We begin with an overarching truth: every person harmed by U.S. actions in the Iraqi theater of pre-emptive, unprovoked war represents a crime by the United States against international law and the evolved standards of civilized behavior. The very fact that we are compelled to state such an obvious truth before beginning a communication with a primarily American audience is testimony to just how beastly the political dialogue has become in the "belly of the beast." As the U.S. position in the world becomes more and more untenable, freedom of straightforward speech within the boundaries of the international offender grows more tenuous. So let us say what is true while effective speech is still possible.

The very fluidity of events in Iraq is the greatest evidence to the Bush men's scuttling of the military aspects of Shock and Awe, dating from the first, premature projectile ejaculation against Baghdad on Wednesday, March 19. As detailed in our Cover Story, the Bush men, believing in the supremacy of political ultimatums over military preparedness, "jump started" the attack "for the sake of the dynamic of the conversation within the Bush crowd and their dialogue with white America." The embedded media and a bloodthirsty white public wanted swift and decisive action. It did not matter to the Pirates and their constituency that the invasion force was not ready:

As reported by UPI on Tuesday, March 18, the northern U.S. invasion force, barred from using Turkish territory, would require weeks to pass through the Suez Canal, round the Arabian Peninsula, and steam up the Persian Gulf to Kuwait. As of Ultimatum Day, Monday the 17th, the crucial 101st Airborne Division's helicopters were still being unloaded from ships. The unpacking was not yet finished on Wednesday, March 19, when Bush tried to swat Saddam Hussein. Instead of the meticulously calibrated, rolling advance under and through the smoke and hellfire of Shock and Awe, the Americans and Brits lurched into war, like a driver who can't handle a stick shift.

Shock and Awe failed to roll forward according to super-blitzkrieg design. In the buildup to war, U.S. officers threw around versions of the scene they anticipated would occur within less than a week after the start of the war: "All of a sudden, Saddam's gonna see an American mechanized division outside his window." Instead, U.S. forces are grappling with Iraqi units that range from Republican Guards to farmers. The American war machine will undoubtedly grind them down over time, but the character of the invasion is now utterly different than the planned "race to Baghdad," to be followed by a methodical and highly profitable "reconstruction" of Iraqi society. It is the society that is screaming, in all its wounded components. Embedded Americans cannot hear this, listening as they always do to the sound of their own, inane voices.

Despite the Bush men's core belief that even uncoordinated U.S. arms are sufficient to smash Third Worlders like bugs, American combatants and "embeds" will be forced to learn that there are many Iraqs, and that they will eventually have to fight all of them. When forced to confront the actuality of Kurds, Shi'ites, Sunnis, Turkmen and the various human elements within Iraq's geographic and political boundaries, the Administration will respond in the only way it knows how: racist demonization of the population as a whole.

The uncounted dead

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" is a war of "liberation," say the Bush men, a statement that only the insane believe, amplified by massed, embedded media mimics. Like "no other nation in the world," the U.S. is doing all that it is possible to avoid civilian casualties. Observe our precision bombing, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Note "the humanity that goes into it."

Yet the U.S. has no mechanism even to count the deaths it is inflicting on Iraqi civilians. Former Clinton administration defense official Sarah Sewell writes that the Pentagon has never integrated civilian "collateral damage" assessments into its "lessons learned" process. "We can't claim good intentions and leave it at that," said Sewell in a New York Times op-ed piece:

Despite these reassuring statements, and the fact that the United States has the technology and the sensibility to fight the cleanest war in town, the Pentagon does not study how military force actually affects civilians. For all of its computer simulations and painstaking planning, the Department of Defense has never undertaken a systemic evaluation to determine whether its efforts to spare lives succeed or fail - or what might be done to improve them.

Body counts of whatever accuracy beg the question of who the United States is killing, a low priority consideration for Americans in and out of uniform. CNN's Paula Zahn, dimly aware that chaos, thirst and death stalk the besieged, mostly Shia Muslim city of Basra, roughly three times the size of Cleveland, thinks only of possible U.S. advantage. "Is this the popular revolt that the U.S. has been hoping for?" Zahn wonders.

