The Iraq Mess: How to clean it up - Part I

by Jack D. Forbes

CONGRESS is grappling with the task of trying to end the chaos in Iraq, without, however, being either honest or comprehensive. The Bush administration, totally responsible for the mess, for the expenditure of 400 billions of our money, for the loss of almost 25,000 Yanks in uniform, killed or wounded, for the deaths of untold millions of Iraqi civilians, and for the flight from the country of millions of other Iraqis, is totally incapable of ending the war except through bloodshed.

Violence is the heart of the Bush legacy, since it fuels the US Empire's need for more and more expenditures on weaponry and war-related services, giving huge profits to the "Military Industrial Complex" condemned by former President Dwight Eisenhower, but essentially comprising Bush's key corporate base.

War and empire are very pernicious since they feed the profit lust of countless industries from oil to aircraft makers, from makers of uniforms to makers of armored vehicles, from merchant shipping to manufacturers of military food kits, from the prosthetic industry to the makers of coffins.

In short, the Iraq disaster may be a failure from one perspective, but an immense success from the viewpoint of the "war profiteers," and, let's face it, with most of the US domestic manufacturing gone to China, war is now perhaps our major industry. War-related corporations must also dominate the stock market, from tobacco (for the troops, you know) through many of the industrial and technological enterprises.

War constitutes George Bush's "base" whether we consider it in its active killing phase, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, or in its preparation stage, as in the huge number of US military bases and operations all around the globe and in space as well. A war being lost can still be a profitable affair, and the expansion and maintenance of the empire is also continually profitable. Bush' current plan to erect missile defense systems in Poland and Czech Republic, presumably at Yankeedom's expense (you and me paying for it when the Europeans, if they needed it, can damn well pay for it and put it up themselves!) is simply an example of spending money on the empire to provide profit for the contractors and suppliers of technology. The empire, like its immediate predecessor, the British Empire, exists for the benefit of those who profit from it. It is, in short, a form of "socialism" for the powerful insiders as well as jobs for all of the imperial workers wherever they may be stationed.

This long introduction has been deemed necessary in order to illustrate why Bush and his crew of "Big Hard Boys" (this is a term I use for guys in suits and ties, sometimes in uniforms, who don't mind killing and torturing people in order to obtain a desired monetary and political objective) now move us towards another war, with Iran this time. They are the political counterpart of criminal gangsters, and like the latter they have their uniforms (expensive suits and ties), secret clubs, handshakes, and gang affiliations.

Making peace in Iraq can only happen if we see through the war gang's financial interest in military spending and their total indifference to the loss of human life. Be it remembered that most of these gang members were keen supporters of Saddam Hussein during the Reagan and Bush I years when Saddam was savaging the Iranians as well as the Iraqi Kurds. If tens of thousands of Kurds dieing in chemical attacks in those times didn't turn off our Big Hard Boys, then why should the present carnage?

My view is that the key objective of Bush et al in attacking Iraq was to establish a US-controlled "ally" or client state adjacent to Iran and Syria and, of course, to open up Iraqi oil reserves to multinational oil giants and supporting exploration companies, et cetera. ("Democracy" is a term used both by the former Soviets and by the Bush people to refer to a compliant client state, not to a truly democratic society).

If we are to bring an end to the bloodbath in Iraq and to the use of our national treasure to enrich the war profiteers, we must (1) disavow any future interest in controlling Iraq's oil, and (2) abandon our current plans for a series of major military bases there.

The Iraqis torpedoed Britain's plans for a British-controlled Iraq after World War I. Why should they allow the USA to set up a client state there now?

Thus the first thing that we must do is to have Congress cancel all plans for military bases and to pass a resolution guaranteeing that Iraq will have sole control over its petroleum reserves.

We must also overturn the Bush opposition to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over crimes committed by USCITS (US citizens and subjects). Congress must ratify the treaty establishing the ICC or at least proclaim our willingness to allow any of us who have been charged with criminal acts to be placed on trial according to international law. We now have evidence as to why the Bush people were opposed to the ICC, since it is clear that the torture and abuse of prisoners in violation of both our constitution and international law have been a part of Bush-Cheney behavior, approved at the highest levels.

Many Native American nations, especially in northern California, required an exchange of goods and wealth in order to settle grievances and to bring about peace between warring parties. The United States should be willing to pay large sums of money to individual Iraqis who have suffered because of our acts. Such a position should be established by Congress as a preliminary to negotiations with Iraqi groups. We will also have to calculate the damage done to Iraqi infrastructure during the bombings of Iraq and during our invasion and to be prepared to pay for that (preferably by means of a war profits tax on war-related industries and firms).

These are steps that should precede a ceasefire and negotiations for withdrawal, in my judgment.

[Jack D. Forbes is the author of many books including the recent AMERICAN DISCOVERY OF EUROPE. His Native American perspectives on world issues provide unique insights, as in his classic work, COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS, to be republished in 2007]

New webpage address at:

mailing address:

Native American Studies Department,
University of California, Davis
One Shields Ave.
Davis California 95616