The war of occupation

Print edition : April 11, 2003

Analysing the mechanics of the outrage, the objectives and strategies behind the build-up, and the likely consequences.

THE expected, the dreaded, the unspeakable has begun. The Anglo-American axis has waged a wanton war of destruction and starvation against Iraq and its people for well over a decade now. What has begun now is the new and climactic phase that turns it into a war of full-scale occupation. Already, as this is being written on the fourth day of the war, Baghdad has suffered the worst bombings in human history: a thousand cruise missiles dropped on a city in one night. When the authors of the so-called "Shock & Awe" strategy proposed that Baghdad be hit by 800 cruise missiles on the first two days, they said that this level of intensity of bombing would have the same effect as that of the atom bomb at Hiroshima. In that one night alone, the "Hiroshima effect" was exceeded by 200 additional cruise missiles. A night of relatively - only relatively - lighter bombing followed. Together, during the two nights, U.S. aircraft flew one thousand bombing sorties, in addition to remote-controlled missile attacks from land- and sea-based launchers. More cruise hurricanes are in the offing.

Anti-war protesters on their way to a rally in Hyde Park, London.-JACK HILL/AFP

The bizarre fact is that the targets themselves - the presidential palace, the headquarters of the Defence Ministry and the intelligence services, the houses of Saddam Hussein's family, and so on - make no military sense. They must have been evacuated long ago. The intent is simply to terrorise the population, to demonstrate that if the most majestic buildings in the city can go up in balls of fire and sky-high splinters of debris, then every one of the inhabitants of the city can also meet the same fate unless they flee or surrender immediately. What the Americans want is that by the time their Marines walk into it, this city of five to six million people - until recently one of the proudest and most prosperous cities of the Arab world - become a city of corpses and ghosts. American lives are too precious for the more familiar kinds of urban warfare.

So transparent is this intent to terrorise that even the phalanxes of so-called experts and strategists who have been lining up in the studios of the TV channels have taken to calling it "psychological warfare", as if thousands of cruise missiles raining down on a city has the same effect as the dropping of leaflets. One has been quite used to this kind of gibberish on CNN, which has long served as an echo chamber of the Pentagon. But the BBC too seems to have undergone an overnight transformation and it has now taken up a position somewhat to the right of CNN. A poor man's CNN as it were!

Most of the real news about the war now comes from the alternative media assembled by anti-war groupings on the Net, through their websites and server lists. It is only there, for example, that one learns that the three helicopters that came down, accounting for about 40 deaths among the U.S. and British military personnel, were indeed shot down and not lost in accidents, as the invading axis has claimed. Only from this other media does one learn that people have defied their tyrannical governments throughout the Arab world and directly clashed with the police all the way from Yemen and Bahrain to Cairo and Amman; that three people were shot and killed in Yemen during these demonstrations; that militant sermons are being delivered not just by jehadi elements in the Muslim world but also throughout the world of the traditionally and historically pacificist Islam, all the way from Al-Azhar, the prestigious and sedate seminary of Sunni Islam, to the mosques of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, otherwise so savagely controlled by the monarchical clients of the U.S.

The dominant electronic media, on the other hand, has shied away from telling us any of that, or that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme Iranian religious leader, has used the word "satanic" for the U.S. designs (he had abandoned such language after Ayatollah Khomeini's death); or that not only China but also President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia as well Malaysia's Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have said that, in Megawati's words, "the use of military action against Iraq is an act of aggression which is against international law."

It is not from the big-business media that we can learn that every city in Greece has been rocked by demonstrations, or that 200,000 people marched in Athens in the largest rally in a generation; or that over 100,000 marched in Paris or that close to a hundred thousand did so in Berlin while every other city of any consequence in Germany had rallies; or that a notable feature of these rallies is the participation of tens of thousands of schoolchildren holding placards that read: "Not in Our Name." Only from the website of CounterPunch magazine did one learn that the number of arrested persons in San Francisco exceeded 1,400, and that helicopters whirred over the city while the police beat up demonstrators across town throughout the day.

