THE "LOGIC" OF THE GULF WAR
U.S. MOTIVES IN THE GULF
1) Does the U.S. oppose aggression? NO.
* Aggression is fine if its in U.S. interests. It's bad only if it is opposed
to U.S. interests. The U.S. invaded Panama and imposed a puppet regime still
under U.S. control. The world objected so we vetoed two UN Secutiry Council
* Turkey invaded northern Cypruss, broke it up, killed two thousand people,
tried to destroy relics of Greek civilization, drove out 200,000 people. That
was fine. Turkey is our ally.
* Israel attacked Lebanon, killed about 20,000 people, bombarded the capitol,
and still occupies southern Lebanon. The U.S. vetoed a series of UN Security
Council resolution to terminate that aggression. Isreal hold on to the occupied
territories. It has annexed some of them. Fine. The U.S. supports Isreal.
* Morocco invaded the Western Sahara, annexed it. The U.S. thinks that's fine.
* Indonesia invaded East Timor. Two hundred thousand killed. The worst
slaughter relative to the population since the Holocaust. The U.S. gives them
* Iraq invaded Iran. The U.S. assisted them. Iraq gassed the Kurds in the north
of Iraq. Fine. After all, the Turks are having problems with the Kurds too, and
the Turks are our ally.
* Iraq invades Kuwait. Outrage. Cries of a Hitler reborn. Send 400,000 troops.
* The United States can claim it's opposed to aggression on ABC News without
ridicule because we have a disiplined intellectual class who look the other way
and/or lie as a matter of course. In the Third World, however, the claim is
seen as ludicrous. People there consider the U.S. the major violator of the
principle that aggression is wrong.
2) Does the U.S. oppose proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? NO.
* In April, 1990, Saddam Hussein, then still the U.S.'s friend and ally,
offered to destroy his chemical and biological weapons if Israel agreed to
destroy its non-conventional weapons--including its nuclear weapons. The State
Department welcomed Hussein's offer to destroy his own arsenal, but rejected
the link "to other issues or weapons systems."
* Acknowledgment of the existance of Israeli nuclear weapons would raise the
question why all U.S. aid to Israel is not illegal under 1970's congressional
legislation that bars aid to any country engaged in clandestine nuclear weapons
* In December, 1990, speaking to a joint press conference with Secretary of
State Baker, then Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze proposed a
nuclear-free zone in the Middle East if Iraq withdraws from Kuwait. Baker gave
"qualified support," the press observed, but "carefully avoided using the words
"nuclear-free zone"--for the reason just noted.
* A week later, Iraq offered to "scrap chemical and mass destruction weapons if
Israel was also prepared to do so," Reuters reported. The offer seems to have
passed in silence here. Weapons proliferation for our allies--including Iraq
before August 2--is fine.
* Iraq's more recent call for "the banning of all weapons of mass destruction
in the region" as part of a negotiated settlement of its withdrawl from Kuwait
evoked no Western support.
3) So what _is_ Bush concerned about? DOMINATION.
* Iraq violated a fundamental principle of world affairs--that the energy
reserves of the Middle East have to be firmly in the hands of U.S. energy
corporations and trusted U.S. clients like Saudi Arabia's elites.
* This means Mideast populations do not really benefit from their own resource,
but "so what," says Bush. The West benefits because Saudi Arabia, the Emirates,
and Qatar are basically sectors of London and New York. The U.S. government
doesn't care if the Saudi elite administers oil prices because that is like
having it done on Wall Street.
* The U.S. DOES care if an independent Arab nationalist threatens to use the
resource for domestic purposes. The U.S. opposes that kind of behavior ANYWHERE
in the world. That is why we "destroy cities to save them."
* The State Department says Mideast oil is "a stupendous source of strategic
power" and "one of the greatest prizes in world history." So what if it is in
the Mideast? No nationalist is permitted to have influence. Since Saudi and
Kuwaiti oil is a "stupendous resource," Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are an
extension of Texas.
* In Iran in 1953 we overthrew a nationalist parliamentary regime. Now we
threaten a murderous tyrant's regime, although Hussein was just as much a
murderous tyrant before August 2, when we supported him because doing so
furthered U.S. interests.
4) Why does Bush oppose negotiations? THEY MIGHT WORK.
* The U.S. is _usually_ against diplomacy. If the U.S. can establish force as
the way to rule the world, the U.S. wins because it is way ahead in force. If
diplomacy succeeds, it delegitimates militarism, reduces the relevance of
military might and increases the relevance of diplomacy.
