The Splendid Failure of Occupation
Part 30: Iraq Occupation, pretext, encroachment, and colonialism
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 26, 2005, 13:57

�Now we know where Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) thinks the weapons of mass destruction are buried: in Syria, which he said he'd like to nuke to smithereens. Speaking at a veterans' celebration at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas, on Feb. 19, Johnson told the crowd that he explained his theory to President Bush and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) on the porch of the White House one night. Johnson said he told the president that night, "Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on 'em and I'll make one pass. We won't have to worry about Syria anymore." �The crowd roared with applause.��Washington, D.C. Journalist, Jackson Thoreau�s article: Texan Republican Congressman: "Nuke Syria" [Italics added]

�I know what I�ve told you I�m going to say. And what else I say, well, I�ll take some time to figure out�figure that out��President George H. W. Bush at a joint news conference with President Louis Alberto Lacalle of Uruguay, on the message he was planning to deliver to former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, 12/4/1990 [Bushisms, editors of the New Republic, Workman Publishing, page 54]

Former President George H.W. Bush, when running for the office, had a serious image problem. The press called him a �wimp,� and a former president (Jimmy Carter) called him �effeminate� on the Larry King Show during the presidential campaign of 1988. Even so, by wrapping himself with the flag, and by his TV advertisement on prison inmate Willie Horton, a polluted Boston harbor, and a goofy Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, riding in a military tank, Bush became the 41st president of the United States.

Bush, the epitome of intellectual ineptitude, continued to have that same problem as president. His image as a �wimp� kept lingering in a society that reveres the trivial and dwells on the inconsequential. Arguably, to erase that ungraceful image, but effectively to expand the cause of American imperialism, George H.W. Bush attacked Panama and Iraq where he murdered over 4,000 Panamanians and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It is not excludable that Bush, having his image detractors in mind, took a non-negotiable military stance against Panama and Iraq to demonstrate his �masculinity� and Texas-acquired �toughness.�

Commenting on the scale of mayhem that Bush 41 inflicted on Iraq in 42 days of bombardment and 100 hours of ground war, Time Magazine, The New York Times, talking heads, and media across the United States cynically exclaimed that George H.W. Bush proved he was no wimp! One implication of such ideologically motivated appraisal of personality traits is that if the imperialist media perceives a president as a wimp, he should be encouraged to absolve himself from that charge by selecting an enemy and then go war. According to this fascistic reasoning, a �war by choice� would reconfirm U.S. world leadership and convey resolve.

Generally, a �war by choice� would also imply that an American president has a license to exercise imperial despotism in foreign affairs, the right to crush weak and small nations at will, and psychological readiness to use violence when imperialism needs it. Specifically, a �war by choice,� the inductive reasoning goes on, would demonstrate to America�s adversaries an unquestionable toughness (read �masculinity�) through willful military confrontations.

In short, the induction�s ultimate objective is to identify U.S. wars or interventions with masculinity and martial qualities. In this case, when confronted with international crises, a president of the United States, although he is only the executive manger of plans laid by special interests, must demonstrate his willingness to go to war as a test for his �masculinity.� In other words, the ruling class and related media have become the guardians of the masculinity concept and its interpretations. This self-given position would provide them, in the end, with the means to gauge, elevate, or degrade political personalities in accordance with a specific �yardstick of masculinity� to assess the willingness of presidents to carry out decidedly imperialist objectives.

Invariably, as I shall explain shortly, transforming wars of imperialism from what they are into abstract personal attributes of sexuality (specifically, male sexuality, including chauvinism, aggression, etc.). is a precise political scheme. You can see this clearly when political analysts and writers call U.S. wars, Truman�s war, Bush�s war, etc. This personalization has one distinct outcome: it emphasizes the masculine ego, hence an exaggerated sense of manhood as expression of positive sexual identity. (I excluded femininity factors from this analysis, because a militarized society, such as U.S. society, does not want to see a woman as a commander-in-chief. For the record, U.S. military were livid at the prospect that Geraldine Ferraro would become president should Walter Mondale, if elected, die while in office.)

Did the perception of �wimp� play a crucial role in inducing George H.W. Bush to order the mass murder of Iraqis? This is hard to guess at, nor is this a forum to psychoanalyze Bush 41. Nevertheless, aside from imperialism or colonialism as a trigger for violence, power and sex, self-doubt, inferiority or superiority complex, the desire to counter negative perceptions by others, or accusation of timidity is definitely a potential co-factor in advocating violence as a solution for international problems. Throughout history, power in all forms, personality perceptions, sexual violence as spoils of war, and bodily violence, are all connected and have shaped myriad circumstances in societies, thus determining the behaviors of emperors, kings, presidents, senators, dictators, or policy makers.