British bombs are falling on Basra as goes to press. UK commandos range through the city, targeting Saddam's allies - who are not necessarily friends of Britain or the United States, or even allies of Saddam. Cartoonish war propaganda fails to serve the soldier in such circumstances, as the Associated Press reported on March 26:

Maj. Gen. Peter Wall, second in command of British troops, said
Basra's civilians were out in the streets "in significant numbers"
and were "essentially being less compliant with the regime than they are normally."

"We don't know what has spurred them, we don't know the scale, we don't know the scope of it," he said. "We don't know where it will take us."

At least the Brits admit it when they "don't know." Americans simply make up stories that fit the benign national self-image, elaborate fictions that lead inevitably to deadly conflict. So shall it be in the south of Iraq, an area shaded in red on CNN's maps, inhabited by Shi'ites whom the Americans believe hate Saddam Hussein more than they cherish their own dignity. It is an easy idea to assimilate - if one is a racist. The Bush men have built an entire political-military strategy around the notion that Saddam-hate translates as America-love. That's why they bypassed Basra, leaving the city to the Brits, who have resorted to bombing formations of unknown antagonists among the inhabitants.

CNN's Tim Mintier may have unwittingly reached into his Vietnam paradigm book to justify the pounding of Iraq's second largest city. "Basra is a key humanitarian distribution point," said the embed. "This is why it has been made a strategic target." (See Cover Story, "Onward Embedded Soldiers: The corporate media's deputized war coverage.")

Collectively, the massed embeds of the American corporate media are even less than the sum of their ignorant parts.

Amnesia: The American Disease

When selective memory fails to sufficiently blot out reality, Americans retreat into mass amnesia. Avoiding recollection of past defeat, they have forgotten the Iranian revolution to oust the U.S.-backed Shah, led by Shi'ite mullahs. They refuse to remember that it was the United States that encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, starting a war that may have killed one million people, an eight-year-long, poison gas-filled inferno the Iranians call "the American War." They have no sense of the political, family and commercial ties that accompany religious connections between southern Iraq's Shi'ites and Iran's overwhelmingly Shi'ite population of 60 million. Yet the Americans plant their armies on the Iraqi side of the Shatt al-Arab, and declare themselves "liberators" of a grateful population. In the face of the most hostile political conditions imaginable, the U.S. public is encouraged to expect a smooth and profitable occupation... while the Pirates plot to seize Iran's adjacent oil fields.

Iran will try to avoid confrontation with the U.S. Tehran professes a firm neutrality, and has so far downplayed alleged American over flights of Iranian territory. But In the longer term, official Iranian intentions do not matter. The momentum of U.S. involvement in Iraq will inexorably bring war with Iran.

As corporate media embeds join Bush's Pirates to rewrite the history of the Persian Gulf for comfortable American consumption - in anticipation of soon redrawing the region's political map, as well - we turn to the excellent journal, Aspects of India's Economy, December 2000. In "The Iran-Iraq War: Serving American Interests," the journal reminds us that the U.S. has treated Iran as an enemy ever since that nation liberated itself from the Shah. Saddam Hussein served as an American proxy:

In 1982, the US State Department removed Iraq from its list of "state sponsors of terrorism", and fought off efforts by the US Congress to put it back on the list in 1985. Most crucially, the US blocked condemnation of Iraq's chemical attacks in the UN Security Council. The US was the sole country to vote against a 1986 Security Council statement condemning Iraq's use of mustard gas against Iranian troops - an atrocity in which it now emerges the US was directly implicated….

The US arranged massive loans for Iraq's burgeoning war expenditure from American client states such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The US administration provided "crop-spraying" helicopters (to be used for chemical attacks in 1988), let Dow Chemicals ship it chemicals for use on humans, seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological exports to Iraq's missile procurement agency to extend the missiles' range (1988). In October 1987 and April 1988 US forces themselves attacked Iranian ships and oil platforms.

Militarily, the US not only provided to Iraq satellite data and information about Iranian military movements, but, as former US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) officers have recently revealed to the New York Times (18/8/02), prepared detailed battle planning for Iraqi forces in this period - even as Iraq drew worldwide public condemnation for its repeated use of chemical weapons against Iran.

Try as we might, it is difficult to conceive of an American occupation of Iraq that does not lead directly to war with Iran, this time involving Russia and China. If armed resistance to the U.S. drags on for months, the countdown to war with Iran will shorten dramatically.

