Extending American Empire is the Goal Behind the War on Iraq

by Shraga Elam

Dissident Voice
January 2, 2003



"U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup" says the Washington Post of 12/30/02. But the Post "forgot" to mention that this US-aided buildup continued after the end of the Iran-Iraq war (the first Gulf War) and that not all the details of this affair - known as Iraqgate (1) - have yet been exposed.


We can recognise a pattern of US foreign policy -- building up an enemy in order to be able to fight against him afterwards for economic and political reasons that do not necessarily have anything to do with the "enemy."


Case in point: Corporate America helped to finance the rise of Hitler and continued during WWII to provide economic support for Nazi Germany. For example, according to former New York Times reporter Charles Higham, in 1944, with the active support of the State Department, 48,000 tons a month of American oil were exported to Germany via Spain (2).


According to Henry Ford, the purpose of this policy was to provide the means for Nazi Germany and Great Britain to destroy each other, leaving the field to the US (3).


This aim was excellently fulfilled. At the end of WWII not only was Germany ruined but the British empire also went down, with obvious advantages for corporate interests in the US. Wall Street's investments in Hitler were highly profitable.


Case in point: The 2nd Gulf War in 1991 led to one of the largest capital transfers since WW II and the winner was again Corporate America. Business Week called it Operation Desert Market.


It is obvious that the new round in "US against Saddam Hussein" is not motivated by his alleged or real possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction. There are economic and geopolitical interests at stake that have yet to be clearly identified.


The main story cannot be oil alone, because Saddam Hussein would gladly cooperate with the US oil industry if he got the chance. He was even ready to receive Palestinian refugees from Lebanon in order to promote a Pax Americana in the Middle East.


A possible central motivation can be found in the paper, "REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES" of The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) of September 2000 (4). Its authors, who wield great influence with President Bush, believe that the US's first task is to raise the military budget, which sank "alarmingly" during the Clinton administration, and to station more US troops all over the world.


In their own words:


"Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future. But years of cuts in defense spending have eroded the American military's combat readiness, and put in jeopardy the Pentagon's plans for maintaining military superiority in the years ahead.




“This report proceeds from the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces.”




"The true cost of not meeting our defense requirements will be a lessened capacity for American global leadership and, ultimately, the loss of a global security order that is uniquely friendly to American principles and prosperity."


By "adding [at least] $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually" not only can US military industries get higher federal subventions, but their civil business profits as well. For example, a company like Boeing can get a very important advantage over its European competitor, Airbus, as a side-effect of military R&D, something which is otherwise forbidden under the rules of globalization (5).


September 11 gave the Bush Administration the necessary pretext to launch an "anti-terror-campaign" which facilitates perfectly the implementation of the goals sketched in PNAC's paper (6).


Shraga Elam, an Israeli Journalist based in Zurich/Switzerland. He can be reached at: elams@dplanet.ch      




(1) See. e.g. http://www.cjr.org/year/93/2/iraqgate.asp and http://www.fair.org/extra/9505/iraqgate.html  


(2) Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy - The Nazi - American Money Plot 1933-1949, (Delacorte Press, New York, 1983), p. 61.


(3) Charles Higham p. 157


(4) REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES. Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century, A Report of The Project for the New American Century,  September 2000.


(5) "An array of U.S. programs exploits the security exception to help U.S. manufacturers compete internationally." John Feffer, Globalization and Militarization, Foreign Policy in Focus, February 2002.


(6) Michelle Ciarrocca, Post-9/11 Economic Windfalls for Arms Manufacturers, Foreign Policy in Focus September 2002.