Release Date: April 28, 2003
Eric Margolis, c/o Editorial Department, The Toronto Sun
333 King St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3X5
Fax: (416) 960-4803 -- Press Contact: Eric Margolis

Newest U.S. Colony Ruled by Air Power

America now controls the Mideast's second largest oil producer

by Eric Margolis

LONDON -- PM Tony Blair's popularity has risen with the end of the Iraq invasion. Britons, like Americans, enjoy jolly little wars in which large numbers of heathen savages are mowed down by western military technology at minimal cost to imperial troops. Add Britain's most recent invasion of Iraq to her list of 19th century colonial "little wars," like the Zulu, Ashanti, Afridi wars and, of course, the more famous campaign against Sudan's Dervishes, and their "fiendish" leader, the Khalifa, a 19th-century version of Osama bin Laden.

In spite of Blair's modestly resurgent popularity, a thunderstorm of questions is coming from parliament, media and the public over Bush/Blair claims that Iraq had to be urgently invaded because it posed, in Bush's words, "an imminent threat to the U.S. and the world," and, as Blair claimed, "Iraq possesses huge quantities of weapons of mass destruction." British intelligence claimed Iraq contained thousands of tons of biological weapons and poison gas, thousands more tons of precursor materials, nuclear weapons fabrication equipment, medium-ranged missiles, 500 km-ranged drones equipped to spray germs, etc., etc

Embarrassed by their failure to so far find a shred of evidence, never mind a "smoking gun," to justify an entirely illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, violating international law and the UN Charter, London and Washington still insist evidence will be found. "We sold it to them; it's got to be there," some London wags are saying.

If it is, it had better be a mammoth underground trove worthy of a James Bond super-villain, not just a few rusty old cans of chemicals left over from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, when the U.S. and Britain were among Saddam Hussein's principal suppliers of germ and gas weapons.

Don't for a minute believe Pentagon leaks about an "unnamed Iraqi scientist" who says he knows where all the nasties are buried and, what's more, ties Saddam to Al-Qaida. American fans of Rush Limbaugh may swallow this pap; most Brits are too cynical and worldly to accept such crude propaganda; many Brits and Europeans believe the U.S./UK will eventually plant fake evidence.

What's one more fabrication in a war of lies?

Junk intelligence?

Calls are growing for parliamentary investigations of Blair's war rationale and of British intelligence. Critics ask if Her Majesty's spooks were simply lying and concocting fake evidence to please their political masters, or were they producing junk intelligence at the cost of one billion pounds sterling annually? Every single weapon of mass destruction site listed in MI-6's notorious dossier presented at the UN, and cited by U.S. Secretary Colin Powell as proof positive, turned out to be bogus. More trusting Americans have yet to raise similar questions about their $40 billion per annum intelligence agencies - the ones that failed to predict 9/11.

This week, another uproar occurred in Britain after the New York Times leaked Pentagon plans to establish four permanent air bases in Iraq, adding to its existing 184 bases around the globe. The Pentagon denied the report, but my military and intelligence sources say it is largely accurate.

Imperial Britain ruled Iraq from the 1920s until 1958 by relying on the RAF to bomb and strafe rebellious tribesmen.

The U.S. now appears set to follow the British Empire by keeping order in its new colony through the use of air power rather than ground troops.

But the new U.S. bases in Iraq, if established, have a far more important role than mere colonialism. They will form the last spans of a gigantic air bridge, linking the U.S. with Central Asia. America's new imperial lifeline goes from the U.S. east coast to bases in Britain or Spain, then to America's newest client states in East Europe: Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. Their bases link directly to U.S. Mideast bases in Turkey, the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and, soon, Iraq.

The new Iraqi bases will give the U.S. control of the region's second largest oil producer, and allow a lower American profile in Saudi Arabia. They will be stepping stones to U.S. Central Asian bases - in Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan - created in 1991-92 to dominate the Caspian Oil Basin.

These aforementioned are all permanent bases that will give the U.S. Air Force the resources to speed warplanes, men and war materials across three-quarters of the width of the globe. Just as the Suez was the key to Britain's imperial naval lifeline, so Iraq and/or other Mideast bases will be, for America's mighty air force, the Dreadnaught of our modern day, will rule over all of the world's richest reserves of oil and gas, extending from Morocco to China's western border.

Increasing numbers of unhappy Britons are asking if they were not euchered into an imperial war as American auxiliaries, rather than having saved civilization from the "imminent danger" allegedly posed by Paper Camel Saddam Hussein. Other, more hardheaded Brits, are preparing to grab their share of the spoils of war to "liberate" Iraq's oil.

[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster, and author of War at the Top of the World - The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet which was reviewed in The Economist, May 13, 2000]

Copyright © 2003 Eric Margolis - All Rights Reserved
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