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The Splendid Failure of Occupation Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Part 43: The scheme behind the bombardment of Iraq
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Apr 18, 2006, 01:05

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"One of the things that we don't want to do is to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq because in a few days we're going to own that country." --Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News, March 19, 2003

In retrospect, the effective date for U.S. imperialists to destabilize Iraq and attack it at an opportune moment began on August 20, 1988. On that date, Iran had finally accepted a ceasefire offered by Iraq years earlier.

Overview: despite the huge cost in human lives and destruction caused by a senseless war that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia promoted and logistically supported (on the side of Iraq), and which servile Arab Sheikdoms financially kept it going for eight years (Kuwait alone contributed $17 billion), both: Iran and Iraq benefited from that war to build advanced armies. Washington and Tel Aviv took immediate notice of the developing military realities that had the potential to threaten Israel�s superiority in the region.

How can we determine that a long-term, real conspiracy to destabilize Iraq was proceeding apace?

Five months into the Iranian-Iraqi ceasefire, Washington�s planners commenced the harassment of Iraq by offending its president. The method was simple as an idea but elaborate as a scheme: considering the gender mentality of the Arabs, Washington employed a woman to preempt or mitigate a possible reaction by the Iraqi president to the planned offense while maintaining the capacity to deliver the message of germinating hostility.

Thus, in February 1989, U.S. imperialists in coordination with the producers at the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) dispatched a lightweight talking head, Diane Sawyer, to interview President Saddam Hussein. The assertion of a pre-planned stratagem to offend Hussein as a preliminary signal of tougher things to come was all too obvious when Sawyer, implementing precise instructions, brandished a photograph of Hussein taken from an American magazine with a headline saying, �The butcher of Baghdad.� Following the script, Sawyer sheepishly asked Hussein about his opinion. He coherently replied, �That is my photograph�; meaning, the diction over the photograph was a worthless political ploy to provoke him.

The appellation given to Hussein was a direct message that Washington�s erstwhile momentary alliance with Baghdad had ended. So, after many high profile U.S. imperialists (including names such as Bob Dole, Donald Rumsfeld, Wyche Fowler, and countless others) shook hands with the Iraqi president, called him moderate, and wanted to do business with Iraq, the U.S. turned him, overnight, into the �butcher of Baghdad.�

After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Hussein, himself, wondered about America�s name-calling of him with Joseph Wilson (U.S. charge� d�affaires in Iraq after the departure of the infamous: Ambassador April Glasspie.) Hussein to Wilson: �. . . . You are talking about an aggressive Iraq, but if Iraq was aggressive during the Iran war, why did you maintain relations with it?� [1]

�Butcher of Baghdad� Sawyer said; but by considering the history of the ensuing Gulf (War) Aggression in 1991, who was the true butcher of Baghdad and of Iraq: President Saddam Hussein, or President George H.W. Bush? Let us examine the situation.

According to Military Factory website, the United States sustained 269 fatalities. Yet, according to multiple sources, Iraq had sustained hundreds of thousands of civilian and military fatalities. For the sake of argument, if we discard the higher number of 600,000 Iraqis killed (reported in March 1991 by the American-financed but British-based, Center for Strategic & International Studies), and adopt the arbitrary low figure of 100,000 fatalities, the ratio between American and Iraqi fatalities is astounding: 1:371. If that does not qualify President Bush (senior) for the title of an Ustachi-like butcher, then, what else would?

Learning about these facts will not only enhance our understanding of the American genocidal war against Iraq, but would also enable us to frame the issue of the bombardment in its correct contextual milieu. To examine this, I relied on Barton Gellman, a Washington Post writer. There is a reason to choose Gellman, notwithstanding the fact that no revelation could reach the public domain unless by design to demonstrate, post facto, the thinking and unaccountability of the United States, it was extraordinary that a paper nested by Zionists, imperialists, and proselytes of colonialism would publish an article that uncovers the guiding ideology behind that bombardment.

