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John Simkin

Empire of Disorder: American Imperialism in the 21st Century

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The culture of electoral democracy has particularly weakened the notion of politics. The idea that politics must necessarily take the form of a transparent, electoral and parliamentary democracy with eligible parties on the left and on the right, with a normal level of corruption instead of massacres, has perverted our sense of the stakes involved. One need not adhere to conspiracy theories in order to admit that oligarchic, and therefore antidemocratic, sovereignties and empires exist. Working to clearly define these phenomena is necessary for an effective reorganization of the left. The American program of "democracy for all" is all well and good, but it sounds like a missionary toasting at a cannibal banquet. The problem must be dealt with at its source. There can be no democracy without the victory of popular power over the oligarchy. (Alain Joxe)

50-60% of Americans are against the Iraq war now. They do not have a single senator articulating thier principles. Burke suggested that a representative not have to litterally represent the views of his constituents. Here in the US, we have trumped Ed: in our new theory of representation 1 senator out of a hundred can represent 40-60% of the population, and he can die in a small plane crash (Wellstone) as the wiser intonation of the general will are manifest in the new republic. Poli sci profs take note.

The net result? 60% might be for or against something passionately, but they will never get thier talking head on TV that is required to galvanize a general opinion into a clearly articulated policy option. This guy understands how American media- fascism works. Brown shirts not required, but definiately not excluded either.

The same is also true of the UK. The polls show high percentages against the invasion of Iraq, sending troops to Afghanistan, PFI, low-rates of taxes on the rich, high defence spending, etc. However, the two main parties, as in the US, do not reflect the public mood. As we have a system of first past the post, only these two parties can form a government. Not surprisingly, the British public has become politically apathetic (the same thing appears to have happened in the US).

The main reason for this state of affairs is the corruption of the political system. As in the US, the same people are funding both political parties. They both want the same sorts of things. For example, low rates of tax on the rich, high defence spending, PFI contracts, low wages, globalization, etc.

The UK, like the US, is now run by an oligarchy. This oligarchy currently controls both political parties. There is evidence that the oligarchy is currently trying to gain control of the Liberal Democrats. (See today’s conference’s vote on taxation).

However, it is not all doom and gloom. The internet is undermining the power of the oligarchy to control our political information. Tony Blair will soon have to resign. Potentially, over 2 million will have a vote in this election (all members of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party can vote). Maybe we can get a prime minister who can free himself of this oligarchy.

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One of the interesting phenomena (for me, at least) about the current military campaign in southern Afghanistan is the apparent inability of the United States to get NATO countries to commit soldiers and equipment to the fight. I've just read an account of the ructions at the NATO summit in Poland, where extreme pressure has apparently been brought to bear on Germany and France in particular to send helicopters and soldiers to reinforce the few thousand NATO soldiers in the south - thus far to no avail.

I'm sure that previous US administrations would not have been submitted to this public humiliation. On the other hand, perhaps previous administrations would not have been in the position of asking the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to fight on the borders of Pakistan …

I wonder if this lack of ability of the Americans to enforce their will on their European allies will prove to be long-lasting, and spill over into other areas of policy.

This is an issue that has received very little attention in the press. Major countries in Europe are no longer willing to do America’s “dirty work”. Only the UK continues to fully support the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Spain and Italy did for a while but their right-wing governments have now been removed from power. The only real support in Europe apart from the UK comes from right-wing governments and former members of the Warsaw Pact. These countries can be economically bullied into sending troops into dangerous areas.

The idea that NATO troops can control Afghanistan in absurd. The Soviets were unable to do this with 300,000 ground troops in the 1970s. Are the US and NATO willing to make the same commitment in order to fail? Will it work with 500,000 or 750,000?

The point Alain Joixe makes (and remember, he wrote the book before the Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq) is that the US can occupy but cannot create order. My own view is that the US will not withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in the same way as it left Vietnam in the 1970s. Instead it will retreat into heavily armed bases and allow the rival factions to fight it out between themselves. In other words, it will delay public humiliation for as long as possible.

