Nuclear Blues and the Iraqi Question

by B.J. Sabri

Dissident Voice
February 7, 2003



The spasmodic desire for a war orgy against Iraq is so deeply impressed on the cerebral cortex of the Bush Administration, that the mere thinking of words like “Saddam”, “oil”, and “Iraq”, makes it quiver with lust to wage it at any cost of Iraqi life, for any fabricated reason, and at any time of its choosing. To underpin its nebulous case for war, the Administration has excogitated a gigantic plethora of incoherent rationales, deceptive arguments, and factual fallacies.


To make war happen, a complicit media; flyweight talking heads; biased opinion makers; pretentious experts; spurious think tanks; and the ultimate keepers of the power base, are omnipresent and ready to amplify the waves of deception emitted by the Administration.


The speed with which all these disparate forces converged to launch a unified attack against the entire world in general, and against Iraq in particular is astonishing yet it is not surprising for two reasons. First: the magnitude of the crime against humanity of 9/11 gave this ideologically war-prone administration a perfect ruse and the extraordinary ability to implement, its domestic, international, military, and ideological agenda, all at once. Second: interventionist ideology requires rationalization; and the US through out their history, have become masters at rationalizations habitually pushed to the outer limits of sophistry. The current fashionable rationalizations are “terrorism” and “WMD”.


The central objective of any rationalization is to induce the reluctant and the uninformed to accept an idea without analysis. Thus, an assertion becomes fact, a belief becomes proof, obfuscation becomes clarity, and a doubt becomes conviction, and so on. In this regard, Bush and his team have surpassed the most renowned demagogues in history.


Instead of taking a long pause to reflect on the meaning of 9/11 and the circumstances leading to it, the Administration knowingly elected to take a dangerous alternative: it deliberately exploited a justifiable and an immense emotional anger to implement its own agenda. To push this exploitation to a more malleable ideological terrain, the Administration began with the decapitation of the language of argument. Thus, the complex argument on terrorism against the US and its causing factors has rapidly vanished under an avalanche of trivial explanations, deceptive assertions, perfunctory semantics, and predetermined conclusions.


In no other place as in UNSC resolution 1441, the language of argument has suffered more damning convolution. In it, the concise language of diplomacy de-evolved into a lexicon of contrived clauses and arcane subtexts always leading to war. Instead of embracing a decisive argument to disarm Iraq, the US-drafted resolution presupposes and imposes war by inserting linguistic traps open to ever-changing unilateral interpretations. Further, resolution 1441 declares war by not providing explicitly for the lifting of sanctions and re-integrating Iraq in the world (despite its detested dictatorial leadership) in exchange for verifiable disarmament.  A viscerally and clinically war-addict US wants to have a war, and an impotent UN, agreeing or disagreeing, must consent to it.


How does this tie to my argument? First: it has been 11 years since the US conducted its first destructive war against Iraq under the pretext of liberating an invaded Kuwait. Air campaign and ground war killed over three hundred thousand Iraqis, and left tens of thousands with war related illnesses. Second:  it has been almost 12 years since the US imposed a continuing blockade and sanctions against Iraq with the pretentious purpose to punish it for that invasion, and to disarm it from its so-called “weapons of mass destruction’. In this interminable American-imposed pillage of Iraq, and the ruthless experimentation with mass destruction by famine, lack of medicine, economic ruin, and coupled with the disintegration of the Iraqi civilian fabric and dissolution of its demographic sinews, over one-and-half million Iraqis have lost their lives. Considering all the above, a repeat of another Gulf War not only defies reason, it is a continuing willful genocide.


Bush has repeatedly stated that his coming war is necessary because Saddam is a dictator who aspires to have or may have “terrible” WMD with which he could threaten the US. If Saddam were to impose democracy on Iraq and then retires, would that change the nature of the conflict? This conjecture leads to questions that are more intricate.


