'The War That
Roy And Anthony Arnove
30 September, 2003
Q. THE WAR ON IRAQ
HAS BECOME AN OCCUPATION. IS IRAQ A NEW COLONY?
Yes, but it's proving
to be a pretty recalcitrant one. Maybe we should rethink the notion
that Iraq has been "conquered." American soldiers are dying
every day, more now than during the war.
Q. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
HAS BEEN THREATENING IRAN, SYRIA AND NORTH KOREA. DO YOU THINK IRAQ
WAS JUST A PRELUDE?
In this particular
chapter of War and Empire, the war on Afghanistan was the real prelude.
Basically "The War on Terror" is Bush's perfect war, the war
that never ends. The weapons deals that never stop. The oil fields that
never dry up.
But maybe those
who supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were too quick to declare
victory. In both countries now, U.S. troops are bogged down in a kind
of quick sand. That's why the U.S. government is trying to coerce other
countries like India and Pakistan to clean up the mess it has left behind.
If the United States
now attacks Iran, Syria, or North Korea, its troops will be further
strung out across the globe. But then the physics of Empire seems to
be encrypted in some way--overreach and implode. Maybe that's what will
happen. But the downside is that the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons
might ensure that the American Empire is the last empire the human race
will ever know.
Q. HALLIBURTON JUST
ANNOUNCED INCREASED PROFITS LARGELY BECAUSE OF ITS IRAQ OPERATIONS.
WHO'S PROFITING FROM THIS WAR AND WHO ISN'T?
Halliburton is an
old player in Iraq. It's not every corporation that can boast of having
the army and the entire military might of the most powerful country
on earth at its disposal, risking life and limb in order to increase
its margins of profit.
If I were a U.S.
soldier, risking my life and sanity in the 100-plus-degree deserts of
Iraq, I'd be asking some pretty serious questions of the CEOs of companies
like Halliburton. How much do you earn? How much do I earn? What do
you risk? What do I risk?
Equally, if I were
a student, or a school teacher, or a health worker or a single mother
in the United States, reading about the huge cuts in public spending,
I'd be asking a very simple question about this war: Who pays, who profits?
I think what I find
most insulting of all is the complete confidence with which George Bush
the Lesser and his henchmen do what they do, assuming that American
people are just plain stupid, and that public memory is fickle.
America's poor are
being exploited and put on the frontlines to ensure further profits
for America's rich. It's for this reason that it's ridiculous and self-defeating
to be "anti-American." America is not one homogenous mass
One-fifth of the
armed forces are African American. I don't imagine anywhere close to
one fifth of the profits of this war go to African American people.
Asians and Latinos are in the army, hoping to get citizenship. What
a great system. Get the Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and poor whites to
fight your boardroom battles for you
Q. IRAQ IS BEING
OPENED UP FOR PRIVATIZATION IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY. WHAT IS PRIVATIZATION
It's quite unbelievable.
The kinds of things that are being done these days in the name of "democracy"
would be laughable if it weren't so savage. Privatization is the anti-thesis
of democracy. It is the process of transferring public assets, held
in trust for the public good, to private companies to amass private
profit. It is simply unacceptable.
Q. SOLDIERS AND
THEIR FAMILIES ARE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE OCCUPATION. WILL THIS HELP
RALLY INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION?
I think speaking
out against the occupation is the bravest thing that a soldier can do.
I have always admired the U.S. soldiers who spoke out against the Vietnam
War. In fact, in places like India, when people get randomly racist
and anti-American, I always ask them: When do you last remember Indian
soldiers speaking out against a war, any war, in India?
When soldiers speak
out, people really sit up and listen. I cannot think of a better way
of rallying international opposition to the occupation. To those American
soldiers who have had the courage to speak out, I send my heartfelt
Q. PRESIDENT BUSH
HAS ASKED INDIA TO SEND TROOPS TO HELP "CONTROL" IRAQ. WHAT
IS YOUR REACTION?
Bush probably knows
that rightwing religious fundamentalists, regardless of what religion
they subscribe to, are brothers in arms. George Bush, Osama bin Laden,
Ariel Sharon, the mullahs of Pakistan and the L.K. Advani's and Narendra
Modi's of India have no trouble understanding each other.
In India, the present
government is not just right wing, it is skating very close to fascism.
For the first time in the history of independent India, the Indian government
(the coalition led by the Bharatya Janata Party) is trying hard to align
itself with the U.S.-Israel axis. It is not a coincidence that the massacre
of Muslims in Gujarat, conducted with the brazen collusion of the government
and the police, took place so soon after Sept. 11. Neither is it a coincidence
that the case is closed internationally, because killing Muslims now,
after Sept. 11 is somehow seen as acceptable.
If Indian troops
aren't sent to Iraq, the reason won't be a lack of will on the part
of the Indian government. It will be because the proposal has caused
serious outrage among Indian people, a majority of whom were also incensed
by the war in Iraq.
Anthony Arnove is the editor of Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly
Impact of Sanctions and War and Terrorism and War (interviews with Howard
Zinn). He is an editor at International Socialist Review.