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Current wars now appear to be managed like wars of repression by "liberal states" against "terrorism," but this is a temporary appearance, due mostly to the American media effort that requires its allies to demonstrate their solidarity in strange or even absurd terms corresponding to the American view of the outside world, an extreme neo-Darwinist, behaviorist and autistic view of their "tribal wisdom" that was understandable for a family of pioneers penetrating the plains of the Far West, but highly defective for those who would seek universal royalty.

Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle. (Alain Joxe, Empire of Disorder)

This view was supported by the leaked report from 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. One of the ironies of the situation is that it is no longer in the economic interests of the American people to maintain an empire. It is expensive in both money and men. It has become impossible for Bush to balance his budget. Every sane American must be asking: “What am I gaining from US troops being in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

Up to now Bush has argued that it is making them safe from terrorism. The leaked report shows the opposite is the case. American troops in these countries are building a deep level of resentment in the Muslim community that will in many cases be expressed by further terrorist acts.

In many ways the United States is experiencing a similar situation to the one faced by the UK and France in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Once resistance to the empire reaches this level, it ceases to be economically profitable. The problem is that politicians are usually slow to adapt to these changing economic situations. However, eventually the UK and France got the message and they began to accept the demands for independence.

Under Tony Blair the UK has been sucked back into this imperialist idea of controlling other countries. It has made him unpopular with the electorate and there is a good chance that he will be replaced by someone who rejects the “new imperialism”. The opposition parties seem keen to distance themselves from this policy. Will the same thing happen in the United States?

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The culture of electoral democracy has particularly weakened the notion of politics. The idea that politics must necessarily take the form of a transparent, electoral and parliamentary democracy with eligible parties on the left and on the right, with a normal level of corruption instead of massacres, has perverted our sense of the stakes involved. One need not adhere to conspiracy theories in order to admit that oligarchic, and therefore antidemocratic, sovereignties and empires exist. Working to clearly define these phenomena is necessary for an effective reorganization of the left. The American program of "democracy for all" is all well and good, but it sounds like a missionary toasting at a cannibal banquet. The problem must be dealt with at its source. There can be no democracy without the victory of popular power over the oligarchy. (Alain Joxe)

50-60% of Americans are against the Iraq war now. They do not have a single senator articulating thier principles. Burke suggested that a representative not have to litterally represent the views of his constituents. Here in the US, we have trumped Ed: in our new theory of representation 1 senator out of a hundred can represent 40-60% of the population, and he can die in a small plane crash (Wellstone) as the wiser intonation of the general will are manifest in the new republic. Poli sci profs take note.

The net result? 60% might be for or against something passionately, but they will never get thier talking head on TV that is required to galvanize a general opinion into a clearly articulated policy option. This guy understands how American media- fascism works. Brown shirts not required, but definiately not excluded either.

The same is also true of the UK. The polls show high percentages against the invasion of Iraq, sending troops to Afghanistan, PFI, low-rates of taxes on the rich, high defence spending, etc. However, the two main parties, as in the US, do not reflect the public mood. As we have a system of first past the post, only these two parties can form a government. Not surprisingly, the British public has become politically apathetic (the same thing appears to have happened in the US).

The main reason for this state of affairs is the corruption of the political system. As in the US, the same people are funding both political parties. They both want the same sorts of things. For example, low rates of tax on the rich, high defence spending, PFI contracts, low wages, globalization, etc.

The UK, like the US, is now run by an oligarchy. This oligarchy currently controls both political parties. There is evidence that the oligarchy is currently trying to gain control of the Liberal Democrats. (See today’s conference’s vote on taxation).

However, it is not all doom and gloom. The internet is undermining the power of the oligarchy to control our political information. Tony Blair will soon have to resign. Potentially, over 2 million will have a vote in this election (all members of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party can vote). Maybe we can get a prime minister who can free himself of this oligarchy.

