THE US state is beginning to split over the war in Iraq, so severe is the pounding that US troops and the US leadership are taking from the Iraqi insurgents.
Friday’s New York Times carried an article by ex-CIA chief John Deutch, who served under President Clinton in 1995-96 and was Deputy Defence Secretary from 1994-1995.
His message to America is to cut its losses, pull out of Iraq promptly and never again use its military might to ‘try build a nation according to its own values’.
He added that the US military presence in Iraq is harming US interests in the Arab world, detracting attention from other ‘important security challenges . . . North Korea, Iran and international terrorism,’ and is weakening the US military.
Deutch warned that ‘Those who argue that we should “stay the course” because an early withdrawal . . . would hurt America’s global credibility must consider the possibility that we will fail in our objectives in Iraq and suffer an even worse loss of credibility down the road.’
The ex-head of the CIA is warning the US ruling class that if it stays on in Iraq it risks a cataclysmic defeat in the Arabian peninsula, where Saudi Arabia and Iraq are number one and two in the world, as far as their oil reserves are concerned.
Deutch is arguing that the effect of withdrawing will be bad enough, but not withdrawing will bring absolute disaster. What an indictment of the Bush leadership and its Blair poodle. They have got the world’s number one imperialist state, the ‘world’s only super power’ as we are so frequently told, into a disastrous no-win situation, where withdrawal and admission of defeat by the ‘super colossus’ is the best solution.
Deutch lectures: ‘I do not believe that we are making progress on any of our key objectives in Iraq,’ adding that even when the Iraqi government appears to be functioning, ‘the underlying destabilising effect of the insurgency is undiminished.’
Rather than spend years, money and lives in Iraq to achieve ‘minimum conditions for withdrawal’ – security and a representative self-government – Deutch argues that a quick withdrawal now would avoid a lot of grief to come.
‘Our best strategy now is a prompt withdrawal plan consisting of clearly defined political, military and economic elements,’ including urging Iraq and its neighbours to recognise that it would be in everyone’s interest to allow Iraq to ‘evolve peacefully and without external intervention’.
Perhaps Deutch will advocate that the best form of government to leave Iraq with would be a coalition of Kurds, Shias and Sunnis, under the chairmanship of President Saddam Hussein, aided by Hassan Ali Al Majid. Oh how the mighty have fallen since Saddam’s statue was toppled in Tahir Square in Baghdad.
Deutch, now wiser after the event, still hides behind the fig-leaf that the war on Iraq was about democracy.
He says he is in favour of propagating democratic reforms and economic incentives through example, rather than by force of arms.
‘It is one matter to adopt a foreign policy that encourages democratic values; it is quite another to believe it just or practical to achieve such results on the ground with military forces.’
There is no doubt that Bush and Blair will press ahead with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the fact that their policies have led to 1,750 US deaths in Iraq with over 15,000 seriously wounded, and the first serious terrorist attack on British soil, with a very heavy death toll, for many years.
There is only one solution to this crisis. The British trade unions have passed resolution after resolution at their conferences calling for a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. They must take action to achieve this aim. They must bring down the Blair government, and bring in a workers’ government to withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and to establish fraternal relations with the Iraqi and Afghan peoples.