FM: John Whitbeck
The rumination which I circulated on Friday has been published in the
weekend edition of COUNTERPUNCH.
That publication (suitable for further circulation) is transmitted below.
*December 9 / 10, 2006*
/Say "Mission Accomplished" and Go Home/
Recommendation No. 80
By JOHN V. WHITBECK
While almost the entire world other than President George W. Bush now
views the American invasion and occupation of Iraq as a catastrophic
failure, there is one notable exception.
During a visit to Washington last month, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert, while affirming his categorical support for Mr. Bush's Iraq war
policy and his confrontational strategy toward Iran, said, according to/
Ha'aretz/ (Nov. 14), that "the Iraq war had a dramatic positive effect
on security and stability in the Middle East as well as strategic
importance from Israel's perspective." (Ominously for the future, Mr.
Olmert added with respect to his meeting with Mr. Bush, "Iran's role in
the conversation was quite clear, very serious and very significant, and
I left the meeting with an outstanding feeling.")
No one should be surprised by "Israel's perspective". In their now
famous "Clean Break" policy paper, written in 1996 for incoming Israeli
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israel-First neocons who were to
be the principal advocates and masterminds of Mr. Bush's Iraq war cited
the destruction of Iraq as a major Israeli strategic objective. In its
geostrategic position, Israel would understandably view as undesirable
the existence in its region of any Arab or Muslim state which was strong
and independent, rather than intimidated by and subservient to
Israel/America. From an Israeli security perspective, it would clearly
be highly desirable for any such state to be neutered (like Egypt) and,
if possible, fragmented into mutually hostile pieces.
Even before the invasion, it was widely understood that the principal
motivation for the invasion was not oil -- there is no evidence of
behind-the-scenes agitation or pressure from international oil companies
in favor of war -- but, rather, Israel. In pre-war polls, Israel was the
only country in the world (other than the United States) where a
majority of the population favored the war.
Iraq has now been effectively destroyed and may be fragmenting into
pieces. It is therefore no wonder that Mr. Olmert should be delighted
with how the war has turned out and should wish to confirm publicly how
"thankful" Israel is to the United States and Mr. Bush. His wisdom and
good taste in doing so on American soil when most Americans are less
delighted with how the war has turned out might be questioned. However,
his genuine appreciation for what the United States has accomplished for
Israel's benefit may suggest a better "way forward" than the 79
recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group.
Imagine this* *Recommendation No. 80: The President should explain
honestly what the principal objective in invading Iraq really was, point
out that, in terms of this objective, the political, economic and social
collapse and chaos which the war and occupation have achieved in Iraq
already constitute an outstanding "success", unfurl a huge "MISSION
ACCOMPLISHED" banner on the White House and bring the troops home in
triumph as rapidly as the necessary transport can be arranged.
This recommendation might well appeal to Mr. Bush, since it would offer
him the only realistic chance to claim "success" before he leaves office
-- presumably preferable in his eyes to his apparent current strategy of
stalling (at enormous human cost to others) for the next two years so as
to leave the recognition of (and, he must hope, blame for) "failure" or
"defeat" to his successor. He could also be confident that no one in
either American political party or in the American mainstream media
would criticize him for having lied to the American people and the world
as to his true motivation for invading Iraq if he made clear that he did
so for the benefit of Israel.
The only potential drawback if this recommendation were to be
implemented would be that it would free up the American military to give
Mr. Olmert another "outstanding feeling" by attacking for Israel's
benefit one or more other states on Israel's hit list, starting with
Iran and Syria. Perhaps, next time, the American military, who don't
have to stand for election and can therefore afford to put America
first, will "just say no".
*John V. Whitbeck*, an international lawyer, is author of "The World
According to Whitbeck"