The War After Iraq - Is it better for a prince to be loved or feared?

Charles Jannuzi b_rieux at
Thu Dec 26 19:49:01 MST 2002

The debate over the war, such as it was, was
conducted by the chickenhawks and the one hawk
now ruling (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) vs. the owls
(basically superannuated former hawks and
chickenhawks). Powell is a yes man who was always
a yes man--when he helped cover up the Mai Lai
massacre, war atrocities in the Persian Gulf War,

The Stratfor piece reads like stuff for or from
the liberal faction of the owls (the major role
of the liberals in the debate was to take
potshots at the 'appeasement left', especially
the ones who might have 'impure thoughts' and
didn't line up to say stupid empty things about
the sacred dead of 9-11).

Still, I have to wonder, does someone actually
pay for this Stratfor stuff, or does someone pay
them and then pay to have their stuff plastered
in op-ed propaganda billboards in the domestic

Anyway, a few things that really struck me:

> But
even more
>>important, a victory and U.S. occupation of a
conquered Iraq
>>would reshape the political dynamic in the
Middle East. The
>>United States would be in a position to
manipulate the region on
>>an unprecedented scale.

>From the Brookings people to the AEI, they are

>>Washington is prepared to wait a reasonable
length of time to
>>procure that support -- particularly since its
own military
>>strategy dictates that operations should not
begin until January.

That's not 'strategy', that's 'tactics'. They
would rather wait for better weather to operate
all those airplanes in S. and E. Europe and S.
and Central Asia. Strategy is that US forces are
prepared to fight a major conflict in three
different places at anytime (which actually means
drop bombs and fly thousands of airplanes in the
ME and, doctrine shifts away!, SE Europe, and

>>Nevertheless, regardless of the stance the U.N.

and U.S. allies
>>have adopted, there is little doubt that the
United States will
>>press forward and, in all likelihood, will
defeat and occupy

I've been saying that since I knew the choice of
presidential candidates was going to be
chickenhawk Bush-Cheney vs. hawk Gore and
pro-Israel Leiberman.

>>There are some negative reasons for this. It is

no longer
>>politically possible for the Bush
administration to abandon its
>>quest. By this, we do not mean "politically" in

a domestic sense,
>>although that is a consideration.

I think this underestimates how much face Bush
and Cheney would lose, both with the chickenhawk
and military or former military Joe Sixpacks.

Of far
greater importance are
>>the political consequences the United States
would incur in the
>>Islamic world if it did not carry out its
threats against Iraq.

Hussein gets little or no support from the
moderates or the fundamentalists in Islam. He
doesn't have very good socialist or Ba'athist or
pan-Arab credentials either. His appeal to the
Arab world and Turkey is pretty much the same as
his appeal was to the US and the UK. Since
neither the Kurds nor the Shiite factions want to
run a unified Iraq, Hussein's groups continue a
strong, authoritarian minority rule in the center
of the country.

>>Al Qaeda persistently has argued that the
United States is
>>fundamentally weak. From Beirut in the 1980s to

Desert Storm,
>>Somalia and now the Afghan war, the United
States, the argument
>>goes, has failed to act decisively and
conclusively. Unwilling to
>>take casualties, Washington either has
withdrawn under pressure
>>or has refused to take decisive but costly
steps to impose its
>>will. Al Qaeda has argued repeatedly that the
United States
>>should not be feared because, at root, it lacks

the will to

It's not so much what Al Qaeda says but rather
what the national security (now including
homeland defense) bureaucracy and political
economy of the US doesn't do. 400 billion dollars
a year (or who is really counting?) couldn't
prevent 9-11, and a small country like Serbia
made a joke of much of the US high tech wizardry
in weapons (it doesn't take much high tech to jam
US GPS or laser guidance, and apparently stealth
technology is very vulnerable to antiaircraft
fire--if said stealth airplanes can even mount
enough missions to get hit, since maintenance
problems preent them from flying).

A decisive victory in Iraq would help the
national security state to get the 'total failure
without accountability' of 9-11 behind it

>>Should the United States -- having made Iraq
the centerpiece of
>>its war-making policy since last spring --
decline engagement
>>this time, it would be another confirmation
that, ultimately, the
>>United States lacks the stomach for war and
that increasing the
>>pressure on Washington is a low-risk enterprise

with high
>>potential returns.

The misinformation here is when a war on Iraq
took priority. It goes back to the maneuvering
that went on at top levels late during the second
Clinton administration. A war on Iraq was
military priority number one for Bush-Cheney.
Clinton really thought he might take out Hussein
with heavy bombing (guess he believed the
propaganda on how good the new bombs are). The
Leiberman branch of the New Dems felt Clinton was
an appeaser on (1) Palestine, (2) N. Korean, and
(3) whether or not to commit to another ground
war of some sort against Hussein (and of course
so did the chickenhawk Republicans).

>>War is the issue; voluntary regime change is
not. It is not only
>>important that Hussein's government fall, it is

equally important
>>that the United States be seen as the
instrument of its
>>destruction and the U.S. military the means of
his defeat.

Of course, especially since the military and
intelligence failed so badly up to 9-11.

>>The reasons go beyond transforming the
psychology of the Islamic
>>world. The United States has direct military
reasons for needing
>>to defeat Iraq in war. From Washington's
viewpoint, any outcome
>>must allow the United States to occupy Iraq
with its own military
>>forces. This is not because it needs to govern
Iraq directly,
>>although demonstrating control over a defiant
Islamic country
>>would support its interests. Nor is oil the
primary issue,
>>although this would give the United States some

>>bargaining power with allies. The primary
reason is geography.

