|The Really Real "Long War|
|Tuesday, 18 April 2006|
|Savvy players in the military-industrial racket know that the "War on Terror" is just short-end money: fat and sweet, sure, but it doesn't really have legs. "Islamofacism" is too empty a concept to sustain the kind of decades-long looting of the public treasury that the dear old Cold War used to provide – the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world just aren't interested in dressing up in Nazi drag and playing their assigned roles in the Pentagon-Neocon-Theocon war game. I mean, Jesus Herbert Walker Christ, you can even walk your army right into the heartland of Islam and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and they still won't take the bait. Not a single Muslim nation has gone jihad over Iraq; they haven't all turned into a nice, big monolithic evil empire set on the utter destruction of America. It's like they're all just ordinary people or something, good, bad and indifferent, largely occupied with their own concerns – personal, economic, social, religious, national. |
Of course, the war has inflamed the extremist fringes, empowered forces of intolerance and hatred to a degree they could never have dreamed of before; yes, its given sectarian terror a major boost, nicely priming the pump for more war profits. And boy howdy, the next go-round, in Iran, will goose the military market to even greater heights. So we're not saying this Terror War gambit is a bad thing, you understand; no, it's been boffo box office all the way. But still, since there actually is no such thing as "Islamofacism," – as opposed to a few virulent and violent outlaw gangs, and a number of authoritarian regimes that have no interest whatsoever in attacking America – you're just not going to get that Cold War mileage you need.
No, when it comes to terrorizing your own people into forking over their money and the blood of their children to keep you in clover, there's just no substitute for the real thing: Commies. Hordes of 'em. A billion of 'em, by God! That's right, we're talking China. Now there's a long-term proposition for you. There's the whole ball of wax: nukes, missiles, vast standing armies, territorial tensions, government suppression – it's vintage Kremlin, baby, circa Cuban Missile Crisis, anytime you need it. And here's the beauty part: you can literally make money coming and going. You can dive into the Chinese market, get in bed with businesses backed by Commie brass, like Neil Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have done, give 'em Google and Microsoft and Starbucks – even the Rolling Stones, for Christ's sake – then turn around and bag even more billions in gargantuan weapons programs to act as "prudent hedges against the possibility that cooperative approaches by themselves may fail to preclude future conflict" with them sneaky yellow devils, as the Pentagon's "long-term strategy review" put it recently.
Of course, that's what the "War on Terror" is all about anyway: gaining control of the Muslim oil lands in order to throttle China and eventually knock it on the head if it gets too uppity. If Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khamanei had simply handed over their oil fields to the protection of American overseers, then they could have repressed their own people till the cows come home, with the grateful blessing of Washington. (Equatorial Guinea's rapacious dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema has it down pat. He's opened his vast oil reserves to American companies; in return, he's free to torture, loot and starve his people, and still be lauded by those champions of democracy in the Bush White House.) The war in Iraq and the next war in Iran have nothing to do with Islam or liberation or terrorism or any of that katzenjammer. It wouldn't matter if they were all Southern Baptists or acolytes of Ishtar, if they cared tenderly for their citizens or turned them into soylent green. They've got oil, they wouldn't play ball, so they're going down.
Control of these resources and strategic areas in order to box in China (and eventually India) and prevent the rise of any potential rival to American domination of global affairs – or rather, the domination of global affairs by a small American elite quite willing to see their own country sink into corruption, ruin, tyranny and fear – is now and has been since the end of the Cold War the driving force of the political faction led by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others brought into power by the rigged election of runner-up George W. Bush in 2000. It is for this and no other reason that thousands of Americans have been killed, and tens of thousands maimed in Iraq; it is for this that up to 300,000 innocent Iraqis have been slaughtered; it is for this that the war plans for Iran are going forward. The only way that the pathetic, stunted intellects of this political faction know how to interpret reality is through the paranoid prism of the Cold War, with its hidebound abstractions, its cartoonish exaggerations, its perverted morality (willing to destroy a village, a region, a nation – even the whole world – to "save" it from the enemy) and, more than anything else, the vast power and privilege it accorded to the national security elite.
And so they -- and the generations of younger disciples they have spawned -- are trying to re-order the world, through violence, threat and terror, to make reality fit the blinkered template in their heads. And they will keep on trying, even if the flame of Islamic extremism flickers out, even if the Chinese lay down their arms, even if Iran turns its nuclear plants into Wal-Marts and Pottery Barns. There will always be a new Big Enemy to justify their militarist obsessions.
Update: Not an hour after posting the final version of this piece, I ran across Michael T. Klare's excellent TomDispatch.com article on much the same theme: the overall strategy of "containing China." Go thou and read likewise.