Iraqis on an Apache military helicopter in Hindiya district, 120 km south-west of Baghdad, on March 24. Iraq said that Iraqi farmers had shot down two U.S. helicopters. A. U.S. defence official in Washington confirmed that one Apache Longbow helicopter was downed in Iraq.-FALEH KHEIBER/REUTERS

The staid print media have become so disoriented that the morning's electronic edition of The Guardian says in its headlines that 200,000 people marched in London and New York, but in the detailed story the number rapidly dwindles to 100,000 in London and 20,000 in New York. That same feat of taking off a zero to reduce the actual size of the rally to one-tenth of it was achieved by the police in Milan where a march of some 150,000 was declared to have drawn only 15,000. It took CNN well over 24 hours even to start coming clean and devote a couple of minutes to the actual magnitude of the London demonstration (half a million people, according to the organisers; 200,000 as conceded by the police) or the demonstration in New York (estimated at 200,000). All this on the fourth day of the Baghdad bombings, in hurriedly organised events.

From a media that either simply ignore the protests or rely mainly on police estimates, we shall never know of the size of the turnouts from Turin to Melbourne and from Sydney to Karachi, nor of the persistence of this turbulence, the ebb and flow of it, day after day as the war grinds on. Yet, so irrepressible is the reality that recognition of it comes from surprising quarters. The choicest quote of the day comes from someone called Stan Goff, a retired U.S. Special Forces Master Sergeant, who joined the U.S. armed forces in 1970 and left in 1996, was a tactics instructor at the Jungle Operations Training Centre in Panama, and taught Military Science at America's war college at West Point: "This hasn't been an easy time for Bush and his killer clowns. It hasn't been an easy time for a lot of so-called liberals either. An anti-war movement came onto the scene, and not just any anti-war movement. It is now the fastest and broadest international movement of its type in history. It involves anarcho-kids, olde tyme lefties, and pacifists to be sure, but it also involves soccer moms, Black preachers, Italian dock workers, women who write books, nerds, doctors, Indian garment workers, Nigerian intellectuals, Brazilian coffee pickers, Japanese students, Haitian peasants, Filipino street cleaners... every damn body!"

As the BBC itself becomes to CNN what Blair has become to Bush, the crisis of the Anglo-American liberals, and their dominant media in particular, becomes increasingly more palpable. While the London march was in full swing, all one got on the BBC was an aerial shot lasting about five seconds, before it resumed its cheerleading of the invaders. One can hardly expect from such a media the information that far from being a lone voice, individuals like the retired U.S. Special Forces Master Sergeant whose words are quoted here is among a very large number of right-wing super-hawks in the U.S. who are outside the charmed circle of Bush's happy genocidists and who believe that the project of planetary conquest that these genocidists are pursuing is unsustainable, contrary to America's own national security interests, and contrary perhaps even to the larger interests of the Republican Party itself which might lose its lustre if the war does not go the way it is envisioned to go. This domesticated and paid-for dominant media are doing their utmost to suppress the fact that America's chief terrorism expert, an assistant to Condoleeza Rice, resigned in disgust from his post at the National Security Council as the first bombs fell on Baghdad. And it has simply not told us that three U.S. diplomats have resigned already, or that army chaplains are reporting large-scale disaffection with the war aims among the soldiery itself. It will not tell us that Hans Blix, the U.N.'s former Chief Weapons Inspector, who rendered such sterling service to the U.S. by destroying what little remained of Iraq's defensive capabilities - notably the Al-Samoud missiles and the attendant delivery systems - now says that the U.S. was always "impatient to go to war", had no interest from the outset in peaceful disarmament, and provided the inspectors information that was sloppy or false. Blix's colleague, Joern Siljeholm, who lives in the U.S. but cannot get a hearing from the U.S. media, told the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet about Colin Powell's claims at the Security Council: "It did not match up at all with our information. The whole speech was misleading... Much of what has been claimed about WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] has proven to be sheer nonsense." One will never hear this on the BBC or CNN, which are as much a part of the "psychological warfare" as is the raining down of the cruise missiles on Baghdad and Mosul.

TODAY, the fourth day of the war, even these cheerleaders on the BBC and CNN have come under pressure on three counts. First, the sheer size of the opposition is so great and so very, very widespread across the globe that the media would lose all its credibility if they were to ignore this continuing anti-war upsurge. Far from subsiding after the great global uprising of February 15, which brought perhaps as many as 15 million marchers to the streets of the world, the anti-war movement is picking up again, growing more militant, recruiting new marchers, especially among the young and the very young. Incidents of street fighting between protesters and the police are being reported from across the world, from New York to Brussels and from Bahrain to Mexico City. This resurgence can no longer be ignored.

