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Iraq and the Bush Administration

Theater of Contradictions

by Lenora Foerstel

www.globalresearch.ca   29 February 2004

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/FOE402A.html


When President Bush stated that it was his intention to institute democracy in Iraq, he forgot, perhaps, that he stole the 2000 presidential election by disenfranchising Afro-American voters in Florida.  In September 2003, Bush told the United Nations that he was unwilling to grant full sovereignty to Iraq.  Presidential envoy to Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, the senior coalition official in Iraq, reaffirmed the Bush doctrine that "Iraqis are not capable of ruling themselves."(1) This racist statement rang a bell with African-Americans who recalled that before the civil rights movements the US government felt that blacks were not capable of exercising voting rights.  Indeed, from the 1950's right up to the 1980's the US government directed a racist political movement that effectively neutralized the civil rights movement.

Yet this racism has not kept the US military from relying increasingly on Afro-American and Latino young men and women for active duty in Iraq.  "Senior Pentagon officials have identified Latinos as by far the most promising ethnic group for recruitment because their members are growing rapidly in the US.  They include a plentiful supply of low-income men of military age with few jobs or educational prospects."(2) Afro-American young men and women seeking a secure income and education join the armed forces in numbers disproportionately higher than any other ethnic groups in the US.

Jessie Jackson has rallied to the defense of army specialist Shoshana Johnson, an African-American woman who was captured and held prisoner of war in Iraq.  After her discharge from the army, she was informed that she would receive 30 percent disability benefits.  Jessica Lynch, a fellow POW who happens to be white, will receive 80 percent of her disability payment.  Jessie Jackson stated that, "For Johnson and thousands of other Iraqi troops, the real indignity comes when they return.  President Bush likes to say that September 11 changed everything.  But it didn't change this administration's callous disregard for the lower ranks, for the soldiers and workers.  It didn't change special interest policies that chose the benefits of the few over the common good of the many."(3)

As American men and women of all races are killed or wounded in the Iraq War, the US government continues to call for more aggression.  On January 2004, Vice President Cheney called for more military forces.  His solution for achieving democracy in Iraq was the use of more weapons.(4)  His speech did not address the mass violence carried out by US bombing in Iraq or the use of high tech weapons of mass destruction.  Iraqi families faced bombs and tank fire, their homes were ransacked, and family members were often hooded and taken away by US troops. The number of Iraqi deaths are not being reported by the US press, but a report from the London-based Medact, the British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), indicates that between 21,000 and 55,000 people have died as a result of the US invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, with most of the casualties being civilians. (5)  The report goes on to state that thousands of combatants on both sides, as well as civilians, suffered serious injuries, including amputations and mental trauma. 

Ignoring the mass killings, Cheney did not mention that his former company, Halliburton , will make millions of dollars on the Iraqi War.  Although Cheney stepped down as chief executive of Halliburton to become Vice President, he maintains a deferred compensation  account of salary and stock options worth as much as $1  million and receives six figure annual payments from the energy conglomerate.  A subsidiary of Halliburton, Kellog, Brown and Root, has secured a ten year deal known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program from the Pentagon.  The federal government has contracted with this company to go anywhere in the world to help run military operations.  Halliburton is on the list of US corporations invited to bid for a contract of reconstruction in Iraq, which may be the biggest financial contract made to any corporation since World War II.(6)  Halliburton already acknowledges that its contracts in Iraq represent 9 percent of  its revenue.  Medact has expressed fear and concern that the heavy participation of "for profit companies," mostly from the US, among the contractors providing service and technical aid in Iraq will result in corruption and inefficiency.

 The process by which the United States profits from conquest is clear.  First the US destroys a country like Iraq with weapons produced by its military industry, bringing billions of dollars in profits to US corporations.  Then the US rebuilds the country using corporations like Halliburton, Bertell Group, Fluor Corporation, Parson Corporation and the Louis Berger Group, which will make their millions.  In November 2003, Bush signed a $401 billion defense bill which stipulated that all high grade military components must be manufactured in the United States.  To Bush and Cheney, it is business as usual.

Power appears to keep Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice help play out the drama of lies for corporate profits.  John Pilger notes, "Both Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice made it clear before September 11, 2000, that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to America, Europe and the Middle East."(7)  On February 20, 2001, Powell repeated in Cairo that Iraq had no significant capability with respect to building weapons of mass destruction.  Yet, when Powell went to the United Nations in October 2003, he completely contradicted all of his earlier statements.  Greg Thielmann, a former expert on Iraqi weapons, stated in an interview on CBS News that Powell has misrepresented the truth and deceived the American people.(8) 

In January, 2004, Paul O'Neill, a standing member of the National Security Council, long time friend of Vice President Dick Cheney, and a protégé of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, stated that  the decision to declare war on Iraq was made long before the 9/11 terrorism.   In The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, by Ron Suskind, O'Neill recounts that at the start of 2001, plans were already being discussed to take over Iraq, including military occupation and disposition of oil fields.
Worried about Bush's approval ratings, the Pentagon is planning to launch a satellite TV channel from Baghdad, even as the US occupation in Iraq creates new laws against existing media in Iraq.  Independent news channels like Al Jazzera and Al-Arablya are popular  in Bagdhad immediately became prime targets.  Al-Arablya was shut down and journalists for Al Jazeera were killed by occupation forces as they attempted to cover events in Iraq.  Since September 2003, 16 journalists have been killed in Iraq, fourteen of them victims of US direct action.

On January 12, 2004, the Washington Post reported that the Pentagon has awarded a $96 million contact to a US communications equipment-maker to run Saddam Hussein's old television and radio network, now called "Al-Iraqiya."(9)   Hans Corp., based in Melbourne Florida, will operate Iraq's national newspaper.  The day before Hussein was captured, 30 Iraqi reporters and producers were fired.

Without a free press there cannot be a democracy.  The US media functions as a second front for the US government, either by not reporting the true events of the war or inventing its own lies. The same misinformation will be given to the Iraqi people, but as daily witnesses to the truth, they will not be so easily orchestrated by the US media,


Notes

(1) Escobar, Pepe.  "A multi-layer picture emerges," The Roving Eye, Iraq/Fullujah, 9/26/2003.
(2) Gumbel , Andrew. "Pentagon Targets Latinos and Mexicans to Man the Front Lines In War On Terror," Los Angeles, September 10, 2003 (unpublished paper)
(3) Goselin, Peter. "Lynch and Johnson," Worker's World, November 20, 2003, pp. 6-8.
(4) "Cheney Urges Nations to Join Terrorists Fight," AOL- News, Jan 24, 2004.
(5) "Continuing Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq," Global Health Organization Medact, London, November 11, 2003 (Executive Summary)
(6) Chatterjee , Pratak. Special Series to Corpwatch, March 20, 2003.
(7) Pilger, John. "The Big Lie," The Mirror in London, September 22, 2003.
(8) Pelley, Scott. Sixty Minutes, October 15, 2003.
(9) Pincus, Walter. "US Firm to Run TV, National Newspaper," Washington  Post, January 12, 2004, p. A13.


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