Downfall of Tyrants
By Jack Rabbit
Hussein was one of the major criminals of his time. He can
be charged with waging one war of aggression against Iran
and another against Kuwait and genocide against the Kurds
of his own country. He was guilty of mass murder, religious
persecution and of organizing and operating a brutal police
state. He personally profited from the diversion of oil revenues
that were supposed to be used to alleviate the suffering of
the Iraqi people following the 1991 war and the imposition
Should he ever face justice, either in an Iraqi court or
a duly constituted international tribunal, the trial could
conceivably take years. The evidence that could be presented
against him is voluminous. Plato defined a tyrant as one who
is ruled by his passions rather than reason and will break
every sacred bound in order to satisfy his appetites. That
is a good description of Saddam.
Saddam has fallen. However, as a result the world is not
a safer, better place, as one should expect. It is a more
dangerous one. Indeed, even American citizens are less safe
now than before as a result of the action of their own government.
How could this have come about?
The truth is that the monster Saddam was not vanquished
by a hero, but simply devoured by a more powerful monster.
There is a right and wrong way to go about any task, including
the ousting of a brutal dictator, and the overthrow of Saddam
was brought about in the worst way possible. The operation
was motivated by no real desire for justice, but by greed
and a lust for power.
The ouster of Saddam should have been a clear call for universal
rejoicing; instead, the cheers must be tempered. The Iraqi
people are not free. They have had the yoke of one tyrant
lifted from their shoulders, only to be replaced with the
yoke of another. If the new rulers of Iraq are morally superior
to the old ones, it is only because must of us hold theft
to be less of a crime than murder. Nevertheless, both murderers
and thieves should be locked up somewhere remote, where they
can do honest men and women no harm.
The fall of Saddam was brought about as the result of an
invasion of Iraq that was planned years ago, long before the
September 11 attacks. Almost before the fire was out at one
end of the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld and his aides were meeting
on the other planning on how the horrible events of that day
could be used as a pretext to push Saddam aside.
These men were concerned with driving Saddam from power not
to benefit the Iraqi people or even as part of America's security
interests, but to seize control of Iraq's natural resources
and place them in the hands of American transnational corporations.
For years, many of these same people had been writing of the
need to restructure American foreign policy to meet the demands
of American hegemony.
In September 2000, months before Bush took power and a year
before the September 11 attacks, the Project for a New American
Century, the organization to which these men are a part, published
a paper promoting
their plans for implementing new defense technologies
and operational concepts to suit the organization's vision.
The paper cautions (p. 63):
The transformation, even if it brings revolutionary
change, the process of transformation, even if it brings
revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent
some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl
On September 11, 2001, Rumsfeld and his friends knew that
Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network had just handed them
a new Pearl Harbor on a solid gold platter.
Facts were not to be an obstacle. If the truth were inconvenient,
these men would make up their version of the truth. To this
end, the Office of Strategic Planning was formed to cull intelligence
reports for information that would support their case for
war and disregard information that contradicted it. In this
way did the Bush Administration build its case for war based
on Saddam's possession of biological, chemical and nuclear
warheads and his connections with international terrorism,
including al Qaeda.
For the following months, administration official such as
Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Powell, Dr. Rice, Mr. Wolfowitz,
Mr. Perle and even Mr. Bush would parade before network television
cameras, Congress and the United Nations to state the case
for invading Iraq. Mr. Powell told us how much of what biochemical
agents Saddam had. Mr. Rumsfeld told us exactly
where the weapons were.
The only problem is that the case was built entirely on lies,
except for the statement that Saddam is a brutal tyrant. That
may not justify war by itself, but at least they have found
mass graves, even if they haven't found anything resembling
a banned weapon.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bush had declared that the United States
would take preemptive
action against any country deemed to be a threat to the
United States. Under international law, the term "preemptive
strike" means that an immanent threat exists to a state and
the threatened state strikes first. However, an examination
of Mr. Bush's words show that he was talking of something
else. Bush was clearly speaking of a threat that had not yet
materialized, but may become a real threat at some time in
the indefinite future. This is not a preemptive strike but
a preventative strike, which is a violation of international
What Mr. Bush was declaring was that the United States had
the right to make war at any time against any state for any
reason or no reason at all. Of course, that would satisfy
a justification to invade Iraq. In fact, it pretty well covers
Through the autumn and winter of 2002 and 2003, the Bush
Administration went through a charade of attempting to justify
the invasion to the world. People who were paying attention
weren't fooled. Many Americans who turned off their television
sets and set aside the New York Times and Washington
Post weren't fooled, either. Those of us who got news
and information from less conventional sources knew that intelligence
was being cooked, that weapons experts were questioning
whether Saddam possessed warheads that would constitute at
threat, that the Iraqi general in charge of Iraq's chemical
program had ordered Iraq's chemical weapons destroyed
and that reports of a meeting in Prague between an Iraqi intelligence
officer and September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta were debunked.