Moreover, unbalanced personalities (regardless of emotional origin) in positions of command have always committed aggressions and brought disasters, wars, destruction just to prove their futile quest for valor or to hide misdeeds. Napoleon, Custer, Sherman, McKinley, Hitler, Mussolini, Truman, Stalin, Saddam, Begin, and many others are but a few examples of such a personality. Bill Clinton is another example of psychopathic aggressiveness where foreign policy options mingle with sex. Clinton attacked Iraq in a mini-war simply to divert attention from his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

As for George H.W. Bush, it must not be forgotten that it was a woman with a �masculine� obstinacy, Margaret Thatcher, who influenced a perceived �wimp,� to act �manly� and take an immediate militarist approach to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait [Bush-Thatcher meeting, Colorado, summer of 1990.)

Based on studies of U.S. wars, one cannot but notice that the constant reference to soldiers� courage and other glorifying flatteries is loaded with sexual allusions. This reference transforms the concept of war as a means to exercise violence to a gratifying experience similar to sexual arousal and contentment. Within this indoctrination to view war as an unbridled opportunity for sexual expressions of masculinity, U.S. soldiers in Iraq are providing the best example, which is, American violence abroard has become a sexually oriented enterprise to discharge alienation, hate, anger, prejudice, and fear.

As per disclosed information from the American prison camps in Iraq, we learnt that the Pentagon itself has encouraged sexual violence as a method of counter-insurgency. Planned sexual incitement to intensify hostility and predisposition to aggression is, therefore, a potent psycho-ideological imperialist tool that presidents or soldiers alike can use at will. Parading naked inmates, leashing them, raping them, and forcing them to perform sexual aberrations, are all expression of a line of command and mentality that goes from the president down and implicates the majority of the American society.

How does all this relate to the ongoing war against Iraq and the pretext to continue occupying it? As far as it concerns violence with sexual connotations, the relation is dialectical, i.e., the U.S. of George W. Bush is intentionally exercising the sex aberration options as a part of war. Of course, George W. Bush�s Iraqi agenda is not about sex or masculinity. These are only instruments of humiliation in the hands of the occupiers. Nevertheless, Bush provided his soldiers with a set of sexually oriented standards to motivate them.

Learning from his father�s image problems, he sought to project the image of a daring and uninhibited man. That it is why when Bush 43 gave his order to attack Iraq, he uttered the phrase: �Let�s go!� But, �let�s go,� is an imperative command that when used in military settings, it means an undisputed order, hence, it conveys unilateral toughness. Toughness among the military is associated with strength and �masculinity.� Bush�s exclamation, however, goes beyond �masculinity� or its immediate interpretations. He described his war against Iraq by specifically evoking a stereotyped impression of an American male, that is, a male imagined to be full of bravado and exuding sexual aura. How did he do that? Bush mixed his wars of Zionist colonialism with the projection of expected satisfaction from extreme carnal violence: he dared the Iraqis resisting his Nazi-fascist occupation to attack U.S. soldiers as in his exclamation, �Bring�em on!�

Why does, �Bring�em on,� presuppose sexual connotations? My conclusion is that George W. Bush was demonstrating libido for violence by exaggerating U.S. imperialist testosterone. In essence, Bush 43 was depicting an image of a defiant American male full of vigor and strength; an image that American popular romanticism elevated to an archetype of combined sexual charisma and daredevil heroism. Actively, however, Bush�s defiance was a pretext to intensify his own personal hate and lust for violence against the Iraqis whom he regards as terrorists. The true purpose, however, is too obvious: Bush wants U.S. troops to exercise maximum violence to suppress the Iraqi resistance. If they fail to apply violence, the occupation would fail immediately.

Equally important, did Bush 43 go to Iraq for the sake of violence, for raping Iraqi inmates, or for turning Iraq into an oil depot for American imperialism and Israeli settler colonialism, or maybe to satisfy the greed of empire and its economic-ideological system?

The answer is complex but I can summarize it in a few words. Violence and other aberrations, as supported by the ideology of the invaders, are the consequence but not the cause of military intervention. That is, George W. Bush did not invade Iraq so his soldiers can freely perform sexual perversions, but everything else that I questioned still applies, i.e. he invaded it for oil, Zionism, Israel, capitalism, militarism, Christian fundamentalism, and the ideology of world hegemony.

To make this happen the U.S. created a long-term pretext. We shall examine this pretext through the prism of Desert Storm, or as an American general correctly called it, a �Turkey shoot.� Before the genocidal onslaught of Desert Storm that George H.W. Bush let loose against a developing country already exhausted by a U.S. proxy war against Iran and ruled by dictatorship, there was Desert Shield. What was Desert Shield?

Desert Shield was the master hoax of the 20th century. Under the pretext that Iraq �was about to invade Saudi Arabia� (soon after it invaded Kuwait,) the first Bush administration had immediately managed to form a coalition (although 98 percent of the coalition force was American) of 33 dependent, blackmailed, or imperialist states to send troops to Saudi Arabia to �defend� it against an imaginary �imminent� Iraqi invasion. Did anyone require that the U.S. provide evidence that Iraq was in fact about to invade that country?

