Colombo Telegraph

Iraq & Racist Neo-Imperialism – Part II

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

In the concluding paragraph of the first part this article I asked: “If the promotion of a new world order based on democracy was not the real objective behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq, what was it?” In answering that question we must firstly bear in mind the full enormity of the horror perpetrated against the people of Iraq. It was not just one of the greatest crimes against humanity perpetrated during the post-Second World War era. It was one of the greatest of such crimes perpetrated during the entirety of human history. Just a few facts will eloquently testify to that charge.

Even before the Gulf War Iraq’s military power was negligible compared to that of the white behemoths of the West. After the Gulf War, it was non-existent. It had no weapons of mass destruction, and constituted no threat whatever to any country. Its people were subjected to cruel sanctions leading to the deaths of around 500,000 children, which former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright defended as justifiable. All that the Iraqi people wanted to do, just like ordinary humanity all over the world, was to send their children to school, try to make ends meet, and live out their lives as decent enough law-abiding citizens. Instead the horror of the 2003 invasion was gratuitously visited on their heads. It led to around the usually accepted figure of 600,000 deaths. That sober fact alone should suffice to establish that Bush and Blair have to be counted as among the greatest criminals of all time.

So what was the explanation for the Iraq war? The usual explanation is that the US wanted to grab Iraq’s oil. Even Raymond William Baker – whom I quoted in the first part of this article – so insightful about the crucial role of the Israeli factor behind the Iraq war, wrote as follows: “Finally, Iraq was the site of impressive oil resources. In global perspective, American control of Iraqi oil was judged critical to the potential great power rivals just over the horizon, notably China with its disturbing economic vitality and Russia with its resurgent nationalism. Should the American economy continue its decline, it was judged that Iraqi oil in American hands would be an extremely helpful lever in facing the Chinese, Russians, and other threats to American dominance”. That sounds a plausible enough rationale, and it could be persuasive, except that both the US and Britain had disavowed any intention of grabbing Iraqi oil, and nothing they have done contradicts that disavowal.

I would opt for a two-part explanation of the Iraq war. One is that it was an act of vengeance, of racist vengeance, for September 11 – that is the destruction of the twin towers. It is apparent from the BushBlair correspondence that it was that that made those two criminals start fantasizing about possible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That correspondence establishes also that the decision to subject Iraq to mass destruction was made well in advance of 2003, and further that by his now notorious use of the word “whatever” – he would go along with the US “whatever” – Blair had committed to making Britain join in that mass destruction. Evidently the question of awaiting worthwhile proof pointing to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq never bothered Bush and Blair. All along they were grimly determined to wreak vengeance for September 11. But why do I call it “racist vengeance”? It was known that September 11 was an exploit of Saudi terrorists and that Iraq had nothing to do with it. The point is that the essentialising and stereotyping habit of mind that is typical of racists would make all Arabs share responsibility for September 11. Therefore not Saudi Arabia, an ally of the West, but Iraq, an enemy of the West, was subjected to mass destruction. Consequently Madeleine Albright thought it meet and proper that 500,000 Iraqi children should have died as a result of sanctions. That’s how mad racists can be.

The second part of the explanation as stated earlier in this article is that the US and Western strategy is to keep the Islamic world, more particularly the Arab world, weak, divided, and chaotic. The premise behind my argument is that the West as a whole would like to have a predominant position in a new world order since it is practically impossible to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world. Since it is in the nature of power that the appetite for it grows in the eating, they could be expected to want a dominant position, not just a predominant one. The two greatest obstacles standing in the way of that aspiration would be China and the Islamic world. An attentive reading of Samuel P. Huntington’s book on the clash of civilizations will show that that really is his sub-text. The Arab world in particular has a special importance because of geographical contiguity, constituting as it does the soft underbelly of Europe. And that is why Israel has a very special symbolic importance in the Western psyche: it is in Herzl’s vision the outpost of the white West standing staunchly against the advancing Asiatic hordes.

The essentially racist nature of the white Western support for Israel can be best understood by considering the peculiar case of the US: its support for Israel has been fanatical to the point of seeming to be part of a national religion, and that has continued despite the widespread contempt that it has provoked. Why? At one time it was widely believed that support for Israel was meant to secure Arab oil for the West, a nonsensical notion that is no longer in vogue. What has been in vogue for quite some time – in fact a virtually unchallenged orthodoxy – is that the power of the Zionist lobby explains it all. That lobby is said to control banking, the media, and politics at the apex in the US. But surely there have been many authoritarian regimes which have exercised that kind of control, indeed even more ubiquitous control, and have refused to hold democratic elections because they knew that they would be booted out by the people. I find it implausible that in the democratic US the alleged power of the Zionist lobby can by itself explain the intense American devotion to Israel. We must bear in mind the fact that it is a mindless devotion that has brought for the US the hatred and contempt of the entirety of the Islamic world. Common sense dictates that there has to be an anterior factor that explains that devotion, and that factor I believe is racism.

Today the most racist country in the world is probably Israel. Its system of apartheid is even worse than that of South Africa according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose testimony should surely be regarded as authoritative and unquestionable. Israel today is coming to be regarded as a neo-Nazi state, a point made even by some Israeli notables. It finds a fitting partner in the US, quite understandably because the latter is probably the second most racist country in the world. True, it has witnessed a magnificent anti-racism struggle which has led to the black Obama ascending to the White House. But the world’s press continues to be replete with stories about the racism that continues to be rampant in the US more than in any other country in the world. It is understandable therefore that the Americans should be more devoted to Israel than others, seeing in it the white fortress that withstands the advancing colored hordes of Afro-Asia.

The explanation for Iraq 2003 is that it was an outburst of racist neo-imperialism. We must not suppose that racism will therefore be a permanent feature of the new world order/neo imperialism that is still in an inchoate stage. The reason is that a powerful drive against racism continues, particularly in the West. However we should bear in mind what looks like an enduring appeal of racism, in which connection the antecedents of the Second World War are of interest. Hitler never wanted a war and he did not want to establish a German empire. What he wanted was to establish a world order in which Germany and other members of the Aryan race would exercise dominance over the supposedly inferior races. That racist idea was far from being antipathetic to the Westerners of his time. It was found that in every Western country conquered by Hitler’s armies there was a nucleus that was favorable to the Nazi ideology. Churchill, who was Hitler’s chief antagonist, was a white supremacist racist as was explicitly shown at the time of the Bengal famine of 1943. It was only in the course of the Second World War that the Allies became firmly committed to the ideology of democracy. What the Iraq war and the Israel of today clearly demonstrate is this: Hitler is not dead.

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