This is a very good point. Many people may disagree strongly with the Government about policy issues, but if there is broad agreement from the major parties about an issue (let's say globalisation, for example), then the alternative argument gets starved of oxygen. Only independants or minor parties dare raise the issue. If they do, they are swiftly condemned by the media as radical or out of touch. The media points to the policy positions adopted by minor parties on unrelated issues to discredit them on issues which may have a genuine public resonance. It's unfair and highlights the limitations of the current western democratic systems. The democratic system has failed to keep pace with the needs of a rapidly changing society.

The British and American systems of parliamentary representative democracy were not designed to operate in the current environment of wholesale corporate capture. Corruption of the political process has resulted in the democratic system becoming grotesquely warped. The question of what is fair and just for the average citizen has been transformed into a question of what is fair and just for the corporation, right in front of our noses. Politicians are elected by us to act on behalf of us. The fact that wealthy corporate interests now own all the politicians (except for some free thinking independants) means that we have been effectively squeezed out of the process. Politicians fight like Kilkenny cats to gain favor with wealthy corporate donors. Once this is done, the pitch for the public vote becomes a banal succession of tiresome cliches. The politician's primary loyalty is to his corporate donors.

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from Oct 12, 2006 www.democracy.org

More than 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of the country began in March of 2003. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Researchers based their findings on interviews with a random sampling of households taken in clusters across Iraq. The study is an update to a prior one compiled by many of the same researchers. That study estimated that around 100,000 Iraqis died in the first 18 months after the invasion.

Les Roberts joins us now from Syracuse, New York -- He is one of the main researchers of the study. He was with Johns Hopkins when he co-authored the study but has just taken a post at Columbia University.

Les Roberts. Co-author of the study on civilian mortality in Iraq since the invasion. He was with Johns Hopkins when he co-authored the study but has just taken a post at Columbia University.

AMY GOODMAN: Les Roberts joins us now from Syracuse, New York. He’s one of the main researchers of the study. He was with Johns Hopkins when he co-authored the study but has just taken a post at Columbia University. Les Roberts, welcome to Democracy Now!

LES ROBERTS: Hi, Amy. It’s nice to be with you again.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Why don't you lay out exactly what you found?

LES ROBERTS: Sure, we, as you said, went to about 50 neighborhoods spread around Iraq that were picked at random, and each time we went, we knocked on 40 doors and asked people, “Who lived here on the first of January, 2002?” and “Who lived here today?” And we asked, “Had anyone been born or died in between?” And on those occasions, when people said someone die, we said, “Well, how did they die?” And we sort of wrote down the details: when, how old they were, what was the cause of death. And when it was violence, we asked, “Well, who did the killing? How exactly did it happen? What kind of weapon was used?” And at the end of the interview, when no one knew this was coming, we asked most of the time for a death certificate. And 92% of the time, people walked back into their houses and could produce a death certificate. So we are quite sure people didn’t make this up.

And our conclusion was comparing the death rate for that 14 months before the invasion, with the 40 months after, that the death rate is now about four times higher. And, in fact, it’s twice as high as when we last spoke two years ago and when we did our first study. So, things have gotten bad, as you stated. We think about 650,000 extra people have died because of this invasion, and about 600,000, some 90%, are from violence.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’m sure you have heard by now the responses of President Bush and military leaders about this. What is your response to their saying that this is not credible?

LES ROBERTS: You know, I don't want to sort of stoop to that level and start saying general slurs, but I just want to say that what we did, this cluster survey approach, is the standard way of measuring mortality in very poor countries where the government isn’t very functional or in times of war. And when UNICEF goes out and measures mortality in any developing country, this is what they do. When the U.S. government went at the end of the war in Kosovo or went at the end of the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. government measured the death rate, this is how they did it. And most ironically, the U.S. government has been spending millions of dollars per year, through something called the Smart Initiative, to train NGOs and UN workers to do cluster surveys to measure mortality in times of wars and disasters.