French President Jacques Chirac (left) with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during an E.U. summit in Brussels on March 20.-PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP

Secondly, many of the myths that the American disinformation agencies had cooked up are getting exposed. Three hundred cruise missiles, thousands of bombing sorties, to "shock and awe", and yet there has been no exodus of people out of Baghdad. Four days of armour-and-infantry race into the Shia zones of eastern Iraq, which was said to have been just waiting for the Anglo-American liberators, and no one has come forward to greet them and not even the smallest town has yet fully fallen to this greatest power in human history: instead, a battered and starving people are just holding out. The small town of Nasiriyah, which the invaders claimed to have captured two days ago, was still fighting.

And, third, while every claim made by Iraq has either been proven to be correct or judged to be credible, stories put out by the Anglo-American axis are proving to be wrong. It claimed that the 51st Division had surrendered, then said it was a battalion, then said it was the Commander of the brigade, then again the full brigade - but failed to produce material evidence. It was obviously a lie, or in more polite language, "disinformation". They claimed that certain towns had fallen, which have not. A grenade attack on an infantry encampment could not be denied; so they put out the story that a temporarily deranged American soldier had himself done it. When the first helicopter was shot down, they said it was an accident. When two of the United Kingdom's finest, newest helicopters were shot down, they said the helicopters had collided by accident. When the Royal Air Force (RAF) lost a plane, they first remained silent for some hours, then said that a U.S. missile had shot it down by mistake. They announced that the little border town of Umm Qasr had been captured, and that Basra, the second largest city after Baghdad, was about to fall. Twenty-four hours later, Umm Qasr was still holding out and Basra, which sustained such heavy bombings in the city centre that 77 civilians were killed and 366 injured in one night, was so far from falling that another story was put out saying that the city had just been surrounded and bypassed. Meanwhile, again, there has not been so far any exodus of people out of Basra despite all the aerial bombings and the ground attack, and despite the fact that its predominantly Shia population was supposed to be just waiting to rise to greet the Anglo-American `liberators'.

Faced with these pressures of a resurgent mass anti-war movement, as well as the myths and lies of the invading forces, even the dominant media have begun now to distance themselves somewhat from their assigned role as merely an echo chamber of the war-mongering officialdom. The BBC has brought in at least one commentator who keeps the scepticism alive.

SO, why has the war come, and what are the likely consequences? The larger U.S. objectives have been dealt with in previous articles (notably "U.S. design and global complicity", Frontline, January 31, 2003; "Anti-war upsurge", March 14, 2003; and "The countdown begins", March 28, 2003). We shall return to these objectives and amplify the argument further. It needs to be set out at the very outset, however, that the Security Council, the U.N. Secretary-General, and the so-called "international community", including France and Germany who are now waxing eloquent, have been fully complicit as three successive U.S. administrations - those led by Bush Sr., Bill Clinton and now Bush Jr. - have supervised U.S. policy in Iraq. It was by means of a Security Council resolution that sanctions were imposed and maintained, which have cost Iraq the lives of half a million of its citizens, have ruined the health and life chances of its citizenry, withheld from them essential commodities such as medicines, led to the decaying of its oil industry as well as every other branch of its industry, and to the collapse of its infrastructure. During these years, this same Anglo-American axis imposed so-called "no-fly zones" over large parts of northern and eastern Iraq. Thus, Iraq could not fly its own aircraft over its territory but the Anglo-American axis could and did at will, in utter violation of international law governing the sovereignty of nations. The Security Council did nothing and implicitly condoned this decade-long violation of the U.N. Charter. Hardly a week has passed during this decade when this axis has not bombed something or the other in Iraq, without the Security Council ever holding a single meeting to condemn, or even consider, this weekly lawlessness.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.-VIKTOR KOROTAYEV/AP

The U.S. demanded, the Security Council resolved, and every country in the world, without exception, parroted the nauseating demand that Iraq be "disarmed". Iraq has not occupied any foreign territory since the Gulf War of 1991; Israel has occupied (even "annexed" by its own national law) Syrian territory for close to 40 years, but Israel is not to be disarmed. Britain and the U.S. have bombed Iraq, supplied military materials and advisers to separatists and U.S.-nurtured "opposition" forces in northern Iraq. Even Time magazine reported several weeks ago that secret U.S. armies, including its Special Forces, have been operating in various parts of Iraq for many months. But neither Britain nor the U.S. was to be "disarmed", nor even condemned, no matter how much they flouted the sovereignty of Iraq or inflicted bombs and death on its citizens.

