'U.S. Imperial Ambitions & Iraq' (Monthly Review)

John M Cox coxj at email.unc.edu
Sun Feb 2 13:20:37 MST 2003

'U.S. Imperial Ambitions and Iraq' Monthly Review, Dec. 2002

Officially Washingtons current policy toward Iraq is to bring about a
regime changeeither through a military coup, or by means of a U.S.
invasion, justified as a preemptive attack against a rogue state bent on
developing and deploying weapons of mass destruction.* But a U.S.
invasion, should it take place, would not confine its objectives to mere
regime change in Baghdad. The larger goal would be nothing less than the
global projection of U.S. power through assertion of American dominance
over the entire Middle East. What the world is now facing therefore is the
prospect of a major new development in the history of imperialism....

Viewed from the standpoint of the historical evolution of imperialism, it
is clear that the real motive behind Washingtons current drive to start a
war with Iraq is not any genuine military threat from that country, but
rather the goal of demonstrating that the U.S. is now prepared to use its
power at will. As Jay Bookman, deputy editorial page editor of the
Atlanta-Journal Constitution observed in that paper (The Presidents Real
Goal in Iraq, September 29, 2002):

   The official story on Iraq has never made sense....It [the threatened
invasion of Iraq] is not about weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism,
or Saddam, or UN resolutions. This war, should it come, is intended to
mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global
empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman.
It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making,
carried out by those who believe that the United States must seize the
opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the American
imperialists that our enemies always claimed we were....Rome did not stoop
to containment; it conquered. And so should we....

Far from consistently opposing the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, the United States, which has a greater vested interest in
such weapons than any other country, has frequently blocked international
attempts to limit them. For example in December 2001, two months after the
September 11 attacks, President Bush shocked the international community
by killing the proposed enforcement and verification mechanism for the
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention on the spurious grounds that if
biological weapons inspections were to be carried out in the United States
they could threaten the technological secrets and profits of U.S. biotech

Washingtons objectives in Iraq in the years following the Gulf War were
inconsistent with the UN inspection and disarmament process, which was
aimed at ridding that country of weapons of mass destruction. According to
Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq in 19911998, this was
evident through U.S. unilateral subversion of the inspection process.* By
1998, 9095 percent of the proscribed weapons capacity estimated to be in
Iraq was accounted for and had been destroyed as a result of the UN
inspection process. The sticking point in the inspections related to the
extensive set of structures devoted to Saddam Husseins personal security
and the security of the Baath Party. A procedure, known as Modalities for
Sensitive Site Inspection, was therefore agreed upon through which four UN
inspectors could enter immediately into and search those facilities. Yet,
in the case of the inspection of a Baath Party headquarters in Baghdad in
December 1998, the United States, rather than simply allowing the UN to
send in its four inspectors, acted on its own, by insisting on sending in
additional intelligence officers. The goal was to penetrate Husseins
security apparatus, unrelated to the inspection of weapons of mass
destructionand to provoke an international incident. The whole operation,
according to Ritter, was directed by the U.S. National Security Council,
which gave orders directly to Richard Butler, who was then the head of the
UN inspection team.

Iraq protested against this gross infringement of the Modalities for
Sensitive Site Inspection and the United States used this as the pretext,
in Ritters account, for a fabricated crisis, ordering the UN inspectors
out and two days later initiating a seventy-two-hour bombing campaign,
known as Operation Desert Fox, directed at Saddam Husseins personal
security apparatus. Intelligence on Baath Party hideouts obtained through
U.S. violations of the UN weapons inspection process was used to guide the
bombings. After that Iraq refused to readmit inspectors to sensitive
sites, objecting that these inspections were being used to spy on the
Iraqi government, and the UN inspection process fell apart.

In this way, Washington effectively torpedoed the final stage of the UN
inspection process and made it clear that its real goal was regime change
rather than disarmament. It had used the inspection process as a Trojan
horse in its attempts to destroy the Iraqi regime....

full article: http://www.monthlyreview.org/1202editor.htm

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