* This is also why the U.S. adamantly opposes linkage between Kuwait and the
West Bank. The United States supports linkage when it benefits us. But in this
case we are against linkage, and the reason is not just because Isreal is our
ally, but because linkage is a step toward diplomatically resolving the Gulf
and Arab-Israeli crises. The U.S. opposes a _diplomatic_ settlement of wither
crisis and therefore certainly opposes a joint diplomatic settlement between
both of them.
* When Bush sent 400,000 troops instead of 15,000, which could have been just
as effective in preventing further Iraqi aggression, he did it to scuttle
negotiations and leave only military might as the arbiter. His worst nightmare
is a negotiated solution that would legitimate the rule of international law
rather than U.S. power.
5) What is the new world order all about? SAME AS THE OLD, BUT WITH AN OMNIOUS
* In the London _Financial Times_ of November 21, a resected commentator
describes the Gulf crisis as a "watershed event in U.S. international
relations," which will be seen in history as having "turned the U.S. military
into an internationally financed public good." In the 1990's, he continues,
"there is no realistic alternative [to] the U.S. military assuming a more
explicitly mercenary role than it has played in the past."
* The financial editor of the _Chicago Tribune_ recently put the point less
delicately: we must exploit "our virtual monopoly in the security market...as a
lever to gain funds and economic concessions" from Germany and Japan. The U.S.
has "cornered the West's security market" and will therefore be "the world's
* Some will call us "Hessians," he continues, but "that's a terribly demeaning
phrase for a proud, well-trained, well-financed and well-respected military";
and whatever anyone may say, "we should be able to pound our fists on a few
desks" in Japan and Europe, and "extract a fair price for our considerable
services," demanding that our rivals "buy our bonds at cheap rates, or keep the
dollar propped up, or better yet, pay cash directly into our Treasury." "We
could change this role" of enforcer, he concludes, "but with it would go much
of our control over the world economic system."
6) Why is Bush so eager to wage war? MOMENTUM AND PREFERENCE!
* Having sent a gigantic military force to ensure that any Gulf resolution
would be military, Bush left himself few options. Either Hussein would
withdraw, with or without concessions, or we would bomb him out. Bush could not
maintain so high a level of force indefinately nor withdraw without resolution
of the crisis.
* But Bush has shown that he actually favors war. Why was he so eager to start
a conflaguration that could endanger oil supplies, our place in the Mideast,
and international alliances--all things he certainly hold dear?
* The answer has to be that there is something about the effects of war that
Bush finds desirable. In the "rubble" he wants to "bounce" in Baghdad, Bush
sees a prize worth struggling for.
* What could it be? Peace? NO. Justice? NO. Stability? NO. So, what?
* Bush is seeking the legitimation of war, the end of the "peace dividend," and
the elevation of the U.S. to the status of World Mercenary Police, thus
ensuring years more of U.S. international dominance even as our economy
flounders. THAT'S HIS PREFERRED SCENARIO.
* Additionally, many CEO's and other influential economic and political figures
fear a serious collapse of the U.S. economy. To push up the price of oil
dramatically and then ensure that the super revenues are then invested in U.S.
banks is, they think, one way to avert this collapse. They do not care that
this approach will mean blood, gore, pain, retribution, and hate for years to
7) What will be the results of war? RIVERS OF BLOOD.
* If the U.S. military is not curtailed, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of
thousands or even a million Arab lives will be lost.
* Thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of U.S. lives will be lost.
* Countless third world lives will be lost via inflated oil prices and
international economic turmoil.
* There will be world wide economic recession. Mideast destabilization with
unknown repercussions. Increased nightmares for Palestinians. Possible disaster
for Israel. Possible ecological devastation.
* The peace dividend will be reduced or lost. Military expenditures will be
* The Hessianization of the U.S. and subordination of international affairs to
U.S. mercenary might will proceed.
* A new "enemy." the Moslem world, will help scare the U.S. public into
tolerating outrageous defense appropriations.
* And, if all goes as planned, U.S. corporate officials and state policy-
makers will continue to oversee vast wealth and unfettered power--the real
motive for U.S. intervention in the first place.
Why does the U.S. oppose linkage? FEAR OF ISOLATION.
