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Iraq War:  An Orchestration

By Syed R. Mahmood

Around a month before the Presidential Election of the year 2000, candidate George W. Bush was in the San Francisco Bay Area at a campaign rally. Very emphatically in his speech, he said he would destroy the weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East once he is elected as President. The purpose of this statement was to impress the pro Israeli executives of Silicon Valley. Some of them were present at this gathering. 

The same year, in the month of June at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Condoleezza Rice, the advisor of candidate Bush, in her presentation of foreign policy said that, “Israeli security would be an important part of President Bush’s policies”. Any other references to the Middle East problems were not mentioned. 

President Bush never appreciated his predecessor Bill Clinton for his direct involvement in peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Clinton tried until the last moment of his presidency to negotiate a peace settlement. 

After these five years of Iraq’s invasion by the U.S. forces, people around the world and a huge number of Americans are still wondering why we had to invade Iraq? What have we achieved in this war? At least two thirds of Americans are against the Iraq war.  According to president Bush and his administration, Saddam Hussain and his weapons of mass destruction threatened the security of Israel and the United States. The road to Middle East peace also goes through Iraq. He also said, “after all, he (Saddam) tried to kill my father”. 

Was it the obsession of George Bush with Iraq and Saddam, a very strong pro Israeli, Jewish lobby or was it the neo-cons and media pundits who were jubilant and jumping up and down and beating the drum of war so loud? Maybe it was the overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican legislators who were intimidated by the administration and media to submit to their call to beat up Saddam Hussain. Perhaps also the Americans did not protest hard enough to stop this war.  

Today, security is a very challenging issue for individuals and nations. Americans feel insecure against foreign threats. Other nations are also threatened by the only super power, the United State’s economic and military domination. 

The European powers in 1823, were warned by the Monroe Doctrine to stay out of the Western Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine also warned Europe not to interfere in American affairs. The Arabs, Iranians, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis and Russians also do not want American Domination in their backyard. 

The orchestration of this reckless Iraq war is conducted by: 

    • Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter”. 
    • Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, who advocated military action against Iraq before September 11. Bernard Lewis, a professor emeritus of Princeton, a thinker and a scholar, was a strong advocate to use military power to remove Saddam Hussain. He had great influence on Dick Cheney. He was paid a ten thousand dollar grant by a thimk tank after the disintegration of former Soviet Union. He went around the country and delivered anti Islamic speeches and prepared the groundwork and warned Americans that after the Soviet Union, Islamic fundamentalism is going to be a threat for the West. 
    • Richard Perle, a Pentagon hawk, was also very effective in this process. Steve Emerson, a so-called terrorism expert, has built his carrier on being anti Arab and anti Islam, he devoted his time and energy to encouraging military action against Saddam. 
    • Senator Joseph Lieberman was a strong supporter of Israeli policies and a hawkish noisemaker to use military power against Arabs, Iranians and the Israeli lobby. AIPAC was in full swing in pursuing the American legislature. These were the dangerous voices of some Jewish Americans, who took pleasure to advocate a policy of force using the American military to strike the Arabs and serve the Israeli cause. 
    • A Christian right wing leader, Reverend Pat Robertson, never missed an opportunity to ridicule Islam and Muslims. On the Christian Broadcasting Network, he expressed amusement in demonizing Islam. Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham called Islam “an evil and wicked religion”. 
    • A fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Laurie Mylroies, is the author of “Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussain’s Unfinished War Against America”. In her invented conspiracy theory, she blamed Saddam Hussain for every major terrorist attack against Americans. 

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, The United States still has no vision of how to get out of this humanitarian disaster. In a joint appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, three American Foreign Policy giants, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft and Henry Kissinger advocated, “America needs to improve her image in the international community of nations”. We need more dialogue with friends and foes, instead of threatening to use power. 

How can Americans rebuild their leadership and relationship with the World? 

    • President Bush should seize the moment. He should expedite the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Bush should take a personal interest in ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
       
    • The U.S. media should play a constructive role in building bridges between communities. Fair and objective reporting is an essential approach to create a peaceful society. 
    • An announcement of a firm exit strategy from Iraq will help to reduce the violence and suicide bombing. 
    • In this uni-polar world, America has a heavy burden of leadership. America should induct a morally righteous national interest policy. 
    • American legislators have to liberate themselves from the shackles of domestic and foreign lobbies. 
    • American corporations should not exploit the resources of other nations. They should reinvest some of their profit in the host countries to improve the life of common people. 

Different U.S. agencies have estimated the price tag of this Iraq-Afghanistan war on terrorism from $1.7 trillion to $3.5 trillion by the year of 2015 – 2017. After concluding the Iraq war, the U.S. will be able to invest a substantial amount of money around the globe for humanitarian causes: Help the poor to fight against poverty. Build infrastructure, promote education, fight against disease and improve health care. In the U.S. around 50 million Americans are without any health insurance. 

America does not need to develop more weapons of mass destruction of her own. Investment in winning the minds and hearts of the people will bring a dividend of peace and respect for the U.S.  In this era of interdependency of economic resources, no community can survive in isolation. 

After the attacks of 9/11, the outpourings of sympathy for the U.S. have evaporated after the Iraq invasion. The foundations of our conduct should be justice and peace through collective security.

Syed R. Mahmood is the founder president of the American Institute of International Studies. He was Republican candidate for 13th Congressional District in 2002.