Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"A disaster by any measure"

"Iraq now seems all but certain to be left broken as a state, immersed in sectarian violence and terrorism, in far worse condition than it was under Saddam Hussein's secular dictatorship (which would have come to an end when Saddam died, or when he was overturned by a coup, or a revolt, as has happened to all of modern Iraq's previous leaders).

Afghanistan already is once again the world's principal producer of opium poppies, dominated by regional warlords, with the Taliban back and in control of a large part of the country beyond Kabul; the central government is feeble and American and NATO forces are struggling to enforce Kabul's authority.

For those who like conspiratorial explanations, involving oil and Israel, consider that now Iraq will produce little or no oil for the United States, or anyone else, for years to come, and the Saudi monarchy and the Gulf oil-producer governments are newly threatened by fundamentalist militants.

Saddam Hussein has been eliminated as a distant threat to Israel, and a ring of aggressive Shiite states and movements has been substituted, with Hezbollah having already brought Israel under rocket fire, and humiliated the Israeli army. Iran's influence in the world has grown larger than ever.

These results are due in part to the amateur geopoliticians of the neoconservative New American Century initiative, and their Washington allies. Israel needed no such friends, nor does George W. Bush, who with their help, on the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, looked more than ever as though he'll finish his term as the most disastrous president in American history.
-- William Pfaff, 21 September

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