Gellman�s article, Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq; Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets, has another merit: by revealing a specific event, as you will read shortly, Gellman indirectly confirmed the stages of the plan to first entrap and then attack Iraq. While Gellman cited the ending stage of that plan, by now it should not be difficult to insert the preceding stages, which in ascending order were:

  • In 1981, Israel bombarded the construction site of Iraq�s nuclear reactor, Osirak, at the highest point of the Iraq-Iran conflict. Of course, Israel could not have attacked Iraq without American assistance. Signaling deep American involvement in the planning for that bombardment, Dick Cheney sent a gift consisting of photographs captured by U.S. spy satellites of the destroyed reactor to Maj. Gen. David Ivri, head of the Israeli Air Force.) [Source] (In retrospect, Iraq�s national sovereignty, rights for self-defense, and legitimate retaliation, unquestionably required that President Hussein end the war with Iran promptly and unilaterally, and attack the nuclear sites of the Zionist settler state that, de facto, declared war against Iraq by attacking its territory.)

  • Iran Contra Affair (mid 1980s), whereas the United States pretending neutrality in the Iran-Iraq conflict, was supplying both belligerents (to Iran via Israel but with the mediation of Saudi Arabia via arms trader Adnan Khashoggi) with military hardware to continue the war. (Again, in retrospect and considering the exposed game of Washington and Israel, both Iraq and Iran should have stopped hostilities immediately.)

  • Sawyer�s interview, as I explained previously.

  • Manipulation of Kuwait�s oil price and quota production to thwart Iraq�s economic recovery, and U.S.-Kuwaiti coordination to harass Iraq to the point of inducing it to attack its former territory that Britain severed and made into an �independent� sheikdom under the wings of neocolonialism.

What was the ending stage of the plan to attack Iraq?

In his article, Gellman joined all pieces of the sequential plan to attack Iraq. He writes, �Preliminary planning for the bombing campaign began before Iraq even invaded Kuwait last Aug. 2. A war game last July at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, based on a notional "Southwest Asia contingency" with Iraq as the aggressor, identified 27 strategic targets in Iraq, according to a senior intelligence official. Revisions by analysts beginning five days after the invasion built the lists to 57 and then 87 strategic targets, not including the Iraqi forces in Kuwait.� [Italics added]

Among all the items I placed in Italics, two phrases, the �Preliminary planning for the bombing campaign began before Iraq even invaded Kuwait ," and �not including the Iraqi forces in Kuwait� are incontrovertibly indicative of the strategic aim of the United States: the destruction of Iraq and not the liberation of Kuwait that was yet to be invaded. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, President George H. Bush claiming Mussolinian dictatorial powers, made the prospected war a personal matter, disparaged the Congress and public opinion, wrapped himself in theological righteousness, and declared in irreversible terms his intent to attack Iraq by saying, �It boils down to a very moral case of good versus evil, black versus white. If I have to go to war, it�s not going to matter to me if there isn�t even one congressman who supports this, or what happens to public opinion. If it�s right, it�s gotta be done� [2] [Italics added]

It is beside the point to state that, considering the global objectives of the United States and its Israeli masters, the strategic aim I just mentioned could not have existed, subsisted, and continued to be a central U.S. policy toward Iraq without the ubiquitous presence of Zionists at the inner core of the ruling American establishment. Having stated the above, what other key findings did Gellman report on the bombardment of Iraq?

Part 2 of Gellman�s findings:

  • �By the time the gulf war started on Jan. 17, according to sources with access to the target list, slightly more than 400 sites had been targeted in Iraq.� [Italics added]

  • �With the benefit of additional intelligence gathered during the war and additional bombing capacity -- the number of B-52 bombers was increased twice and the number of F-117A "stealth" fighters grew to 42 -- the list expanded to more than 700 targets. They were divided into 12 sets: leadership; command, control and communications; air defense; airfields; nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; railroads and bridges; Scud missiles; conventional military production and storage facilities; oil; electricity; naval ports; and Republican Guard forces� [Italics added].

