Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11

By Francis A. Boyle
Clarity Press, 2004
ISBN: 093286340X
Paperback: 240pp

Reviewed by Tracy McLellan
Online Journal Guest Writer

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June 22, 2004�Anybody who bothers to think about it at all knows that the current war on Iraq is about oil, or even more fundamentally, power. In the modern world oil and power are practically one.

This book explains how September 11, ominously like the Reichstag Fire in Weimar Germany, as Boyle himself points out, is often the pretext the United States uses to justify its Machiavellian power plays in the Middle East and Central Asia, areas of extreme strategic importance. He questions how U.S. intelligence could have failed to stop those attacks given much evidence of their imminence. War upon Iraq, and Afghanistan before it, is one part of what Boyle argues is a premeditated plan to dominate the world�s oil and natural gas resources. This has much less to do with personal consumption than with dominating the world�s economy.

Boyle notes the tremendous logistics involved in moving hundreds of thousands of troops and tons of equipment to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He says this would have required years of preparation rather than the merely prompt reaction to September 11 that history records.

Although there is much blather in the corporate press about competing interests in our supposedly bipartisan system, Boyle cuts through the hyperbole: �Whether by Liberal Imperialists (Carter, et al.; Clinton et al.), Conservative Imperialists (Bush Sr. et al.), or Reactionary Imperialists (Reagan et al.; Bush Jr. et al.), American administrations without exception believe in Imperial America�s �manifest destiny� to rule the World. They are emperors all!� [Boyle�s parentheses]

The foreword serves as an opening statement of sorts, rightfully savaging a long history of U.S. foreign policy as gangsterism. Boyle�s writing is alternatively fiery with rage and indictment, and lawyerly, with much technical language. It is always compelling and free of attacks not supported by the evidence. It is precisely because he builds his case slowly and inexorably on international law, into which he takes long, edifying detours, informing the reader of its evolution, custom, and development that his arguments are so irrefutable. By the penultimate chapter, Boyle makes his summation of legal indictments of U.S. genocide, war crimes, wars of aggression, and violation of international law, rightfully pronouncing the Bush Jr. administration a gang of thugs, robbers, and murderers. The final chapter, a coda really, is a foreboding, questioning the imminence of World War III.

Refreshingly, Boyle finds nothing at all of merit in American imperialism, no trace of sentimentality for flag or country in an imperialism whose genesis he draws to �gangs of European robbers, marauders, and freebooters governed by leaders with social compacts (e.g., William Bradford and the Mayflower Compact).� He posits that just as the U.S. theft of the Spanish colonial empire at the turn of the twentieth century made war with Japan inevitable, �so too, today�s theft of a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states . . . will someday make the Third World War inevitable. The purpose of this book is to explain what happened and why�and what can be done to stop this oncoming Third World War.�

There is strong evidence that Carter encouraged Iraq to invade Iran in 1980 for purely selfish political motives. Administrations as far back as Nixon�s, says Boyle, have exercised a divide and conquer policy toward the countries of the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Iraq, to facility the theft of oil. At the height of cynicism, although not surprising for the capitalist masters, it was left to Clinton to dub this policy �dual containment,� that is each side killing off the other.

The U.S. maintained a fa�ade of neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war but that neutrality was unacceptable under standards of international law, says Boyle, because Iraq was the aggressor. Moreover, beneath the veneer of U.S. neutrality, the United States covertly supported Iraq because of the demise of the U.S.-backed and brutal Shah Pahlavi and rise of Khomeni and Islamic fundamentalism in Iran. It was in this period too that Reagan commissioned Israel to start playing a greater role as the U.S.�s Middle East cop.

Boyle points out troops in the first Gulf War were required by Bush Sr. to receive an experimental vaccine, a �violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation,� because �the Reagan/Bush Sr. administration had knowingly authorized numerous shipments of weapons-specific biological agents to Iraq in wanton violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, obviously in the hope and expectation that Saddam Hussein would develop and use biological weapons against Iran.�

Boyle describes the frightening lengths to which the United States is willing to flex its military muscle. For example, War Secretary Dick Cheney refused to rule out use of nuclear weapons in the first Gulf War. No value of humanity, conscience, reason or decency is allowed to obtrude upon the power lust of what Boyle calls the University of Chicago, Straussian, pro-Israel, Machiavellian/Nietzschean Neocons, Fundies, Feddies, and Con-Artists in the Bush Jr. League administration; nor their forebears.

The book is peppered throughout with anecdotes, observations and descriptions of how the noble democratic foreign policy apparatus really works. It is shameful, quite frankly.

We are witnessing another medieval Crusade by the White, European, Christian colonial powers against the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world organized into about 58 countries, most of whom are or are regarded as People of Color in the racist European mindset, and who happen to legally own the massive oil and natural gas resources . . . the West so desperately craves . . .
The Muslim world has recently witnessed widespread extermination of Muslim Peoples by Western Crusaders and their surrogates in Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and now Afghanistan . . .

Boyle notes that power is often tripped up by its arrogance and hubris as does Paul Wolfowitz in the January 9, 2002 edition of the New York Times:

We�re looking at a transformation of our deterrence posture from an almost exlusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces to a force that includes defenses as well as offenses, that includes conventional strike capabilities as well as nuclear strike capabilities, and includes a much reduced level of nuclear strike capability. [Boyle�s italics]

As Boyle notes here and elsewhere with respect to similar policies: �That statement could be taken to the International Court of Justice and filed against the United States government as an Admission against Interest.� It is also one of many reasons that Bush Jr. has been so adamant in exempting the United States and its agents from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

In its relentless lust for oil and gas around the world, says Boyle, �the United States power elite is now in the process of destroying the entirety of the international legal order that had been established by a predecessor elitist generation running the United States government in the aftermath of and in reaction to the genocidal horrors of the Second World War. Most particularly and especially, this includes [among other things] the United Nations Charter, as well as the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, all of which had heretofore been the bedrock upon which the entirety of the post-World War II international legal order rested.�

Boyle�s readership may have been better served if he toned down the legalistic rhetoric a tad and aimed his prose more at the Everyman. He should have defined several obscure foreign phrases that served as a distraction. Because the book is a collection of essays written over several years it is not as seamless as it might have been. It would be unfair to ask his intellect to stoop to make the hieroglyphics of his endnotes more decipherable. All in all minor flaws next to truth and the justified blaming of the warmongers in the Bush Jr. administration, and their forebears.

Tracy McLellan is an activist and writer living in the Chicago area. You may reach him at

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