So, I think we used a very standard method. I think our results are couched appropriately in the relative imprecision of [inaudible]. It could conceivably be as few as 400,000 deaths. So we’re upfront about that. We don’t know the exact number. We just know the range, and we’re very, very confident about both the method and the results.

AMY GOODMAN: Les Roberts, this was President Bush when he was asked about the study Tuesday, during his morning news conference. He dismissed the study, as you know, and said Iraqis are willing to tolerate the level of violence in Iraq. The question came from CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: A group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war. That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December, at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure, and do you consider this a credible report?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I don't consider it a credible report. Neither does General Casey, and neither do Iraqi officials. I do know that a lot of innocent people have died, and that troubles me and it grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to -- you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate. And it's now time for the Iraqi government to work hard to bring security in neighborhoods, so people can feel, you know, at peace.

No question, it's violent. But this report is one -- they put it out before. It was pretty well -- the methodology is pretty well discredited. But I -- you know, I talk to people like General Casey and, of course, the Iraqi government put out a statement talking about the report.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: The 30,000, Mr. President? Do you stand by your figure -- 30,000?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, I stand by the figure. A lot of innocent people have lost their life -- 600,000, or whatever they guessed at, is just -- it's not credible. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: And again, this was General George Casey, the top U.S. military leader in Iraq, who was also asked about the Lancet study.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY: I have not seen the study. That 650,000 number seems way, way beyond any number that I have seen. I’ve not seen a number higher than 50,000. And so, I don’t give that much credibility at all.

REPORTER: What’s the 50,000 number? Where did you see that from?

GEN. GEORGE CASEY: I don't remember, but I’ve seen it over time.

REPORTER: Is it a U.S. military estimate?

GEN. GEORGE CASEY: I don't remember where I saw that. It’s either from the Iraqi government or from us, but I don’t remember precisely.

AMY GOODMAN: General George Casey and President Bush. Les Roberts, your response, and also to President Bush saying Iraqis tolerate this level of violence.

LES ROBERTS: Well, you know, we didn’t do a poll of Iraqis about their tolerance for the level of violence, but I think that Iraqis are pretty unhappy with the level of violence. And I think there are a couple of issues that arise, because of this. First of all, you know, I’m not so surprised that entities that monitor newspaper reports or groups that are looking at official government statistics think that it’s ten times lower than the real number.

We have gone and looked at every recent war we can find, and only in Bosnia did all governmental statistics add up to even one-fifth of the true death toll. And in Bosnia, the rate was 30 or 40 percent, with huge support for surveillance activities from the UN. So it’s normal in times of war that communications systems break down, systems for registering events break down.

And in Saddam’s last year of his reign, only about one-third of all deaths were captured at morgues and hospitals through the official government surveillance network. So, when things were good, if only a third of deaths were captured, what do you think it’s like now?

And another thought is that -- quite unrelated -- if someone said in the 9/11 attacks, “I think only 200 or 300 people really died,” we would be really, really upset. And I think in the long view, the danger of discarding this study, if it’s correct, is that, at a moment when we as a society should be showing contrition, our leaders have essentially expressed indifference to an extraordinary level of suffering. And that’s just the wrong message in terms of either our long-term security or peace in the Middle East.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Les Roberts, I would like to ask you something about the methodology of the study. Clearly in Iraq, as in most wars of this type, the level of violence is uneven across the country. It might not necessarily even correspond to the population densities of different areas. What was the methodology that you used to select the particular clusters that you chose?

LES ROBERTS: Sure. That’s a great question. And you’re right. In Iraq, there is a huge difference in death rates between, for example, the Kurdish north, which is relatively safe, and the Sunni Triangle, where the death rates are extremely high. And what we did was we got a population estimate of every government, from the Iraqi government, and we randomly allocated these 50 clusters that we were to go visit proportional to the population in each of those governments, so that, if in the Kurdish north there is only 20% of the population living in the couple safest provinces, we would naturally end up with a sample that’s 20% or so from that zone.

