In January 1991, then-President George H.W. Bush started the war on Iraq, and imposed sanctions and no-fly zones, which were continued by President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s. By 2001, hundreds of thousands of civilian Iraqi deaths were wrought by the U.S. government and the UN, and there was widespread anti-American anger felt by many in the Middle East.
Here is a brief review of what led up to the elder President Bush’s 1991 war on Iraq:
In 1990, Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein, were engaged in disputes with Kuwait. Iraq believed that Kuwait was siphoning Iraq’s oil via horizontal drilling, and Iraq also believed that Kuwait’s own oil production was above OPEC quotas which allegedly effected in lower oil profits for Iraq.
Saddam Hussein had been the U.S. government’s favorite during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, which Saddam had started with his invasion of Iran. The U.S. government’s arming and providing tactical battle planning to Iraq, despite U.S. officials knowing that Iraq was using chemical weapons during that conflict, were well documented.
When Saddam considered invading Kuwait, he met with then-U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, and asked her what kind of response the U.S. would have to such an invasion.
In their discussion, according to the New York Times, Glaspie stated, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 60′s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. (Sec. of State) James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction.” (More here.)
Apparently, Saddam Hussein took those words as a green light to invade Kuwait.
However, George Bush the elder then did a bait-and-switch, and began preparing for his war on Iraq. But the biggest task for Bush was to convince the American people that the war on behalf of Kuwait, an extremely anti-democratic, authoritarian monarchy, was not for oil but for “liberating” Kuwait from Saddam.
To sell this war to the American people, the government of Kuwait hired as many as 20 PR and lobbying firms. One PR firm in particular, Hill and Knowlton, was apparently the “mastermind” of the PR campaign, according to PR industry experts John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, whose book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You provides the details of the Bush-Kuwait PR campaign, as excerpted by PR Watch.
Both Bush presidents were skilled salesmen in their demonizing those who would be on the receiving end of their own wars of aggression. Philip Knightley, author of the book, The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Iraq, in an October 2001 article described the repeated stratagem of warmongers’ use of propaganda to demonize the enemy to rationalize a new war for the warmongers’ own people to support it.
The most effective PR ploy was the congressional testimony of a teenage Kuwaiti girl who stated, emotionally, that she witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of hospital incubators and leaving them “on the cold floor to die.” The girl later turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. And not only was that fact suppressed until after Bush’s war began, but the information she gave was false, and the girl had been coached by an executive of Hill and Knowlton. (Video)
During the elder President Bush’s 1991 Gulf War, one of the most egregious acts that the U.S. military committed against the Iraqis was to intentionally destroy civilian water and sewage treatment centers and electrical facilities.
According to researcher James Bovard, U.S. Air Force Col. John Warden published an article in Airpower Journal, titled, “The Enemy as a System,” in which Warden told of the U.S. military’s intentional targeting of the civilian infrastructure as a means to undermine Iraqi “civilian morale.” Bovard also cites a June 23, 1991 Washington Post analysis, which quoted a Pentagon official as stating, “People say, u2018You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage.’ Well, what were we trying to do with sanctions u2014 help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions.”
By the mid-1990s, diseases such as cholera, measles, and typhoid had led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and a skyrocketing infant mortality rate, with many more deaths by the year 2000. This campaign of cruelty was advanced further by the U.S. government and the UN through sanctions and no-fly zones, which prevented medical treatments and the means of repairing damaged infrastructure from being imported into Iraq. Clearly, such a controversial campaign of bombing civilian water and sewage treatment centers must have been approved beforehand by then-President George H.W. Bush and his Sec. of Defense Dick Cheney.
Justifiably, there was widespread anger amongst the inhabitants of the Middle East by 2001. In fact, one of the main motivations of the 9/11 terrorists was the Gulf War’s subsequent sanctions against the Iraqi civilian population.
Besides the sanctions throughout the 1990s as continued by President Bill Clinton, Clinton himself inflicted more bombing of Iraq.
Some people have now been comparing George Bush Jr.’s 2003 revival of the long war on Iraq with the extended war in Vietnam of the 1960s and 1970s, especially combined with the younger Bush’s war of aggression in Afghanistan and Obama’s continuation of those wars and starting new ones.
