U.S. Involvement in Iraq - the Foreign Policy Future?
by Brian Risman, Publisher, www thelawjournal co uk - 19 April 2003
Once again, the topic of most interest to our readers, based on the input we have received, is the issue of Iraq and U.S. Foreign Policy. We tackled this issue exactly 8 months ago (19 August 2002) in an article discussing the possibility of War in Iraq. Many of the issues raised in that article are relevant today -- and indeed many new issues have come to light.
The war took place more or less unilaterally. Of course, we only wished our soldiers (and the U.S. and Australian soldiers) success and a safe return to their families.
However, what were the real reasons for this conflict? The reasons are many, and disturbing.
First, this war was really about a new U.S. foreign policy, drafted by arch-conservatives in the United States back in the days of President Bush (the father). This policy sought to impose U.S. power and interests (or as the authors put it, 'values') on the world, given their new pre-eminence with the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. While President Bush (the father) and President Clinton rejected this policy, it was quickly accepted by the current President Bush -- and no surprise, given one of the authors is his current Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld. Saddam Hussein was specifically mentioned as the first example of this new U.S. policy.
There are some very interesting, and scary parts of this foreign policy statement. First, the U.S. does not need friends -- only obedience or the sword. So much for allies and friends. Second, the writers realised that this plan could only be accepted if "the nation experienced another Pearl Harbour." That Pearl Harbour did in fact take place on 11 September 2001. Very scary -- a policy which anticipated (and wanted?) an attack that would kill their own Americans.
While there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant, and the world is better off without him, the point made in my previous article noted above comes to the forefront -- what happens now?
We know that U.S. oil and industrial interests (for example, Cheney's Halliburton and now Bechtel, headed by former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz) are cashing in on Iraq. Plus, the theft of priceless artifacts of early humanity from the Iraqi museums, which were plundered not by mobs, but trained professionals. Note that U.S. collectors are free to take these treasures, given the U.S. is not a signatory to the UNESCO treaties on ancient treasures. Plundering ancient treasures is therefore legal in the United States. It makes you wonder who arranged the thefts.
However, the above items pale compared to the real reasons for the Iraq war -- namely the new foreign policy of the United States. Allies and friends don't count; international organisations and alliances don't count. Enemies -- and worse, potential enemies -- can be destroyed pre-emptively. I am not an enemy of the United States -- I admire many things about America -- but if I -- and others -- want to be treated as friends and allies rather than as compliant subjects -- does that make me a 'potential enemy'?
Then, there is another aspect to the foreign policy -- the fundamentalist Christian beliefs of the President and his team of policy makers. To many in the U.S. administration, the War on Iraq is simply the start of the Biblical 'End of Times' which is an obsession of those fundamentalists.
However, the well-laid(?) plans of the Bush Administration may backfire -- for other fundamentalists may take advantage of the situation. The vacuum of power in Iraq is being filled by Moslem fundamentalist clerics sponsored by Iran -- and the people are showing support for them rather than Mr. Chalaby, the U.S. sponsored leader guilty of Bank fraud and collapse in Jordan. The talk of democracy in Iraq is not even being heard by much of the population. All they care about is order and getting their lives back, and the clerics are working to meet their needs. Watch out.
That is the problem with any war -- you can't plan and control it -- particularly the aftermath. In their attempt to impose U.S. power on the world, the U.S. may have created a bigger problem than Saddam Hussein ever was -- namely a Moslem fundamentalist state in Iraq.
Your letters and comments are welcome -- here is one already received from "All American":
If you all were true Americans you would slack up on your dependence on oil and convert your gas guzzling SUVs to propane, "America's fuel resource"!! For those who are against England being there you need to read your history books. Iraq was once an English colony just like America that was released in the 1930's. If I were English I would think of Iraq as my 18 year old child, young and inexperienced. That is why I think England has the right -- or do they ? Yes, the world would not miss Saddam, but they just might miss a loved one. If I was there, yes I would die for the freedom of all people, but I'm not. Instead I'm asking American's to walk, ride your bike, Maybe even go as far as converting your SUV's to America's fuel, natural gas, or you can wait on those scientists and engineers to develop a new kind of fuel for motors and hopefully you can afford the new and improved SUV.
Something else that really bothers me are these anti-drug campaigns that say if you buy pot you're supplying terrorists with money. I believe if you buy oil or gas you are supplying them with even more money. People, think about it.
Here is a view from a different perspective from Patricia Williams, IIlinois, United States:
Note in Reply from Brian Risman:
Your thoughts on the above article and letters?