* There has been a broad international consensus on a political settlement of
this conflict. The U.S. and Israel have opposed it and have been isolated in
this rejectionism, as numerous General lopsided Assembly votes (most recently
* President Bush likes to tell us how James Baker has labored for peace, but
remains silent about the terms of the famed Baker plan, whose basic principles
ban an "additional Palestinian state"; bar any "change in the status of Judea,
Samaria, and Gaza other than in accordance with the basic guidelines of the
[Israeli] government," preclude any meaningful Palestinian self-determination;
reject negotiations with the PLO, thus denying Palestinians the right to choose
their own political representation; and call for "free elections" under Israeli
* Regarding the Palestinian question, it is therefore the world against George
Bush and his predecessors. For this reaon, since long before Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait the U.S. has consistently opposed an international conference on the
* Such a conference would lead to pressures for a political settlement that the
U.S. rejects. For the same reasons the U.S. has vetoed Security Council
resolutions calling for a political settlement and blocked other diplomatic
initiatives for the past 20 years.
* Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al, must be spinning in their graves
right about now.
9) Why oppose war in the Gulf? IT'S WRONG.
* Some liberals oppose a Gulf war on the grounds it would be too expensive.
Usually they mean lost stability, lost resources, or heightened recession.
Sometimes they mean lost U.S. lives. Rarely do they mean lost Arab lives. While
these costs are real, the best grounds on which to oppose the Gulf War is that
it is not just.
* It is not anti-interventionist. It is not pro-national sovereignty. It is not
pro-international legality. It is not pro-"a new and more peaceful world
* This war is to reinforce U.S. control of Arab oil. It is to crush Arab
* It is to establish the U.S. as the world's policeman with the bills paid,
whether they like it or not, by whoever we pass them on to.
* This war should be opposed because it is wrong. We have NO right controlling
oil prices. NO right administering the future of the Mideast. And NO right
becoming the world's Hessian state, sacrificing much of the U.S. population to
a Third World existance in the process.
* We should oppose this war because we oppose militarism as a solution to
10) What is the logic of our antiwar activism? RAISE THE SOCIAL COST.
* Arguments that was is immoral will not deter Bush. Arguments that he isn't
seeing the cost will not change his mind.
* Pursuers of war, including Bush, don't are about Iraqi lives, American lives,
or anyone's lives. The same holds, by and large, for U.S. media which has yet
to discuss the potential loss of Arab lives as a central cost of war.
* Nor do U.S. warmakers care about subtle concerns of culture or history. They
DO care about advancing the geopolitical interests of the U.S. as they are
understood by the White House and Wall Street. That's all.
* To get Bush to reverse his war policies requires that the public raise costs
that warmakers don't want to pay.
* Warmakers do not want to endure an end to business as usual. They do not want
war to cause a new generation to turn to activism. They dread the escalation of
dissent from events that oppose war, to actions that oppose militarism.
* These costs curtailed U.S. militarism in Indochina. They can do the same, and
more, in the Gulf.
11) What should be the focus of our activism? PEACE AND JUSTICE.
* Antiwar activity needs to develop lasting consciousness of the causes and
purposes of U.S. war policies including understanding underlying institutions.
And it also needs to send a powerful message of dissent.
* Events that focus on ROTC, on campus military research centers, or on public
military centers, such as military bases or the Pentagon, and that demand an
end to war are excellent.
* Events that focus on centers of domestic suffering that demand an end to war
AND an end to militarism AND a reallocation of military resources to social
ends, are still more powerful.
* Multi-focused events will reveal and enlarge not only antiwar militance, but
militance extending to gender, race, and class policies and institutions that
warmakers hold even more dear. Multi-issue events send an even more powerful
and threatening message than single-issue efforts, and can have that much more
* They also have the capacity to build a movement that can last beyone the Gulf
crisis to attack the issues as well as the symptoms of oppressive institutions.
Build a movement not just for peace, but for peace and justice too.
* Create a multi-issue focus.
12) What tactics should we use? DEMONSTRATE, DEMAND, DISOBEY.
* A gathering of people at a teach-in to learn about U.S. policies threatens
leaders of a country who want people as ignorant as possible. A march with many
constituencies threatens the leadership of a country who want people as passive
as possible. A march that includes civil disobedience and says that some people
are willing to break laws and, moreover, next time many more will do so, is
still more powerful.
* Create a multi-tactic movement.
* But lasting movements also have to developing a positive component that can
become a center of organizing energy and a place for learning and support.
* In addition to teach-ins, marches, rallies, and civil disobedience, we need
to create lasting coalitions and institiutional centers of Peace and Justice in
occupied buildings on campuses or in community centers, and/or churches.
* Further, these campus and community centers could be places where people
consider how their universities or communities might become centers of peace
and conversion rather than militarism.
* Create a long-term movement.