The fact that America’s opening fusillade of 400 cruise missiles has not yet rained down on Baghdad is testament to the rise of a new global populism unlike anything seen before.
In all corners of the globe, people are taking to the streets to demand that the United States and Great Britain hold their fire and justify their adventurism.
Yet the war hasn’t officially begun. It hasn’t even been christened with a vivid moniker. How about Operation Veiled Hegemony?
Most Americans have yet to grasp the depth or significance of the unprecedented anti-war movement. That’s because the U.S. media — particularly broadcasters — have flown in tight formation with President George W. Bush and his flock of chickenhawks.
Recalcitrant France, Germany and Russia are digging in their heels. They undoubtedly have their own economic designs on Iraq, but their willingness to defy the Earth’s last superpower, and preserve the relevance of the United Nations, is puckish indeed.
Dubya’s apologists rant about the “irrelevant Old Europe,” conveniently forgetting that no tradition predates the senseless slaughter of innocents.
America’s long and shameful record of deception, exploitation and expedience is coming home to roost.
Meanwhile, credible alternate sources of information — available in this country primarily via free weeklies, on the Internet and in occasional op-ed pieces in the mainstream press — are undermining Dubya’s braying tautologies and exposing his flimsy pretext to war.
Exculpatory evidence is not easy to find. It’s certainly not on Fox News. It’s not subliminally displayed in the martial themes or war logos or the “news crawls” employed by any network or cable news channel. But the information is there, for those who care enough to seek it out.
Could the digital age render war obsolete? More than at any time in history, the whole world is watching. And reacting.
To the chagrin of the warmongers, there is a global debate under way. It’s very quaint, very — dare I say? — democratic.
Leave it to Dubya to transform a thug like Saddam into a sympathetic character. Dubya’s ham-handed performance is more than an embarrassment to this country; it’s an embarrassment to his family. Bush the Elder, despite innumerable foibles, knew how to put on a war. Even Syria fought alongside us in Operation Desert Storm. Dubya can’t even recruit Belgium.
I won’t suggest that international scorn has rendered Dubya impotent. It stands to reason that his manifest exasperation and desperation only make him more dangerous.
But the warmongers are beginning to scramble and implement damage-control procedures.
Our Supreme Leader has in the past week taken to muttering more about democratizing Iraq and bringing some Yankee stability to the Middle East. Democratization has always been a vaguely stated goal, but up to now it has played second fiddle to frenetic drumbeats for elimination of weapons of mass destruction and the extermination of Saddam Hussein, the alleged abettor of al Qaeda.
Why the shift of emphasis? Because even Dubya’s myopic chickenhawks recognize they are losing their battle to convince a skeptical world that war is the only option.
As a result, they are finally coming closer to addressing their genuine motives.
Anyone truly interested in understanding what the hell has gotten into Dubya and his junta must peruse the canon of Project for the New American Century (www.newamericancentury.org).
There, in black and white, you will find Dubya’s blueprint for the imposition of Pax Americana — i.e., American Peace. And you will recognize that he is valiantly but clumsily attempting to follow the script crafted by an elite cabal of far-right-wing intellectuals.
Formerly exiled mandarins from the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations comprise PNAC. They cooled their heels in think tanks during the torturous Clinton reign, re-emerging only for Dubya’s coronation.
PNAC is chaired by the terminally cerebral William Kristol, who was Dan Quayle’s chief of staff and is now editor of the right-wing journal The Weekly Standard. Other team members include Vice President Dick Cheney; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Elliott Abrams, the convicted Iran Contra figure whom Dubya appointed to the National Security Council staff; and Paul Wolfowitz, now Rumsfeld’s deputy who is arguably the administration’s überhawk.
The organization has an ambitious goal — world domination, the establishment of a global American empire.
It turns out that the Sept. 11 terror attacks and Saddam’s doomsday weapons fit quite conveniently with PNAC’s much broader agenda. (The fear factor has also dovetailed with John Ashcroft’s ongoing assault on our constitutional rights.)
Wolfowitz set the stage more than a decade ago when, as undersecretary to then-Defense Secretary Cheney, he drafted a defense policy that was intended to guide Bush the Elder through a second term in the White House. With the Soviet Union in a shambles, Wolfowitz advocated pre-emption and the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The report was so bloodcurdling that once it was circulated for peer review, the soon-to-be-defeated president quickly disavowed it.
Yet analysts across the political spectrum agree that Wolfowitz’s harangue echoes resoundingly in Dubya’s current strategy, which has been marginally tidied up for public consumption. The language is more, well, imperial.
A 2000 PNAC report noted, “At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals. The challenge for the coming century is to preserve and enhance this ‘American peace.’”
Chillingly, prior to Sept. 11, PNAC postulated that we could not muster the fortitude to conquer the globe without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor.” (And you wonder why conspiracy theories flourish?)
The same document held that “while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides immediate justification” for U.S. military intervention, “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
In other words, the concerns are strategic and economic, not defensive. And let us not forget that Iraq floats on the world’s second-deepest reserve of oil. Only Saudi Arabia has more.
Ever wonder why you’ve heard so little about an “exit strategy” from a war in Iraq? It’s because there isn’t one. We’d stay. PNAC and Dubya see Iraq as a future base of military operations from which the United States could impose our special brand of capitalism on less civilized states. Iran, Syria, even the Saudis would cower before us. The buttressing of Israel clearly is another key objective.
PNAC envisions “constabulary duties” for U.S. forces around the globe, employing methodologies that “demand American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations.”
Yale University history and classics professor Donald Kagan helped write the PNAC opus “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” in 2000.
In a candid interview with an Atlanta newspaper last fall, Kagan could not suppress the urge to mimic Dubya’s Texas cowboy swagger:
“You saw the movie High Noon?” he asks. “We’re Gary Cooper.”
“People worry a lot about how the Arab street is going to react,” he adds. “Well, I see that the Arab street has gotten very, very quiet since we started blowing things up.”
It’s little wonder that more than half of the respondents in a World Economic Forum poll covering 45 countries say the United States is not led according to “the will of the people.” Or that only 27 percent trust the leaders of the United States. Even executives of multinational corporations ranked higher, and the leaders of the United Nations came in at 42 percent.
If you weren’t looking for it, your chances of stumbling into the fantasies of the Project for the New American Century were slim. A search of major newspapers on the database Nexis turned up only 126 stories — and a quarter of them were written in the foreign press. Neither of Detroit’s dailies was represented.
Consider yourself informed.Jeremy Voas is editor of Metro Times. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org