Not only that. The U.S. has been shouting from the rooftops for well over a year, as loudly and frequently as possible, that it will invade Iraq at a time of its own choosing, with the sole objective of "regime change" (that is, the overthrow of a lawfully constituted government of another sovereign country through a unilateral act of war), regardless of what the weapons inspectors did or did not find. Yet, knowing all this, this same Security Council sent in the inspectors and authorised them to destroy what little defensive capability Iraq still had, so as to make the war of conquest so much easier for the Anglo-American axis. When the U.S. decided to begin the invasion it sent its orders directly to those inspectors to get out of Iraq; Kofi Annan, entirely on his own and without the permission of the Security Council that had sent them in, "advised" them to abide by the U.S. orders. Just before the U.S. withdrew the draft of its resolution from the Security Council in mid-March, Jacques Chirac, the wily and unreliable French President, offered a compromise solution whereby Iraq would be fully disarmed within 30 days or face a war authorised by the U.N. The Americans were the ones who did not care for this surrender by the Franco-German bloc because their war calendar was set neither by issues of disarmament nor by considerations of an already supine Security Council but by weather conditions most suitable for invasion. By mid-April the big sand storms would have begun and war would have become a bit more difficult.

This outrage continues. Commendably, China has issued a strongly worded statement specifically saying that the war on Iraq is a violation of the U.N. Charter, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin has used the words "aggression" and "condemn", Germany and France are repeating their "warnings" and advising "caution" so that "casualties" are minimised, and so on. None of these permanent members of the Security Council, nor Kofi Annan who is supposed to be the current custodian of the U.N. Charter, has so far suggested that a unilateral act of war against a sovereign country, the bombing of its cities, the occupation of its territories, the killing of its civilians in city centres are all war crimes for which the leaders of the U.S. and Britain must be tried in the International Court of Justice which has been constituted precisely for that purpose.

Rather, Kofi Annan is known to have quietly appointed a committee some three months ago for so-called "humanitarian" aid after the U.S. occupation. And, the day after the bombings began, the same Germany and France began negotiating as to how many of the contracts they will get for the "post-war reconstruction" in Iraq. The day the Americans announced their resolve to invade, Annan put an end to the oil-for-food programme that was being administered by the U.N., thus putting an end to the crucial supplies upon which the sanctions-bound Iraq relies to meet the daily needs of its population. He also ordered the relief agencies to leave Iraq, leaving the population without their resources. This prospect of starvation was expected to encourage the people to start leaving the country, generating millions of "refugees" who would be designated as Saddam's victims and to whom then the benevolent U.N. and the even more benevolent Western countries would bring "humanitarian aid". Now, ever the loyal servant of the U.S., Annan is busy drafting a resolution for the Security Council whereby the U.S. shall be allowed the act of conquest but the ugly task of occupation shall be performed in the name of the U.N. This is so that the prolonged urban warfare which the Iraqis are most likely to mount after the occupation shall be faced not by the U.S. troops but by soldiers of other countries flying the U.N. flag but doing the U.S. bidding. A plausible legal case can be made against Annan for dereliction of duty as the defender of the U.N. Charter, and for aiding and abetting war criminals of the Bush and Blair administrations.

The only act of substantive dissidence has come so far from Russia. President Putin and his Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov were both quoted by the Al Jazeera TV network on March 22 as saying that Russia, "along with other countries", shall approach the legal departments of the U.N. in order to determine whether or not the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq is in violation of international law, and what appropriate actions can be undertaken in this regard. It is still not known how serious the intent is behind such statements. For, this too may turn out to be merely a bargaining point between the U.S. and the opposing members of the Security Council. This is, however, precisely what needs to be done. The four permanent members of the Security Council as well as numerous other countries around the world have said that the Anglo-American aggression against Iraq violates the U.N. Charter and the other founding protocols of international law. These words need to be made credible through deeds.

As for weapons of mass destruction, the rule of the thumb is quite simple: if Iraq had them, the Americans would not have gone in and taken the risk. They would have left the matter to the inspectors for as long as was necessary. They knew that Iraq did not have any, at any rate not enough of them to pose a significant problem. Then, week after week, the inspectors further confirmed what the U.S. already knew. They gave the inspectors false and misleading information because they actually had no concrete information pointing to anything real; they just had some suspicions and wanted them removed. Hans Blix obliged.

