"One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster please. If ever there was a region that deserved to be cauldronized, it is the Middle East today." Michael Ledeen, 2002
Paul McGeough's reporting in the Fairfax press is nothing short of exemplary. Writing on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the cauldronization of Iraq, he refers to the latest study of the cost in lives and treaure of the Iraq war:
"'Great powers rarely make national decisions that explode so quickly and [so] completely in their faces,' says US Navel Academy professor John Nagl in an anniversary opinion piece. The cost of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld response to the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington has been enormous - 300,000 lives and $4 trillion, according to a new study by Brown University in Rhode Island." (Ten years on, war a part of daily life, Paul McGeogh, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/3/13)
Why is this so?
Because the US decision to cauldronize Iraq was far from being a "national decision," by which I mean a war fought in the US national interest. The following lines in McGeough's analysis go part way to explaining what I mean:
"Marking the Iraq war anniversary, The New York Times editorialised: 'None of the Bush administration's war architects have been called to account for their mistakes and even now, many are invited to speak on policy issues as if they were not responsible for one of the worst strategic blunders in American foreign policy.'"
So who were these "architects"?
They were the 'neoconservatives', more correctly called Zioconservatives, who promoted, both inside and outside the Bush administration, a "war agenda conceived in Israel to advance Israeli interests."* The leading architects of the Iraq war - the 'fucking crazies' as Secretary of State Collin Powell memorably called them - were men such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith.
"One of their fellow travellers," writes McGeogh pointedly, "deserves greater attention today, because of his eagerness for another war - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the eve of this week's visit to Israel by Obama, the Israeli daily Haaretz thoughtfully ran screeds from Netanyahu's September 2002 testimony to a Congressional committee. Substitute '2013/Iran/Tehran/Ahmadinejad' for '2003/Iraq/Baghdad/Saddam' in the following. 'There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons - no question whatsoever. And there is no question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately... Every indication we have is that he is pursuing, pursuing with abandon, pursuing with every ounce of effort, the establishment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. If anyone makes an opposite assumption or cannot draw the line connecting the dots, that is simply not an objective assessment... '"
Netanyahu, it should be remembered, was the recipient of the infamous 1996 neocon policy paper A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, which called upon Israel to adopt a strategy of destabilising the Middle East, including Iraq.
Another memorable appearance by Netanyahu in the lead up to the 2003 cauldronization of Iraq came not long after 9/11: "The September 11 atrocities created the white-hot climate in which Israel could undertake harsh measures unacceptable under normal conditions. When asked what the terrorist attack would do for US-Israeli relations, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blurted out: 'It's very good.' Then he edited himself: 'Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.' Netanyahu correctly predicted that the attack would 'strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.'" (The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Stephen J. Sniegoski, 2008, p 139)
Like the Zionist agenda of 1948, the Ziocon agenda of a cauldronized Middle East has yet to reach a final conclusion - as McGeough pithily reminds us in his final sentence:
Finally, just recalling Netanyahu's near 3-year late 'apology' to Turkey for the deaths of its nationals on the Mavi Marmara and Obama's stopover in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah regarding Syria, how resonant is this advice from the Clean Break document: "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." That sentence, it should be noted, immediately preceded this: "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."
[*These are the words of Stephen J. Sniegoski. For a fuller presentation of his thesis, see my 22/12/08 post Absent-minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze.]