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Mr. Bush's Colonial War
February 28, 2003
By Jack Rabbit

In 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 Council.

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 their mission.

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 fuels.

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 not.

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.

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