The younger George Bush’s 2003 war on Iraq was really a continuation of what his father had started in 1991. Investigative journalist Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, asserts that Bush Jr. was planning to invade Iraq as early as 1999 to take advantage of the “political capital” his father had built up earlier in Iraq.
(Can you imagine a President Jeb Bush in 2016? But I digress.)
In the elder President George Bush’s January 16, 1991 speech from the Oval Office, when he claimed that his 1991 war “will not be another Vietnam” (approx. 6:45), he also spoke of the “New World Order” (7:30).
The neoconservatives and progressive interventionists have been implementing their plans for global hegemony for decades, and using the force of the U.S. government to do it. But there is a frightening love of government that connects these interventionists, far outweighing any actual love for freedom and peace they could possibly have.
And now, after all these 22 years of Bush war quagmires and trillions of dollars in debt, and with warnings regarding the warmongers’ plans for Iran (which was part of the neocons’ plans all along), can the American people ever wake up to the truth about all this?
Now, the elder George Bush was elected President in 1988. But given how entrenched the Establishment’s interventionist policies were by that time, when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s it wouldn’t have mattered whether Bush or Democrat Michael Dukakis was elected in 1988. Given the myth of the “progressive peacenik,” a hypothetical Dukakis administration of 1989-1993 would most probably have been similar to the current one of Barack Obama. And with similar militarist reactions to Iraq as Bush in the name of furthering the obsession for hegemony that statists of both left and right have (and to keep the military-industrial-complex happy, too).
However, during the 1988 presidential campaign, had the media given Libertarian Party nominee Ron Paul the same free advertising they gave both Bush and Dukakis, the American people would have seen the clear alternative from the Bush-Dukakis statist quo.
And how would a President Ron Paul have handled the collapse of the Soviet Union? Given that any threats or perceived threats from overseas had vanished overnight, Ron Paul would have closed all the overseas U.S. military bases that existed then, including all the European and Asian bases and other foreign U.S. governmental apparatus. He would have brought all U.S. troops home, and many of them would have gone into the private sector to become productive workers, business owners and employers.
A President Paul would have shrunk the federal government by eliminating many useless departments, bureaus and programs, which Ronald Reagan promised to do but didn’t. And Paul would have abolished the fascist income tax. The economic boom of the 1990s would have been magnified by many times, for sure.
And a President Ron Paul would have educated the American people on the actual ideas of liberty. He would have informed the people of what a real free market is – something that the Heritage Foundation, Glenn Beck, and, ugh, Willard Romney wouldn’t know if they fell over it.
There also wouldn’t have been a U.S. government invasion of Iraq in 1991, bombing of civilian infrastructure, sanctions and no-fly zones, and provocations of foreigners becoming determined to retaliate. There may not (or probably not) have been a 9/11, and the police state in America that was already growing by the early 1990s would have been put to a stop. (And the younger George W. Bush probably wouldn’t have even been elected governor of Texas, let alone President of the U.S.) And there wouldn’t have been any U.S.-initiated wars in Afghanistan and other countries as well.
But, “woulda, coulda, shoulda” is just not realistic, and what happened, happened. The misery, destruction, collapse of the American economy in addition to all these wars – it happened, thanks to neocons and progressive interventionists.
The central planners in charge must have very serious clinically pathological delusions of grandeur and a hunger for power and control in their attempts to “remake the Middle East in America’s image” or “make the world safe for democracy” (but not freedom and peace), while coveting those foreign territories’ natural resources and slaughtering innocents.
So, call me old-fashioned, but it takes a really sick, criminal mind to intentionally destroy the water and sewage treatments of an entire civilian population, and forcibly withhold their medical treatments and repairs. And it takes a very demented person to view entire populations and cultures in other parts of the world as sub-human and whose lives are not worthy of any “inalienable rights” to life, liberty, and peace.
As I have stated in the past, America’s culture has declined over the past century. The greater power we have allowed governments to usurp, the further “third world” America has become.
The Bush wars of the past 22 years have not been helpful to human progress, that’s for sure.