THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Last night on the ABCs 7.30 Report John Howard was asked by Kerry O’Brien: “You've just come from Afghanistan, too, where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have been able not only to survive but, it seems, rebuild strength, in the case of the Taliban. In the case of Al Qaeda, its ongoing strength is clear for all to see, it would seem. You must have pondered what might have been if America and its coalition partners had focused on that primary battle front in Afghanistan after September 11 rather than the disastrous four year distractions in Iraq?”

Caught on the hop Howard attempted to side step the question with a question. Howard replied: “Well, I've pondered two things about Afghanistan. I pondered, firstly, why is it important to defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan, but it doesn't matter in Iraq?”

Kerry O’Brien persisted: “Well, what was the evidence that Al Qaeda was a terrorist force in Iraq when you invaded?”

As we now all know, and many of us have always known, there never was any evidence that Al Qaeda was a terrorist force in Iraq when the allies invaded. Howard, of course, is well aware of that and, furthermore, was as much aware of that then as he is now.

So how did Howard respond? It went like this: “But I am talking of the present, Kerry. The great disconnect for the Government's critics is, why is it important to defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan, but it's okay to let them win in Iraq? Now, going back to your central question, the military situation at the time our forces were taken out in 2001 and also the American forces were wound down, justified that, and I think the argument that the Taliban are only resurgent because of those withdrawals is not necessarily verified by the facts, if you go back to that time.”

This is pure garbage from Howard. The fact that the Taliban are resurgent is because they were not entirely defeated and they weren’t entirely defeated because forces were pulled out in order to invade Iraq; it’s as simple as that.

The reality is; the Taliban will never be entirely defeated in Afghanistan. They will wear down western forces long before western forces get anywhere near wearing down the Taliban.

The other reality Howard is unable to accept is that there is no ‘Al Qaeda’ in Iraq. There are a few non- Iraqi Jihadists that are in Iraq to help the Iraqi people rid their country of the western invaders in much the same way as non-Spanish fighters from around the world went to fight for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. And, by the same virtue, just as the non-Iraqi Jihadists are in Iraq fighting for one side, there are many non-Iraqi pro-westerners there fighting for the Americans and their puppet Iraqi government (Israelis, Australians, British), just as there were many non-Spanish fighters from around the world that went to fight for the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. But there is no ‘Al Qaeda’; it exists only in the imagination of western propagandists. ‘Al Qaeda’ is a simple but effective catchall designed solely to perpetuate the myth of a ‘War against Terrorism’.

Howard is unable to confront the realities of the wars against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples because he knows that the people now know that the wars were based on lies.

President Bush, however, is ignoring reality all together. Speaking yesterday on the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq he perpetuated the blatant lie that has so far caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. He told the small gathering in the Roosevelt Room of the White House: “Four years ago today, coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They did so to eliminate the threat his regime posed to the Middle East and to the world.”
The peoples of the world now think that the only threat to the Middle East and to the world is Israel and the US.


William Kristol, one of the neoconservative’s most hawkish commentators, seems to think that the ‘surge’, recently started in Baghdad, is having a positive effect. Whether or not it is having a positive effect in reality is impossible to tell. All that is happening at the moment is this; US and Iraqi puppet troops are moving into neighbourhoods where the insurgents were and the insurgents simply melt away and, instead of fighting and killing each other for control of the streets, they concentrate their efforts on bombings. The ‘surge’ has slowed the inter-factional killing but hasn’t stopped the bombing of civilians and occupying forces. And, since the ‘surge’ can’t last forever, just as soon as the US troops move out, the violence will simply carry on as before. However, despite the ‘surge’, this is a sample of what is still going on; from today’s New York Times we are told: “While no single event stood out Monday, the day was in many ways emblematic of the violence that Iraqis suffer daily — two car bombs, several assassinations, at least one kidnapping and a number of roadside bombs. Each attack claimed only a few lives, but the pervasiveness of the violence is part of what has eroded Iraqi hopes for the future.”

“Thirty bodies were found in Baghdad, more than in recent days, raising the possibility that there is a renewal of the sectarian killings that people hoped were diminishing.”

“In the violence on Monday, a bomb exploded at a Shiite mosque near the Shorja market, one of Baghdad’s busiest. In a measure of how inured residents here have become to mayhem, within two hours the market area was again so crowded that it was difficult to walk around.”

And the delusional warmongering William Kristol and his lunatic neocon cohorts are trying to tell us things are getting better??!!


Anonymous said...

If the insurgents will simply come back after the surge is over, won't this also be the same if the troops withdraw completely? Won't the country be left to the insurgents to run (and destroy) if the foreign troops depart?

Damian Lataan said...

If the foreign troops depart what will there be left for the insurgents to rise against? And what would be the point of destroying their own country?

Anonymous said...

There would be no point destroying their own country - yet history shows that civil wars are fought none the less.

Besides, much of the violence seems to be aimed at other groups within the country than at the foreign troops. Do you really think that when the foreigners get out they will no longer be attacking each other because there is 'no point' to destroying their country?

/genuinely interested

Damian Lataan said...

The civil war, what there is of one, exists in the main for two reasons; 1) payback by the Shiites for what they perceive as years of domination by Sunnis, and 2) pure politics and crime. They are in the main just jockeying for position to fill the power vacuum that will be created when eventually the foreign forces do leave. Once the foreign forces do leave all sides will see the pointlessness of continued fighting among themselves. Neither side will win nor will the neighbours come to either side’s aid as the right-wing western commentators would have us believe. There will not be a great Middle East Sunni/Shiite polarisation over infighting Iraq; all the nations of the Middle East, the majority of who are Sunni, realise that there is far too much at stake to risk such a war.

There will no doubt initially be some fierce fighting between the factions when eventually the foreign forces leave but the neighbours, rather than provide support to the belligerents, will more than likely intercede between them. The belligerents will not be able to sustain their fighting without support from outside. While the foreign troops are there however, outsiders will be more than happy to provide support to any one that is harassing those foreign troops even if, in between fighting the occupiers, they fight among themselves.

The quicker the foreign troops leave Iraq the quicker the people of Iraq can find, with the help of their neighbours, a measure of self-determination for their own future. The presence of foreign troops will only prolong the agony that the Iraqi people endure today. US troops and their allies should leave Iraq immediately.

Anonymous said...

If the COW would agree not to privatise or take over Iraq'S oil, and the US would agree not to build enduring bases, I believe this would have a major effect on dampening the violence.

At the very least if would demonstrate the good faith of the COW. The fact that they won't do this speaks volumes about their true motives and intent.

Damian Lataan said...

Absolutely Terrence. The Iraqi people knew from the word go what the true intentions of COW were. All of the violence there at the moment is dominated by the jockeying for power. Some have thrown their hand in with the allies thinking that they’ll be protected by them while others are determined not to let the COW plunder their resources. ‘Terrorism’ and ‘al Qaeda’ have got nothing to do with it. This is a straight up and down fight over resources and hegemony. Always has been.

Anonymous said...

The US was the major market for Iraqi oil under the post-Gulf War sanctions and 'Oil for Food' regimes. At the same time as purchasing Iraqi oil, the regimes made it almost impossible for Iraq to develop much economically or - as has been shown since - militarily. Why then would the US seek to destabilise this resource market by invasion when it would seem only likely to push the price of ther resource - and here we can add a per-barrel charge for the conflict and reconstruction costs - undoubtedly higher?

Further, as the long-time and practically sole ally of Israel in the region, would this not make more trouble for the US than it would bring benefits? In other words, if the US fight in the region is for resources (and assuming better relations with other states would lead to more favourable trade terms, a-la the Cold War) why would the US support Israel at all? Wouldn't this support have a negative impact on both US desires for effective hegemony and gains in resources?

Any conlfict in the region - with the probable exception of the Israel/Palestine dispute - will have energy and oil involved somewhere. Yet surely there must be more to US intervention in Iraq and the region than the desire for resources and hegemony?

Damian Lataan said...

In a resource market dominated by US oil companies any destabilisation would increase prices which would be beneficial to those companies. Long-term hegemony over the region is of the utmost importance to the US both from the point of view of resources and from the point of view of its client state Israel.

One should remember that the war against the people of Iraq was instigated by right-wing Zionist interests that originate from both within the US via the neoconservatives that had become influential in the Bush administration and right-wing Zionist interests within Israel itself who, in some cases, are one and the same. Since such a war would also serve the interests of US oil giants and US oil service companies such as Haliburton, not to mention the massive US military industrial complex which makes billions of dollars of profits from both the US involvement in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, and also from Israel’s wars with its neighbours, there is every reason to believe that the interests of both the US multinationals and Israel’s right-wing Zionist aspirations are served in maintaining a US presence in Iraq at least – all of which would account for the alliance that the neoconservatives have with US big business as exemplified by the likes of VP Dick Cheney and his very close association with the neoconservative think-tank organisation the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Anonymous said...

You seem to use the term neoconservative or neocon perjoratively.

What is so wrong with neoconservatism?

Damian Lataan said...

Neoconservatism is the influence behind the current wars. They are self-righteous warmongers whose prime interests are the creation of a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinian peoples. They are quite happy to use US power to achieve their aims.

Neoconservatism is akin to fascism. It is not a question of 'what is wrong with neoconservatism'; it is more a matter of what is right about neoconservatism - absolutely nothing!

Anonymous said...

When you refer to neoconservatism are you referring only to the foreign policy manifestations of that political perspective? Do you also include the domestic policies of the neocons in the 'nothing is right' judgement?

Sorry for all the questions but one last one: what would be an alternative political philosophy to drive the foreign policy of a state?

Damian Lataan said...

If their disgusting attitude to foreign policy is anything to go by I can't see why their domestic policies are going to be any the less fascist in nature.

The best way for any nation state to behave toward anothe nation state is with respect; respect for other peoples cultures and religions - not to mention their property.

Anonymous said...

Is the role in a respectful foreign policy for intervention in another country against the will of that country's government? Or against the will of the majority of the people living in that country?

I am thinking of the likely situation where national sovereignty is privileged because - out of respect for the culture, religion and governance of all other countires - intervention by foreign powers is not allowed. Yet under such a scenario (which is really straight out of the UN Charter in many ways) it remains possible for a state with the majority support of their population to brutalise a minority group.

How far should respect for the rights of another nation's culture, religion and rights extend before a foreign power intervenes?

Anonymous said...

Your last point is very interesting and poses philosophical quandaries.
Your point about who is supported, the government who may be tyrants, or the people.

This is one reason I am opposed to troops interfering in another countries affairs, even if invited by the government.

Isn't it funny we are often more willing to spend money on soldiers and guns and export them, that provide financial and social assistance.

My initial point is that the two points I mention are a simple way to show we have no designs on the country, of course then there would be no desire/incentive to stay the course.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, Terrence, but then question becomes 'what is the design in mind?'.

If it is control of resources then, eys, staying the course would make sense.

However, if it is delivering human rights then it seems like staying the course would be the best course of action too. Withdrawing - as in Vietnam, perhaps - has a history of delivering worse human rights outcomes for the people left behind.

I have just read a wonderful (as yet unpublsihed) paper on the notions of 'duty to protect human rights' in comparison to the ideals of sovereign equality in the UN Charter. When it is published shortly I will try and remember to drop a link in to it.

Damian Lataan said...

Anonymous, you can rest assured that the allies did not invade Iraq to ‘deliver human rights’. If that were the case, why are the allies not invading the many other nations that deny people their ‘human rights’, including, I might add, America who have been abusing ‘human rights’ ever since its inception despite the façade of being the land of the free (providing, of course, you are white, middle class and happy to toe the line).

Opening prisons like Abu Ghraib and rounding up incarcerating Iraqi people within them and then torturing and murdering them is hardly ‘delivering human rights’. Attacking and destroying entire cities and regional towns indiscriminately bombing peoples homes and businesses and opening fire on hundreds of innocent civilians is hardly ‘delivering human rights’. Whatever gave you the idea that the allies had invaded Iraq to ‘deliver human rights’? I’m sure you are not that naïve.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think that the sole reason for invading Iraq was to deliver human rights. There were many other and probably (sadly) more important reasons to do so. However, in terms of the onoing design for the country, I think that human rights, democratic governance and a peaceful Iraq are all aims of the Coalition. You believe control of resources is a little higher on that list - fine. But I think securing the resources for the locals is more a goal than stealing the oil.

Damian, surely you are not suggesting that if the US announced a policy of invading countries with poor human rights records one by one you would be all for it?

