The False Narrative of Bush and America continues

Juan Cole yesterday continues with the false narrative, per here. The issues are:

“The Bush administration’s already failed version of the conquest of Iraq…”

The Bush administration did not fail in Iraq. They achieved the goal of funneling several hundred billion dollars from American taxpayers to American multinational corporations. They achieved the goal of destabilizing the Middle East and raising the likelihood of future US presidents continuing to pursue their efforts. Both of these goals were better served by failing in the conquest of Iraq than by conquering Iraq. Just as for the American people, presidents too can be calculated in their ignorance.

“The French general and the American president do not much resemble one another — except perhaps in the way the prospect of conquest in the Middle East appears to have put fire in their veins and in their unappealing tendency to believe their own propaganda (or at least to keep repeating it long after it became completely implausible).”

It’s not about conquest – it’s about money. It’s not about ending war through victory – it’s about perpetual war and thus perpetual funneling (err, I mean funding) for war. Conquest has one fatal flaw – the war ends. It is precisely when the potential for total conquest exists that the crisis begins – since the true crisis for the elites is an end to the ability to expand their power.

“Both men were convinced that their invasions were announcing new epochs in human history.”

Perhaps Napoleon was convinced – Bush isn’t convinced of much, and hardly anything so grand as a new epoch. Bush’s ambition barely goes beyond tying his shoes. Conquest itself is an underlying rhetorical tactic. Bush believes he is conquering while he is doing otherwise.

“The overthrow of a tyrannical regime and the liberation of an oppressed people were constant refrains in the shipboard addresses of both the general and the president, who felt that the liberated owed them a debt of gratitude. Bonaparte lamented that the beys “tyrannize over the unfortunate inhabitants of the Nile”; or, as one of his officers, Captain Horace Say, opined, “The people of Egypt were most wretched. How will they not cherish the liberty we are bringing them?” Similarly, Bush insisted, “Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.”

A call to liberty makes the experience palatable to himself as well as others – surely you don’t take that rhetoric seriously as rhetoric? The American people do not take it seriously as rhetoric.

I enjoyed your piece – but you try to draw too many parallels. The one new thing the Neoconservatives bring to the table is that conquest serves wealth, instead of the other way around. If better ways of attaining wealth are possible they pursue those instead. It’s primarily the relatively rich American people they want to extract money from, secondarily the oil wealth of Arab nations. Extracting domestic funds weakens Americans and pacifies them through greater poverty.

Red and yellow are not the important colors for the Neoconservatives in war. It’s green. The American war in Iraq is the first war in history in which conquest is not even an issue (except in the minds of commentators). The American war in Vietnam was a precursor to this, an experimental prototype.

We are living in the age of Orwell. Wasn’t Napoleon the last Western military leader who actually believed in conquest? The West has been moving to love of money ever since.


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