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Workers World editorial

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the February 5, 1998
issue of Workers World newspaper


Were the makers of the popular Hollywood movie "Wag the Dog" 
just lucky? Or did they know that their story would look 
like a barely fictionalized account of real life?

In the movie, the president of the United States finds 
himself facing a crisis over an alleged sexual encounter 
with a teenaged girl touring the White House. The revelation 
could end his career.

Sound familiar? The rest is about how the president's 
advisers arrange to create a phony crisis and launch a phony 
war as a diversion from the White House scandal. Everyone is 
supposed to "rally `round the flag" and forget about the 
president's misdemeanors.

There are some good laughs in the movie. And audiences 
seeing it since the allegations about Bill Clinton and 
Monica Lewinsky surfaced have been howling.

But "Wag the Dog" is a movie. It's not reality. The 
reality is not so funny.

Presidents in crisis really do try to bomb their way out 
of the crisis. Not with phony Hollywood-staged wars--but 
with real, deadly wars. 

President Richard Nixon answered his Watergate indictment 
with a declaration that an attack by the Soviet Union was 
imminent. He put the military on full nuclear alert for a 
full week. It brought the world closer to a nuclear 

Later, after Nixon had left office, Henry Kissinger 
admitted that there was never any threat from the Soviet 
Union and apologized for Nixon's action.

Some believe that President Ronald Reagan ordered the 
bloody invasion of the tiny island nation of Grenada as a 
diversion from the defeat of the U.S. Marines in Beirut, 
Lebanon, in 1983.

Now, as Clinton faces the biggest crisis of his 
administration, the news out of Washington is that a 
sustained military attack on Iraq has been set for mid-

But this time it's not really a "Wag the Dog" diversion--
because both political parties are preparing for and urging 
an attack on Iraq. The impetus is coming not from the White 
House scandal but from the Pentagon. 

Not that Clinton wouldn't like a little diversion. He just 
puts it the other way around: He says the scandal is 
diverting him from concentrating on important matters--like 
bombing Iraq. 

This is pure cynicism. There is no reason for the U.S. 
military to attack Iraq. And there is no reason for the 
Iraqi people to suffer such attacks.

The fact is, Washington's anti-Iraq policy is in trouble. 
There is no international support, except from the British 
government, for the Draconian sanctions imposed by the 
United States. The United States would never dare to put the 
issue before the United Nations General Assembly and let all 
the nations of the world vote on the sanctions. The issue is 
kept tightly inside the Security Council--and even there 
U.S. imperialist bullying has barely sustained the 

In the Arab world, even the right-wing governments 
dominated by U.S. imperialism have dropped their support for 
sanctions against Iraq. Mass opposition to the sanctions has 
emerged throughout the Middle East. A million petitions were 
collected in Egypt. Even in Qatar--a small Gulf emirate with 
a population of 600,000 that is dependent on Britain and the 
United States for its existence--more than 40,000 people 
have signed a petition demanding an immediate end to the 

A U.S. military campaign against Iraq will be met with 
mass outrage in the Middle East and around the world.

                         - END -

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