Guest Editorial by The Black Commentator
Lesser Evil John Kerry danced like James Brown atop the precarious, tiny table that he calls his “plan” for Iraq, easily out-presidentialing the Pure Evil Pirate, George Bush, in last week’s debate. For those of us who believe the fate of the human species may hang in the balance on November 2, it was a night of great exhilaration. We may yet live to tangle with a President Kerry – and tangle we must for, as Freedom Rider columnist Margaret Kimberley has written, “President Kerry should face thousands of demonstrators if he continues the disastrous occupation of Iraq and the take over of Haiti.”
(Note that PBS troglodyte moderator Jim Lehrer, who claims to have composed all the questions for the candidates, didn’t even think Haiti – the other Bush invasion and regime change – was worthy of debate.)
Kerry’s Iraq “plan” is purposely fuzzy, amounting as it does to an admission that, not just Iraq, but a wired planet is in various stages of rebellion against American imperial rule – including the conservative elites of Europe and the developing world. In a sane country it would not take great courage to explain to a fairly literate public that the war in Iraq is lost and the U.S. must try to regroup with its various former partners in crime, the Europeans. In other words, to cut Bush’s losses. This is the “truth” that Kerry kept faulting Bush for failing to acknowledge, but which Kerry himself dares not articulate to an America born of a singular (white) Manifest Destiny. Instead, Kerry spoke of his determination to call a “summit” at which he hopes to “bring fresh credibility, a new start.”
Kerry is talking to Europeans as much as to Americans. His speeches and debating points are written by operatives of the corporate-funded Democratic Leadership Council which, as we wrote on September 9, has been “determined to hold on to the ground it thinks the Bush men have gained in Iraq.” However, the reality unfolding daily in Iraq has forced John Forbes Kerry – a War Democrat, like the other JFK – to begin to confront the fact that Iraq cannot be held by military means, and certainly not as a U.S. corporate colony and franchise. In what may have been the solitary substantive straw worth grasping from the debate, Kerry declared:
”I think a critical component of success in Iraq is being able to convince the Iraqis and the Arab world that the United States doesn’t have long-term designs on it. As I understand it, we’re building some 14 military bases there now, and some people say they’ve got a rather permanent concept to them.
”I will make a flat statement: The United States of America has no long-term designs on staying in Iraq.”
Kerry seems to be saying, obliquely, that he would halt the hardening of the 14 bases that Halliburton is busily constructing in Iraq. This is somewhat more substantive than his general disavowal of “long-term” designs, a meaningless statement that could – and has – been made by Bush.
Only in America could a War Democrat get credit from progressives (including the Black Commentator) for making even the slightest bow to the facts of U.S. defeat. The truth is, the Americans and British are one fatwa away from eviction from Iraq – only the timing and authorship of the initiating clerical directive(s) is in question. That the occupation force must evacuate, and a lot sooner than four years from now, has been evident to us since the day the invasion began. The question is: how shall the Americans leave? Will it be in a hideous spasm of destruction – a ghastly, racist, regionalized lashing out at the “hated hajis” in Syria and Iran that could easily lead to a global conflagration – or under cover of some face-saving exit plan concocted with the collaboration of Europeans? We believe the latter is the emerging, but still inchoate, Kerry exit option.
Please note that we did not say that Kerry actually has a “plan” to get out of Iraq. Rather, he is floating the sketchy outlines of his “option” as if it were a plan – for both American and European consumption – and attempting to contrast that as sharply as he can with Bush’s “resolve” to provide “more of the same” of a “wrong” policy.
The Black Commentator is not overly concerned that Kerry further flesh out his “plan,” since the Americans are not in control of events in Iraq, anyway. His “plan” will be shaped by Iraqi actions on the ground and the resulting “options” that remain available. We’re also not upset that Kerry calls the aggression against Iraq a “mistake” rather than a “crime.” Most white people in the United States still refuse to admit that enslavement of Africans and extermination of Native Americans was a crime; they prefer the terms “mistake” or “tragedy.” What matters is that Bush be prevented from unleashing a Middle East holocaust – “Shock and Awe” in reverse on his way out the door – in the death throes of his grand aggression.
The Bush Pirates will not go quietly, even in defeat. As Americans, on November 2 we can give the coup de grace to the criminal offensive begun on March 19, 2003. We must then thwart Kerry’s DLC Euro-Plan to subvert by other means the aspirations of the people of Iraq – whatever that plan turns out to be.
A report in last week’s Financial Times (UK) indicates the U.S. is actively exploring its fallback option: a partition of Iraq that would separate Baghdad and central Iraq from the oil fields of the heavily Kurdish north and the Shi’ite south. In the usual fashion, the paper quotes an “unidentified diplomat” as saying: “The south has been desperately disappointed, and they see Baghdad as continuing to leave them without representation. So they are working on ways to organize themselves to have more clout with the center.” The southern provinces in question are centered around Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, patrolled by 9,000 British troops. The FT’s “diplomat” source then points the finger at neighboring Iran as the instigator of partition sentiment in the south. Yet, as Iraq specialist Prof. Juan Cole pointed out, back in March of this year:
”No major indigenous Iraqi political party or actor favors partition. Even the Kurds want a loose federalism. Turkey has threatened to go to war to prevent the emergence of an oil-rich independent Kurdistan, which its leaders fear might entice the Turkish Kurds of eastern Anatolia into a separatism that would fragment Turkey. The Iranians less truculently maintain a similar view, because of sensitivities about their own Kurdish minority.”
The Brits are, of course, masters of partition, their neocolonial strategy of choice. They drew the lines in the sand that severed Kuwait and its oil fields from the “protectorate” of Iraq, after World War One. But the Clinton administration was testing Iraq partition balloons in 1999, according to contemporaneous reports from Agence France-Presse (AFP):
”The US Defense Secretary William Cohen currently making a tour of the Gulf region is attempting to obtain the support of the Gulf states for a tactical plan to partition Iraq, a report said.
”AFP said that United Arab Emirates al-Khaleej daily quoted well-informed diplomatic sources in Doha as saying that Cohen is trying to convince countries of the region, especially the Gulf states, of a US plan aimed at perpetuating the independence of northern Iraq by establishing a Kurdish entity, but this entity is not to be split from Iraq but to be linked to it in a confederation that will be a starting point for the opposition against the Iraqi government.
”The same sources added that this plan will not deal with southern Iraq with the same logic, under the pretext that by doing so it will avail the chance for establishing an entity which would constitute a center point for Iranian influence (in reference to the Shi’ites of southern Iraq).
So, de facto partition of Iraq is a bipartisan project. Today, rightist Republicans and Democrats speak of the “threat” of civil war dividing Iraq in three parts: Kurdish, Sunni and Shi’ite. The Financial Times report, probably planted by Brits or Americans, is a variation on that theme. In reality, civil war is the second item on the neocolonial wish-list. Should occupation of the whole of Iraq become untenable, they will foment inter-Iraqi strife in hopes of holding on to the oil-rich parts of the country through agreements with potentates of mini-states – sectarian and ethnic warlords, much like in Afghanistan.
However, we think the Bush regime, still frozen in its original, delusional ambitions to oversee a Greater Middle East “market” of “transformed” states, has neither the time, presence of mind nor competence to effect a partition strategy. Kerry, the Euro-minded guy, is another story, the first chapter of which may begin on January 20.
It is up to the Iraqis to oust the U.S. occupation forces. But only U.S. voters can prevent the mad, vengeful Apocalypse that will accompany an American exit, as surely as night follows day, if Bush remains at the helm – an orgy of superpower violence that might engulf us all.
The world can’t risk Pirate fingers on the Rapture button.