Iraq being used by the US-Leader of the Irish Labour Party
johnfergaloneill at eircom.net
Mon Mar 31 17:12:44 MST 2003
Iraq being used by the US to flex its political muscles
A group of US policy-makers has been developing two dangerous ideas for
several years, writes Pat Rabbitte
We can see the suffering and fear on television nightly. The war in Iraq has
already caused untold human damage and will do a lot more before it's over.
But before the final toll of physical casualties can be counted, we can
already see others.
The multilateral global system has been severely damaged. The United Nations
has been seriously (in the eyes of some fatally) undermined. Europe is
bitterly divided. Economic development throughout the world has been
And it has all happened in the name of two new concepts in international
relations, concepts that most of us had never heard of until a couple of
I certainly would never have predicted that democratic countries, including
one with a social democratic leadership, would go to war to secure "regime
change". And I would never have predicted that the entire world would be
caught up in a "pre-emptive war".
Where did these concepts come from? Have these new directions in global
policy just sprung from the perceived threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of
No. In fact, a small group of US policy-makers have been developing these
dangerous ideas for several years. The brutal dictator Saddam Hussein is a
good target and September 11th was the tragic catalyst they needed to put
their policy into action.
These men are intent on world domination or, as they put it themselves,
"American global leadership". They have an imperial agenda, which they have
been pursuing for more than five years.
If these were cranks or conspiracy theorists, it would be possible to
dismiss them, perhaps. But they include seven or eight people who occupy
extremely senior positions at the heart of US government, and their
philosophy dominates American policy.
They include Vice-president Dick Cheney, Secretary for Defence Donald
Rumsfeld, and a host of senior appointees and advisers - names like Paul
Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Paula Dobriansky, and others.
Their agenda first surfaced in 1992 with the document known as the Defence
Planning Guidance, co-authored by Mr Wolfowitz, then an under-secretary in
the Department of Defence. The agenda goes under various names such as the
Wolfowitz Doctrine and the Project for the New American Century.
On one hand, this doctrine talks somewhat innocuously of "America's unique
role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our
security, our prosperity and our principles". On the other, however, the
advocates talk of making the case and rallying "support for American global
leadership", increasing defence spending significantly and challenging
"regimes hostile to our interests and values".
One of their publications, Rebuilding America's Defences, says that
strategy, forces and resources for a new century are two of the main
objectives they advocate in respect of defence/foreign policy - to "fight
and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars" and to
"perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions".
There is nothing here about commitment to multilateralism, to the UN, to
principles of international law, to "the institutions and habits of global
governance", and so on.
In 1998, they came together to sign a letter to the then president Bill
They urged him then to "turn your Administration's attention to implementing
a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power". They further stated:
"We believe the US has the authority under existing \ UN resolutions to take
the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital
interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be
crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."
Then, they were out of power. Now they hold the reins of government and are
fully implementing their agenda.
The organisation they founded, Project for the New American Century,
published a book after the atrocity of September 11th. In the introduction,
the authors had this to say: "The decision about what course to take in
dealing with Iraq is particularly significant because it is so clearly about
more than Iraq. It is about more even than the future of the Middle East and
the war on terror.
"It is about what sort of role the United States intends to play in the
world in the 21st century. And it is about what sort of world Americans
intend to inhabit - a world of civilised norms that is congenial to America,
or a world where dictators feel no constraints about developing weapons of
mass destruction at home and no compunction about committing aggression and
supporting terrorism abroad. Hence, the reasons for choosing war against
Saddam, and the lessons we draw from this war, will be as momentous as the
Could it be clearer that, in the eyes of these senior people, Iraq is a
convenient vehicle for stamping American authority on the world?
This is being done in the name of democracy and, most shamefully of all,
with the "facilitation" of our acquiescent Government.
In the eyes of international law, this is an illegitimate war. But that does
not concern these policy-makers.
One of them, Richard Perle, wrote recently: "The most dangerous of these
states are those that also possess weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is one
but there are others.
"Whatever hope there is that they can be persuaded to withdraw support or
sanctuary from terrorists rests on the certainty and effectiveness with
which they are confronted.
"The chronic failure of the Security Council to enforce its own resolutions
is unmistakable: it is simply not up to the task.
"We are left with coalitions of the willing. Far from disparaging them as a
threat to a new world order, we should recognise that they are, by default,
the best hope for that order and the true alternative to the anarchy of the
abject failure of the UN." If "coalitions of the willing" picking and
choosing their targets according only to "civilised norms congenial to
America", are to represent the new world order, perhaps we should be
afraid - very afraid.
Rabbitte is leader of the Labour Party
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