‘These are the times that try men’s souls’ By William Bowles

29 April 2004

Back in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan first mooted the ‘Star Wars’ project as part of his mission to defeat the ‘Evil Empire’, it was pointed out by many observers that aside from being an (unworkable) anti-ballistic missile system, in reality it’s major objective was to be able to zap what are now known as rogue states from the secure environs of space using lasers, satellite guided missiles and as a global spy network. And although the project was ‘officially’ abandoned, the fruits of the research have seen their use in the war on Iraq, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. In other words, ‘Star Wars’ was never abandoned, it merely changed its name and became the means whereby the PNAC could be actualised. All that really changed was that the anti-ballistic missile component was dropped as it was never a realistic objective to start with.

Importantly of course, this was all going down years before the ‘war on terrorism’ materialised. The article by Mike Davis on MOUT or ‘Urban warfare- Is Iraq a rehearsal for US hoods?‘ only reinforces the historical links with the longstanding strategic objective of the US, recognising (rightly) that as the onslaught on the world’s poor gathered momentum, so would resistance and, as Davis’ article points out, as the war on Communism wound down, the same ‘enemies’, those who resist US domination would take centre stage in the struggle over control of resources and markets.

Taken together with the Reagan-era ‘Low Intensity Warfare’ piloted in the war against the Sandinista government that kicked off in 1979 as well as the covert war supported by the CIA in Angola (in collaboration with Apartheid South Africa) and elsewhere, the ‘war on terror’ doctrine rather than being a response to terrorism is merely the latest incarnation in capitalism’s objective of controlling the world’s resources and of suppressing any opposition to it.

In this regard it is instructive to note that the major players of the Reagan period in developing and enacting the Low Intensity Warfare strategy are the same people that Bush has brought onboard including Richard Armitage, Michael Ledeen, Colonel ‘Ollie’ Oliver North, Otto Reich, John Negroponte (just appointed ambassador to Iraq) and others.

In other words, what we see now is in actuality part of a continuum of US foreign policy that with the Soviet Union out of the way, brooks no opposition. The other key aspect of Mike Davis’ article is the close relationship between MOUT and Israel’s war on the Palestinian people, for the tactics used by Israeli occupation army (and pioneered by Sharon in his 1982 invasion of Lebanon) have informed the development of MOUT in no small way:

“Israeli advisors were quietly brought in to teach Marines, Rangers and Navy Seals the state-of-the-art tactics – especially the sophisticated coordination of sniper and demolition teams with heavy armor and overwhelming airpower – so ruthlessly used by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza and the West Bank.

This tactical ‘Israelization’ of U.S. combat doctrine has been accompanied by what might be called a ‘Sharonization’ of the Pentagon’s worldview. Military theorists are now deeply involved in imagining how the evolving capacity of high-tech warfare can contain, if not destroy, chronic ‘terrorist’ insurgencies rooted in the desperation of growing mega-slums.”

Al Qu-eda as a US ‘Asset’
With this history to inform us, it makes clear the actual as opposed to imagined relationship between Israel and the US, that far from being a ‘Zionist’ plot, Israel is in actuality an integral part of US imperialism’s ‘grand strategy’, as Israel has operated as a wedge in the Arab world since its invention in 1948, firstly to blunt the anti-colonial struggles of the Arab world and as part of the broader Cold War objectives of the West.

What makes the current situation different, is the ‘convenient’ emergence of Al Qu-eda at such a critical period and lends credence to my own (personal) view that Al Qu-eda may well be an ‘asset’ of the US given its centrality to the rationale used for the development of the strategy of the ‘war on terror’. By asset, I mean that Al Qu-eda may well turn out to be directly controlled by the US in much the same way as the Nicaraguan Contras, Savimbi’s UNITA or the Afghani Muhajadeen were projections of US strategy.

And given what we know of the documented history of the relationship between Osama and the US established (also during the Reagan era) in Afghanistan, it firstly, helps explain why Osama has never been (conveniently as it appears) captured and secondly, why in the light of Saudi Arabia’s reactionary regime, the US has never moved to depose the House of Saud, in spite of the fragile relationship that exists between the US and Saudi Arabia, mediated as it is by the vast amounts of the ‘black stuff’ that sits underneath the grand palaces.

Britain as a US Propaganda ‘Asset’
The central reality of course, is OIL that also explains in part such a close British involvement in the ‘war on terror’, for between them, they control the world’s oil through their ownership of the major oil companies. In turn, it also explains Blair’s schizophrenic attitude toward the EU and to the EURO, yet another strategic blunder that has come back to haunt him.

In passing, it also explains the peripheral role that the British state has actually played in US foreign strategy and why Blair can be treated in such a derisory fashion by the Bush regime. Indeed, it can be said that the aside from the perfunctory military role the British have played in the invasion and occupation, Blair’s major function has been to add a measure of ‘respectability’ to US objectives. However, it may well turn out that like Spain, British support could be the kiss of death to the US occupation of Iraq just as it could turn out to be the kiss of death to Blair (if not the Labour government itself).

Moreover, the above analysis has added credence for a number of reasons. The US exploitation of British involvement has utilised two elements: Blair’s vanity to leave his (blood-stained) mark on the world and Britain’s pretensions to be a global player. The fallacy of this approach has been revealed most pointedly by the statement of the 52 former diplomats, who unlike Blair and his pathetic cronies obviously have a better grasp of the world of the 21st century and the reality of British power that rests solely on its financial assets and precious little else.

Ah – the arrogance of power that has led this former empire to be used by US imperialism would be laughable if it hadn’t had such tragic consequences. Furthermore, the role of state and corporate media in going along with Blair’s pretensions reveals to what degree those who practice deception on such a grand scale can in turn deceive themselves so grandly.

And it is further revealed in the arrogance of the pronouncements and ‘learned’ discourse the intellectuals and other assorted apologists of the British state who pontificate endlessly about the ‘war on terror’ and the ‘clash of civilisations’, conveniently forgetting the terrorist wars they and their kind have practiced on the planet and the civilisations and cultures they have destroyed.

For what it reveals is an intellectually bankrupt state still wrapped up in its own delusionary sense of self-importance. It also reveals – aside from the British state’s ‘fall from grace’ – the racist and imperialist mindset created over the centuries that still underpins the elite’s thinking. To quote the words of Thomas Paine from “The Rights of Man” written in 1791,

‘A long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.’ – www.ushistory.org/paine/rights/index.htm

That the arrogant and smug sons of bitches that try to run this country seem not have learned a single lesson from the past, should be a lesson to us all and that we too, in our opposition to the strategies of the would be empire, need to learn a few lessons of our own.

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