Bush's Colonial War
February 28, 2003
By Jack Rabbit
the past year, Mr. Bush and those in his inner circle have
put together several reasons for going to war against Iraq.
However, each reason that they have given either has been
called into question by credible sources or outright refuted.
It would seem that if there were a good case for war, it would
have been made now. Furthermore, it would seem that if there
were a good case for war, Mr. Bush's people would be in foreign
capitals making that case instead of resorting to threats
and bribes in order to secure a favorable vote in the Security
The reasons given for the war have been that Saddam Hussein
is a threat to America; that he is a threat to his neighbors
in the Middle East; that he aids al-Qaida; that he is in material
breach of UN resolutions; that he possesses weapons of mass
destruction; that he is a brutal dictator.
The first reason is simply preposterous. Whatever weapons
Saddam possesses or merely have been suggested he possesses,
none are able to reach the shores of the United States. For
the second charge, Saddam's neighbors have shown very little
enthusiasm for this war. Were he a bona fide threat, they
would be showing much more. That he aids or is even associated
in any way with al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden is absurd. Osama
regards Saddam as a socialist infidel who should be overthrown
and killed. Meanwhile, Islamic fundamentalists in Saddam's
Iraq come in for some of Saddam's harshest repressive measures.
These two are not allies. The charges that he is in material
breach of UN resolutions and that he possess weapons of mass
destruction are for the most part the same charge, since the
resolutions of which he accused of breaching are those that
directed his disarm after the 1991 war as well as a more recent
resolution under which inspectors have returned to Iraq. The
inspectors have found nothing of significance and while the
chief insppectors, Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei, have expressed
a belief that Iraq's cooperation could be better, they have
not indicated that they have been prevented from executing
That Saddam is a brutal dictator is true. However, this is
not in and of itself reason to go to war. If it were, we would
go to war against many other brutal dictators, some of whom
are our allies.
To the refutation of their reasons for going to war, Mr.
Bush and his associates have responded with bluster and propaganda.
They continue to repeat what has been refuted. We are given
an audio tape in which Osama bin Laden expresses his support
for the Iraqi people and told by administration spokesmen
that this proves a connection between Saddam and al-Qaida.
It does nothing of the kind. We are also told that the burden
of proof is not on those who charge Saddam with possessing
weapons of mass destruction, but on Saddam to prove that he
is not in possession of banned weapons. In short, the demand
is being placed on Saddam to prove a negative, something that
is logically impossible.
Mr. Bush may think less of this tactic if one were to demand
that he prove that he stopped drinking many years ago as he
claims. However Mr. Bush and his allies wish to spin it, the
burden of proof is on them to prove their case against Saddam.
They have not.
Indeed, the time has come to stop giving Mr. Bush and other
members of his administration the benefit of the doubt. By
continually recycling charges that have been shown to be absurd,
they show only that they are determined to say anything in
order to get their war and don't care if its justified or
not. They are liars.
If the war is not about terrorism or weapons of mass destruction
or enforcing UN resolutions, what is it about? It clearly
is not about anything that Mr. Bush wishes to openly discuss.
Many have suggested that this is a resource war. Indeed, that
Iraq has vast oil reserves can no more be disputed than can
the characterization of Saddam as a brutal dictator. Americans
use oil and petroleum products at an alarming rate and have
for some time imported more their own use than can be produced
domestically. Mr. Cheney's energy plan is notable for it dismissal
of conservation and renewable energy and reliance on fossil
The case that Mr. Bush and his associates want war because
they covet Iraq's natural resources has merit. Further weight
is given to this argument by observing that multinational
oil corporations contributed heavily to Mr. Bush's unsuccessful
presidential campaign and his successful coup d'etat in 2000
and that many members of the administration, such as National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, were recruited from these
same concerns. These concerns will profit handsomely from
the colonial arrangements Mr. Bush has floated for Iraq after
Saddam's ouster. It should also be noted that in order to
get the oil out of the ground, Iraq's infrastructure will
need to be rebuilt. This will no doubt present lucrative opportunities
for concerns like Halliburton. We should note that the past
head of Halliburton is Mr. Cheney.
Therefore, while there is no reason to believe that the stated
reasons for going to war have any validity, there is something
to believing that this is a war for control of another nation's
natural wealth. It is colonialism, pure and simple. It should
be opposed for that, if no other reason.
Finally, we are told that Mr. Bush desires this war to bring
democracy to Iraq. This is certainly a laudable goal, but
the question of his credibility rises again. Why should we
take Mr. Bush at his word?
Democracy is a state where citizenship is universal, where
all citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in and
influence public affairs and where a set of civil liberties
are guaranteed to assure that there will be full and open
discourse concerning civic matters. Can Mr. Bush and his people
be relied upon to perform this worthy task? We should think
They are responsible for undermining American democracy and
cannot be expected to make any sincere effort to bring democracy
to Iraq. Mr. Bush lost the election in 2000 and seized power
in the confusion that followed. His underlings, including
his brother, made the vote close in Florida by illegally scrubbing
registered voters from the rolls, targeting demographic groups
known to vote for Democratic candidates. Since seizing power,
he has used it to propose a tax reform package that turned
over a sizable federal budget surplus to his cronies. He has
turned a blind eye while his cronies manipulated dysfunctional
markets in order to fleece consumers and even while they robbed
their own employees. Mr. Bush and those in his inner circle,
particularly Mr. Ashcroft, have used the September 11 attacks
as a pretext to restrict civil liberties through the proposal
and passage of such egregious legislation as the USA PATRIOT
and Homeland Security Acts.
This is not democracy. This is tyranny. If Mr. Bush will
misrule his own country in this manner, what does he have
in store for the Iraqi people?
Perhaps we could take a guess. Let us take a clue from pundits
and intellectuals like Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman,
who confuse democracy with global free market capitalism.
Under this model, the liberators of Iraq would remove from
the Iraqi people control of their resources in order to obtain
IMF approval for loans from the World Bank. This has been
a neo-colonial scheme advanced in other countries. From the
perspective of those it is purported to benefit, the workers
and peasants of developing nations, this model has been a
universal failure. Of course, from the point of view of industrialists
and bankers in the developed world, it has worked very well.
Following this prescription for Iraq, we should expect to
soon see the new, liberated Iraq saddled with debt and its
markets flooded with goods from developed nations. We can
also expect to see wages remain low and public services such
as water and power privatized. Where any semblance of true
democracy exists, such as in several emerging Latin American
nations, voters explicitly repudiate this model by choosing
leftist leaders like Chavez and Lula. Of course, the Iraqis
will not have a Chavez or a Lula. They will have an American
military dictator. Some democracy, that.
This war is not about UN resolutions or weapons of mass destruction.
It is colonial piracy. This war will not make Americans safer
from any external threat. It will do little to protect people
in the Middle East from any threat. It will not bring democracy
to Iraq. It will not benefit the Iraqi people. The only people
who will benefit will be Mr. Bush's cronies.
This war is unworthy of the support of the American people.
We must call on our elected representatives to oppose it.
We are a democratic people. Let us not soil ourselves further
with this bloody tyranny carried out in our name.