Can a hypothetical democratic Arab state own WMD? Can any other state freely choose to have WMD? After all, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is optional and a state can sign, not sign, or withdraw from it. Further, why is that only a powerful state (be it democratic, communist, or totalitarian) can have WMD? Does a less powerful state (be it democratic, semi-democratic, autocratic, or dictatorial) suffer from mental instability? Does the Pakistani dictator Musharaff suffer from such instability? He has WMD!  Would a “dictatorship” call for a vote on the belligerent use of WMD? Conversely, would a “democracy” call for a vote on the use of the same? The answer in both cases is no. If both regimes can use them for their ends, then where are the ideological and moral dissimilarities in the pertinent use of WMD? 


The preceding line of questions has an intended purpose: to uphold that the issue of WMD is separate from any other issue, and specifically from the issue of terrorism. The importance of this separation is fundamental: the Administration is selling its war of conquest by mixing up two arguments, each with a separate identity and different ideological ramification.


The history of a decade-long sanctions and continuous wars against Iraq is one seamless chapter in a script aiming at the realization of an ambitious project: the Western (American, this time) re-conquest of the Middle East and its resources starting with Iraq. The nefarious argument that democracy is awaiting Iraq after a potentially destructive war can neither hide nor mitigate a possible holocaust ultimately generated by the lure and profits of the pending imperialist piracy. Aside from being propagandistic rubbish, the argument on benefits to Iraq consequent to war is the product of lunatic ideological confabulations by callous zealots wearing smiling faces and hiding genocidal mentalities. This deafening militaristic uproar to intervene in Iraq is neither about “WMD”, nor about “war on terrorism”. It is about the birth of a rapacious empire devouring an easy and exhausted prey!


Since WWII, American military interventions have gone through incremental changes in their ideological structure, doctrinal fabric, and the size of death and destruction heaped over developing nations. The ravenous quest for unlimited capitalistic, colonialist, and imperialist expansions backed by an unopposed global military hegemony is the locomotive driving these changes. The collapse of the Soviet Union gave the United States the ultimate opportunity to consecrate its interventionist structure and consolidate its rationalizing fabric. The principle element borne out of this process is a new kind of weapon, which I call absolute militarized coercion.


The prelude to the use of this tool came first when America, at the dying days of the Soviet Union, forced its way to war against Iraq after it invaded Kuwait; then it amplified its use when NATO removed the UN from international decision-making, and waged its war against Yugoslavia. While the Kosovo War sanctioned NATO and the US as the paramount decision makers of world affairs, it also relegated the UN to the role of a “rubble manager” to US wars, and transformed it into an ancillary agency of the US government.


However, 9/11 has become the supreme ruse in evolving absolute militarized coercion from an implied or explicit military threat into a honed mechanism for implementing the latest edition of “The National Security Strategy”, which has the potential to seed cataclysmic turmoil and wars around the world for generations to come. Based on critical observations of recent events, it is possible to discern the emergence of at least four major traits that are transforming America’s ideological makeup.


First: incipient Nazification of its military doctrine; where over-structured and militarized ideological formulations and a sense of higher national superiority define the scope, size, and justification of future military interventions; and prepare the ground for their uncritical acceptance. Second: inchoative Fascistization of its domestic structures; this would allow Nazification to proceed unimpeded. Third: uncritical adoption of Israel’s agenda in the Middle East, coupled with seeing this part of the world through the distorted ideological lens of exclusive Zionism, which is antithetical to America’s inclusive ideals. Fourth: consolidation of the instruments of social control into a pre-scripted and cloned informational system conceived to fragment the tools of democratic debate and to dissipate dissent, thus creating favorable conditions for a pre-determined objective to propagate and succeed.


After 9/11, a coalition formed by fanatic ideologues from all affiliations seized and turned America back to her historical essential synthesis: a cobweb of inextricable contradictions. Despite her long-standing domestic democratic traditions, her successful Constitution, her universal Bill of Rights, and despite her great achievements in industry, science, technology, and medicine, America has become a strange mixture of rampant domestic totalitarianism, ethical myopia, controlled democracy for the few, hyper-militarism, and a blatantly racist and rapacious imperialism.


