By Mike Whitney
“People do not forget. They do not forget the death of their fellows, they do not forget torture and mutilation, they do not forget injustice, they do not forget oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty powers. They not only don’t forget; they also strike back.” –Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate
The central tenet of American foreign policy hasn’t changed since the early 1980s when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger summarized our involvement in the Iraq-Iraq War saying, “I hope they kill each other.” Kissinger’s dictum reveals the basic racial and religious odium which animates the current policy and has become the organizing principle for maintaining the global empire.
Now that the Muslim world has been systematically ravaged from the southern-most part of Gaza to the northern tip of Afghanistan, we can see that the application of the Kissinger Doctrine is an effective method for decimating societies where coveted resources are located.
By all accounts, it’s been a huge success.
The policy seems to be working best in Iraq, where provocative counterinsurgency operations have incited a massive sectarian war. The conflict produces an ever-increasing number of civilian casualties many of whom have been killed by other Iraqis. No doubt Kissinger is gratified that his theory is working out so splendidly.
The western media portrays the disaster in Iraq as the natural upshot of years of repression under the former dictator, Saddam Hussein. But, Saddam had nothing to do with the violence which is ripping Baghdad apart. That’s just a way of pacifying the American public so they can go on their Christmas buying-spree without pangs of remorse. In fact, Saddam is no different than America’s other tyrant friends in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. He simply stood in the way of Big Oil’s dream of direct control of Iraq’s resources and created a likely rival for “good friend” Israel.
The violence in Iraq is entirely America’s doing; just follow the bloody footprints straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There’s no need to look any farther.
The Bush team has ignited a firestorm in Iraq which has swept through the capital and countryside; pitting Arab against Arab, and Muslim against Muslim. That was the objective from the very beginning. Now that the violence is spinning out of control and could cross borders into neighboring countries, the grown-up members of the policy-establishment, like James Baker, are getting jittery and want to see a change of direction. Baker isn’t bothered by the death and destruction as long as it is carried out with discretion and doesn’t disrupt other imperial projects in Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia. But Iraq has swallowed American foreign policy whole; leaving Bush little time (or resources) to deal with other urgent matters in the rest of the world.
The military is overextended and bogged down, the situation on the ground is chaotic, and American prestige has taken a beating. The advocates of “creative destruction” have released the genie from the bottle and energized the anarchic forces of regional rebellion. Now, the outcome is anyone’s guess. What is certain, though, is that Bush’s plan for an endless source of cheap gas and security for Israel has taken a ruinous turn for the worse.
Israel has a different perspective on the turmoil in Iraq. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has embraced the neoconservative ideal of “positive instability” and clings to the notion that toppling foreign regimes and disrupting Arab countries improves his chances for regional dominance. In fact, just last week Olmert opined that the war in Iraq has actually been “better for the safety and security of Israel.” Olmert still believes that Israel’s imperial aspirations are fortified by attacking and fragmenting other countries in the Arab world. No doubt, his response comes as no surprise to anyone in the region.
It’s easy to see how the assassination of Lebanese parliamentarian Pierre Gemayel fits perfectly with Olmert’s worldview. If violence breaks out between the various Lebanese groups, then the Christians will serve as a “proxy army” for Israeli interests. What could be better for Olmert? That means he wouldn’t have to restart the 34-Day War and risk the lives of Israeli troops. He could just sit back and watch as his Lebanese neighbors tear themselves apart in a second civil war and hopefully weaken archrival Hezbollah in the process.
No wonder Olmert’s popularity is soaring at 18 percent.
The "Gaza Solution"
American hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Israel’s war in Lebanon are part of a broader plan for remaking the Middle East to meet the needs of American oil corporations, banking giants and Israel. The war on terror provides the thinnest of cover for military operations which are clearly colonial in nature. The Pentagon makes no effort to conceal their overall objectives. In fact, Defense Department’s maps are available to the public which outline the area of the Middle East and Central Asia as CentCom; the central battlefield in the global resource war. What more proof does one need that the entire region is in the gunsights of the Washington warlords?
The most regrettable part of the current conflict is the way in which Muslims have been subject to subtle, but deliberate vilification. This may have more to do with geography than race, but the result is the same. Muslims never appeared on the radar of public opinion before 9-11, now they are regular targets of right-wing, xenophobic tirades and carefully crafted government fear-mongering.