  • �Most of those target sets were not controversial. Recent questions have centered on two categories: electrical and oil facilities. [Italics added]

Gellman abandoned his objectivity and embraced a personal ideological bent, which, in this case, coincides with imperialism. In fact, what were the criteria upon which Gellman decreed that, �most of these targets were not controversial�? Did any U.N. resolution authorize a target list? Was the objective of the war resolution to liberate Kuwait or destroy specific targets in Iraq? Moreover, because that war was the product of consensus among four nuclear powers (the U.S., USSR, U.K, and France) with proven records of imperialism and colonialism, then all targets that the U.S. hit in Iraq were illegitimate and their hitting derived from a finality residing solely in the ideology of a totalitarian imperium and the objectives of racist Zionism.

  • �Of the 700 or so identified targets, 28 were "key nodes" of electrical power generation, according to Air Force sources. The allies flew 215 sorties against the electrical plants, using unguided bombs, Tomahawk cruise missiles and laser-guided GBU-10 bombs. [Italics added]

  • At least nine of the allied attacks targeted transformers or switching yards, each of which U.S. analysts estimated would take about a year to repair -- with Western assistance. In some cases, however, the bombs targeted main generator halls, with an estimated five-year repair time. The Harvard team, which visited most of Iraq's 20 generating plants, said that 17 were damaged or destroyed in allied bombing. Of the 17, 11 were judged total losses.� [Italics added]

  • �Now nearly four months after the war's end, Iraq's electrical generation has reached only 20 to 25 percent of its prewar capacity of 9,000 to 9,500 megawatts. Pentagon analysts calculate that the country has roughly the generating capacity it had in 1920 -- before reliance on refrigeration and sewage treatment became widespread.� [Italics added]

  • "The reason you take out electricity is because modern societies depend on it so heavily and therefore modern militaries depend on it so heavily," said an officer involved in planning the air campaign. "It's a leveraged target set." [Italics added]

  • �The �leverage� of electricity, from a military point of view, is that it is both indispensable and impossible to stockpile. Destroying the source removes the supply immediately, and portable backup generators are neither powerful nor reliable enough to compensate. [Italics added]

  • �But two weeks into the air campaign, Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded allied forces during the gulf war, said "we never had any intention of destroying 100 percent of all the Iraqi electrical power" because such a course would cause civilians to "suffer unduly." [Italics added]

  • Pentagon officials declined two written requests for a review of the 28 electrical targets and explanations of their specific military relevance.� [Italics added]

  • "People say, 'You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage,' " said the planning officer.� Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions -- help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions." [Italics added]

  • �Col. John A. Warden III, deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime." [Italics added]

  • "Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage." [Italics added]

  • �Said another Air Force planner: "Big picture, we wanted to let people know, 'Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity.' " [Italics added]
  • �Lt. Gen. Charles A. Horner, who had overall command of the air campaign, said in an interview that a "side benefit" was the psychological effect on ordinary Iraqi citizens of having their lights go out.� [Italics added]

  • Attacks on Iraqi oil facilities resulted in a similar combination of military and civilian effects.

  • �Air Force sources said the allies dropped about 1,200 tons of explosives in 518 sorties against 28 oil targets. The intent, they said, was "the complete cessation of refining" without damaging most crude oil production. [Italics added]

  • �Warden, the Air Force strategist, said the lack of refined petroleum deprived Iraq's military of nearly "all motive power" by the end of the war. He acknowledged it had identical effects on civilian society. [Italics added]

  • Among the targets were major storage tanks; the gas/oil separators through which crude oil must pass on its way to refineries; the distilling towers and catalytic crackers at the heart of modern refineries; and the critical K2 pipeline junction near Beiji that connects northern oil fields, an export pipeline to Turkey and a reversible north-south pipeline inside Iraq.

