Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 3 (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   No comments

General News

An All-American Nightmare, By Tom Engelhardt

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 11/8/11

Become a Fan
  (23 fans)
- Advertisement -

This story originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

How about a moment of silence for the passing of the American Dream?  M.R.I.C.  (May it rest in carnage.)

No, I'm not talking about the old dream of opportunity that involved homeownership, a better job than your parents had, a decent pension, and all the rest of the package that's so yesterday, so underwater, so OWS.  I'm talking about a far more recent dream, a truly audacious one that's similarly gone with the wind.

I'm talking about George W. Bush's American Dream.  If people here remember the invasion of Iraq -- and most Americans would undoubtedly prefer to forget it -- what's recalled is kited intelligence, Saddam Hussein's nonexistent nuclear arsenal, dumb and even dumber decisions, a bloody civil war, dead Americans, crony corporations, a trillion or more taxpayer dollars flushed down the toilet... well, you know the story.  What few care to remember was that original dream -- call it The Dream -- and boy, was it a beaut!

An American Dream

It went something like this: Back in early 2003, the top officials of the Bush administration had no doubt that Saddam Hussein's Iraq, drained by years of war, no-fly zones, and sanctions, would be a pushover; that the U.S. military, which they idolized and romanticized, would waltz to Baghdad.  (The word one of their supporters used in the Washington Post for the onrushing invasion was a "cakewalk.")  Nor did they doubt that those troops would be greeted as liberators, even saviors, by throngs of adoring, previously suppressed Shiites strewing flowers in their path.  (No kidding, no exaggeration.)

How easy it would be then to install a "democratic" government in Baghdad -- which meant their autocratic candidate Ahmad Chalabi -- set up four or five strategically situated military mega-bases, exceedingly well-armed American small towns already on the drawing boards before the invasion began, and so dominate the oil heartlands of the planet in ways even the Brits, at the height of their empire, wouldn't have dreamed possible.  (Yes, the neocons were then bragging that we would outdo the Roman and British empires rolled into one!)

- Advertisement -

As there would be no real resistance, the American invasion force could begin withdrawing as early as the fall of 2003, leaving perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 troops, the U.S. Air Force, and various spooks and private contractors behind to garrison a grateful country ad infinitum (on what was then called "the South Korean model").  Iraq's state-run economy would be privatized and its oil resources thrown open to giant global energy companies, especially American ones, which would rebuild the industry and begin pumping millions of barrels of that country's vast reserves, thus undermining the OPEC cartel's control over the oil market.

And mind you, it would hardly cost a cent.  Well, at its unlikely worst, maybe $100 billion to $200 billion, but as Iraq, in the phrase of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, "floats on a sea of oil," most of it could undoubtedly be covered, in the end, by the Iraqis themselves.

Now, doesn't going down memory lane just take your breath away?  And yet, Iraq was a bare beginning for Bush's dreamers, who clearly felt like so many proverbial kids in a candy shop (even if they acted like bulls in a china shop).  Syria, caught in a strategic pincer between Israel and American Iraq, would naturally bow down; the Iranians, caught similarly between American Iraq and American Afghanistan, would go down big time, too -- or simply be taken down Iraqi-style, and who would complain?  (As the neocon quip of the moment went: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad.  Real men want to go to Tehran.")

And that wasn't all.  Bush's top officials had been fervent Cold Warriors in the days before the U.S. became "the sole superpower," and they saw the new Russia stepping into those old Soviet boots.  Having taken down the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, they were already building a network of bases there, too.  (Let a thousand Korean models bloom!)  Next on the agenda would be rolling the Russians right out of their "near abroad," the former Soviet Socialist Republics, now independent states, of Central Asia.

What glory!  Thanks to the unparalleled power of the U.S. military, Washington would control the Greater Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border and would be beholden to no one when victory came.  Great powers, phooey!  They were talking about a Pax Americana on which the sun could never set.  Meanwhile, there were so many other handy perks: the White House would be loosed from its constitutional bounds via a "unitary executive" and, success breeding success, a Pax Republicana would be established in the U.S. for eons to come (with the Democratic -- or as they said sneeringly, the "Democrat" -- Party playing the role of Iran and going down in a similar fashion).

- Advertisement -

An American Nightmare

When you wake up in a cold sweat, your heart pounding, from a dream that's turned truly sour, sometimes it's worth trying to remember it before it evaporates, leaving only a feeling of devastation behind.

So hold Bush's American Dream in your head for a few moments longer and consider the devastation that followed.  Of Iraq, that multi-trillion-dollar war, what's left?  An American expeditionary force, still 30,000-odd troops who were supposed to hunker down there forever, are instead packing their gear and heading "over the horizon."  Those giant American towns -- with their massive PXs, fast-food restaurants, gift shops, fire stations, and everything else -- are soon to be ghost towns, likely as not looted and stripped by Iraqis.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Uncovering the Military's Secret Military

Christian Parenti: Big Storms Require Big Government

Andy Kroll: Flat-Lining the Middle Class

Noam Chomsky: A Rebellious World or a New Dark Age?

Noam Chomsky, Who Owns the World?

Rebecca Solnit: Why the Media Loves the Violence of Protestors and Not of Banks

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments