T Nation

Implications of Iraq Invasion

What are the regional implications of the U.S invasion and occuption of Iraq?

I think not only the region but the world is general correctly perceives the U.S invasion as a test case, an effort to establish a new norm for the use of military force. The White House articulated this new norm in general terms in September 2002 when it announced the new National Security Strategy of the United States of America. The report proposed a somewhat novel and unusually extreme doctrine on the use of force in the world, and it’s not accidental that the drumbeat for war in Iraq coincided with the reports release.

The new doctrine was not one of preemptive war, which arguably falls within some stretched interpretation of the UN charter, but rather a doctrine that doesn't begin to have any grounds in international law, namely, preventive war. That is, the United States will rule the world by force, and if there is any challenge to its domination- whether it is perceived in the distance, invented, imagined, or whatever- then the United States will have the right to destroy the challenge before it becomes a threat. That's preventive war, not preemptive war.

To establish a new norm, you have to do something. Of course, not every state has the capacity to create what is called a new norm. So if India invades Pakistan to put an end to monstrous atrocities, that's not a norm. But if the United States bombs Serbia on dubious grounds, that's a norm. That's what power means.

The easiest way to establish a new norm, such as the right to preventive war, is to select a completely defenseless target, which can be easily overwhelmed by the most massive military force in human history. However, in order to do that credibly, at least in the eyes of your own population, you have to frighten people. So the defenseless target has to be characterized as an awesome threat to survival that was responsible for September 11 and is about to attack us again, and so on. And this was indeed done in the case of Iraq. In a really spectacular propaganda achievement, which will no doubt go down in history, Washington undertook a massive effort to convince Americans, alone in the world, that Saddam Hussein was not only a monster but also a threat to our existence. And it substantially succeeded. Half the U.S population believes that Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

So all this falls together. The doctrine is pronounced, the norm is established in a very easy case, the population is driven into panic and alone in the world, believes the fantastic threats to its existence, and is therefore willing to support military force in self-defense. And if you believe all of this, then it really is self-defense to invade Iraq, even though in reality the war is a textbook example of aggression, with the purpose of extending the scope for further aggression. Once the easy case is handled you can move on to harder cases.

Much of the world is overwhelmingly opposed to the war because they see that this is not just about an attack on Iraq. Many people correctly perceive it exactly the way it's intended, as a firm statement that you had better watch out, you could be next. That's why the United States is now regulated as the greatest threat to peace in world by a large number of people, probably the vast majority of the population of the world. George Bush has succeeded within a year in converting the United States to a country that is greatly feared, disliked, and even hated.
  • Noam Chomsky in Imperial Ambitions

[quote]neocon wrote:
I think not only the region but the world is general correctly perceives the U.S invasion as a test case, an effort to establish a new norm for the use of military force. The White House articulated this new norm in general terms in September 2002 when it announced the new National Security Strategy of the United States of America. The report proposed a somewhat novel and unusually extreme doctrine on the use of force in the world, and it’s not accidental that the drumbeat for war in Iraq coincided with the reports release.

The new doctrine was not one of preemptive war, which arguably falls within some stretched interpretation of the UN charter, but rather a doctrine that doesn't begin to have any grounds in international law, namely, preventive war. That is, the United States will rule the world by force, and if there is any challenge to its domination- whether it is perceived in the distance, invented, imagined, or whatever- then the United States will have the right to destroy the challenge before it becomes a threat. That's preventive war, not preemptive war.

To establish a new norm, you have to do something. Of course, not every state has the capacity to create what is called a new norm. So if India invades Pakistan to put an end to monstrous atrocities, that's not a norm. But if the United States bombs Serbia on dubious grounds, that's a norm. That's what power means.

The easiest way to establish a new norm, such as the right to preventive war, is to select a completely defenseless target, which can be easily overwhelmed by the most massive military force in human history. However, in order to do that credibly, at least in the eyes of your own population, you have to frighten people. So the defenseless target has to be characterized as an awesome threat to survival that was responsible for September 11 and is about to attack us again, and so on. And this was indeed done in the case of Iraq. In a really spectacular propaganda achievement, which will no doubt go down in history, Washington undertook a massive effort to convince Americans, alone in the world, that Saddam Hussein was not only a monster but also a threat to our existence. And it substantially succeeded. Half the U.S population believes that Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

So all this falls together. The doctrine is pronounced, the norm is established in a very easy case, the population is driven into panic and alone in the world, believes the fantastic threats to its existence, and is therefore willing to support military force in self-defense. And if you believe all of this, then it really is self-defense to invade Iraq, even though in reality the war is a textbook example of aggression, with the purpose of extending the scope for further aggression. Once the easy case is handled you can move on to harder cases.

Much of the world is overwhelmingly opposed to the war because they see that this is not just about an attack on Iraq. Many people correctly perceive it exactly the way it's intended, as a firm statement that you had better watch out, you could be next. That's why the United States is now regulated as the greatest threat to peace in world by a large number of people, probably the vast majority of the population of the world. George Bush has succeeded within a year in converting the United States to a country that is greatly feared, disliked, and even hated.
  • Noam Chomsky in Imperial Ambitions
    [/quote]

That was so dumb, my ears started bleeding. I suppose that’s what you could expect from H. Chavez’s favorite author.

I love you, but sadly you’re existence is needed and yes needed only.