One consequence of this mixture is the lethargic understanding of many segments of the American people of the meaning and implication of foreign policy issues and decisions. The casual indifference and supine assent to the notion of a new American war of conquest disguised as a “war on terrorism” is mostly due to the system’s capability to sedate dissent, narcotize analysis, numb counter-argument, and personalize conflict.  Besides, the entrenched and enduring dichotomy between domestic policy issues where people have a voice, and foreign policy issues where they do not, has created a situation of perpetual detachment where many people are alien to events that go beyond their domestic doorsteps.


Dean Acheson (State Secretary under Truman), and Madeleine Albright (State Secretary under Clinton) have both unequivocally stated that when it comes to foreign policy matters, the American people should not be involved because they cannot understand it! Despite this exclusion, the system is still capable to thrive on the strength of a simplistic indoctrination that foreign policy deliberations and decisions are an expression of the will of the people, based on their polled opinions. Nevertheless, an opinion made on any matter without discernment and understanding of its related facts, is an exercise in the narrow prisons of the mind. Following this paradigm, an opinion made on foreign policy matters without having a critical knowledge of it, is an exercise in the voids of the mind; and its only value resides in the alibi it provides for the end-user of the opinion.


Under these extraordinary ideological transformations of the American polity, the Iraqi issue has exposed everything rotten in the dismal state of the world. A world whose fate lies in the hands of one big power that is over-ideological, hyper-militarized, and eager for war. Think of it like this: a self-appointed global umpire, notorious for his repeated horrendous arbitration blunders, becomes the only umpire around!


The wider scenario is frightening. As America has become the lone omnipotent of the world, she now considers her will to dictate her agenda on the world, as a natural evolution of history. According to this view, the UN has only one course of action to take:  to provide US decisions with notary service and legal cover. The dilemma of the UN member states could not be simpler: the UN, notwithstanding its shortcomings, represents them. By succumbing to the US dictate, the UN has withered away, and metamorphosed into an eviscerated diplomatic organization.


If the Kosovo War has dealt to the UN its pre-death knell, resolution 1441 has finally declared it dead. Besides, the UN with her anachronistic dictatorial Security Council (excluding China), had not been created to oversee the world’s welfare, but rather to dispense the orders of four imperialist states with proven record of colonialism and massacre of subjected nations, especially the United States. The total disintegration of Russia, France, and China under American pressure, bribery, and deal making has an ominous meaning. It appears that the trio above has concluded that the only way to stop America from going to war would be to threaten war. This will not happen because a war with the US, at least for now, is a complicated enterprise.


A situation like this comes with consequences. One: to avoid war among themselves, US, UK, France, and Russia appear to have agreed to subdivide the spoils of Iraq first, and the Middle East next. Two:  the sovereignty of nations that is natural fact of world evolution is now a moribund concept veering toward extinction. Three: the UNSC has become an exclusive syndicate controlled by one of the five initial nuclear powers, where a mafia-like mentality and lawless compromising are permeating its deliberations and decisions.


Based on the preceding, the UN has become a shameless operator in prostituting its own principles. An organization like this UN with a conniving and colluding nuclear quintet sitting on top of its hierarchical pyramid has absolutely no legitimate mandate to effect positive changes in world relations, preserve peace, or prevent premeditated international violence.  


Again, if the US is making all this commotion about WMD, then let us re-investigate the issue. Why and who decides on its monopoly? What are the qualifications of those who can own it and those who cannot? Who can claim that the invention of a knife, a sword, or an ax, is the exclusive invention of a specific nation? Who can claim that science including physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, and medicine are the national property of any nation? If powerful states learnt how to split the atom for war purposes, and invent other WMD, then why sell, give, or divulge the technology?  Moreover, would a nation that can split the atom on its own, need an authorization to do so?


As I stated earlier, the ongoing ruse for America’s World Empire is a two-prong action: “war on terrorism” and the “axis of evil” developing “WMD”; bundled together, as if the two things are one or inherently related! After the US decided to give Iraq, Iran, North Korea membership cards in the “Axis” because they want to develop and may even have WMD; is it not logical, then, to deduce that owning actual and potent WMD is much worse than trying to develop them? Consequently, is it not appropriate that the current depositories of “weapons of mass destruction”: US, UK, Russia, China, and France, the new members of the nuclear club: India and Pakistan, and the undeclared nuclear power of Israel can be qualified as the higher tier of this “Axis”?


