It isn't the crisis-ridden process of creating an Iraqi constitution, holding a referendum, and then elections (again) in Iraq; down that bumpy path lies a future of continued insurrection and the likely breakup of Iraq, with beleaguered U.S. forces vainly trying to suppress the insurgency and prevent catastrophe.
With the 2004 electoral clock ticking amid growing public concern about U.S. casualties and chaos in Iraq, the Bush administration's hawks are upping the ante militarily. To those familiar with the CIA's Phoenix assassination program in Vietnam, Latin America's death squads or Israel's official policy of targeted murders of Palestinian activists, the results are likely to look chillingly familiar.
The Pentagon is rumbling into Baghdad completely unprepared to fashion a viable new Iraqi government, seemingly obsessed with installing the discredited and corrupt Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), as the country's leader. The task force assigned the job of putting Humpty Dumpty together again after the shooting stops is woefully ill-equipped for its mission, is keeping the Department of State at arm's length, and has few regional experts and Iraq specialists aboard. At the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., where the military staff is supporting the task force, there is something akin to panic.
For months Americans have been told that the United States is going to war against Iraq in order to disarm Saddam Hussein, remove him from power, eliminate Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and prevent Baghdad from blackmailing its neighbors or aiding terrorist groups. But the Bush administration's hawks, especially the neoconservatives who provide the driving force for war, see the conflict with Iraq as much more than that. It is a signal event, designed to create cataclysmic shock waves throughout the region and around the world, ushering in a new era of American imperial power. It is also likely to bring the United States into conflict with several states in the Middle East. Those who think that U.S.
In a pair of editorials after the 1991 Gulf War, one of them titled "Don't Shoot Down Iraqi Aircraft," The New York Times called the plan to create vast "no-fly zones" (NFZs) in Iraq "legally untenable and politically unwise." The editorials, based on a careful reading of United Nations resolutions, were explicit: "The [cease-fire] accord permits Iraq to fly all types of aircraft and sets no restriction on their use. Shooting them down would put the United States in the position of breaking an accord it is pledged to uphold." Saying that Washington was entering "new and dangerous territory," the Times warned, "The purpose [of the NFZs] is unclear, probably unwise and maybe even illegal."