guy to be able to be popular in the first place? It took unremitting propaganda and attacks upon America to spur the populace to action, and the uncritical acceptance of wartime strategies lead to hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost for no reason or even to extend the war. The war against Saddam is similarly unpopular. Over eighty percent of European respondents to polls issued by Time believe that the US is the greatest threat to world peace. Eighty percent of Italians oppose the war even if WMDs are found, as well as seventy-five percent of Spain, sixty-six percent of Czechoslovakia, seventy-five percent of Poland, fifty-three percent of Portugal, forty percent of Britain (ninety percent of British oppose it if is only done by Britain and the US), and ninety percent of Turkey. The leaders of these countries who decide to do the democratic thing and refrain from involvement in the war are attacked by the commissars for daring to follow the will of the people who elected them. Even in the United States, which is unique in that the populace actually fears Saddam, another Time poll indicated that forty two percent of Americans opposed sending ground troops to Iraq to remove Hussein without the approval of the UN, and nineteen percent opposed such an action regardless. Also, fifty seven percent of Americans believe that the UN should make the final decision, and thirty seven percent believe that the President or Congress should (the poll did not specify who approved of which actor). In other words, the majority of Americans consistently oppose the President’s plan to attack regardless of international opinion. Unremarkably, the intellectual classes did not describe this juxtaposition with words that do it justice, and the article did make the comment that “… the country is… being asked to wage a kind of war it has never fought before, one launched against a country that has yet to attack the U.S.” The fact that that claim could be rebutted by an informed 6th grader or any American who remembers anything about the 60s indicates the subservience of Time and the corporate class to government tyranny and violence.
Intellectual classes have, throughout history, made truly stupendous contributions to injustice and death. The US has come a long way from the days when millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians could be terminated without a second thought. The surprising development of intellectual and moral integrity in the 60’s generation did astounding things to intellectual culture worldwide, forcing the state to go underground in it’s dealings. While it may not seem like much of an accomplishment, activism has already proved costly to the interests of those who prey upon injustice. But the control and domination of the elite classes has gone a long way. When a murderous, imperialist war can be defended as “self defense against an aggressor of Hitlerian proportions”, much is left to be done.