Conversely, of course, the U.S. will not invade North Korea because the latter has actually developed nuclear weapons as well as delivery systems that can carry the weapons at least as far as Japan. That is what Iraq was trying to develop: a small number of such weapons that could go as far as Israel, as a minimum counterweight against at least 200 nuclear warheads that Israel, the great menace to the Arab world, is known to have. The principle was the same: you threaten a key U.S. ally - Japan in the case of North Korea, Israel in the case of Iraq - and the U.S. shall not dare invade you. The North Korean gamble worked, Iraq's did not. And in this, as in much else, the Security Council, the "international community" and so on have been solidly on the side of the U.S. and against Iraq.

Members of the British Household Cavalry with Scimitar tanks check their equipment as oil wells burn in southern Iraq on March 20.-REUTERS

WHAT, then, are the strategic objectives and the prospects of their realisation?

We need first to dispose of the question of the immediate prospects in Iraq, here and now. The first thing to be understood is that Iraq is battered, exhausted, pauperised, with its defensive capabilities already destroyed, enjoying no assistance in practical terms from outside. Two-thirds of its population relied on the direct distribution of essential commodities, such as food and medicines, by the state. The invasion has put an end to that. It is very unlikely that its armed forces can put up for long any kind of conventional defence against the super-high-tech invaders. Iraq's only strength, which is yet to be tested, is the fighting spirit of its people. Will they stand and fight? The Iraqi authorities say that they have armed seven million people, a third of Iraq's total population. Will this fuel a popular, long-drawn war of anti-imperialist resistance? Will it lead, instead, to armed inter-ethnic conflicts? Between members of the Baath Party and their opponents? Generalised anarchy as the population, bereft of even food and other essential goods, scrounges around, fighting for mere day-to-day survival, each against all? It is too soon to tell.

Conversely, all that the U.S. had expected to happen immediately, has not happened. There have been no anti-Saddam uprisings, no Shia welcome for the invaders, no Shia-Sunni tussles, no exodus of people out of the cities.

People have seen thousands of bombs and missiles, equal to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of explosives, fall on their city, and they have not moved. Indeed, there are reports of the Iraqi embassies in Lebanon and Jordan being flooded with applicants who want to go and fight in Iraq, against the U.S. Even CNN has shown pictures of Iraqis in Amman packing their cars to drive to Baghdad and be in their city as the bombs fall. The Americans had predicted splits in the Iraqi Army, splits in the ruling party, splits in the regime itself. They are still claiming to be in negotiation with senior military and party leaders who wish to come over to their side. They have been saying for months that they will absorb the whole of the Baath Party into their own apparatus if Saddam is ditched. None of this has happened yet. Maybe it will happen, maybe not.

Meanwhile, even as their monstrous military convoys rumble toward Baghdad and the aerial bombardment of the city continues, the nightmare for the Americans is that they will have to fight in direct combat, street to street, house to house, with U.S. and British casualties mounting. They know that public opinion in the U.K. is already overwhelmingly against the war, with the ruling party itself deeply divided on the issue. A prolonged war with significant American casualties shall erode the pro-war sentiment in the U.S. too, quite fast. In the case of Vietnam that erosion took years, but in the present case it may take weeks, at most months. However, an unwillingness to take significant casualties puts the Anglo-U.S. bloc in a dilemma.

Conventional armies surrender, but what does the invader do with armies that simply melt into the populace and fight without fixed positions? Well, if conventional combat on the ground is deemed politically too costly on the home front, the only other choice is a war of extermination: kill the whole lot, from up high. The invaders certainly have the military means to accomplish that. But the political consequences of such actions are even more unthinkable. One night of terrorist bombings of carefully selected uninhabited buildings have brought out perhaps as many as three million people on to the streets across the globe, with street fights breaking out in a couple of dozen cities. Entire populations being incinerated, and on television at that, will certainly rip apart West Asian and European cities, possibly some American ones as well, and an unstoppable movement will be born to try Bush and Blair as war criminals.

So, the Americans are still hoping that something will work for them: the populations will flee, politicians and officers will shift loyalties, somebody will produce Saddam's dead body, or some such thing. The U.S.-U.K. alliance says that its forces will reach the perimeter of Baghdad by March 27. Some of the answers shall then start coming in.

