Hello,

Updating of ZNet has occurred at the usual hectic pace. Many subsites
have been updated, even renovated in a couple of cases. The top page has
new items daily. User-interactive sections like quotes, pen pals, and
uploaded essays are regularly renewed, and so on...

Some new pieces include work by Pilger, Podur, Said, Monbiot, Fisk, and
many more.

So please pay a visit to www.zmag.org/ -- and from there to the ZNet
site, and the Z Magazine site too, of course.

One new project we are currently working hard on is a subconference of
the upcoming World Social Forum that will be called Life After
Capitalism, co-hosted by us and a Brazilian organization called Porto
Alegre 3. More news about that will be available soon, but if you can go
to WSF 3, we will look forward to seeing you there.

For today, however, the reason I am sending this update is to convey a
new Chomsky essay, a longer version of which is on ZNet -- a bit of
biting satire with a followup, as well. The short version of the essay
included below was truly syndicated internationally by the Times...

-----

A Modest Proposal 
The NY Times Internationally Syndicated Version

By Noam Chomsky

The dedicated efforts of the Bush administration to take control of Iraq
-- by war, military coup or some other means -- have elicited various
analyses of the guiding motives.

Offering one interpretation, Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Washington, D.C.,
observes that the Bush efforts conform to "the classic modern strategy
of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass
discontent into nationalism" through fear of external enemies.

The administration's goal, Lieven says, is "unilateral world domination
through absolute military superiority," which is why much of the world
is so frightened.

The administration has overlooked a simple alternative to invading Iraq,
however. Let Iran do it. Before elaborating on this modest proposal,
it's worthwhile to examine the antecedents of Washington's bellicosity.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, Republicans have used the terrorist
threat as a pretext to push a right-wing political agenda. For the
congressional elections, the strategy has diverted attention from the
economy to war. When the presidential campaign begins, Republicans
surely do not want people to be asking questions about their pensions,
jobs, health care and other matters.

Rather, they should be praising their heroic leader for rescuing them
from imminent destruction by a foe of colossal power, and marching on to
confront the next powerful force bent on our destruction.

The Sept. 11 atrocities provided an opportunity and pretext to implement
long-standing plans to take control of Iraq's immense oil wealth, a
central component of the Persian Gulf resources that the State
Department, in 1945, described as a "stupendous source of strategic
power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."
Control of energy sources fuels U.S. economic and military might, and
"strategic power" translates to a lever of world control.

A different interpretation is that the administration believes exactly
what it says: Iraq has suddenly become a threat to our very existence
and to its neighbors.

So we must ensure that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the means
for producing them are destroyed, and Saddam Hussein, the monster
himself, eliminated. And quickly. The war must be waged this winter.
Next winter will be too late. By then the mushroom cloud that National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice predicts may have already consumed us.

Let us assume that this interpretation is correct. If the powers in the
Middle East fear Washington more than Saddam, as they apparently do,
that just reveals their limited grasp of reality.

It is only an accident that by next winter the U.S. presidential
campaign will be under way. How then can we achieve the announced goals?

One simple plan seems to have been ignored, perhaps because it would be
regarded as insane, and rightly so. But it is instructive to ask why.

The modest proposal is for the United States to encourage Iran to invade
Iraq, providing the Iranians with the necessary logistical and military
support, from a safe distance (missiles, bombs, bases, etc.).

As a proxy, one pole of "the axis of evil" would take on another.

The proposal has many advantages over the alternatives.

First, Saddam will be overthrown -- in fact, torn to shreds along with
anyone close to him. His weapons of mass destruction will also be
destroyed, along with the means to produce them.

Second, there will be no American casualties. True, many Iraqis and
Iranians will die. But that can hardly be a concern. The Bush circles --
many of them recycled Reaganites -- strongly supported Saddam after he
attacked Iran in 1980, quite oblivious to the enormous human cost,
either then or under the subsequent sanctions regime.

Saddam is likely to use chemical weapons. But the current leadership
firmly backed the "Beast of Baghdad" when he used chemical weapons
against Iran in the Reagan years, and when he used gas against "his own
people": Kurds, who were his own people in the sense that Cherokees were
Andrew Jackson's people.

The current Washington planners continued to support the Beast after he
had committed by far his worst crimes, even providing him with means to
develop weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and biological, right up to
the invasion of Kuwait.

Bush No. 1 and Cheney also effectively authorized Saddam's slaughter of
Shi'ites in March 1991, in the interests of "stability," as was soberly
explained at the time. They withdrew their support for his attack on the
Kurds only under great international and domestic pressure.

Third, the U.N. will be no problem. It will be unnecessary to explain to
the world that the U.N. is relevant when it follows U.S. orders,
otherwise not.

Fourth, Iran surely has far better credentials for war-making, and for
running a post-Saddam Iraq, than Washington. Unlike the Bush
administration, Iran has no record of support for the murderous Saddam
and his program of weapons of mass destruction.