Domestic Program Bombs

Coalition of welfare states

With the exception of the hefty British force and 2,000 Australians, the international "coalition" supporting the U.S. invasion remains a paper alliance - with some names written in invisible ink. Derrick Z. Jackson, who along with the New York Times' Paul Krugman is among the corporate media's best political columnists - the best, from 's perspective - wrote a hilariously biting piece for the March 21 Boston Globe, titled "What Coalition?"

The world's got our back as we try to ''decapitate,'' ''take out,'' excuse me, assassinate Saddam. ''The United States is prepared to lead a coalition of the willing,'' Secretary of State Colin Powell said. ''We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations.'' By wartime, Bush said the list had grown to 35 nations who ''are giving crucial support, from the use of naval and air bases to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units.''

Given how the Unilateral States of America just flushed the United Nations into the East River, it is interesting to see just who has ''got our back.'' When you look at the list, you realize that the actual thing that most of the ''coalition of the willing'' actually said to Bush was, ''You want to assassinate Saddam? Cool, I'm down with that. You got it. Now, I can't exactly be there with you right now, you know what I mean bro, right? You know how it is. My treasury is bankrupt, my people are starving, and I got some rebels to repress. But, hey, you go ahead and take out Saddam. And remember bro, no matter what happens, I got yo' back. Peace."

Having failed to "convince the UN to become the coalition of the willing," wrote Jackson, Bush "settled for a coalition of welfare states."

Writing in Alternet, Ian Williams sees a "precarious coalition" that, "upon closer scrutiny... collapses like a deflated freedom soufflé."

When Secretary of State Colin Powell announced last week that there were 30 countries in the "coalition of the willing," he also referred to "15 other nations, for one reason or another, who do not wish to be publicly named, but will be supporting the coalition." That's just what you need in time of war - 15 allies who are so convinced of your cause that they want to hide their faces!

This weekend we learned who some of these mysterious others are: Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kuwait, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Rwanda, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Uganda and Bulgaria.

To refresh your memory, the original State Department roster of the 30 states included the following: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Britain and Uzbekistan. And that brings the total number of nations supporting the U.S. up to a grand total of 46.

But even these latest additions do little to promote the administration's claims about international diplomatic support.

Prison for Pirates

Congressman John Conyers, dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, is methodically examining the case for a bill of impeachment against George Bush - a monumental task so long as the nation's media remain deputized in the commander-in-chief's wartime service. However, Conyers thinks he has a bead on one of the President's senior Pirates, Richard Perle, a conspirator in the cabal that devised the grand plan for American world hegemony, of which the Iraq invasion is a mere prelude.

Perle is a pure Pirate. A long-time member of the Bush-Cheney inner circle, Perle participates in planning for global, Permanent War, then hawks his expertise on ways to profit from the conflict to the highest bidder. As Reuters reported, March 25, Rep. Conyers

... asked the Pentagon's inspector general to probe Perle's work as a paid adviser to bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing Ltd. and his guidance on investment opportunities resulting from the Iraq conflict.

"I am aware of several potential conflicts that warrant your immediate review," Conyers said on Monday in a letter to the Defense Department's inspector general, Joseph Schmitz. The letter was made available on Tuesday.

"Mr. Perle is considered a 'special government employee' and is subject to government ethics prohibition - both regulatory and criminal - on using public office for private gain," Conyers' letter said.

Richard Perle reflects the morals and political thinking of the Bush cabal, who view international order as an obstacle in the way of the New American Century. The Perle crew has been trying to kill off the United Nations for decades. With a like-minded shipmate in the White House, the Pirates may yet succeed in scuttling the world body.

Perle shared his ghastly worldview with readers of the British weekly, The Spectator, later picked up by The Guardian's online service:

Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions.

It is fiends like these, who prosper from human suffering while holding high titles in government, that are the permanent enemies of social justice. His soul mate Dick Cheney is just an irregular heartbeat from the Presidency - and still pulling down $600,000 a year in "deferred earnings" from his previous job as CEO of Halliburton, the nation's premiere Pirate Corporation.

Halliburton made off with 20 percent of the billions spent on providing "infrastructure" for NATO's Kosovo operations. Iraqi "reconstruction" is the mother lode of all of all war profiteering. Halliburton has already been awarded a huge contract to fight fires in the Iraqi oil fields. Since the destruction has only just begun, "reconstruction" should yield many more benefits for the worldwide military-energy-construction company. For more information on the financial structures of the Pirate class, we recommend "Halliburton Makes a Killing on Iraq War" in the current issue of CorpWatch.

