April 2003


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Human Nature Review <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 28 Apr 2003 17:18:48 +0100
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Human Nature Review  2003 Volume 3: 233-238 ( 28 April )
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Iraq: The Real Agenda. An Interview with Noam Chomsky
Michael Albert

(1) Why did the U.S. invade Iraq, in your view?

These are naturally speculations, and policy makers may have varying motives.
But we can have a high degree of confidence about the answers given by
Bush-Powell and the rest; these cannot possibly be taken seriously. They have
gone out of their way to make sure we understand that, by a steady dose of
self-contradiction ever since last September when the war drums began to beat.
One day the "single question" is whether Iraq will disarm; in today's version
(April 12): "We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass
destruction -- that is what this war was about and is about." That was the
pretext throughout the whole UN-disarmament farce, though it was never easy to
take seriously; UNMOVIC was doing a good job in virtually disarming Iraq, and
could have continued, if that were the goal. But there is no need to discuss
it, because after stating solemnly that this is the "single question," they
went on the next day to announce that it wasn't the goal at all: even if there
isn't a pocket knife anywhere in Iraq, the US will invade anyway, because it is
committed to "regime change." The next day we hear that there's nothing to that
either; thus at the Azores summit, where Bush-Blair issued their ultimatum to
the UN, they made it clear that they would invade even if Saddam and his gang
left the country. So "regime change" is not enough. The next day we hear that
the goal is "democracy" in the world. Pretexts range over the lot, depending on
audience and circumstances, which means that no sane person can take the
charade seriously.

The one constant is that the US must end up in control of Iraq. Saddam Hussein
was authorized to suppress, brutally, a 1991 uprising that might have
overthrown him because "the best of all worlds" for Washington would be "an
iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein" (by then an embarrassment),
which would rule the country with an "iron fist" as Saddam had done with US
support and approval (New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas
Friedman). The uprising would have left the country in the hands of Iraqis who
might not have subordinated themselves sufficiently to Washington. The
murderous sanctions regime of the following years devastated the society,
strengthened the tyrant, and compelled the population to rely for survival on
his (highly efficient) system for distributing basic goods. The sanctions thus
undercut the possibility of the kind of popular revolt that had overthrown an
impressive series of other monsters who had been strongly supported by the
current incumbents in Washington up to the very end of their bloody rule:
Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu, Mobutu, Suharto, and a long list of others, some
of them easily as tyrannical and barbaric as Saddam. Had it not been for the
sanctions, Saddam probably would have gone the same way, as has been pointed
out for years by the Westerners who know Iraq best, Denis Halliday and Hans van
Sponeck (though one has to go to Canada, England, or elsewhere to find their
writings). But overthrow of the regime from within would not be acceptable
either, because it would leave Iraqis in charge. The Azores summit merely
reiterated that stand.

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