by Franz Schurmann
CIA says North Korea has a rocket that can reach the Western United
States, yet Oval Office spokesman Ari Fleischer says Bush believes
diplomatic pressure can contain North Korea. Iran announces it is
starting to mine uranium and U.S. intelligence says it will soon start
developing nuclear weapons, yet its foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi was
invited to a recent NATO security conference in Munich featuring a speech
by Donald Rumsfeld.
But when Saddam Hussein made enough concessions to Hans Blix to warrant continuing the weapons inspections, the White House PR team shifted the klieg lights over to the alleged Saddam-bin Laden connection.
Why the distinction between North Korea and Iran on the one hand and Iraq on the other? Bush seems to believe that Armageddon will not come from the former two, but will come from Iraq. Some of his advisers tell him that Iraq is a winnable war. The Garden of Eden is believed to have been in what is now Iraq, and Bush himself believes that divine forces shape human destiny.
On the scales of war and peace, an attack on Iraq still seems to outweigh diplomatic solutions of the kind being pursued with North Korea and Iran. But even at this late stage, the scales could tip in favor of a peaceful solution in Iraq.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote in a recent editorial, "Peace may yet prevail in Iraq -- perhaps thanks, ironically, to President Bush's seemingly relentless push toward war." Either "leaving Saddam Hussein free to create and stockpile weapons of mass destruction" or "going to all-out war to stop him" were both unworkable scenarios. But the editorial did not suggest what practical middle option Bush might use to get out of his war-or-peace conundrum.
There are two scenarios that could lead to a peace outcome that the majority of global public opinion strongly favors. One involves looking at all three crisis spots -- North Korea, Iran and Iraq -- as parts of a single syndrome. And the second posits that the looming war will not be Gulf War II, but rather a New War.
Bush Jr. in his last year's State of the Union speech labeled North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil." Yet, compared to America, all three are small countries. All three also have been America's enemies for a long time -- North Korea since 1950, Iran since 1978 and Iraq, off and on since 1969. Not surprisingly, they chose weapons of mass destruction -- biological, chemical and nuclear -- to protect them against American attack.
Ironically, it was Colin Powell in his speech before the United Nations recently who suggested how that defense strategy could work to Iraq's advantage. He pointed to a satellite photograph showing big trucks in which biological weapons were being manufactured. Powell said it would be difficult to distinguish these trucks from regular ones.
Admiral Gene LaRocque (U.S. Navy, retired) had the same thought on his mind when he asked in 1998, "What happens when they [American planes] strike a chemical plant? Are those chemicals going to be dispersed to the air? What happens when they hit a biological warfare plant? Anthrax? Is that going to spread all over the area?" (Center for Defense Information, February 22, 1998).
There is a good chance that Saddam Hussein will use biological and chemical weapons to stall the Anglo-American invasion -- just as his armies used chemical weapons against their Iranian foes. If he succeeds, then North Korea, Iran and other countries may be so impressed that they will start producing biological and chemical weapons en masse. But even if he fails that still won't banish the specter of Armageddon. As in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are making a comeback, so in Iraq radical Shi'ism and not American democracy will likely become the premier political current.
This scenario could convince George W. Bush to delay or halt the looming war. But a second companion scenario could finally tilt the scales in favor of peace. Bush Jr. would like it if Gulf War II finished what Gulf War I and Bush Sr. did not. But now, it looks like this will be a New War that America will have to fight largely alone.
In the Gulf War, Bush Sr. got overwhelming support in the United Nations. And when Desert Storm was launched in mid-January 1991, a large multinational coalition fought to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait. This time, most if not all the fighters will be American, with some British. As the death toll rises among Iraqis as well as Anglo-Americans, people in the latter countries will wonder what they are fighting for.
In Gulf War I, Japan and Germany fought by paying the bills. But in the New War, all the costs will have to be paid by Americans, even as the recession eats ever deeper into the economy and the mushrooming military-industrial complex devours much of what is left.
George W. Bush is determined to get re-elected in November 2004. But despite the "winnable war" scenario his think tank advisers keep preaching to him, he knows well that "wars are easy to start but hard to get out of" -- and a high-cost, long-term war spells defeat for Bush Jr. in November 2004.
The first turning point in the Vietnam War came when pictures were flashed all over TV screens of an American officer saying "we had to destroy it to save it." This New War won't be America fighting to prevent Armageddon but, even worse, setting it in motion.
February 12, 2003 (http://www.albionmonitor.com) All Rights Reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use in any format.
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