With America’s hyper-militarism ushering us into the operational phase of pre-emption and first strike, the Bush Administration has revived a dangerous, but now valid tenet of the cold war: “Mutual Assured Destruction”. Henceforth, many countries, regardless of their political systems, are going to sprint to have deterrence (including the temptation to develop WMD) against hegemonic powers.


Further, most western political analysts intentionally gloss over a crucial issue: the logic of the Arab-Israeli conflict that existed before the Gulf war warranted that any Arab country including Iraq might pursue the possession of WMD. Direct and only reason: Israel has them. In addition, with Israel and the US determined to change the geopolitical realities of the Middle East, the current Arab regimes, or their future successors, may decide that a nuclear, biological, or chemical deterrence against such a design or to reverse it, if it happens, is ineluctable as much as imperative. Consequently, owning WMD as deterrence against hegemonic intrusions may become a matter of survival for many world states and their respective populations. In this regard, the past Soviet, and the current Chinese and North Korean examples are eloquently instructive.    


Of course, I am not advocating the proliferation of WMD, as this matter is of paramount importance for the survival of humanity and their use poses immense moral dilemmas as well. Consequently, the universal elimination of “WMD” is not only mandatory; it is the only course to take. Nevertheless, the dilemma of having and not having WMD has a global implication: the exclusive monopoly of WMD is no longer a sustainable option under current international conditions, where a powerful country threatens to decimate another country and its people for wanting to have the same or equivalent deterrence that this powerful country possesses.


To remedy this situation a new order may be required: either, the nuclear oligarchy stop this meaningless rhetoric about the proliferation of WMD, agrees to disband itself as a nuclear syndicate, dismantle its weapons of mass destruction of all types, and set the example for a “nuclear free” world; or it has to be a nuclear “free market” for all.


Further, it is utterly hypocritical that big powers can commit “mass destruction” by conventional weapons, while condemn an equivalent “mass destruction” by unconventional ones. Curiously, new US conventional weapons, including air-fuel, oxygen sucking, dirty, and clusters bombs are as destructive as WMD. Indeed, an X number of daisy-cutters may equal the destructiveness of a large A-bomb! As a result, the distinction between conventional and unconventional is no longer of any significance.


What is a weapon of mass destruction anyway? During the Gulf war, American earthmovers buried over ten thousand Iraqi soldiers while they were still alive in their foxholes, and without giving them a chance to surrender (an act of mass destruction). Are earthmovers WMD? Conversely, is the decision to use them in that fashion, generated “mass destruction”? How would you classify the 3000 tons of radioactive “depleted uranium” used against Iraqi soldiers? Are DU shells conventional weapons as the US claims? Note: isotope of Uranium-238 used in DU munitions has a radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years!


What is America’s objection to the notion of “mass destruction”? Is it moral because a large number of people would die instantly, less than instantly, and terribly? If it were so, would this mean that America would accept the death of the same number of people, if deaths were not instant, less terrible, and made by conventional weapons?


For example, how would you define the three million people that America killed in Vietnam? Were they the sum of incremental additions of three million killed individuals? Although their number is staggering, are they not to be qualified as victims of “mass destruction” because their killing was not simultaneous? Or, were they victims of one sizable act of “mass destruction” regardless of the fact that their killing happened over an extended time?  One way or another, there has been an act of mass destruction; and in either case, conventional weapons killed most of the victims.


How would you define Madeleine Albright’s statement, that the death of over 400,000 Iraqi children because of malnutrition and disease due to US sanctions is an acceptable price to contain Saddam? Was that a statement made by an official from the Third Reich, or from an official of what it brands itself as “The Icon of Democracy”?


How would you classify the fate of these children who perished by an American-imposed systematic deprivation of essential biological survival tools, whereas the imposer knew in advance the consequence of its prolonged action? Can we describe a weapon that killed 400,000 innocent children as a WMD? While it is not chemical, biological, or nuclear, this weapon nevertheless, is an extremely potent weapon whose munitions are the negation of physiological and biochemical necessities. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that a weapon that inflicted and is still inflicting mass death through undernourishment and disease cannot be anything but a “WMD”.