Nonsense, truly. The US would not want a long
military occupation of Iraq unless it could get
other Arab states to pay for it. And this time it
won't be able to do that. Geography and oil
converge. As the world runs out of easily
exploitable petroleum, we are down to four
countries, and they are all ME: S.A., Kuwait,
Iraq and Iran.

>>If we look at a map, Iraq is the most strategic

country between
>>the Levant and the Persian Gulf. It shares
borders with Jordan,
>>Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and, most of all,
Saudi Arabia. If
>>the United States were to occupy Iraq, it would

be there by right
>>of conquest. Unlike any other country in the
region, the United
>>States would not have to negotiate with an
occupied Iraq. It
>>would have ample room for deploying air power
in the heart of the

They already have air power all over the
region--the E. and S. Med., Central Asia, S.
Asia, Indian Ocean, and Gulf States.

>More important, it would be able to
deploy a substantial
>>ground force capable of bringing pressure to
bear within a 360-
>>degree radius. Within a matter of months, the
United States would
>>become the most powerful military force native
to the region.

And who is going to pay for this?

>>With several U.S. armored divisions on the
nation's borders,
>>however, the Saudi calculus must change.

There is no way in hell the US would commit to a
long-term deployment of armored divisions in
Iraq. As this next war gets set to go off, the US
hardly has any armor there now.

Iraq deployed
>>forces against Saudi Arabia, Riyadh relied upon

the United States
>>to protect its interests.

This never happened. Iraq occupied and then
evacuated Kuwait, while Iraqi forces in Kuwait
and mostly in Iraq were bombed to death by the US
and the UK.

>>If the United States occupies Iraq, the Iranian

reality will be
>>fundamentally changed. This does not mean that
Iran will become
>>pro-American -- quite the contrary, it might
retreat into
>>rigidity. But it will not stay the same.

And people pay for this analysis?

>>Following a war in Iraq, the United States
would become the
>>defining power in the Middle East and Persian
Gulf. It is
>>difficult to imagine any coalition of regional
nation-states that
>>could emerge either to oust or control the
United States. Even in
>>the event that a tide of anti-Americanism
ripped the region
>>apart, the objective strategic equation would
not permit a
>>coalition of regional forces to mount a
substantial challenge to
>>the United States. To the contrary, Washington
would be in a
>>position to manipulate the region on an
unprecedented scale.

Only if it could somehow put together major
financial backing of such a venture, and that
looks unlikely now. The problem is that the US

>>also would be able to mount operations against
al Qaeda
>>throughout the region much more effectively
than it can today
>>and, we should add, without requesting

This wrongly imposes the view that Al Qaeda seeks
set piece battles with the US. It clearly does
not. It now hopes to pull off another terrorist
outrage to show just how ineffective the empire
is to counter it.

>>The U.S. view, therefore, apparently is that a
post-war world in
>>which U.S. forces operating out of Iraq
establish a regional
>>sphere of influence -- based on direct military

power -- is the
>>foundation for waging a regional war that will
defeat al Qaeda.
>>The United States does not expect to obliterate

either al Qaeda
>>or related groups, but it does expect to be
able to further
>>contain the network's operations by undermining

the foundations
>>of its support and basing in the region.

Seems to beg the question that Iraq had anything
to do with Al Qaeda's ability to operate. It was
the US and Arab Gulf States system of cooperation
and extension of power to S. Asia that Al Qaeda
exploited. And it also is quite likely that the
security and intelligence let downs that allowed
9-11 to occur are related to the US and its Arab
allies getting ready to attack Iraq in 2001-2,
plans which got delayed because of 9-11.

>> The fact is that no
>>Washington's intent, the conquest of Iraq will
have this outcome.
>>History frequently is made by people with a
clear vision, but
>>sometimes it is the result of unintended
consequences. In the
>>end, history takes you to the same place.
However, in our view,
>>the Bush administration is quite clear in its
own mind about how
>>the region will look after a U.S.-Iraq war. We
suspect that the
>>risks are calculated as well.

The US is supposed to have a weakness because it
has no belly for heavy casualties if the
casualties are American soldiers, but the other
belief that is important here is the one that the
national security state's people believe: that
there will be no Arab or Islamic rebellion in the
streets because most of them do not want to die
anymore than Christians or Jews do.

>>1. The United States might get bogged down in a

war in Iraq if
>>enemy forces prove more capable than expected
and -- facing high
>>casualties in Baghdad -- Washington might be
forced to accept an
>>armistice that would leave it in a far worse
>>psychologically and geopolitically than before.

The US isn't going to pour its own troops into
Baghdad. It will drop bombs til rapture, and lay
siege to Baghdad (I suppose the carnage will be
on a scale somewhere between the LA riots and the
Serb siege of Srebenicza).

>>4. Prior to an attack, U.S. public opinion
might shift massively
>>against a war, making it impossible for the
United States to act.
>>Once again, the superpower would appear to be
all talk, no

What is going to bring this about? The only thing
I can think of is the bad economy. But if you are
the Joe Sixpack type who supports the
chickenhawks, then you probably think their war
plans are a good way to manage the US economy as

The biggest thing to scupper the Bush caudillo's
plans would be a major Japanese, European and
Arab oil money pull out from US securities. The
Japanese can't very well do this because it would
make the yen still higher yet against the dollar,
and the overly high yen of the past 15 years (an
intentional US policy) has brought the Japanese
economy to its knees. So a withdrawal from the
US-dominated system of finance and geopolitical
economy would be suicide for them.

C. Jannuzi

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