The Militant (logo)  
   Vol.66/No.33           September 2, 2002  
U.S. rulers press war drive
on several fronts
The Bush administration’s ongoing preparations and assembly of bipartisan support for an imperialist assault against Iraq are taking place within a broader war drive by Washington.

From making sure that U.S. troops will not be brought before an international court, to preparing to send Special Operations forces on covert missions, and planning for a long-term occupation of Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism is preparing for future wars.

Earlier this year the U.S. government forced through the United Nations an agreement that U.S. troops and personnel operating under UN authority will be exempt for one year from the jurisdiction of the newly established International Criminal Court.

The court, dominated by the imperialists, will prosecute individuals for "war crimes" and "genocide."

Tensions have now risen between Washington and its European counterparts over the issue. U.S. government officials are pressing the governments of 13 nations that have applied to join the European Union to sign agreements not to extradite U.S. citizens to the court.

A senior European Union official, Romano Prodi, told the aspirants for EU membership--including Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Cyprus--that they should resist signing such an agreement with Washington until the EU has reached a common policy on the issue. So far only the Israeli regime and the government of Romania have signed a pact. The Swiss government announced August 13 that it would not sign, the first to formally do so.

Washington has threatened to withhold military aid to nations that decline to make a deal. According to media reports, governments in the EU nations and other countries nearby have stated their refusal to be pushed into accepting U.S. terms.  
Cruise missiles and special forces
An August 18 article in the Miami Herald reported that U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent the White House a "classified memo" in July "warning of the spread of cruise missiles among hostile nations and urging an intensified government-wide effort to defend against them."

In the month following Rumsfeld’s memo the National Security Council convened an interagency "working level" meeting to discuss "how to get our hands around the issue and figure out who" would spearhead a campaign against countries supposedly deploying cruise missiles, said an unnamed White House official.

According to the Herald, at least 81 countries possess some type of cruise missile, totaling more than 70,000 weapons, although most are defensive armaments designed to be launched at ships at a range of less than 60 miles.

"What worries U.S. authorities," the paper wrote, "is the prospect of such states as Iraq, Iran or North Korea or such terrorist groups as al Qaeda taking existing aircraft or anti-ship missiles and converting them into unmanned drones that could function as crude but still very deadly cruise missiles."

Shortly after releasing the memo Rumsfeld and senior military officials met to discuss proposals on how to get U.S. Special Operations forces "more deeply involved in long-term covert operations" in countries where Washington is not at "open war" and in some cases where the "government is not informed of their presence," the New York Times reported August 12.

The Special Forces in the U.S. military would be authorized to capture or kill so-called "al Qaeda leaders"--authority that would run counter to an executive order that bars assassinations. Seeking to circumvent this prohibition, Bush administration officials claim that the "global campaign against terrorism" justifies U.S. troops killing those on foreign soil they deem to be terrorists.

Washington has begun a military buildup in the Middle East, with the Pentagon ordering 10 ships to carry armored vehicles, helicopters, tanks, ammunition, and other war materiel to the region. According to press reports, the Air Force is stocking up on ammunition and spare parts, and rushing to meet a fall deadline to replenish precision-guided bombs depleted in the war against the people of Afghanistan. The U.S. military already has armaments stored in 37 huge warehouses in Kuwait and Qatar--enough to outfit two reinforced army armored brigades. Equipment for two other brigades is stacked on ships in the region.  
Building bipartisan support for war
The Bush administration is making progress in building bipartisan support for an eventual massive bombing, invasion, and occupation of Iraq--what the big-business press and government officials call a "regime change."

The August 19 Wall Street Journal took the New York Times to task for headlining a alleged rift within the Republican Party over Iraq policy. Articles in the Times had featured quotes from opinion columns by former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser under the previous president Bush, to support its claim.

Kissinger’s column was featured in the August 12 Washington Post. Far from opposing the planned imperialist assault on Iraq, Kissinger stated that the administration’s "case for removing Iraq’s capacity of mass destruction is extremely strong" because "weapons of mass destruction, could inflict catastrophic, even irretrievable, damage."  
‘Catastrophic consequences’
He added "another, generally unstated reason for bringing matters to a head with Iraq. The attack on the World Trade Center had roots in many parts of the Islamic, and especially the Arab, world.... While long-range U.S. strategy must try to overcome legitimate causes of those resentments, immediate policy must demonstrate that a terrorist challenge or a systematic attack on the international order produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as for their supporters, tacit or explicit."

The Journal wrote that Scowcroft’s hesitations about a war, expressed in a column that appeared in its own pages, represent a "legitimate point of view," but one whose "track record doesn’t inspire confidence." The paper pointed to Scowcroft’s opposition to U.S. involvement in the war on Yugoslavia and his advice to President Bush "to stop the Gulf War early, based in part on CIA fear that a divided Iraq without a dictator was worse than a ‘stable’ Iraq ruled by Saddam or his Baath Party successor."

"Colin Powell was complicit in all those mistaken judgments, as was the State Department over which he now presides," the Journal added.

Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times, took note of Kissinger’s advocacy of "catastrophic consequences" to a "terrorist challenge." He wrote favorably August 14 that on the day that Kissinger’s article appeared, the Texas-based Strategic Forecasting Co. published a report that said the Bush administration "is not abandoning its strategy [of war with Iraq] because it sees a successful campaign against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a prime way to shatter the psychological advantage within the Islamist movement and demonstrate U.S. power."

Blankley wrote that in the "imminent future the signs we suggest we are facing is a violent and perhaps prolonged struggle to defeat the will of an aroused and myriad people. As Winston Churchill warned shortly before World War II, we are moving into a time of ‘measureless peril.’"
Related article:
Oppose Washington’s war drive  
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