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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

On a lighter background note « Previous | |Next »
April 1, 2003

Here is a bit of humor about financing the war on Iraq from The Arab News that is published in Saudi Arabia. It makes a welcome difference from the exclusive reliance on embedded Anglo-American sources of AM on Radio National. AM has an air of unreality about its commentary, as it shies away from looking at the war from the Arab side.

A cartoon from the same newspaper that captures the history of economic sanctions over the last decade. A minute by minute account of the war is provided by Sean Paul Kelly at the Agonist

This is a review of three books on the war and its consequences from the New York Review of Books. Here are some interesting quotes. The first one says that in the US:

"...the military is the only generously funded institution in American public life. Over recent decades just about every other form of discretionary public spending has been allowed to lag—for education and health care, for environmental and social programs, for parks, schools, libraries, museums, and symphony halls. Only the military seems able to squeeze from Congress funds for the newest, the most sophisticated, the most expensive, and the best of everything, in generous quantity and pretty much on demand."

And the second quote is about the The US conception of nation building Iraq. Controlling Iraq will require a major military presence and support structure —that is, a base, and what is being put into place is:

" arrangement which makes it clear that postwar Iraq will be under American military occupation until the President decides the time is ripe to return the country to Iraqi control. This is not a minor point; every Arab government has now been put on notice that the Americans are coming to stay....Feith promised only that the United States would stay "as long as required" and leave "as soon as possible." But Feith's colleague Marc Grossman, repeatedly pressed by the senators to fill in the blanks, at last conceded that the many tasks facing ORHA were going to take time— two years or more before control of the country could be surrendered entirely to a new Iraqi government."

This puts a question mark on Australia's claims that it is deeply engaged with the American and British governments in plans for postwar, post-conflict reconstruction; and that it will make a significant contribution to the reconstruction effort, including helping identify the best possible interim structures to ensure the quickest and most sustainable transfer of authority to the people of Iraq themselves. As Tony Blair found out on the weekend, the US are going to run Iraq themselves and they do not want the UN around.

The review article says that the government of Saudi Arabia intends to ask American forces to leave the kingdom. A defeated Iraq can be expected to provide a permanent base that would make it clear to other governments in the neighborhood—Iran's in particular—that American demands for an end to WMD programs or support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, are goign to backed by military muscle next door and that America is in for the long haul.

Does this mean that an American war to achieve its goals in Iraq will be only the first in a series of wars in the Middle East?The book review doesn't say. What it says is that:

"Iran remains a serious concern because of its across-the-board pursuit of WMD and Missile capabilities," because Iran is developing ballistic missiles which might reach the US mainland by 2015, and because of "Iran's support for terrorism"—all charges of the kind made against Iraq as justification for war."

It is likely that the Bush administration is planning to remove by force the legal government of Iran in order to end state support of terrorist organizations, and to transform the political landscape of the Middle East by introducing democracy of a kind friendly to the West.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:12 AM | | Comments (1)


"...the military is the only generously funded institution in American public life."

Amazing quote, eh?