The US War against Iraq: The Destruction of a Civilization

by James Petras, Dissident Voice, August 21st, 2009

The US seven-year war and occupation of Iraq is driven by several major political forces and informed by a variety of imperial interests. However these interests do not in themselves explain the depth and scope of the sustained, massive and continuing destruction of an entire society and its reduction to a permanent state of war. The range of political forces contributing to the making of the war and the subsequent US occupation include the following (in order of importance).

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3 Responses to “The US War against Iraq: The Destruction of a Civilization”

  1. tarunshri Says:

    The whole of American Army is guilty of War crimes. America is fighting a battle where more and more people are turning against America. One day, along with loosing its superpower position, American would loose hearts of people. And that would be the day when we would see the fall of America.


  2. sudhan Says:

    I make a distinction between an army and those who order an army to commit a war of aggression. Again, those who order a war of aggression do not tell their armies that they are going to commit a crime. Instead they are told that they are going to do something heroic and noble, such as, to defend their fatherland, for the rule of law or democracy, etc. Of course, that is nothing but a pack of lies, but soldiers can’t question such false information.

    Soldiers have to obey the orders of their officers. If they are told to fight, they fight without asking why they are fighting or questioning the policy of killing innocent people of other countries and other cultures. But the real blame falls on those who order their armies to start wars and thus indulge in the bloodshed of the people with whom the soldiers have no quarrel.

    American soldiers had no quarrel with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither did they have any quarrel in the last century with the people of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. But what they did and are doing is because of their rulers. And American rulers have been pursuing some policy objectives that further economic and political interests of the military-industrial complex of the United States. The lives of Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis have no value in this game.


  3. sudhan Says:

    In response to Petras’ article that I had also posted on Marxism list, Jeff Meisner wrote the following on August 25, 2009 (for full comments, see Marxism Digest, Vol. 70, Issue 62) :

    “24/08/09 +0200, Nasir Khan wrote:
    [see [Marxism] The US War against Iraq: The Destruction of a Civilization]
    [full text:

    by James Petras, Dissident Voice, August 21, 2009

    The US seven-year war and occupation of Iraq is driven by several
    major political forces ….

    [including] the following (in order of importance).

    Unfortunately the quote ends there so you do not get Petras’ “list” of
    political forces behind the Iraq war unless you go to the full article as I
    did. What you will find is exactly TWO items on his list (of why the US
    went to war in Iraq), which are, “in order of importance”:

    1) What he calls “The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC),” essentially
    referring to JEWS in the US government whose “top priority was to advance
    Israel’s agenda.”

    and (of less importance):
    2) “Civilian militarists (like Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney)”
    who are NOT JEWISH.

    I’m sorry to boil it down to this, but that is just about what he says; I
    don’t think that I misread it! My revulsion isn’t just that his “analysis”
    is wrong, as most people reading this will recognize (but I’m not putting
    it beyond debate). I’m worried about the EFFECT of framing the issue in
    such terms which go beyond analysis and into ethnic identification of the
    enemy. That has a miseducational effect on the left (the majority of those
    who would be reading this) and misrepresents the legitimate positions of
    the left which oppose western imperialism without requiring (in the first
    instance) a distinction between the interests of the US and the Israeli
    ruling classes, let alone identifying the ethnicity of US government leaders.

    I don’t want to be dogmatic and certainly an in-depth analysis of
    individuals/ideologues involved in government decisions can discuss all
    aspects of their background. But it is clearly troubling when one’s
    analysis of a imperialist nation going to war requires an ethnic
    identification of the leaders who are considered responsible, especially
    when it is further stated that they are acting in the “interests of a
    foreign power.” Petras essentially says that, but being a leftist doesn’t
    go so far as to call them “disloyal” or acting against the interests of the
    US as is openly charged by right-wing “antiwar” forces such as Paul Craig
    Roberts and Jeff Gates, whose columns have also been forwarded to this list
    by Nasir Khan, with equal disregard.

    BTW my objections here are not directed to Nasir Khan, the poster, who
    apparently doesn’t read what’s posted to the list (or if he does, he has
    essentially never reacted to what someone else has written). I assume he
    isn’t reading this (but if you are, please prove me wrong!). I am worried
    about this form of discourse infecting the left, or even being seen as
    acceptable. There does exist, especially in the US, a right-wing antiwar
    movement (, Pat Buchanan, etc.) and they never fail to direct
    their anger against Israel. Indeed most of what they say about either the
    US government or Israel and their filthy wars is not unlike our own
    propaganda. But you can look a little deeper and they generally betray
    their identification of Zionism with “Jews” and an international link which
    is tantamount to the “International Jewish Conspiracy” theories of yesteryear. . . . ”
    My reply to Jeff Meisner on August 27, 2009, Marxism Digest, Vol. 70, Issue 67.

    I welcome Jeff’s comments in response to Petras’ article I had posted. I assure him that I do read some of the articles or comments on the list, but due to a busy time schedule I don’t find time to read all the enlightening stuff on the list. However, this is my explanation, not a justification! But I have read what he has written and also Petras’ article.

    Those who have cared to read the full article must have seen that Petras’ main focus was on the destruction of Iraq wrought by American invaders and their allies. This he did by describing the military strategy of the Washington rulers. The US neocolonial policies, war in Iraq, wider strategic goals of American power in the Middle East and South Asia, a systematic destruction and assassinations of Iraqi intellectuals, academics and scientists are clearly put forth by Petras. How the American rulers destroyed a modern country in the Middle East and physically annihilated its intellectuals and killed 1.3 million Iraqis is a living testimony to what American imperialism stands for.

    One would have hoped that the Left in general would show solidarity with the oppressed people of Iraq (and Afghanistan and Pakistan where Obama recently has escalated and extended the war and the killing of the people) who have been under the heels of American brutal military power. In this struggle the work of all those who oppose American wars of aggression and annihilation of nations needs support for the broader objective of combating American imperialism and its allies. Seen against this background, the work of people from different socio-political background and disparate cultural identities is instrumental in waging such a struggle. Despite some ideological differences some may have against some of the leading opponents of American wars and policies, I admire the work and the moral courage of people like Petras, Paul Craig Roberts and Jeff Gates. I am fully aware that some on the Left do not like their work.

    Jeff has concentrated only on the political force of the Zionist Power and the American neocon militarists that Petras mentioned in the beginning of his article. If Petras has touched some raw nerve of any by his critique of Zionist Power then I can understand the reaction he has met. However, it is also possible that he could have formulated his views in a more pliant way that could have gone down well with those who find any such critique unsavoury that bluntly questions the role of the Zionist Power in American politics at home and on US foreign policy and imperial wars in the Middle Eastern region. How Petras could have said or not said on this specific issue that Jeff is concerned with is something that can be a topic of a lengthy discussion.

    However, the danger of ‘miseducational effect’ that Jeff refers to in Petras’ analysis is the ethnic identification of the American high officials in the Bush administration. I think here again Jeff in his otherwise nicely-worded comments could have at least admitted the role of religious Right, the New Crusaders, plays in fighting Islam (and Muslims), the Old Enemy. But he seems to have had some other concerns which his comments show.

    We all know that a Christian fundamentalist president, George W. Bush, had a ‘divine mission’ to accomplish and he had many well-wishers around his heavenly-mandated mission to kill Muslims. This he did in the most effective way, no doubt. That does not mean that his starting the war on Iraq was solely due to this factor alone. Of course, there were other factors, such as, Iraqi oil, US hegemony over the whole Middle East and furthering the goals of Zionist Israel (Petras: ‘the interests of a foreign power’!). Secondly, Petras’ naming of some top Zionists policymakers and influential officials in the Bush administration who stood for blind support for Israel no matter what Israel did cannot be regarded as identifying such officials with any particular ethnicity. Zionists are not an ethnic group; they belong to diverse colours and creeds and faiths. But their defining characteristic is their adherence to the semi-religious but political ideology of Zionism and their uninhibited support for the policies of Israel. Those who identify Zionism with Jews, as Jeff rightly points out, are obviously mistaken. But the power of the Zionists over the Jewish populations in America, Europe and the rest of the world is a political fact.

    Lastly, despite oft-repeated myths and claims, Jews are not an ethnic group or a race. They belong to different races and have all possible colours ranging from the Nordic blonds to the dark skin Africans. Any common identity they have is to a religion and to some of their cultural traditions. But in the present political situation some prominent anti-Zionist Jews have adamantly upheld the banner of freedom and stood against the policies of US imperialism and Zionism. For me, they are the true friends of the oppressed people of Iraq, Afghanistan and the occupied people of Palestine.


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