As President Bush awaits the findings of the weapons inspectors now in Iraq, hard-core Leftists steadfastly assert that they alone have insight into his “real” motives for wanting to overthrow the regime in Baghdad. Those motives, they say, haven’t a thing to do with protecting the United States from future attacks that could make the horror of September 11 seem insignificant by comparison. As MIT professor Noam Chomsky puts it, any military incursion into the Persian Gulf would merely reflect the Bush administration’s appetite for omnipotence – the centerpiece of which is a desire “to take control of Iraq by war, military coup, or some other means.”
Chomsky’s view is echoed by Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who characterizes Bush’s rhetoric about Iraq as “the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy” that concocts awful tales of external enemies “to divert mass discontent into nationalism.” The administration’s goal, Lieven says, is “unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority.”
“September 11,” says Chomsky, “provided an opportunity and pretext to implement longstanding 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.’ ” What Bush wants, the professor summarizes, is nothing less than “a lever of world control.”
Even in light of the vast evidence to the contrary, Hate-America Leftists like Chomsky and Lieven brazenly assert that our country’s foreign policy is founded upon a veiled imperialistic motive that they alone are perceptive enough to see. Though Chomsky traces America’s alleged thirst for dominion back several decades, the US has in fact had many opportunities during that period to exploit its vast power and subjugate other nations, yet has not done so. Indeed at the end of World War II, America’s military and economic strength was unrivalled. The only nation to possess atomic weaponry at that time, the US was also responsible for more than half the world’s manufactured goods and was by far the world’s largest exporter. Never before had a single nation been situated in such a position of peerless might and wealth – possessing the capacity to rule every continent and every remote corner of the planet, if it so chose.
Yet our country chose instead to help, rather than conquer, the weaker and less fortunate. In 1947 the Truman Doctrine signaled the end of isolationism, and dedicated American resources to the “support [of] free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure.” Soon thereafter the Marshall Plan resurrected the devastated economies of Europe – including those of Italy and Germany. There was no US attempt to take over either of those countries – or any other, for that matter.
Quite the contrary. The US was by far the principal benefactor of the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which was founded in 1943 to help feed and repatriate the hungry, displaced masses of Europe. This type of unsolicited giving continued for decades – without any attempt to exert political dominion over a single beneficiary. By the 1970s, the American government had spent over $150 billion on foreign aid – two thirds of it outside Western Europe – spawning pockets of prosperity widely over the globe. Historian Paul Johnson calls this effort “wholly without precedent in human history, and . . . likely to remain the biggest single act of generosity on record.”
To this day, when famine, natural disasters, civil wars, and ethnic cleansing ravage foreign populations, the US is the invariably the first – and often the only – nation to send help. In none of those instances has our country sought to strip away the sovereignty of the people it helped. In the 1990s, for instance, America’s military saved the lives of Muslims in Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo. None of those places are now under the dominion of the US. Even when Saddam’s regime could easily have been toppled at the Gulf War’s end, the US respected the very letter of the UN resolution, thus leaving Saddam in power and Iraq’s oil fields under his control. Yet in a recent interview, Chomsky stated that “the US behaves like a mafia head, [and] has completely disregarded the United Nations because it wants to carry out its policy of terror across the world.”
In point of fact, America has been the world’s only nation to give the UN any measure of relevance at all. If not for President Bush’s warning that Iraq’s failure to readmit weapons inspectors would lead to war, the UN’s many toothless, unenforceable resolutions of the past twelve years would have continued to possess all the substance of dust in the wind.
The Left, however, gives Bush no credit for this new development – choosing instead to condemn his “bellicosity,” which, according to Chomsky, was set in motion when he exploited the September 11 attacks by using “the terrorist threat as a pretext to push a right-wing political agenda.” Bush’s “strategy,” says Chomsky, is to “[divert] attention from the [sagging] economy to war.” He further asserts that when the campaigning for the 2004 presidential elections begins to take shape next year, “Republicans surely do not want people to be asking questions about their pensions, jobs, health care, and other matters.” “Rather,” he sarcastically explains, “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.”
One might have hoped that the personal hatreds and political biases of people like Chomsky and Lieven might not have blinded them to the reality of the situation in which President Bush now finds himself. After eight years of a Clinton presidency that utterly ignored the budding international crises (al Qaeda, North Korea, Iraq) that have blown up in our faces numerous times already, Bush must now make some hard decisions about how to clean up the colossal foreign-policy mess that was dumped onto his lap the day he took his Oath of Office.
Indeed it was not Bush who permitted Saddam to arrogantly defy the UN throughout the 1990s. Rather, Bush was the only leader on the world stage with the courage to deal with that issue proactively, and not permit Saddam’s stalling and lying to continue. If not for Bush, the current inspections resolution would never even have been dreamed of, let alone unanimously ratified and implemented. Like the “peace movement” of the Left, the rest of the world’s nations would have been content to continue burying their heads in the proverbial sand for another dozen years, hoping that nothing bad would happen in the meantime.
Has no one on the Left noticed that the hollow rhetoric of the “peace” crowd, which so stridently cries out for inspections rather than war, never made a scintilla of progress toward that end since the day the last group of inspectors was thrown out of Iraq years ago? Has no one noticed that only President Bush’s military threat triggered more progress – virtually overnight – than the “peace activists” had achieved in years of impotent inertia?
What will Chomsky and his comrades say if Saddam acquires nuclear capacity and thereafter manages to smuggle one or more such weapons into one or more of our largest cities? Will he still insist that we summon up the courage to look at the “real” issues, like the economy, pensions, jobs, and health care? Or that perhaps we ought to tackle such vital matters as school lunch programs and teacher-pupil ratios? What “heroic leader” will step to the plate and save him – and us – then?
Predictably, Chomsky mocks the notion that Saddam is “a threat to our very existence” and ought thus be eliminated as quickly as possible. “The war must be waged this winter,” he says sarcastically. “Next winter will be too late. By then, the mushroom cloud that National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice predicts may have already consumed us. . . . It is only an accident that by the next winter, the US presidential campaign will be underway.” In other words, the Bush administration’s sense of urgency about the Iraqi threat is nothing more than a political ploy.
In evaluating Chomsky’s assertions, it is instructive to note that like most of his fellow Leftists, he also condemned the military retaliation that ousted the Taliban and destroyed Afghanistan’s al Qaeda training camps as “an assault that kill[ed] innocent Afghans,” a “murderous operation,” and a “silent genocide.” He even portrayed the US food drops intended to nourish the hungry Afghan populace as nothing more than a “public-relations” move.
The solution he proposed in Afghanistan hardly differed from what he now recommends in Iraq. A year ago he stated that rather than drop bombs, the US “should have pondered deep into the background of the September 11 attacks. It should have offered evidence [of bin Laden’s culpability], accepted the Taliban offer of negotiations, and asked for bin Laden.”
In a nutshell, that (notwithstanding Chomsky’s erroneous implication that the US did not ask for bin Laden) is the Left’s solution to every international crisis: (1) examine America’s own culpability in leaving its foes no choice but to attack; (2) negotiate ad infinitum with even the world’s most barbaric dictators; (3) beg for their pledge of cooperation – written on a piece of paper, if at all possible; and finally (4) turn a blind eye to their subsequent violations of those pledges, and to their preparations for future attacks against us.
Then, when those attacks eventually occur, repeat steps 1 through 4.