WHAT has this alliance achieved so far? Well, their forces are moving along through the desert, but they have achieved little else in the war as yet, on the fourth day of the assault. Elsewhere, three of their gains have been substantial. First, they have secured the home front, substantially. In the U.S., where the population was split before the war, patriotic fervour has helped Bush win a three-fourths majority to his side, and when the Democrat Senator Robert C. Byrd, who has served in Congress for close to 50 years, longer than anyone else, rose to deliver his solemn denunciation of this war - "Today I weep for my country," he said - the Senate chamber was empty and his own party colleagues did not bother to hear him. In the U.K., the much-longed-for rebellion in the Labour Party did not materialise; 139 Members of Parliament voted against him but Blair won by a comfortable majority in his own party and an overwhelming majority in the House, with solid Tory support.

Secondly, the U.S. has managed to split the European Union, a major political aim at the moment, with the U.K., Spain, Italy, Portugal and a number of smaller countries supporting Washington against the Franco-German position. In addition, half a dozen Arab countries have provided the U.S. and its allies basing facilities (including Jordan, which has done it very quietly) while others have given them tacit support, with the exception of Syria. This is really the core of what they call a "coalition of the willing" and for which they claim a membership of 45 countries. Most of those 45 are insignificant little dependencies such as Eritrea, El Salvador and Estonia. If in consequence of this war, the U.S. can also stabilise the dollar as the exclusive currency of the oil trade, against the challenge from the Euro, this split in the E.U. can have long-term consequences.

Thirdly, the U.S. has rendered the U.N. irrelevant or worse, not by getting authorisation from the Security Council but in bypassing it, and doing its dirty work at the U.N. through Kofi Annan and his bureaucracy. The other members of the Security Council now have the choice of gulping it and merely asking for a share in a future dispensation, or concretely challenging the very legality of the U.S.-U.K. aggression and forcing them to be answerable to international law, on terms chosen not by themselves but by courts that have international jurisdiction. The U.N. thus can become "relevant" again in one of two ways. It can become relevant the way it has always been relevant, as a tool of the Americans, with "allies" following suit. Or, it can indeed refuse to play that role and bring the U.S. to book.

U.S. soldiers search surrendered Iraqi soldiers near the southern city of Safwan.-LAURENT REBOURS/ AP

All that will depend on two factors. First, it is to be seen if the Franco-German alliance is committed deeply enough in defending the Euro against the dollar, in a do-or-die political battle at this time. Secondly, you have to see whether the Franco-German-Sino-Russian coalition that emerged fleetingly during the recent Security Council proceedings really has any long-term significance as an enduring bloc against unilateral U.S. domination over the globe. The fact that the U.S.-U.K. alliance has pointedly defied and bypassed the Security Council and that no other permanent member has even asked for a session to be held to discuss this grave matter would seem to indicate that the will is lacking to take on the U.S. at this point. This too is a matter that will have to be watched carefully. If Russia does make good on its threat to have the international agencies determine the issue of the legality of the current aggression against Iraq, then we shall have entered a new phase in the struggle for the global balance of power.

As for the long-term strategic aims of the U.S., the politics of oil and the associated war of currencies, the dollar versus the Euro, has been written about here previously (see in particular the closing section of "The countdown begins", Frontline, March 28, 2003). The larger geo-political design driving this politics has also been written about at length (see "U.S. design and global complicity", January 31, 2003). This writer has repeatedly emphasised the fact that U.S. foreign policy under Bush is being formulated primarily not at the State Department or even by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but at a cluster of think tanks of the Far Right. Among these the Project for New American Century, the home base of the current top officials of the Pentagon, is pivotal but there are also such other think tanks as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. In considering what comes after the conquest of Iraq, one might as well conclude with a quotation from a contribution that Michael Ledeen, who holds the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, contributed to the New York Sun of March 19, just as the invasion began. The article is titled "After Baghdad: Teheran, Damascus, Riyadh". It says in part: "Once upon a time, it might have been possible to deal with Iraq alone, without facing the murderous forces of the other terror masters in Teheran, Damascus and Riyadh, but that time has passed... their doom is sealed. It would then be only a matter of time before their people would demand the same liberation we brought Afghanistan and Iraq... Iraq is a battle, not a war."

So, we know where the cruise missiles shall be raining down next.

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