Chameleonworld Editorial No. 1 – ‘The USA is the problem but what is the solution?’
First published August 2000
‘The USA is the problem but what is the solution?’ was the first of a series of editorials written by Marshall Marcus for Chameleonworld. It was written in the summer of 2000, just over a year before 9/11; around a decade after the first Iraq war, and just under 3 years before the last Iraq War. It provides a stark glimpse from a period when the US still appeared to be able to dominate world politics. This is life pre the 2003 Iraq War, pre the Arab Spring, pre the financial crises of 2008 -12, pre Obama, a world in which the rise of China was evident but not the enormous and consolidated fact that it is today, a world in which US government officials could still announce to journalists that it was they and not the journalists who ‘constructed’ the reality on the ground. So life changes …
The USA is the problem but what is the solution?
Consider for a moment how would you feel if you discovered that the following was true of your country: one in four children undernourished, representing a 73 per cent rise since 1991; 5000 children dying every month as a result of sanctions; ordinary families reduced to selling toys on the street for necessities; every day of the year for almost the last decade warplanes from the USA and the UK bombing your country; substantial increases in the incidence of leukemia as a result of the use, again by the USA and the UK, of bombs containing depleted uranium; the admission, by an ex-UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinator that “..we are in the process of destroying an entire nation”.
For millions of Iraqi’s this is a snapshot of a few of the factors affecting ‘normal’ everyday life. And the truth is that, as things are, it is going to get worse. As you the read these words the bombs are continuing to fall, the malnutrition is increasing, and the medicines needed to treat the most basic of illnesses show no hope of materialising. For years news about this international disaster has been provided, in a steady regular stream, by journalists such as John Pilger. But as with so much of Pilger’s work, the people who have the power to do something to rectify the situations he describes are choosing to do nothing to change it. So let us ask again: what is the justification for causing all this misery? Nominally it is quite clear: Hussein wants to carry on developing his military capability for use against dissident sections of his own population and as a threat to the Western powers that attacked him in 1991. The West has reacted by imposing utterly debilitating sanctions which have crippled the country.
But as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown pointed out in a recent newspaper article in the UK, although the aim of Western policy since the 1991 war has been to weaken Hussein, not only has this failed to happen, but the present policy is never going to have that effect. Hussein is still a threat to the West, and continues to oppress all opposition within the country. Meanwhile the sanctions and the bombing are having a profound effect on how ordinary Iraqi’s think of the West. This is how tomorrow’s hatred is made today. The truth is that once again we are witnessing the USA in a hopeless self appointed role as world policeman failing to clear up a mess of its own making. Hussein, let us remember, was a trusted ‘client’ of the USA for many years in the 80’s, a man with whom the American government felt that that they “could do business”. They armed him. They encouraged him. And now with the help of the UK they are bombing his unfortunate subjects whilst he carries on in near perfect personal safely.
The pity is that the USA has no intention of learning from this experience. Substitute Milsoevic for Hussein, and eight years on we are witnessing an almost identical situation in the old Yugoslavia. Everywhere the pattern is similar: the USA tries to solve complex problems by the simple expedient of bombing people into submission. The losers are the local civilians: ordinary people without the economic power to control their own destinies. The principal winners are the tyrants and war criminals who do back door deals with the West to ensure their immunity from justice, and the arms manufacturers, whose profits rise with every new wave of killing. But these profits then feed back into a US economy which is enjoying its longest uninterrupted period of prosperity in its history. As consumers we all benefit from this economic expansion. That is the real truth of the assertion that in Iraq ‘we’ are in the process of destroying an entire nation. Meanwhile, in one of the great ironies, the USA fails to even pay its own bills with the United Nations.
To identify all this is the easy part of the equation: the difficult bit is to identify a solution to the problem of the USA.
“The USA is the problem but what is the solution?” 01.Aug.00. Chameleonworld.
Recommended Links: Marc Thomas’s Iraq Page.
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