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Regime Change Update The Bush administration has defined a war on Iraq as its second phase of the war on terrorism. It pledges a campaign far beyond the British and US air war institutionalized in the Clinton presidency. In May, for example US planes bombed Iraq four times. This new plan also goes beyond the twelve-year economic siege of Iraq maintained by US dominance over a cooperative United Nations Security Council. The sanctions have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. With its "Regime Change" strategy Bush administration officials have expressed a willingness to commit as many as 200,000 US troops for a full-scale invasion of Iraq. After several months of commitment to this course, how goes the planning for the new war on Iraq? Both parties within the US support the Bush war policy. The Philadelphia Inquirer June 6, 2002 reports, "In Washington yesterday Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said Democrats supported a push against Hussein." Another Democratic Party congressional leader Richard Gephardt: "I share President Bush's resolve to confront this menace head-on." Congress has voted for an extra $48 billion war chest available for use against Iraq. The US press also solidly supports the war effort on Iraq. In the liberal Philadelphia Inquirer for example both foreign policy editorialists, Mark Bowden and Trudy Rubin, are strong proponents of a war on Iraq. Despite the apparent unanimity for war within the US ruling circles, severe political problems have plagued the "second phase" of the war terrorism since its inception. As of today the only "Ally" in this war remains a former colonial ruler of Iraq, Britain. To win more allies for the new campaign against Iraq, Vice President Cheney was dispatched from the US shadow government for a Middle East tour in March of this year. It ended in an unqualified foreign policy disaster for the Bush administration. Not a single US ally in the region would stand publicly with the US regime change perspective. The subsequent endorsement by the US of the Israeli war in occupied Palestine has made Arab support for a US attack against Iraq out of the question for the immediate future. Both Saudi Arabia and Oman have stated they will not allow attacks on Iraq launched from US bases on their soil. The Iranians fought a bloody eight-year war with Iraq in the 80's, but they certainly don't want a US invasion force on their border. The Arab League has repeatedly insisted that they do not support the US-led "war on terror" as a springboard to an expanded war on Iraq. At this point the lack of diplomatic support has stymied the immediate plans for a major offensive against Iraq. What has been lacking so far is a pretext. In the Gulf War, the United Nations war coalition against Iraq was formed under the banner of defending Kuwait's national sovereignty. What since 1991 has Iraq done that warrants a full-scale US invasion and occupation? Iraq's accusers generally attempt to project a frightening, but always vague, picture of a military power that can no longer be tolerated by the peace-loving world. Given this perspective, the leaders of the US will be judged irresponsible if they do not launch a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. A steady stream of unsubstantiated allegations of Iraq possessing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons fuels this campaign. Within the war hysteria of mainstream US politics, these appear a sufficient justification for war. But in the real world the US charges of a looming Iraqi threat don't add up. Listen to the British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon at US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent London press conference as he "described the Iraqi military threat as increasing. ...Asked later to elaborate, he said Iraq's air defenses were more aggressively trying to shoot down US and British pilots who regularly fly combat patrols over northern and southern Iraq." Here the prime example of the increasing Iraqi threat is its air-defense system over its own territory! With classic Orwellian newspeak Iraq's use of air-defenses is characterized as an "aggression." With similar reasoning, the US administration is attempting to popularize its attack on Iraq as a "preemptive defensive intervention." Why so many troops? In the months since its announcement few have ventured to ask why the US 'regime change' strategy requires so many troops to overthrow the unpopular Saddam Hussein? US military strategists all raved about the "success" in Afghanistan with relatively few troops backed by high-tech ordinance. Why are they now projecting such high numbers of US combat forces in Iraq? The Bush administration is planning the biggest heist of the young 21st century. They will take over a country with the whole world watching, and steal its enormous oil resources outright. The military occupation will decisively eliminate French, Russian and other competitors from future access to Iraq's oil. But there is a catch. For the plan to succeed the US has to forcibly control Iraq for the foreseeable future. For this they need a military government over Iraq and a massive foreign occupation force. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Joseph Biden, (Democrat) says "he cautioned Bush that a major attack would require a US presence for two to five years, to keep the battling factions from fighting each other." The Bush war plans for Iraq involve a commitment to an extensive and protracted military intervention in Iraq. Prior to any invasion, the US will certainly hit Iraq with another murderous air offensive comparable or even greater than that of the Gulf War. US troops will then enter and attempt to install a compliant military government. At this point the rhetoric surrounding George W. Bush's crusade to eliminate Saddam Hussein can lead to serious misunderstandings of US intentions. A similar problem plagued his father in the aftermath of Desert Storm in 1991. US policy will be mistaken by many in the US, abroad and even within Iraq, as possessing a democratic content or even idealistic humanitarian motives. To avoid this inclination, regime strategists have already set the course of post-invasion Iraq. Their plan calls for a military government, led preferably by a Sunni Arab military officer, to rule Iraq. A protracted foreign domination over Iraq requires a military regime capable of heading off any democratic aspirations arising from the Iraqi people themselves. Projecting the deployment of a massive occupation force is an acknowledgement of Washington's reactionary political agenda for Iraq. This agenda will pit US occupation forces against the broadest layers of the population of Iraq. A US invasion force will face the remnants of the Iraqi army. There is a likelihood of a protracted irregular armed resistance from a hostile civilian population. US troops may also be needed to prevent the Kurds in the north from declaring independence. A defacto Kurdish state already exists in northern Iraq, but its independence from Iraq is strongly opposed by the US and its ally Turkey. Turkey, another former colonial ruler of Iraq, and Washington will have to work together to suppress Kurdish political aspirations for self-determination. This opposition to Kurdish power in Iraq is the reason the Northern Alliance model of the anti-Taliban campaign in Afghanistan has been rejected for Iraq. Using the armed forces of the two Kurdish parties (by far the largest armed groups in Iraq outside of the government) against the government of Iraq would, if successful, gain them a prominent role in Iraq's future. (As Northern Alliance military power exists today in Afghanistan beneath the surface of the Karzai government.) This is unacceptable to Turkey and the US, so the Kurds have been left out of the regime change strategy. And don't forget the occupation's mission in the south of Iraq. The US expects trouble there too. US interests require the Shia, who comprise the majority of Iraqis, also be kept away from political power in post-invasion Iraq. Washington strategists think the Shia of Iraq are dangerously sympathetic to Iran. State Department theologians fear boosting Iran's evil powers. In the end, the politics of the "regime change" perspective succeeds in putting US occupation forces in conflict with every significant social force in contemporary Iraq! These political factors have produced some ambivalence within the highest levels of the US military. Theirs is the task of actually putting forces in the field against this murky array of potential opponents. The May 24, 2002 Washington Post cites "In a series of meetings this spring, the six members of the Joint Chiefs -- the chairman, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers; the vice chairman, Marine Gen. Peter Pace; and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps -- hammered out a position that emphasizes the difficulties of any Iraq campaign while also quietly questioning the wisdom of a military confrontation with Hussein." While the generals acknowledge that Iraq's armed forces have not rearmed or refitted since its defeat in 1991, they concurred with earlier projections requiring hundreds of thousands of US troops for the Iraq operation. While the military leadership is wary of the political complexities of the war, they are conversely enthusiastic about the prospects of a large-scale war. Proponents of this war see a timely opportunity in the regime change. As in the Gulf War it provides both civilian and military targets for the latest high-tech bombs and missiles. They can utilize an entire generation of US military pilots that have been trained in combat over Iraq in the last twelve years. It also provides an opportunity for the US to use its new generation of nuclear weapons. In January of this year the Bush administration presented its Nuclear Posture Review to Congress. It advocated using "nuclear bunker busters" against "enemy facilities that are otherwise difficult to attack." It also proposed the use of nuclear weapons for the "radiological neutralization" of alleged chemical and biological weapons sites. US intentions to nuke Iraq are clearly outlined in these proposals. Through all of these various policies runs a consistent thread. Whether US aggression is channeled through the strangulation of an economic siege, the ongoing bombings, or the future schemes for invasion, occupation, or nuclear attack, there is in each case a clear intent to violate the most fundamental human rights of the Iraqi people. Bringing this war to an end is the most important moral and political issue of our time. - June 18 02 Bob Allen Campaign to End the Sanctions Philadelphia PA _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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