One might object, correctly, that we cannot trust the Iranian
leadership, but surely that is even more true of those who continued to
aid Saddam well after his worst crimes.

Furthermore, we will be spared the embarrassment of professing blind
faith in our leaders in the manner that we justly ridicule in
totalitarian states.

Fifth, the liberation will be greeted with enthusiasm by much of the
population, far more so than if Americans invade. People will cheer on
the streets of Basra and Karbala, and we can join Iranian journalists in
hailing the nobility and just cause of the liberators.

Sixth, Iran can move toward instituting "democracy." The majority CK of
the population is Shi'ite, and Iran would have fewer problems than the
U.S. in granting them some say in a successor government.

There will be no problem in gaining access to Iraqi oil, just as U.S.
companies could easily exploit Iranian energy resources right now, if
Washington would permit it.

Granted, the modest proposal that Iran liberate Iraq is insane. Its only
merit is that it is far more reasonable than the plans now being
implemented -- or it would be, if the administration's professed goals
had any relation to the real ones.



The above has already appeared internationally via the NY TIMES
Syndicate. An early response follows...

------

Chomsky's "A Modest Proposal" Causes Head-scratching among Policy
Planners

Lyle Jenkins

Alternative Press (AP) - 12/02/02

Planning for the war in Iraq was thrown topsy-turvy today, as planners
feverishly studied a new plan put forward by former Bush administration
critic, Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky, the latest convert to the doctrine of Pax Americana, dropped a
bombshell into the laps of war planners today, in a brief paper on
strategic planning entitled "A Modest Proposal." The proposal calls for
the U.S. to "encourage Iran to invade Iraq," with the U.S. providing
logistic support and weapons.

William Kristol, of the American Enterprise Institute, hailed Chomsky's
paper. "I think that Chomsky now realizes that shibboleths like 'do unto
others as you would have done unto you,' laudable as they may have been
in a biblical economy, are hopelessly outdated in our new global
economy." Asked to elaborate, Kristol pointed to studies ongoing at the
American Enterprise Institute that show that the "do unto others" policy
is fiscally irresponsible. E.g., Vice President Dick Cheney received a
20 million dollar golden parachute along with 6 million dollars in stock
options for his five years of work in the oil industry. "Macroeconomic
calculations show that it would be unfeasible to share the oil wealth in
the Mideast to improve living standards there. There simply aren't
enough stock options to go around," Kristol noted.

Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, commented on the military implications of "A Modest Proposal."
"A welcome side-effect of Chomsky's proposal," Cordesman said, "is that
it will help us to avoid an unpopular draft in this country, so that we
don't risk life and limb of young red-blooded Americans." Cordesman
added that it would also spur U.S. arms sales to Iran, which have
languished ever since the missiles-for-hostages scandal.

Christopher Hitchens, formerly of the Nation, noted: "Chomsky's proposal
has the added advantage of not only canceling our moral debt to Iraq,
but also our moral debt to Iran for overthrowing their democracy and
installing the murderous regime of the Shah" [1].

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times cautiously lauded Chomsky's
hard-headed proposal. "The plan to partition Iran afterwards sounds
intriguing," said Friedman, "but without knowing more about Israel's
role in the administration of post-partition Iran, skepticism is in
order."

Most enthusiastic about the Chomsky plan was Israel's Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon, who had proposed attacking Iran immediately after
attacking Iraq in an interview for the London Times Online [2]. Sharon
also pledged to liberate South Africa next from the "Negro terrorist"
Nelson Mandela and to resurrect apartheid and restart exports of Israeli
atomic bomb technology to white supremacists there [3].

Asked if the President had seen Chomsky's proposal, Ari Fleischer,
Bush's press secretary, said that although the President had not
actually read the paper, he did release the following statement: "My
feeling is that Chomsky's plan probably suffers from the same flawed
idealism of similar humanitarian plans in the past, such as the
ill-conceived effort in 1729 to aid the children of poor people in
Ireland, now in the dustbin of history [4].

 ----------- 

[1] On canceling "the moral debt" to Iraq by removing Saddam, see
Chistopher Hitchens, "So Long, Fellow Travelers," Washington Post, Oct.
20, 2002.

[2] On Sharon's proposal to attack Iran, see Stephen Farrell, Robert
Thomson and Danielle Haas, "Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands
Israel," London Times Online, Nov. 5, 2002,
<http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-469972,00.html>http://www.tim
esonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-469972,00.html.

[3] On Israel's support of apartheid in South Africa and Sharon's role,
see A. and L. Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, HarperCollins: New York,
1991.

[4] On the proposal to aid "the children of poor people in Ireland," see
Jonathan Swift, "A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor
people in Ireland from being a burden on their parents or country, and
for making them beneficial to the publick," 1729,
<http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html>
http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html.

 Lyle Jenkins, correspondent to the Alternative Press (AP), can be
reached at <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>[EMAIL PROTECTED]

 

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