By Sean Anderson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 3, 2004
By now I hope I am making a banal statement when I say the current war in Iraq isn't about weapons of mass destruction, fighting terrorists or liberating Iraqis from the grip of a horrible dictator.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz confirmed this much when he told delegates at an Asian security summit that the WMD issue was a "bureaucratic excuse."
When asked about the Bush administration's relative leniency towards North Korea as compared to the paper tiger that was Hussein's Iraq, he gave a rather blunt response: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
That is "looking at it simply."
The implications of this war are far broader than narrow economic interests. It is a geopolitical maneuver whose ultimate aim is the expansion and consolidation of the American empire.
In terms of economic warfare, oil is equivalent to the hydrogen bomb.
If America has its hands on the levers of Iraqi oil fields, it can ruin the economies of Germany, France, China and Japan on a whim.
This policy was first outlined as far back as 1992 in a strategy paper titled "Defense Planning Guidance."
This paper, written in part by Paul Wolfowitz, argued, "no rival superpower (should be) allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union."
The methods prescribed for this policy include preemptively attacking nations that seek WMD's and solidifying America's control of Persian Gulf crude.
This paper caused an uproar when it was leaked to the New York Times shortly after being circulated among state planners; Americans were looking forward to the so-called "peace dividends" that were supposed to come after the Cold War. But what this strategy called for was a never-ending sequence of "preventative wars."
The term "preventative" is preferable to "preemptive" because "preemptive" implies that there exists a clear and present danger.
The "Defense Planning Guidance" paper, on the other hand, maintains that countries that can potentially pose a threat to American "interests" (a term often used but rarely defined or explained) are subject to bombardment or regime change.
This policy is not only paranoid but also delusional; it operates as though the future has already happened. Nation-states won't be judged by what they do, but what we say they will do.
But neo-conservatives at think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for a New American Century wouldn't let the wishes of the American people get in their way.
They continued to push their line of imperial expansion throughout the Clinton administration, which assented to some of the principles mentioned above. PNAC reiterated these principles in a paper titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses."
It was written only a year before the events of Sept. 11, yet it fails to name Islamic Fascism or terrorism in general as part of the United States' threat matrix. Instead, it only identifies nations that have the potential to become regional powers, such as India and China, and countries that might hinder U.S. control of the resources under their soil (Iran and Iraq).
The co-signers of this paper, a list that reads like a who's who of the Bush administration, were well aware how unpopular such a policy would be. It's difficult to ask soldiers to make the ultimate sacrifice while their civilian leaders line their pockets with oil and reconstruction revenues.
The author of "Rebuilding America's Defenses" acknowledged this when he wrote: "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 Harbor."
Their Pearl Harbor came. When the National Security Strategy was published, it imported many of the concepts and initiatives mentioned above - initiatives that were clearly developed for purposes other than fighting terrorism. In other words, the Bush administration cynically used the deaths of thousands to push a rapacious and venal agenda.
Sean Anderson is a history senior. He can be reached at email@example.com.