  • �Of Iraq's three large modern refineries, the 71,000 barrel-a-day Daura facility outside Baghdad and the 140,000 barrel-a-day Basra plant were badly damaged early in the war, according to a forthcoming report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. But James Placke, the report's author, said in an interview that the 300,000 barrel-a-day refinery at Beiji in northern Iraq -- far from the war's main theater of operations -- was not bombed until the final days of the air campaign.�

  • Horner, the three-star general who was ultimately responsible for the air campaign, said the bombing's restraint was evidenced by the decision not to destroy crude oil production, "the fundamental strength of that society." Even so, he said, the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians was "terrifying and certainly saddening." [Italics added]

  • "To say it's the fault of the United States for fighting and winning a war, that's ludicrous," he said. "War's the problem. It's not how we fought it or didn't fight it. I think war's the disaster." [Italics added]

What Horner said was pure political demagogical rubbish. War is not a self-sustained mechanism: people plan and execute it. To prove Horner�s demagogy, consider this: a person kills another, but then shouts, �I did not kill any one, the gun did it.

Having explored thus far U.S. determination to attack Iraq even before it invaded Kuwait, and having established the ideology to destroy vital civilian and military infrastructures during the military phase of the aggression, we must now ask, what was the extent of measures U.S. planners sought to asphyxiate Iraq as a working nation and as a society? And to what extent did American Modified and Accepted Hitlerism (as an ideological tool of U.S. imperialism) play in the execution of Iraq�s destruction?

As we shall answer these two questions (Part 44) by bringing in Thomas J. Nagy (Associate Professor of Expert Systems at George Washington University) Ramsey Clark (former Attorney General), and others. I believe we can already begin drawing a few preliminary conclusions.

First, based on the rejection of all proposals advanced by Iraq, the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and France to resolve the standoff, the spasmodic intentionality for war is a solid fact, meaning U.S. imperialism had an agenda that exploits regional conflicts to further its interest and impose its hegemonic tentacles around the globe. Nevertheless, the decision for war could not find exclusive explanations solely in the objectives of American imperialism. A decisive factor, as we shall explore that in the upcoming parts, is Zionism because of its history in the Middle East. Any study of the Gulf War Aggression, therefore, would be partial and inconclusive if we exclude the Zionist factor in American politics and decision-making and pretend that Zionism and Iraq is a matter of perception.

Second, because U.S. planners were intent on obliterating Iraq as a nation through the decimation of population, destruction of the industrial base, polluted air, contaminated water, unsafe food, lack of electricity, broken health system, and by impeding postwar recovery, it is a historical responsibility to proclaim that the United States as a system goes beyond Nazism. For instance, in my research of the Third Reich�s occupation of France during WWII, I could not find any German document or plan that envisaged the destruction of France as a nation. By contrast, in Iraq a fascist United States in full swing was aiming at premeditated genocide without hesitation.

Third, the scheme to inflict immeasurable destruction in every sector of Iraqi life just because Iraq invaded Kuwait and just because the United States wanted to end that occupation, according to its imperialist ideology, is not hard to explain. To do that, however, we need to see with a critical eye that vast gestalt called the American bombardment of Iraq and its motivations from all possible views.

Next: Part 44: Burning the cradle of civilization


[1] Pierre Salinger, Secret Dossier, Penguin Books, 1991, p. 141

[2] Bob Woodward, The Commanders, Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 353

B. J. Sabri is an Iraq-American antiwar activist. Email:

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The Splendid Failure of Occupation
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Part 45: How the U.S. engineered the Iraqi holocaust
Part 44: Burning the cradle of civilization
Part 43: The scheme behind the bombardment of Iraq
Part 42: Postwar aftermath or imperialist mutatis mutandis?
Part 41: The choice: obedience or annihilation
Part 40: A one-way bombardment called Gulf War
Part 39: Iraq: The second stage of conquest
Part 38: Inside America's lab of horror
Part 37: Iraq, America�s Lab of Horror
Part 36: George Bush occupies Iraq
Part 35: When an American Hulagu invades Mesopotamia
Part 34: Iraq, another chapter of American fascism, colonialism, and extermination
Part 33: Facing East: Iraqi hating and empire building*
Part 32: From Alexander Hamilton and Iroquois to George Bush and Iraqis
Part 31: Achtung! We can invent a pretext to conquer you
Part 30: Iraq Occupation, pretext, encroachment, and colonialism
Part 29: Iraq Occupation, anatomy of pretext
Part 28: Imperialist expansions and 9/11
Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11