By Sherwood Ross
There is a disturbing report out that accuses the United States of reigniting the nuclear arms race. It's from no less an authority than Sweden's Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and later the chief UN weapons inspector who said that he could find no nukes in Iraq.
Recall when Blix was scouring Iraq searching for WMD in 2002, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted that Blix's search would be "a sham." Of course, Rumsfeld wasn't objective. He was beating the drums for war. His disparaging remark did more than hint at incompetence. It maligned the integrity of Blix and his colleagues. It also revealed Rumsfeld's penchant for what Freud dubbed "the projection mechanism" - attributing one's own traits to others.
If anyone was "shamming," it was Rumsfeld. With his billionaire's budget for gathering intelligence and an army of thousands of spies, he was dead wrong to assert that Iraq had WMDs. It was Blix with his handful of helpers who got it right.
Example 1: on August 26, 2002, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Vice-President Richard Cheney charged that Saddam Hussein will "seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail."
Apart from the bit about threatening America's allies, doesn't Cheney's charge pretty much describe US conduct? After invading Iraq, US President George W. Bush threatens Iran, also a big oil producer, with force and "the nuclear option." If that's not nuclear blackmail, what is?
Here comes the US, with a $500-billion-a-year military budget and 10,000 ready-to-go nukes shouting 'Iran threatens world peace!' Last time I looked, Iran's annual military budget was under $4 billion. Experts put it five years away from making nuclear bomb No. 1.
Example 2: in September 2002, Bush charged that Saddam and Al Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden "work in concert," later proved utterly unfounded. Then Bush added, "The danger is that Al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world."
So who's extending WMD around the world? How many nukes does America have parked on runways at its 700-plus military bases in 130 countries?
The New York Times said that Blix's new report, delivered to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on June 1, concludes that it is America's "unwillingness to cooperate in international arms agreements" that is "undermining efforts to curb nuclear weapons." (Bush pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.)
Blix ripped America's "drive for freedom of action to maintain an absolute global [nuclear] superiority in weaponry and means of their delivery." The White House and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld owe Blix an apology. The Bush administration projects its evil onto others. Blix had it right about Iraq. He has it right in his new report about America. #
Sherwood Ross is an American writer for history and political journals. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.