Of course, not, just as George W. Bush provided no evidence that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction, his father George H.W. Bush provided no evidence that Saddam intended to invade Saudi Arabia. In both cases, the strategy was plain: Saddam as dictator and America as a virtuous entity and intimidating superpower were reason enough to �believe� in the words of lying presidents. Further, with the exception of Iraq, no one else challenged the �invasion theory� of Saudi Arabia.

Curiously, even Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president whom Reagan and Bush Sr. previously persuaded to dismantle the Soviet block remained cowardly silent in front of that lie. Soviet spy satellites could have exposed U.S. lies easily, but Gorbachev was firmly entrenched inside the imperialist camp, and that is why he remained silent. Why did he remain silent? Let us see. The New York Times reported (spring 1990) that Gorbachev wanted the U.S. to pay him $250 billion to dismantle the USSR and turn it into a capitalist state within 500 days. Gorbachev, a na�ve aspiring capitalist, did not consider why experienced U.S. capitalists should pay that sum of money to dismantle a state already undergoing rapid disintegration! However, in the middle of the mess, which was the collapse of the socialist system in Eastern Europe and Soviet communism, a foolish Saddam invaded Kuwait with U.S. complicity. How does this explain Gorbachev�s silence? Let us see.

Saudi Arabia and the exiled Kuwait ruling family gave Gorbachev a handsome reward for his silence: $5 billion [Source]. The official explanation then was to aid a needy Soviet Union; in reality, it was bribery to mellow Gorbachev into accepting a U.S. planned war on Iraq. But, the Soviet Union shut down its enterprise in December of 1991, so what happened to that $5 billion? I can reinforce my speculation of bribery with the following: why did Saudi Arabia, which had no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union at that time, and who contributed billions of dollars to defeat it in Afghanistan, give that aid, if it were not were to buy out Gorbachev and Edouard Schevernadze?

Did Saddam intend to invade Saudi Arabia? The answer is no. In fact, a few years after the Gulf War, Russia confirmed that Iraq did not amass troops or equipment necessary for invasion, nor conducted any military activity near the Saudi-Kuwait borders, except for some strayed Iraqi military jeeps that entered inside the Saudi desert bearing no border demarcations with Kuwait. Interestingly, in September 1990, a western journalist asked Fahad, the absolutist ruler of Saudi Arabia, if he was sure that Iraq intended to invade his country. Fahad sheepishly replied, �If my friend George Bush said it, then it must be true.�

It is beyond doubt that in 1990 Saddam had no overwhelming military capability to invade Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States, after eight bloody years of war with Iran and his occupation of Kuwait. If Saddam wanted to invade Saudi Arabia, military strategy should have required him to invade it before taking Kuwait. That did not happen. How could this statement be true? Simple, Saddam who could not occupy but a minute swath of Iranian territory in eight years, and who could have lost to Iran easily had it not been for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who financed him, and for Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. who rescued him by supplying Iraq with intelligence, chemical weapons, and military hardware. Most importantly, Saddam Hussein never had any contentions to resolve with the Saudi ruling family.

Historically, if the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait provided the U.S. with the pretext to send its navy to the oil-producing Gulf region, Desert Shield provided the pretext for the first official American military encroachment on Arab soil. Once military operations against Iraq ceased after Saddam�s surrender, encroachment continued with the establishment of permanent military presence, with bases, in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman by using the next tier of pretexts. These included the so-called containment of Iraq, and to monitor the American imposed non-fly zones. The U.S. of Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. used the no-fly zones to infringe on Iraq�s sovereignty and prepare it for the final onslaught.

Incidentally, what was the pretext of Leonid Brezhnev to invade Afghanistan, an invasion that left thousands of Afghani and Soviets dead? What was the pretext of Ferdinando of Aragon and Isabella of Castile to institute the Spanish Inquisition that lasted for over 70 years, which left thousands of Protestants, Muslims, and Jews killed? What was the pretext of Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, an invasion that led to a war that lasted over eight years and which left over one million Iraqis and Iranians killed or maimed?

Briefly, while Brezhnev invoked the principle of �communist internationalist solidarity� with the Afghani communists, Ferdinando claimed the right to purify Spain from non-believers, and Saddam alleged that Iran was interfering in Iraq�s internal affairs. Notice that in each occurrence, pretext was leading the action. Brezhnev acted to counter U.S. imperialism with Soviet expansionism. Ferdinando sought to consolidate his political power by converting to Catholicism, thus invoking the blessing and support of the Vatican. Saddam wanted to replace the Shah of Iran as U.S.-backed strongman in the Middle East to fracture the opposition against his budding dictatorial tendencies and for personal vainglory.

Because pretexts are the operative ideological mechanism that feed U.S. expansionist imperialism, then what pretext did Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Bush fabricate to invade Afghanistan in 2001 and to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003? And if, as the Zionist administration of the United States claimed, Iraq presented immediate danger to the United States that surpassed that of Afghanistan, why did it not invade both countries at the same time? Was Iraq less of �a gathering danger� in 2001 than in 2003? And why did the United States obtain all those U.N. resolutions on Iraq to sanction its occupation, but it did not require them for Afghanistan?

Next: Part 31: Achtung! We can invent a pretext to conquer you

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

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