North Carolina activist Ken Gray stepped back from the torrent of words and images of war, to ask the question, "But what about peace?"

Even if the war is a success by its authors' standards, the question of winning the peace in a pursuit that is so very wrong from the beginning is hard to fathom. What this moment in history does, in a sense, is sharpen what should have been the task for the black movement, the labor movement, the progressive movement, all along. Martin Luther King defined the real "axis of evil" 36 years ago. He warned, "that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated." As for America, King said, "A nation that will exploit economically will have foreign investments and everything else, and will have to use its military to protect them. All of these problems are tied together."

Kenneth Gray's article appeared in Counterpunch.

March for affirmative action

Students are expected to pack the ranks of the Civil Rights March to the Supreme Court, April 1. Organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and United for Equality and Affirmative Action. Civil Rights attorney Victor Goode was director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers back when the organization filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Bakke affirmative action case. Goode describe the "Crisis on the Campus" in the Spring Issue of ColorLines:

If the opponents of affirmative action prevail, the gains of the past won't disappear, but they will be significantly eroded. While it's not unusual for the Solicitor General to speak on behalf of the administration on important Supreme Court cases, President Bush has not only weighed in as expected, but he has mislabeled the Michigan system as "quota-based." This, of course, is merely playing to his right-wing audience, because none of the courts in either of the Michigan cases held that the program used quotas. But he has also pitched to moderates. He argued that schools should use race-neutral criteria like the one in Texas that offers admission to the top 10 percent of all high school graduates. But, according to a recently released study by a team of sociologists, this plan has failed to bring minority enrollments to the levels they were when affirmative action was permitted.

A Skeeza? Not our Condoleezza!

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims to favor some form of affirmative action. We know she's down with wars under all circumstances. However, in a recent speech at Baltimore's Coppin State College, poet Amiri Baraka brought students to their feet by intimating that Condoleezza does some dabbling as a "skeeza," too.

Black Baltimore Sun columnist Gregory Kane, a very "conservative" gentleman , became incensed - nay, scandalized! - and leaped to the defense of the athletic, single Black woman who has hung around the Bush household for the last two decades and has never even been rumored to have had a romantic affair with anybody in the entire world. Skeeza? Kane took umbrage - and then took some more.

For those of you not in the know, a "skeeza" is a derogatory street term used in reference to a woman and as offensive as calling her a prostitute. It's a noxious, bilious, disgustingly sexist term and one of the worst things you could call a woman.

It is something Rice certainly is not. Baraka knows she's not. Those blacks who laughed, giggled, tittered and applauded when Baraka said it know she's not. But what was the reaction of these black folks when Baraka finished his invective masquerading as poetry that he called "Somebody Blew Up America"?

They gave him thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Does Baraka know that Condoleezza is not a skeeza? Does columnist Kane know? If so, how did he obtain this knowledge?

As Arsenio Hall used to put it: makes ya wanna say, Hmmmm...



Your comments are welcome. Visit the Contact Us page for E-mail or Feedback.

Click here to return to the home page





Issue Number 35
March 27, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
Onward Embedded Soldiers - The corporate media’s deputized war coverage

War and the Great White Disinformation Machine by Dr. Kweli Nzito

Guest Commentator
Are Black People Pulling Their Anti-War Weight by Donna J. Warren

Guest POET
Operation Putrid Smell By Rodney D. Coates, Ph.D.



Commentaries in Issue 34 March 20, 2003:

Cover Story
They have reached too far
Bush’s road leads to ruin - for himself and his Pirates

3 Guest Commentators
3 Faces of Shock, Awe and Death
1 - Jimmy Mack, When Are You Comin' Back? - The real price of war - By Jorge Mariscal
2 - Colin Powell: A hawk with smooth talons - By Paul Rockwell
3 - Nos Morituri Te Salutamus: Salute of Iraqi Citizens to the Coalition of the Willing - Submitted by Roldan Tomasz Suárez

The Issues
Cynthia McKinney on patriotism... Conyers studying impeachment... Marching for action, affirmatively

Frederick Douglass denounces Bush... Dream Black ticket for '04... Phony, funny Black "fronts"... BC a hit in UK, Greece

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.