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Friday, September 14, 2007

Terror anniversary and tape tricks

Terror anniversary and tape tricks

Two terror tapes issued by Osama bin Laden or someone who looks like him — a virtual reality software production, perhaps —- within a week and testimonies by two Americans — one from the top US commander in Iraq and the other from the US ambassador in Iraq — dominated news in the past few days as the world commemorated the 9/11 attacks.

Of the many comments the trio made, some have become a talking point. In the tapes allegedly issued by bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader slams capitalism and rightly identifies US corporations as the engines of the war on terror. He also urges Americans to embrace Islam if they are keen to end the war on terror. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker in their back-to-back testimonies to the US Congress indicated that the war in Iraq would not end until and unless the Americans achieved their objectives. For public consumption, these objectives are projected by the Bush administration as dealing a crushing blow on terrorists — whether they are in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere in the world. The secret objective may be different — the plunder of Iraq's national wealth and the domination of West Asia through sheer force.

In a nutshell, the trio confirmed our worst fears — the war will continue. To a person who wants to see peace in this world, the trio offered nothing but a script for a dismal scenario. There is no dialogue, no ceasefires and no peace. The war on terror is here to stay. In other words, global peace is a dream.

However much the peace loving people protest at every forum US President George W. Bush participates in is not going to make Bush sit and wonder why they all hate him. Obviously, he is not blind — at least physically. He is sure to have seen or heard about those bottom-baring protesters outside the APEC venue in Sydney. But he has chosen to turn his sights and all other faculties away from those protesters and the message they had for him.

If Bush has some semblance of respect for the voice of the people — which is overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq — he would have taken at least some steps to end the occupation of that country. The shame and disrepute he has brought upon his country is catastrophic, to say the least. The United States is not seen as a liberator in Iraq, but as an occupier and plunderer. Yet, he is not bothered. He does not even respect the anti-war verdict the American people handed out at last year's mid-term congressional elections. The American public's patience with the Iraq war, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,700 US soldiers and 650,000 Iraqis, is running thin. According to a poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, 55 percent of Americans want to see troops come home by early next year.

But Bush is not ready to bow to public opinion. He remains focused — the war in Iraq will go on until America achieves its objectives.

As usual, when the going gets tough for Bush, his saviour comes to his rescue. Perhaps, it is coincidence that the bin Laden tapes appear when Bush is in trouble. A Bin Laden last tape was released three years ago, when Bush was seeking a re-election against many odds. The warning contained in the tape made many American voters rally behind Bush and ensure his victory. Did the tape do the trick? We are not conspiracy theorists, but our cynicism makes us question what we see and hear.

President Bush was to make a televised address yesterday. Media reports said Bush was expected to announce that the troop level would be brought down to the pre-surge level — that is still some 130,000 troops.

But there would not be complete withdrawal. These soldiers are in Iraq to stay. Bush is talking about a South Korean model whereby the troops would be stationed in the bases while Iraqi soldiers would do the US bidding. This is exactly the US plan. The Bush administration has built in Baghdad — not in Basra or any other godforsaken place in Iraq — the world's biggest US base. Now what is this South Korean model? The South Korean people were forced to submit themselves to US domination while their leaders sold their souls for thirty pieces of American silver. For four decades since the Korean war ended in 1953, the country had been ruled by pro-American authoritarian military rulers. There was no democracy. Neither did America make any serious attempt to export democracy to its vassal state.

The question that arises is if Bush seeks to implement the Korean model in Iraq, does this mean that we are going to see a military dictatorship in Iraq for at least the next three decades or so? I strongly believe we will see it, for Iraq's experiment with US-exported democracy has only brought to power a bunch of Shiite fundamentalists who are more loyal to Iran, the avowed enemy of the United States. We should not be surprised if an Iraqi military general stages a coup and holds out a promise that democratic elections would be held soon. There are democratic mechanisms to legitimize military coups and takeovers. Musharraf has done it in Pakistan. A referendum that can be rigged and a parliament that can be bullied are tools that democracy offers dictators to legitimize their hold on power.

President Bush has said the war will not end in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is an open-ended war and it continues. "By a combination of creative strategies and advanced technologies, we are redefining war on our own terms," said Bush days after he ordered his troops to launch what history has already recorded as the illegal invasion of Iraq.

There is no guarantee that the war on terror will end when Bush leaves White House. War is big business, as the latest terror tape has rightly pointed out.

It merely serves the interest of the US corporations. Bin Laden is not the first person to say that. A majority of the peace loving people across the globe see that. But those Americans who support their country's illegal and immoral war in Iraq choose not to see it probably because they benefit from it — at least in trickle-down form.

Academics have identified economic imperialism as a cause of war.

Theodore A Couloumbis and James H. Wolfe in their book 'Introduction to International Relations: Power and Justice' (Prentice Hall, 1990) say: "The struggle to capture new markets or to control new sources of raw materials drives governments, acting at the bidding of captains of industry, to embark upon imperialist ventures that invariably results in armed conflict. In such situations, governments serve merely as agents of commercial interests and fail to represent recognized national interests."

There appears to be a dubious link between the White House war room and the board rooms of Big Business.

It's baffling to note why the Americans have not taken to the street in their millions against their government's dirty war, which fills the coffers of Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel and others at the expense of damaging the country's reputation.

The people power in America ended the Vietnam war. But it is doubtful that there will be a huge show of strength by the Americans to protest against the Iraq war. Because, this time around, those who prosecute the war have done their homework. They keep bin Laden alive for them to press the panic button and rally the Americans around the war-and-profit-hungry administration. Whatever the message contained in the alleged bin Laden tapes is exactly what Washington hawks want to hear. Is bin Laden an agent provocateur or is he being advised by agent provocateurs sent by captains of capitalism through the CIA or a parallel organization which is neither bound by public accountability nor subjected to public scrutiny?

The original bin Laden in a September 28, 2001 interview with the Pakistani newspaper Ummat said, "I am not involved in the September 11 attacks". His tapes issued in the early days of the war on terror contained no messages taking responsibility for the attack.

In this computer age where virtual reality plays havoc with digital sex and perversion in full measure, creating a bin Laden with black beard and other paraphernalia is not a difficult task for a technologically-advanced country.

If the United States could capture Saddam Hussein in Iraq, why can't it capture or kill bin Laden? They usually blame the difficult terrain along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to cover up their failure.

What happened to the rhetoric of Bush? Didn't he say "We'll smoke 'em out of their caves"?

US Senator Bob Graham, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in his book "Intelligence Matters", recalls how CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks told him that the hunt for bin Laden was over:

"… General Franks asked for an additional word with me in his office. When I walked in, he closed the door. Looking troubled, he said, 'Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan.'

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq," he continued. "The Predators are being relocated. What we are doing is a manhunt. We have wrapped ourselves too much in trailing Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. We're better at being a meat axe than finding a needle in a haystack. That's not our mission, and that's not what we are trained or prepared to do."

So much for the war on terrorism. Heil Bush! Heil bin Laden!

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