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Bush and Sharon Agree on Policy

3 February 2002

When President George Bush called for a "crusade" against terrorism last fall, flustered aides quickly claimed he had misspoken and really didn't mean to invoke the medieval Christian invasions of Muslim nations.

But in his bellicose state of the union speech last week, evangelical Christian George Bush left no doubt that a crusade was exactly what he had meant. Better a crusade than facing the spreading Enron scandal or explaining away a looming deficit brought on by reckless spending.

Or explaining the mess made by the administration in Afghanistan: spreading chaos and warfare; Russia's takeover of the north; full force resumption of heroin exports to the U.S. thanks to the overthrow of Taliban; 5,000-plus civilians killed by punitive U.S. bombing; murder or inhumane treatment of captured enemy fighters; and, of course, the escape of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida leadership.

No matter. Afghanistan, trumpets the White House, was a great military victory that will be duplicated against other Muslim malefactors who resist America's will.

Bush proclaimed in Churchillian tones that an 'axis of evil' composed of 'terrorist nations' Iraq, Iran, and North Korea threatened the U.S. and the world. This silly, simplistic reduction of complex foreign policy issues into comic book terms, and Bush's threats of more military action around the world, made good political theatre in the U.S., where war fever has been stoked to fever pitch by the White House and the all too accommodating American media.

Interestingly, the most-wanted on America's new hit list - Iraq, Iran, and North Korea - just happen to also be top enemies of Israel. (North Korea supplies missile components and technology to Israel's Arab foes and Pakistan.)

A near unanimity of policy and views has developed between the Bush administration's super-hawks and Israel's hard right Likud government led by Ariel Sharon. Both are intent on liquidating any Muslims who resist, both have declared war on the PLO and its chief, Yasser Arafat, both view resistance by Muslims as "terrorism," and both disregard international law and UN resolutions.

In short, Gen. Sharon's iron-fisted policies have become those of George Bush. Bush's speech made it disturbingly clear that the U.S. has become the enemy of the Muslim world. Muslim nations must either bow to American diktat or be deemed hostile.

White House claims that Iran is a mortal danger to the U.S. because: a) it supports Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, and b) is trying to develop limited strategic weapons. This shows how disconnected from reality the administration has become, and how much its policies are being shaped by parties who do not always place America's interests first.

Guerrilla war

Hezbollah waged a long, dirty guerrilla war against Israel's long occupation of southern Lebanon. Israel and its media supporters branded Hezbollah "terrorists." But most nations regarded Hezbollah as a legitimate national resistance movement fighting to free Lebanon from Israeli occupation, which was repeatedly ruled illegal by the UN and in violation of international law.

Iran helped arm and finance Hezbollah, whose guerrillas were to Iran what the Nicaraguan Contras and Afghan "freedom fighters" were to America. To brand Iran a "terrorist state" because of its support of a legitimate resistance movement is mendacious and Orwellian.

Iran has opposed U.S. hegemony in the Mideast, sometimes by covert operations. But bombings of U.S. military bases, long blamed on Iran, were done by the al-Qaida group. Before damning Iran, look at America's own record.

During WWII, the U.S., Britain, and the USSR invaded Iran, an independent nation. In 1953, the U.S. and Britain overthrew Iran's government when it sought to gain control of its own oil resources. The U.S. put Shah Mohammed Pahlavi on the throne and kept his outrageously corrupt, kleptomaniac regime in power through the army and the dreaded U.S. and Israel-trained secret police, SAVAK, which tortured and killed tens of thousands of Iranians.

Funding Iraqi military

After the Shah was overthrown by the 1979 Iranian revolution, the U.S. sent Iraq's Saddam Hussein to invade Iran and crush its Islamic government. The U.S. secretly supplied Iraq with money, arms, intelligence, and chemical and biological weapons. The U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner and waged a naval war against Iran in the Gulf. Iraq's invasion cost Iran 250,000 - 500,000 dead.

The U.S. repeatedly sought to overthrow the Iranian government, even financing the terrorist Mujihadin-i-Khalq organization, which assassinated much of Iran's leadership with bombs.

Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons, but is developing medium-ranged missiles that may reach Israel. Such weapons, claims Iran, are for self-defense, to counter Israel's nuclear/bioware arsenal. Israel has openly threatened Iran with nuclear attack. If Iran's missile and strategic weapons program is "terrorism," then Pakistan, India, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, and many other nations are equally guilty.

Instead of threatening war against Iran, a nation of 68 million, the U.S. should be pressing all Mideast nations - including Israel - to scrap their weapons of mass destruction and work for peace in Palestine. The terrible 9/11 attacks were the result of America's five decades of policy blunders in the Mideast. The U.S. does not need any more enemies.

Eric Margolis
Published in the Toronto Sun © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc

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