Friday, August 10, 2018

Martin Armstrong — Why Did the USA Invade Iraq?

Short backgrounder on the recent film, "Shock and Awe."

How the neocons hijacked US policy with lies.

Armstrong Economics
Why Did the USA Invade Iraq?
Martin Armstrong


John said...

The propaganda continues: "They argued that war was necessary to create a democracy in the Middle East that they claimed would be the beginning of a new era in American foreign policy. Their neocon ideas of trying to create a democracy in Iraq was simply insane and it completely failed."

Really? The US wanted to create a democratic Iraq? Apparently the US wanted a vehemently hostile democratic government? There is nothing that a democratic Iraq has in common with the empire, as we can see today. Iraq is aligned with Iran. Iraq is sympathetic to the Palestinians and Lebanese. Iraq despises Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states. Iraq sees Israel as the real menace in the Middle East. Iraq wants to control its own resources. How can any of this be considered in US interests? That is precisely why the US did NOT want a democratic Iraq.

As for "Why Did the USA Invade Iraq"? It's pretty simple - if you're willing to believe what the declassified papers on US Middle East strategy written by the Pentagon and State Department planning policy departments say on the matter. It's not only believable, it's easy to remember: whoever controls energy resources controls the world. More accurately, it is "a lever of world power".

The planning departments then go on to describe how, along with the energy resources controlled by Washington, the dollar, as the reserve currency, and the institutional arrangements of Bretton Woods, these also contribute to American hegemony as "levers of world power". Lastly, there is the indescribable might of the US military. Taken all together, this is an unheralded and mind-boggling amount of power for any one country to hold, and which the empire, the planning departments admit, should never be diminished and must be fought for to the bitter end. History has chose Washington to be the master, and it must live up to the task history has dealt it. To do so, the empire bamboozles the citizen-schmucks with gibberish about freedom, communism, terrorism and any other silliness that will make the case for permanent war and permanent empire.

For those who don't believe it, you have to ask why the Pentagon and State Department repeat this "conspiracy theory" time and time again in their top secret planning documents? And why do these documents always make much more sense for Washington's decision making than all the hot air at the time about freedom? What, we need to arm the Salafi jihadis in order to be safe from Salafi jihadism? Ah, got it! We need to take down secular countries and flood them with Salafi jihadis in order to promote secularism and strangle Salafi jihadism? Yes, that makes so much sense! I'll go back and watch the monster trucks, drink a gallon of coke and vote for the bastards who'll ship my job elsewhere and deny me free education and healthcare in the name of freedom.

Matt Franko said...

Seemed like a good idea at the time...

Tom Hickey said...

The General who Understood Iraq from the Start

Matt Franko said...

Video of Trump from 1980:

Mentions Iran very bigly....

John said...

Matt: "Seemed like a good idea at the time..."

No, that's not correct. At the time there was no talk of "democracy". It was solely about non-existent WMD that were known to be non-existent.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the same Pentagon and State Department, and even White House, planning documents show that the one thing Washington does not want is "democracy" because the energy resources of the Middle East would be used for the benefit of those countries. Again, why would the highest level policy planners officials in government go to all the trouble of planning such "conspiracies" if they meant the exact opposite. The simplest explanation is that Washington, like all great powers before it, is all about world hegemony and will do anything to ensure that.

Trump's weaponised dollar policy will put the dollar to the sword. Trump's negotiation and renegotiation tactics will put an end to the global economic "Washington consensus", leading to a multipolar world. Trump's Middle East strategies (Jerusalem, kicking Turkey while its down etc) will ensure Turkey leaves Nato, an unimaginable disaster for Washington's Middle East policies. For anti-imperialist everywhere, Trump is the president to have! He'll do more damage to the empire than all previous presidents, including Dubya, put together. All empires rot from the inside out. Washington's empire is no different: everywhere you look there are signs that the pillars and foundations of power are starting to buckle. It was a pretty good run: eighty years of unprecedented global hegemony is pretty good going. The ride to the top was fun, but the ride down is going to be hellish, especially in Trump's tiny hands.

Matt: "Mentions Iran very bigly...."

But he doesn't mention WHY some Iranian revolutionaries (not the new government of Iran) took US hostages. And neither do you, Matt. Funny that. The Iranian revolutionaries who took the hostages were happy to release them if Washington would send the Shah back to Ian for trial The US had given "asylum" to a despot, murderer and sadistic torturer. The revolutionaries who had overrun the US embassy were ready to return the hostages if and only if Washington returned the Shah. Unsurprisingly Washington chose its most favoured dictator, murderer and torturer over American citizens.

Tom Hickey said...

While that is true, John, the US planners proceeded on the assumption that Iraqis (and Libyans and Syrians, etc) would embrace freedom and democracy like the Germans and Japanese after WWII and become staunch US allies, nullifying Gen. Shinseki's view that an occupation force twice the size of the invading force at least would be needed to pacify Iraq.