About nuclear hypocrisy and the use of WMD: 1) what do you infer from Voice of America’s announcement that “war plans are laid out for complete annihilation of Iraq via conventional weapons, or if needed, via nuclear weapons. (Italics are mine). Please compare “complete annihilation” to Holocaust; do you find any difference? Also, note the use of the word “Iraq” and not “Saddam”. If the US can contemplate the complete annihilation of its adversaries, either via conventional weapons, or via nuclear weapons; then what difference exists between the two kinds of weapons? Although the weapons are of a different nature, complete Annihilation is the outcome in both cases! 2) UK Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon stated that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein “can be absolutely confident” that the UK is willing to use nuclear weapons “in the right conditions”, and would use them “in extreme self-defense”.


This last statement poses a question: can Saddam adopt the same parameter in response? Then who set the standards and conditions of use? During the Cold War, the West considered the use of nuclear weapons in response to an overwhelming Soviet conventional attack on Western Europe. If Saddam has any unconventional weapon left, can he rely on the West’s own teachings and standards? Again, who and why one can advocate that standards may be applied discriminately? 


To summarize, after America defeated and effectively disarmed Iraq during the past decade, its insistence to rid Iraq and only Iraq of suspicious programs of WMD is preposterous, duplicitous, and hides a very precise agenda: the geo-political project of taking Iraq physically. The main motives behind this agenda are Israel’s design in the Middle East, and the collusion between this design and the Administration’s project of military control over foreign strategic resources. Twelve years after a terrible military defeat and continuous genocidal sanctions, the Iraqi cake is ready to be sliced, and many players are drooling to taste the frosting mixed with the blood and oil of the Iraqis.


In the abysmal morass where the world is standing, the Iraqi question takes multiple directions and turns, and many factors with no relation at all, come forward to make a relation. Our most urgent task, however, is to stop this insane war from happening; but can we stop it?


That principally depends on what is smoldering in the exclusive cauldron of power that firmly controls US politico-military and ideological priorities that in descending order are Israel, and Israel’s supporters in the US ruling elites and influential circles. These groups push for war because of ideology, aggrandizement, and hegemony: the blueprint to start the construction of a new hyphenated empire, the Israeli-American Empire is only one war away! It also depends on industrial conglomerates that include behemoth military-industrial complex, energy producers, and producers of energy-consuming products whose primary interest lies in the economic benefits from war and the structural changes it may initiate.


Can war opponents stop this war? Until proven otherwise, the conscience or the power of the world to stop a war, any war, never existed through out history. Governments and rulers decide to go to war regardless of appeals, objections, or demonstrations. Nevertheless, powerful external factors: unyielding world pressure and formidable internal factors: mass objection by the American people could stop this senseless military onslaught on Iraq before it starts.


In spite of the above, unless the exclusive elements in the “Cauldron” decide otherwise, this war is going to happen regardless of its human toll, morality, or consequences. One thing that proves this point is the willingness of the US to negotiate with North Korea, but not with Iraq, although the issue of contention is the same: WMD. May we ask about the reason behind the different treatment?


Is it because North Korea is not an Arab country (hence, of no relevance to Israel), has no oil, is adjacent to China, and can retaliate militarily; therefore, the US cannot touch it, and has included it in the “axis” only as a smoke screen? 


Or, maybe because Iraq, once a strong and rich Arab state with military potential, could regain, if sanctions were lifted, its independent pre-Gulf War status regardless of what system rules it, and in theory could become a sizable military threat to Israel in the Middle East; accordingly Israel wants to see it completely destroyed and vanquished by proxy war?


Or, finally, could it be because Iraq has oil, water, and strategic location; consequently, both, the US in her rekindled quest for unopposed global supremacy, and Israel in her quest for unchallenged extra-regional imperialist and colonialist supremacy want to take it, but they cannot do that without war and military occupation?


The answer to all these questions is yes.


B.J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American architect who is currently writing a book on the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Email: