…'Well-Intentioned' Petro-Imperialist Assault on Iraq…. Okay sir, I mean please, Sir?"*
* University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey R. Stone to George W. Bush, January 16, 2007
The sniveling, power-worshiping instincts of “liberal academia” were on horrifying display in a recent commentary penned by University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone. In a Chicago Tribune editorial published six days after Bush announced his provocative Iraq/Middle East "Surge" (escalation), Stone begged boy king George to admit “grievous mistakes” that resulted in “a[n American] national disaster.” “If the stakes are as high as the president and others have warned, and the collapse of Iraq would make the world a much more perilous place for Americans in the future,” Stone intones, “then we must be clear-eyed and determined about the painful choices before us. But before we can get to that point, the president must clear the air and admit candidly that however well-intentioned he might have been, his mistakes – his misjudgments – created this national and international disaster. Only then can we hope to move forward as long as he is in the White House.”
Among the “mistakes” Stone so badly needs to hear Bush admit before he can support the president’s “well-intentioned” effort to “give the Iraqi people a chance to create a democracy” are the erroneous “belief” that Saddam’s Iraq possessed threatening stocks of “weapons of mass destruction” [WMD] (Geoffrey R. Stone, “U.S. Needs to Hear Bush Admit Errors,” Chicago Tribune, 16 January 2007, sec. 1, p. 11).
Where to begin in dismantling Stone’s pathetic effort to speak truth to – and (even more absurdly) get truth back from – power (always a waste of time)?
Sorry Dr. Stone, but the hyper-plutocrat and arch petro-imperialist Bush doesn’t admit substantive “mistakes.” He is a full-blown messianic militarist (Ralph Nader's excellent description) and militant authoritarian who believes that he’s doing God’s will on earth. He laughs at editorials like this and with good reason.
The WMD claims were not sincere. They were a ruse. They were based on intentionally “cooked” intelligence – “fixed in advance of the [war] policy” (in the famous words of the British intelligence chief in the Downing Street Memo) – and had nothing to do with “bad intelligence.”
Hastily rolled out once the absence of Iraqi WMD became overly obvious to the American citizenry, the administration’s proclaimed desire to promote “democracy” in Iraq is disingenuous cover for an illegal invasion enacted to deepen U.S. control of imperially critical Middle Eastern energy resources. The last thing Team Bush wants to see in Iraq is actual national independence and democracy. The substantive attainment of those goals would create a true nightmare scenario for U.S. foreign policy: the enablement of the Iraqi people to deal however – and with whoever – they wish with the astonishing stash of oil that happens to sit under their nominally sovereign soil.
The occupation of Iraq is more accurately understood as a grave international CRIME than as merely or simply a “mistake.” And the crime has led to some very real imperial and plutocratic accomplishments. It has produced the drafting of an Petroleum Law that will hand much of Iraq’s oil over to U.S. corporations. It has generated an ongoing profit windfall for U.S. “defense” firms (Haliburton, Boeing, Raytheon and the like) and diverted billions of dollars away from real and potential investment in domestic social programs that are sorely needed by non-affluent people in the savagely unequal and significantly poverty-stricken imperial homeland.
And Iraq has already “collapsed” under the burden of American assault. The real “national disaster” is being experienced by the Iraqis – 700,000 of whom have died prematurely because of Washington’s criminal war. The “collapse of Iraq” in the wake of imperial attack has “made the world a much more perilous place” FOR IRAQIS in the present and not just “the future.” Stone should be ashamed of himself.
This is a short selection from the next (and eighth) issue (titled "The Imperial Lexicon") of my increasingly indispensable Empire and Inequality Report. To get this bi-weekly news and commentary letter mailed directly to you, write me at [email protected].
Right-wing morons who can't distinguish between actual leftists and Democratic centrists are invited to review the long critical review I just did on Barack Obama's ponderous, power-worshipping book The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, where the "progressive" Obama says the following: "The Founders recognized that there were seeds of anarchy in the idea of individual freedom, an intoxicating danger in the idea of equality, for if everybody is truly free, without the constraints of birth or rank and an inherited social order…how can we ever hope to form a society that coheres?" (Audacity of Hope, pp. 86-87). I couldn't make that up if I wanted to.