The US record on human rights is, of course, not perfect. I would doubt there is a state where the HR record is perfect. I would argue, though, that the last century or so - and particularly since the HR discourse became established in international law (really post WWII) - the US has had a domestic record better than most. I doubt an invasion of the US would be necessary to address the HR concerns that still exist there.

Damian Lataan said...

Anonymous, you say you “…think that human rights, democratic governance and a peaceful Iraq are all aims of the Coalition.” What about what the Iraqi people want? They may (or may not) want the same thing, but it is up to them to find their own self-determination. The last thing they want is a foreign troop and occupying power telling them what they should and should not have. And, contrary to what many think, the last thing the Iraqis want is the kind of ‘democratic governamce’ that the Americans have to offer.

If you really believe that ‘securing the resources for the locals’ is their aim then you are quite delusional. Why on earth would the Americans spend billions of dollars on ‘securing the resources for the locals’. It belonged to the ‘locals’ before the Americans came and bottled up the contracts for themselves via a corrupt puppet government. Talk of ‘securing the resources for the locals’ is pure propaganda garbage on a par with ‘Saddam’s got WMDs and is an immediate threat to the world’ crap.

If the US announced a policy of invading countries with poor human rights records I most certainly would not be ‘all for it’ for the simple reason that, if they ever did announce such a policy, one would just know that it would be for some ulterior motive. The US first needs to sort out its own human rights records before it spouts on with the hypocrisy of other peoples human rights record – domestic or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I take your point on the US and the idiocy of invading all other human rights abusing countries. I don't think, however, that countries should have to sort themselves out before speaking up about the abuses in other countries. Yes, it is hypocritical - but if the standard was as you seem to suggest it should be then who would (a) speak up and (b) actually go in to change things?

I can't think of a single country that would be able to 'cast the first stone'. Which country is completely free of human tights abuses? And should there be one, would it have the capability to actually change anything in abusive states?

It is certainly hypocritical to point to the failings of others when those failings are your own too. But it doesn't make it illogical and the criticisms should be answered and not turned back on the accuser.

Damian Lataan said...

Anonymous, you ask who should speak up and who should go in to change things. The people being abused should speak up and the people being abused will always eventually find their own way out of things without having to be bombed and have their infrastructure destroyed by nations like the US who have absolutely no interest in them unless they have some kind of resource that is useful. Always the ulterior motive when it comes to the likes of the neoconservatives that dominate the US Middle East foreign policy at the moment.

Classic example: Zimbabwe looks like it is going to be able to sort itself out without outside intervention. Idealistic neocons have been banging on for at least three years that Zimbawe should be invaded to oust Mugabe but this would have led to untold amounts of bloodshed as the Zimbawean people rushed to join Mugabe to defend themselves against the foreign invader.

The west should simply butt out of other nations affairs. Their arrogance and hypocrisy is transparent and not wanted anymore.

Anonymous said...

History has a few striking examples where the abused people couldn't get out. The Holocaust is one, Rwanda is another. Cambodia is one more.

All of these did, eventually, come to an end as you suggest Zimbabwe is (I know little about the situation there outside basics). But at what cost?

Millions die.

As you have argued, it is hypocritical of states where human rights abuses continue toi occur to point to others with accusations of HR abuses. But leaving things to sort themselves out costs millions of lives.

Armed intervention (as in Iraq) also costs lives - this is beyond doubt. But is the solution to never intervene because of the potential (and probably certain) cost in lives or leave things as they are and hope that the abused people (a) speak up and (b) find a way out opf their situation.?

Armed intervention (not Western) helped to end the Rwandan genocide and Western/Soviet intervention brought the Holocaust to an end - though this was not their underlying aim.

Surely there is a time when you can invisage that intervention is necessary to save people being abused even if it means the intervention comes from a state that may not have a perfect HR record.

Damian Lataan said...

It is up to the international community (not the US) to help when it is plain that such monumental abuse is occuring such as during the Holocaust or in Rwanda, etc.

But neither of these humanitarian disasters compare to the situation that led up to the invasion, occupation and plundering of Iraq which was done for completely different reasons, none of which were humanitarian despite the lies we were told.

Please do not comment further. You have exhausted your argument and I have better things to do with my time than answer your naive questions.