And then, once we had picked that we were going to visit two or three neighborhoods in a certain governance or province, we would then make a list of all the villages and towns and cities, and again randomly pick one of those to visit, so that big places had a larger chance of being visited than smaller places. And then, finally, when we got down to the village level or to the section of a city, we would pick a house at random, visit it and the other 39 houses closest to it to grab a cluster of 40 houses. And luckily, in the analysis, we can sort of look at how much variation there was between clusters.

And when we reported this, we didn’t say it was 655,000 deaths. We said it was 655,000 deaths, and we’re 95% sure it’s between about 400,000 and 950,000. And that range of imprecision is capturing that variance between neighborhoods that you described, some places having a lot of violence, and some not. So there is less than a 2 percent chance that the number is well below 400,000. So, you know, it’s not precise. It’s incredibly hard to do this kind of work in times of war, and I think that this is awfully good, given the conditions.

AMY GOODMAN: Les Roberts, there are some, like a very much quoted analyst, Anthony Cordesman, who are saying this is just a matter of politics. You released this study right before the election. This isn’t science. It’s politics.

LES ROBERTS: Well, if I’m not mistaken, Anthony Cordesman was formerly a Pentagon official, and, you know, I think he probably has a political lens in what he says. But this study has been underway for most of a year, in terms of organizing and getting it all together. It was done in June through July. It took some time to get the data out of Iraq, because of the logistical troubles of moving people in and out. We analyzed it carefully. We submitted it to The Lancet quite a while ago, and The Lancet had control over when this came out.

And I think this is just a lose-lose situation. You know, if this had come out two weeks ago, people would be saying the same thing. If this came out in the months after or the two months after the next election, people in Iraq would see this as very political in timing. So, you know, any time within a several month window here, we were going to get this accusation, and I just think it’s bunk.

And more importantly, is it true? It is easy -- it’s going to be very easy for a couple of reporters to go out and verify our findings, because what we’ve said is the death rate is four times higher. And a reporter will only have to go to four or five different villages, go visit the person who takes care of the graveyard and say, “Back in 2002, before the war, how many bodies typically came in here per week? And now, how many bodies com in here?” And actually, most graveyard attendants keep records. And if the number is four times higher, on average, you’ll know we’re right. If the numbers are the same, you’ll know we’re wrong. It is going to be very easy for people to verify this and get all of this talk about whether it’s political out of the way, because the fundamental issue is, a certain number of Iraqis have died, and if our leaders are saying it’s ten times lower than it really is, we are driving a wedge between us and the Middle East.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Les Roberts, I saw you Upstate New York a while ago, after your first study came out, and you commented on how little it was commented on or picked up here in this country, though cited all over the world. But now you have the report out in The Lancet, and you have the President Bush responding to it, even if he is discounting it. You’ve got General Casey responding to it. What about the U.S. press looking at these figures?

LES ROBERTS: You know, I think that -- this is just my opinion -- the U.S. press sort of follows public opinion. It doesn’t necessarily lead it, except in a few circumstances, like AIDS in Africa. And the public is ready to think, “Wow, things might be going badly in Iraq.” And I don’t think the public was ready to say that two years ago.

And so, when this study came out, Tony Blair was asked three times -- I’m sorry, the 2004 study came out, Tony Blair was asked three times in the week that followed, ‘What do you think of this estimate that 100,000 Iraqis had died in the first 18 months of occupation?” No one asked George Bush about how many civilians had died or about our study for 14 months after the study came out. And then, when he was asked, it was just by a member of the public in a forum in Philadelphia.

And now, within about four hours of the study coming out, he was asked directly, he was forced to respond, there was a dialogue going on. So, I think that the nation, as a whole, is more ready to honestly talk about Iraq, and that’s led the press to be more able to honestly talk about Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Les Roberts, thanks very much for joining us, co-author of the study on civilian mortality in Iraq since the invasion. He was with Johns Hopkins when he co-authored the study, has just moved on to Columbia University.