Bush and Blair have assured us that “this is not a war against Muslims,” but neither has done anything to silence the racist abuse which spews daily from radio talk shows or from the op-ed pages of major newspapers. Tom Friedman frequently uses his column to remind us of the problems which are particular to Islam and which can be easily overcome by simply complying with the diktats of Washington and Tel Aviv. Friedman’s annoying paternalism and prejudice is widely shared in the corporate media where unreflective buffoons are all too eager to blame the victims of occupation, exploitation and corporate vandalism.
If Muslims believe that the war on terror is actually a war against Islam; it’s because all the facts point to that conclusion. Sober leaders in the foreign policy establishment should carefully consider the implications of this strategy before continuing down this path. Waging a culture war against one and a half billion Muslims who occupy the lands where we get our vital resources does not augur well for our long-range interests. America’s economic viability is held together by a webbing of pipelines, tankers, oil platforms and oil facilities. All of these are vulnerable to the attacks of terrorists, guerillas, dissidents or disgruntled enemies of the empire.
Are we prepared to fight them all?
A “war of civilizations”; is the misguided progeny of neoconservative fanatics. Their plan is now writ large across the entire region so everyone can see that the US-Israeli war is actually directed at Muslims alone.
This is a huge mistake for which we all will pay dearly.
The war on terror is the greatest public relations swindle of all time. Just look at a map. We’re not fighting terror; we’re repositioning military assets to control crucial pipeline routes and oil fields. The administration’s objectives are as plain as day to anyone who knows the least bit about landlocked supplies of oil and natural gas in Central Asia and 60 percent of the world’s oil in the Middle East. If American industry controls these reserves they can control China’s growth, maintain US military superiority, and force the world to use the debt-plagued greenback into the next century.
Unfortunately, America’s ongoing aggression requires a scapegoat; an unwitting victim that they can demonize and portray as a imminent threat to U.S. national security.
Now we have Muslim-only gulags scattered across the planet where every imaginable method of torture is employed with complete impunity.
We topple their regimes, shame their women, defile their holy book, train their repressive security forces, incite violence between their religious sects, bomb their cities and mosques, and jail anyone who appears the least bit suspicious.
If we are not “at war with Muslims,” then why is the concertina wire still stretched around Ramadi, Tal Afar, and Falluja? Why are the Madrasas still being bombed in Northern Pakistan? Why is Abu Ghraib still overflowing with prisoners? Why are Muslim scholars still refused entry into the United States and Muslim civilians kept off airplanes? Why does right-wing radio still flood the airwaves with their racist bile and anti-Islam vitriol?
And why does the United States still stubbornly refuse to condemn Israel’s criminal attacks on the Palestinians, like this month’s bombing of Beit Hanoun where an entire family was butchered in their sleep?
Bush’s plan for Muslims has been clear since he assembled his flagship gulag at Guantanamo Bay and presented it as the main icon of the New World Order. If Bush wants to prove his sincerity, then he should release Gitmo’s inmates and order the facility bulldozed into rubble. It is an abomination that should offend anyone with a trace of decency.
We know Bush’s plan for Muslims, because it is identical to that of his ideological twin, Olmert. They both believe that the final solution to the “Muslim problem” lies in the Gaza Model.
The Gaza Strip is the world’s largest prison camp, containing 1.5 million Palestinians. They are limited in their movements and have no reliable access to food, medical aid, clean water, electricity or employment. They do not control their borders, air space, roads or coastline. And, even though their elected officials have none of the powers that are normally associated with national sovereignty, they have been under constant siege by Israeli forces that aggressively destroy any nationalist movement which operates beyond Tel Aviv’s control.
Israel claims the absolute right to kill, detain, abduct or torture anyone it sees fit without providing any means for a legal defense. They show the same disdain for Palestinian human rights as they do for the 60 separate resolutions passed by the United Nations. Israel does as it pleases.
Nothing about the Gaza “open-air” detention facility is accidental. It’s a model that has been meticulously developed over 39 years to create a permanent state of imprisonment for the “undesirables” who have legal title to the land. If we look across the Middle East into Central Asia, we can see that the same fundamental principles for subjugation are being applied to Muslims throughout the region.
The Gaza Model is the logical corollary of Bush’s war on terror. It provides a means for dealing with the people in resource-rich lands who stand in the way of America’s corporate-political expansion. At its core, it is a strategy for “pacification” through segregation, containment and brutality. These are the grim requirements for America’s continued dominance into the next century.
The war on terror is fueled by belligerence, deception and unrelenting aggression against innocent people in their own countries. It is terrorism pure and simple.
Bush will deny this, but it is true just the same.
-Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.