We marched against the war not as dreamy idealists but as
informed citizens. We protested not war in general, or a war
to oust a tyrant - but a preventative war based on lies. We
were right. They were lying.
Of course, Saddam may have been a paper tiger, but he was
a brutal tyrant. Wasn't that worth the effort? The war considered
in moral terms may have a tinge of ambiguity about it, but
not when considered in pragmatic terms. In pragmatic terms,
the invasion and occupation of Iraq is an unmitigated failure.
It is true that if we had not invaded:
- Saddam would remain in power;
- He would remain a brutal tyrant;
- He would remain a paper tiger;
- He would remain a contained threat;
- He would remain a deterrent to Islamism in Iraq, albeit
a brutal one.
Instead, the invasion occured and:
- Saddam is behind bars;
- We have an occupation regime that no more has the welfare
of the Iraqi people in mind than did Saddam;
- We have war profiteering by Bush's cronies;
- We have a terrorist presence in Iraq that was not there
- We have half of the army's combat divsions tied up on
occupation duty instead of pursuing international terrorists.
While it would be wrong to say that Bush is more brutal
that Saddam - his tyranny inclines him more to theft rather
than murder - neither would it be correct to say that Bush
is a paper tiger. Saddam had been forced to part with his
biochemical weapons. He may have entertained dreams of reconstructing
them, but that is of little matter. Bush possesses the world's
largest and most sophisticated weapons arsenal and one of
the best-trained military forces on earth. He is apparently
in the process of using this to impose hegemony on the world
and reward his corporate cronies, and will seemingly trample
over any alliance and any longstanding treaty to that end.
However, the problem now is how to go forward.
We should make no mistake that this war is a colonial war.
For all the high-sounding talk of nation-building and democracy,
the Bush Administration wants nation-building only if it is
profitable to those who have foot the bill for Mr. Bush's
political career. We bomb Iraq and Halliburton rebuilds the
pipelines to pump oil for the profits of Exxon and Chevron.
Iraqi women fear
for their personal safety, afraid of being kidnapped and
raped in broad daylight and the colonial adminstration disbands
the police. What are they waiting for? Perhaps for a US
firm to come in and keep law and order? The Iraqi people
could solve many of their own problems better without American
interference. The problem is, that would get in the way of
war profiteering. We certainly can't have that.
The Bushies should spare us the talk of invading Iraq to
make the lives of Iraqis better. It was fought to line the
pockets of Mr. Bush's cronies. If Iraqi lives got better as
a result, so much the better; but if not - well, that's the
way the cookie crumbles. Iraqi lives will not get better until
this set of priorities change. As of now, we have only succeeded
in replacing a gang of murderers with a gang of thieves. That's
only a marginal improvement.
Consequently, the Iraqis are resisting the occupation. Those
who believe Saddam's capture will alleviate Iraqi resistance
will be disappointed. The Iraqi people want none of the past
that was Saddam, but neither do they want the future which
Bush would impose on them. They can run their country in their
own interests better than Bush and his friends can and they
know it. If Saddam's overthrow is to have any positive meaning,
then we need to get out of the way and let them run it. Freedom
and self-determination is their natural right. A new, international
team is needed to transistion Iraq to self-rule.
All contracts awarded by the Bush Administration should
be cancelled, all sales of Iraqi assets nullified and all
debt incurred by the colonial regime declared odious. There
is no reason for the Iraqi people to have to pay bills run
up by thieves. Iraqi resources shall belong to the Iraqi people.
The Iraqi Governing Council should be dissolved. Bush, his
aides and their cronies should have as little to say about
Iraq reconstruction as possible. If they don't like it, we'll
remind them they're lucky not to be in front of an international
The new international reconstruction administration will
be responsible for Iraq's international security during the
transitional phase from US colony to sovereign state. An international
peace force will be responsible for Iraq's defense during
this period. The international administration will select
an interim government from all parties in Iraq, including
insurgents. This new interim government will have the power
to open bidding for contracts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure
and to arrange for Iraq's internal security as Iraq's army
is rebuilt in order to guard Iraq's borders from any foreign
aggression. A constitutional convention will be called. Upon
the adoption of the constitution, free elections will be held.
As the new government takes control, the international force
responsible for Iraq's defense will depart. All of this will
be done on a published timetable. The schedule will be subject
to change as conditions warrant.
If Bush steps aside and lets those with the interests of
the Iraqi people take charge, this sorry affair might be salvaged
in the end. Then and only then will the fall of Saddam become
a truly meaningful event.
However, that will probably not happen. And so for the Iraqi
people to take control of their own destiny, the American
people must also take control of theirs - it will be necessary
remove from power the PNAC ideologues who are most concerned
about American hegemomy. For the world to really become a
better place and for real democracy to have a chance to flourish,
Bush must be defeated in 204. That would make the fall of