This report supports the main idea in Empire of Disorder that the US is unable to provide protection to the people of the invaded country. Yet Bush continued to make speeches that suggest that US troops will be in Iraq for many years. Will the American people really allow him to get away with this?

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In an article in yesterday's Sunday Times, Simon Jenkins argues that the US troops are unable to provide security to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2404365,00.html

General Sir Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff and head of the army... shares the overwhelming view among defence experts that British lives are still being sacrificed in Iraq because Blair lacks the guts to stand up to George Bush. Staying another five years would be counter-productive and serve no British interest. Yet Blair kept saying he would remain “until the job is done”. What job? There can be no progress without security and Iraq outside Kurdistan has become, under coalition supervision, a worse bloodbath than under Saddam Hussein, whether or not 500 people are dying each day as recently reported. For Blair to imply that things are getting better is a lie.

Worse, as Dannatt points out, “our presence exacerbates the security problem”. We were not invited — “we kicked the door in” — and as occupiers we are no longer welcome. The British are not even policing Iraq, merely guarding bases and venturing on occasional patrols that offer target practice for passing mujaheddin.

This does no more than echo what American field generals were reporting as long ago as September 2003, six months after the invasion. According to Bob Woodward’s book State of Denial, they demanded an immediate transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis. Swift withdrawal, they said, “would enhance the security situation because the Iraqis don’t like occupation”. Staying would become a focus for insurgency. Never did soldiers speak truer words...

Dannatt’s interviews have gone far beyond these matters. Reporting army dissatisfaction in Monday’s Guardian, Max Hastings wrote that “no one seriously suggests that serving officers should be permitted publicly to question the usefulness of staying in Iraq”. Dannatt has given himself just that permission. He broke the “omerta” under which British officers have laboured ever since Bush trapped Blair at Crawford back in April 2002. They have had to fight a proxy war for the Pentagon over which they had no control or even influence. They have seen their hearts-and-minds work in the south ruined by the ineptitude of US troops and officials in the north. Policy had been ruled by America’s political timetable, the next event being the congressional election on November 7.

The debate on Iraq is approaching the point it should have reached in 2003: how best to extend partition from Kurdistan to the Sunnis and Shi’ites and thus minimise civil conflict. The constitution provides for it, offering Blair a crucial exit strategy later this year. In May in Baghdad, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, told Blair that he wanted British forces out of the south by the end of the year. Frightened of what Bush would say if he took Maliki at his word, Blair refused this gift horse.

Offered a chance for a dignified military withdrawal and a handover to an elected Iraqi government, he parroted Bush’s line about craven surrender to terrorism and “finishing the job”.

Dannatt might sensibly have taken this debate forward, rather than publicly questioning the wisdom of the war as such. He is anyway vulnerable to double standards, given his enthusiasm for the war in Afghanistan. Here a decision to send an under-manned ill-equipped expedition with hopeless objectives was made without army protest. Like Iraq it had no relevance to any military threat to Britain and was entirely political: to show that Britain could play a lead role in a newly expanded Nato.

Afghanistan has since proved a carbon copy of Iraq, with lack of security vitiating the winning of local hearts and minds. There is no way that 5,000 British troops, or even 100,000, can protect southern Afghanistan from the mujaheddin. Occupation is the rallying point for insurgency and a stimulus to anarchy — as Dannatt points out in Iraq. If he wants withdrawal from Iraq, why not from Helmand? As head of the army Dannatt enjoys closer access to the prime minister than any public service professional. He may be angry at Blair’s stubbornness but he has privileged conduits for that anger. In going public he has clearly become a hero of exasperated soldiers in the field, as well as of the anti-war lobby at home (and possibly of the pusillanimous cabinet).

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I've never really understood the reasoning that says that around 30,000 NATO and US troops have a better chance of 'pacifying' Afghanistan than 300,000 Soviet troops did. I know that 'we' are better than 'them', but ten times better? What seems to have happened is the same as happened under Soviet occupation - the outsiders do deals with various local warlords to buy time and the illusion of control. You could argue that initially the Soviet Union brought more benefits in terms of investments in infrastructure, schools, hospitals, etc, but most of those benefits were shelled and bombed out of existence in the civil wars that followed Soviet withdrawal. What's to stop the same happening again?

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Recent published information shows how Bush and Blair are creating disorder in Iraq. An estimated 365,000 people have fled from Iraq so far this year. UN monitors report 2,000 a day crossing the Syrian border. A third of Iraq’s professional class have fled to Jordan. One of the major concerns of these people is the dismantling of the secular society established by the previous regime. For example, over a hundred lecturers at Baghdad University alone have been murdered. Most of these were killed because they have allowed women to attend their classes. It is now considered inflammatory for women in Iraq to walk the streets unveiled.

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Three excerpts from Cook's article:

Much of the world's history over the last century has been dominated by the United States. But by the turn of the millennium in 2000-2001, the “American Century” had begun to descend into a chamber of horrors.

The years since then have been marked by the huge financial bubbles engineered by the U.S. Federal Reserve System and the virus of predatory global capitalism. We have the looming worldwide economic crisis with rising bankruptcies, credit disruptions, and soaring fuel and food prices. Alongside has been the thinly-disguised but continuing attempt by the U.S. to conquer the Middle East by force of arms under the heading of the “War on Terror.”

....With the killing of Kennedy, the dogs of war were unleashed. After America's disastrous war in Vietnam ended in 1975, President Jimmy Carter tried to introduce a policy of civility and restraint in domestic and world political affairs, but he was swept away in the election of 1980 by the “Reagan Revolution,” whose catastrophic legacy we see today.

President Ronald Reagan set in motion the current mudslide of worldwide cataclysms through his huge military build-up, the “Reagan doctrine” of proxy warfare in third-world countries, the pathologically paranoid Strategic Defense Initiative—“Star Wars”—program, and the deregulation of the financial industry. Since our economy is the largest in the world, such action was bound to affect every other nation in making them subservient to the U.S. bankers and financiers who organized themselves in such institutions as David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission.

Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, did little to stem the tide of barbarism. He completed the destruction of the U.S. as an industrial democracy by signing the legislation for NAFTA and opening the floodgates to foreign control of U.S. business. He also completed the deregulation of the financial industry by repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which had prohibited the merger of investment and deposit banks. But Clinton still was attacked by the right-wing who wanted him to unleash a new military assault against Iraq.

When George W. Bush became president in 2000, the grand strategy of Middle East occupation was facilitated by the skillful exploitation of the 9/11 attacks as the excuse for military mobilization to be financed by the housing bubble and the forced sale of U.S. Treasury debt to foreign investors. The historic jack-up of petroleum prices—including the most recent ones that have brought gas at-the-pump in the U.S. to $4 a gallon—are clearly a de facto tax on the American public to pay for these wars.

It has become obvious in recent months—even as Bush et. al. plot a possible attack on Iran before the end of his presidency—that the rest of the world is heartily sick of U.S. arrogance. Even our allies in NATO have refused to allow us to build a defensive missile shield virtually to the borders of Russia.

....What we may be seeing—even as the U.S. military has extended its reach to the insertion of uniformed personnel in 135 nations—is the end of the Anglo-American Empire and the birth of a multi-polar world. It appears that the more level-headed among the U.S. and worldwide elite are tilting toward Barack Obama as the best choice to manage America's inevitable decline.

This decline is by no means a bad thing. Through graceful acceptance, America may even have a chance someday to regain its soul. A good place to start would be to establish a National Historical Truth Commission to investigate such historical puzzles as the real causes of U.S. entrance into the wars of the past century; assassinations—such as JFK, Senator Paul Wellstone, and JFK, Jr.; and 9/11. Another worthwhile proposal is for a tribunal on “International and Domestic Crimes Committed by High U.S. Government Officials,” which will be discussed at a national conference planned for Andover, Mass., in September.

Full article: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/index.php?na...le&sid=5263

About the author: http://www.richardccook.com/author.php

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