[OPE] Wars of necessity, wars of choice

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Sat Jun 06 2009 - 09:43:04 EDT

>From President Obama's Cairo speech (4 May 2009):

"Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban
with broad international support [JB - actually, the support for the war
against terror with the ism dropped off was lacklustre, because you cannot
really fight things that don't exist]. We did not go by choice; we went
because of necessity [there was no necessity to invade Afghanistan, and
doing so was illegal under international law]. I'm aware that there's still
some who would question or even justify the events of 9/11 [JB - yes, like,
what really happened there!?]. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly
3,000 people on that day [it is not clear at all, and not proven, who killed
these people; far more people die of road accidents with gas-guzzling SUVs].

"Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan
[JB - of course not, people should do what they are told, without involving
US armed forces]. We see no military -- we seek no military bases there
[JB - slight slip of the tongue: the significance or advantage of
controlling Afghanistan is not really military, but has to do with the
geopolitical strategy of the oil business which Mr Bush wished to commit the
American state to, "lock, stock and barrel"]. It is agonizing for America
to lose our young men and women [JB - the losses of American personnel
compared to the losses of the local population are tiny]. It is costly and
politically difficult to continue this conflict [but he fails to explain in
that case what the gain is, what is so important about this, it remains
hidden]. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we
could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and
now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can [JB -
but, those people exist all over the world!]. But that is not yet the case
[the more Pakistanis and Afghans they butcher, the worse the problem gets].

"Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong
differences in my country and around the world [JB - the use of the term
"war of choice" is a way of covering up an illegal "pre-emptive war"].
Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately [JB - "ultimately"
in the sense that this can be proved only long after we are all dead] better
off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in
Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build
international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible
[understatement of the year: a million Iraqi and Afghan deaths have occurred
as a result of this particular war]. (Applause.)

"Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope
that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use
our power the greater it will be." [JB - i.e. real power means that
authority is obeyed, without having to enact any sanctions or use force].
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better
future -- and to leave Iraq to Iraqis [JB - in other words, it's
responsible not to leave Iraq to the Iraqis, and not responsible to permit
them to choose their own destiny]. And I have made it clear to the Iraqi
people -- (applause) -- I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we
pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources [JB - but the
bases remain, planes fly in and out, US corporations rule, and the economy
would collapse without American aid; the US can moreover hardly threaten
force against Iran, and say it will withdraw from Iraq at the same time].

"Iraq's sovereignty is its own [JB - funny turn of phrase: how could Iraq's
sovereignity not be its own? Perhaps this is a reference to Brezinski's plan
for "symbolic sovereignity"?]. And that's why I ordered the removal of our
combat brigades by next August [JB - but the rest of the troops, advisors
and mercenaries stay]. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's
democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities
by July, and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012 [JB - but the
whole Iraqi army remains under the tutelage of the US armed forces anyway].
(Applause.) We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its
economy [JB - the dependence on the US is locked in legally, politically,
militarily and commercially]. But we will support a secure and united Iraq
as a partner, and never as a patron [JB - the US is, as it were, married to
Iraq, but Iraq is not its employee, well... except for the oil and some of
its other business there]."

What you can see in this speech very clearly is, how the political class
spins a story out of the spontaneous good intentions that people have, in
order to justify their own policy as credible, while at the same time the
real motives of the policy are hidden and unspoken. It's a sort of
seduction, but as in any seduction, the statements are not actually coherent
or factual, and their surface plausibility is only utilised to shift an
attitude in the here and now. It's not necessarily that the masses are to
stupid to understand (the Kojčve theory of necessary elitism), but that if
the truth gets out, it could cause a lot of trouble.

In their own circles, however, the "warm fuzzies" are dispensed with, and
the discussion is much more "technical". Here's a clip from Brezezinski in

"If what I am talking about is to be done, the road will have to lead
through the Middle East. The road to a larger Europe is through the Middle
East, because only American and European cooperation on Iraq will resolve
that problem and each has to help the other. The Europeans at some stage
have to participate not verbally, but with money and men. And Americans have
to reconsider their position on such issues as sovereignty for Iraq. It's
ridiculous for us to be arguing that we cannot give sovereignty to Iraq
because Iraq is not yet ready. When will it be ready? And what is
sovereignty in this day and age? Sovereignty is a concept, but it's a
relative concept. If there was declared a provisional government of Iraq, we
could give it symbolic sovereignty and it would help it to gain legitimacy,
thereby reducing the need for an assertive occupation. We need
American-European cooperation on Israel and Palestine, because America has
become too partial and too one-sided and thus is losing credibility as a
mediator. The Europeans can help us, and the Europeans know there is the
need for an assertive solution to that problem which paralyzes the Middle
East and incidentally isolates the United States."

 (from a Keynote Address by Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, at the Inaugural Forum
of the Brzezinski Chair for Strategic Issues in the New Central and Eastern
Europe, Centre for International and Strategic Studies, Washington, October
03, 2003 http://www.csis.org/media/csis/events/031003_brzezinski.pdf ).


PS - I am a modest but regular donor to the Red Cross, the Dutch branch of
which has now sent me a special request to donate money for Pakistan. In
other words, when the armies and policies of the imperialist political class
butcher a lot of people, and make even more homeless and diseased, Joe
Average, the well-intentioned Western citizen, has to be there ready with
the Red Cross "at the bottom of the cliff", and generously fork out of his
dwindling income, to provide extra charity for those poor people, with a
feeling of transcendental fairness as his reward. This is perverse and
insane, fitting only for a Hollywood loony. We help these people best by
resolutely rejecting imperialist intervention. I am not going to be
charitable in this case, because it's a rich people's war against the poor -
and, after all, the Dutch Government is wasting half a billion euros of our
tax money just only on the Joint Strike Fighter project, which is actually
completely ineffective in defending Dutch territory against attack, and
creates only about 1,000 jobs producing useless weaponry. More and more tax
funds which should be used for infrastructural and medical aid are being
used for imperialist militarism, precisely because the rich prove themselves
incapable of organising society other than by military means, and I am not
going to compensate for that with a donation to the Red Cross. If I did so,
I would in fact be agreeing with the imperialist intervention. Mr Bush
committed the US government and other Western governments to "lock in" many
longterm strategic initiatives, which his liberal successors are unable to
undo - all they can do is change the propaganda routine. But let's not be
fooled by the new rhetorics. Within infinite cruelty, they just create more
work for the Red Cross.


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