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Commentary ::
Logic, Mythology and the Iraq War
14 Apr 2004
A logical explanation about why George W. Bush's rationalizations for the Iraq war are asinine and the discussions among pundits and so-called experts on US corporate television are based on false assumptions and are ridiculous as well.
In science there are two methods of reasoning. One is inductive reasoning. If an experiment or observation of some natural phenomenon yields the same outcome many times without failure, the probability expands that, if repeated, the same result will again appear. For example, a ball thrown into the air always falls back to earth. The sun rises every morning and the likelihood of it rising tomorrow morning is exceedingly high.

Inductive reasoning can also be applied to human affairs and human systems. Due to a superiority in weapons, ships and navigational instruments, the Western European capitalist nations like Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany were able to militarily conquer and exploit the natural resources and labor of the peoples of Asia, Africa and America-now a part of the so-called Third World. Indeed, because of its powerful navy, Great Britain attained a very large empire. It was so vast that it was said that the sun never set on the British empire. Later, the United States and Japan developed into militarily powerful capitalist nations. By inductive reasoning one would expect the same result as with the European powers. In other words, they would also exploit the weaker Third World nations, attempt to build empires, and their capitalists would profit from the natural resources and labor power of these nations.

This is what happened. Japan conquered Korea and Manchuria and fought a successful war with Russia in 1905 over control of Port Arthur. During World War 2, the Japanese empire extended its control over China, southeast Asia and many Pacific islands. Under the pretense of liberating people from Spanish domination, the United States colonized Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Then, however, for some inexplicable reason the US ostensibly became more interested in bringing people democracy, freedom and the rule of law, rather than allowing its capitalists to make huge profits. No logical explanation or timeline is given in US history books for this magical transformation or radical departure from the history of all other capitalist nations. I maintain this US exceptionalism is more the result of the growing sophistication of propaganda in the US corporate media and a figment of their fertile imaginations, than it is a failure of inductive reasoning.

Previously, there were continuous wars fought by these capitalist nations over the division of their colonies or to crush rebellions by the oppressed people in these colonies. In propaganda by the corporate media, these wars now started to be described as wars between democratic and autocratic powers. World War 1 was portrayed as a war to make the world safe for democracy. World War 2 was supposedly a war between democracy and fascism. Actually, nothing had changed but the ability of propaganda to influence people's perceptions. Both World War 1 and World War 2 were imperialist wars among capitalist nations over the division of the world's resources. Germany was one of the last great European powers to become unified as a nation. Consequently, it had very few colonies and desired a lot more. The same can be said about Italy in World War 2 with its conquests of Ethiopia and Albania. World War 2 was different in one respect in that the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 had introduced the world's first socialist state, which was a threat to the wealth and power of capitalists everywhere. Therefore, another goal of the war was the weakening or destruction of the Soviet Union.

The economic empires of the United States and Japan clashed in the Pacific. The United States had a steel and oil embargo against Japan before the attack on Pearl Harbor. This clash of economic interests is not immediately apparent because the United States practices a camouflaged form of colonialism called neocolonialism. It doesn't possess actual colonies, but installs client-state rulers and induces them to obey by allowing these rulers to enrich themselves by corruption. Sometimes obedience is enforced by threats of bombing or invasion. A more recent method is to enforce compliance by threats to withhold IMF and World Bank loans or the utilization of CIA covert actions. The exploitation that accompanies these puppet rulers is most clearly visible in the sweatshops American corporations have established in poor countries around the planet.

I hope to have shown by inductive reasoning that very little has changed since Columbus landed in the Caribbean. Columbus and others like Cortez and Pizarro wanted gold and silver and were willing to exterminate Native Americans to get it. The United States wants the oil in Iraq and is willing to greatly diminish the population of Iraq to obtain it.

The second form of scientific reasoning is deductive reasoning. If an experiment manifests an identical result numerous times, a theory can then be constructed to explain the mechanism by which this occurs. Deductions can then be made from this theory predicting the results of future experiments. If the theory is valid, the deductive reasoning will give accurate predictions. Can deductions be made as to why capitalist countries develop colonies or puppet governments and start wars with one another or Third World nations over natural resources and cheap labor?

I believe the answer is Karl Marx's theory on how capitalist economies operate. Capitalist economies always enter into periods of crisis, where corporate profits fall, enterprises go bankrupt and many workers are laid off. This situation happens because workers are not paid the full value of their labor and overproduction occurs. To regain profit margins, capitalists seek out new markets for their commodities, new natural resources, cheaper labor and public wealth that has not yet been privatized of deregulated. If war is necessary to obtain these objectives, capitalists can use the power of the state, which they control. Karl Marx predicted that capitalists would search into every corner of the globe for the last remaining resources and profit opportunities. Corporations must grow or die. If one corporation doesn't expand, another will and either force it out of business or swallow it up in a corporate merger. Therefore, other nation's natural resources and publicly owned utilities and industries are highly desirable to obtain, particularly in periods of crisis in the capitalist system. They are even attempting to privatize and profit from a public resource so abundant and essential to life as the world's water supply. That indicates their desperation for profits.

The unfounded assumption of all debates on corporate television in the United States is that the US military forces are in Iraq to bring democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people and aid in the fight against global terrorism. They still cling to the remote assumption that weapons of mass destruction will be found by these troops, which was the very first assumption they made to justify the war. The guests invited to these discussions are invariably generals, military experts, terrorism experts and people from right-wing think tanks. Never do they invite someone like Noam Chomsky or Michael Parenti, who might challenge the very assumptions on which the debate is organized. The limits of the debate are how successful they are being in the effort to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq and fight terrorism and the mistakes that are being made and possible strategies for the future.

They are conducting a supposedly very serious discussion in fantasy land because all of these assumptions can be proven to be false. It is pure mythology. Inductive reasoning would indicate that the primary goal of US troops being in Iraq is the potential enormous profit to US and British oil companies from the large oil reserves there. The United States is simply following in the footsteps of all other capitalist and mercantilist powers, who for 500 years have been exploiting the natural resources of weaker countries. Deductive reasoning would indicate that this war is a logical consequence of the internal workings of the capitalist system. Corporations must expand or perish, and this fact necessitates their efforts to dominate natural resources and labor power all over the globe. Capitalism causes wars, although the game is over with powerful capitalist nations attacking each other because of the development of nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction. However, relatively defenseless countries like Iraq are still fair game.
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