However, the overall neon can for remaking the Middle East in the image of the US (and Israel) was based on the flawed assumption that all people are essentially the same in spite of cultural differences, that freedom is their highest value, and that "everyone knows" that freedom is optimally attained through American-style "democracy." That assumption turned out to be horrendously wrong, especially when it turned out that the West was backing jihadi terrorists, and it is still being used wrt Iran, Russia, and China, also using terrorist proxies.

This is what happens when the unprincipled base their assumptions on "principles."

John said...

Tom, I always hate to disagree with you, but there is now overwhelming evidence that at no stage did Washington ever consider democracy as a legitimate goal in Iraq. There have been some very disturbing but eyeopening books by Iraqi and American government insiders during the occupation who write again and again that at no stage did Washington countenance democratic elections, and only did so when faced with an ultimatum by the leading Grand Ayatollahs that they would declare a religious edict to take up arms against the occupation. That would mean 80% of the population fighting against the occupation (the Sunnis had already rebelled). Ali Allawi's book "The Occupation of Iraq" gives the overall story. Patrick Cockburn's books "The Occupation" and "Muqtada Al-Sadr" fill in a lot of details, as does Peter Galbriath's "The End of Iraq" and Nir Rosen's brilliant books on Iraq.

Neocons are stupid but they're not braindead. To imagine that they would like to see democracy flourish in an area that is vehemently against all major US interests is just fantasy. As a friend of mine says, if they wanted democracy why didn't they start in Kuwait or UAE or Qatar or Egypt or Saudi Arabia etc? Why were there no democratic moves in any of these countries?Washington could have insisted, yet it did everything to ensure there were no democratic openings in countries whose regimes would fall almost overnight without Washington's military, intelligence and financial aid. This idea that Iraq was the ideal domino to get the others to fall is literally incomprehensible.

The neocons are quite right when they claim that people are essentially the same: they're all anti-imperialists and soft-nationalists. That is not to say that the neocons meant what they said. It's all propaganda. Did the neocons genuinely believe that freeing the Middle East would make everyone look more kindly towards Israel, the neocons most favoured country, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon and all the other merchants of death? There must be literally thousands of planning policy papers from within various intelligence and military agencies that make clear that it is the dictatorships that are pro-Washington while the people are anti-Washington, anti-Israel, anti-Wahhabi, pro-Palestine and more than anything else desperately want to use the energy resources of the region for the people, not for recycling dollars to the US military-industrial complex. Everyone in Washington knows this, even the neocons. Moreover, democracy promotion was never mentioned as the reason for the invasion. It could have been mentioned, but it wasn't. What was mentioned ad infinitum was WMD, mushroom clouds over New York, Al-Qaida links to Saddam and all the other ludicrous lies.

I don't like the fact that my own country is a leading terrorist state and guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But I call it as I see it. The sooner everyone involved in these horrendous crimes sees a prison cell the better.

Tom Hickey said...

That is true, John. I should have qualified my assertions.

To republicans as promoters and guardians of bourgeois liberalism as the rule of the ownership class, "democracy" means the semblance of democracy through elections but the reality is that the selection process for candidates is tightly controlled.

Of course, none of TPTB every really wished to spread freedom and democracy. Neither did the US founding father want to establish that in the nascent republic, in which they built elite control.

In the view of republicans and their bourgeoise liberalism, real democracy means the rule of the rabble as the propertyless, which is to be avoided at all costs by property owners.

John said...

Tom, I would definitely agree with that. It's what political scientists have come to call "formal democracy" or the "facade of democracy" rather than genuine democracy. The institutions have the appearance of democracy, or at least enough to fool the schmucks back home that they're promoting democracy and freedom, while the reality is the exact opposite. A good example in the Middle East would be Egypt's dictatorship: staged elections, media control, decades of martial law and assassinations ensuring no genuine opposition.

I can certainly imagine Washington promoting that kind of "democracy" throughout the Middle East, but only when the more useful form of government they usually favour (absolute monarchical despotism) starts to fall apart. Here again Egypt makes for a near perfect example of Washington in real time action: support a brutal dictator for thirty years; when overthrown claim to have been on the side of the revolution; do everything in your power to ensure a military coup; when the military coup overthrows the brief hopes of democracy, claim that it's what the people want and move the subject on to Islamic militancy, which no one will will confuse with your own promotion of Islamic militancy. Doublethink in action.

It's a simple game plan and always seems to work very well. In fact there's a good book on this by, of all people, a NYT reporter! See David Kirkpatrick's "Into the Hands of the Soldiers". Robert Wright has a good interview of Kirkpatrick, in which Kirkpatrick trashes a lot of liberal propaganda about Obama's foreign policy: