There is good news from an unlikely place: the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. armed forces says the U.S. military is stretched so thin, it is at “significant risk” of being unable to carry out all it war plans, as presently formulated. Well, if the U.S. war machine is at significant risk, that means the rest of the world, including Americans, is at less risk. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers must be very worried. This is the first time that the top brass have put down on paper what most observers already know: that the resistance to the Iraq occupation has tied down the superpower’s ground forces, short-circuiting the civilian Bush men’s plans to stay on the march until the entire planet cried “Uncle” to Uncle Sam. The report to Congress is supposed to be classified, but men in uniform are leaking it all over the place, a clear sign that even they understand that the Iraq adventure has taken the steam out of George Bush’s plans for constant, global war. If the natives don’t cooperate in the first place of aggression, you can’t go on to the next, so easily.
The U.S. inability to pacify Iraq, and world revulsion at Washington’s pre-emptive war doctrine, is driving the so-called neo-cons crazy – or, crazier. That’s because they really do believe that, deep down, most the world’s citizens want to live under an American protectorate, that they welcome the vigorous exercise of U.S. power. One prominent neo-con even said that American dominance will “have a soothing effect on the rest of the world.” Soothing, like in Baghdad.
These are the delusions that make U.S. power so uniquely dangerous. The Bush men act like drug dealers consuming too much of their own product. They believe the hype. When Baghdad started burning just days after the Americans took the city, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld really believed that the looting and arson were the product of Iraqi “exuberance” – joy, even – over the American presence in their city. What else could it possibly mean, since, deep down, everybody loves Americans, and want nothing more than to let Uncle Sam run the world. Or so Rumsfeld thought.
This is a very, very familiar mentality. I remember well how the whites of the South had convinced themselves that Blacks were quite content under Jim Crow segregation, that there was genuine affection between them and what they called, “our Nigras.” If there was any trouble, it was caused by “outside agitators.” These white folks had Uncle Toms who assured them that the local Blacks liked things fine just the way they were – just as the Americans had their Allawis and Chalabis to assure them that the Iraqi people would great the invasion with flowers.
When it became clear that southern Blacks were determined to fight for their own rights, lots of white folks seemed shocked – and hurt. They were not loved, after all, but in fact, broadly hated. The Americans are finding that out, all across the world, and they don’t have enough soldiers to do much about it. And that, is a good thing. For Radio BC, I’m Glen Ford.
Text of May 6 2005 Radio BC audio commentary
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