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News ::
Rumsfeld's 'blitzkrieg' and the forces that drive it
16 Feb 2002
U.S. domination of Central Asia
Rumsfeld's 'blitzkrieg' and the forces that drive it



U.S. domination of Central Asia
Rumsfeld's 'blitzkrieg' and the forces that drive it
By Sara Flounders"Blitzkrieg"--the devastatingly effective Nazi
war strategy--is how Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld describes current U.S.
military strategy in Afghanistan. And the Pentagon, Rumsfeld maintains, must
shift its priorities to building a high-tech military capable of launching
similar lightning strikes across the world. (Financial Times, Feb.
1)Blitzkrieg is the term the Nazis used for their rapid advance as their
tanks and troops rolled across Europe, conquering markets, resources and
territory for German capital. It was a strategy involving extensive use of
aerial bombardment of cities and overwhelming forces against small countries
that had no defense against German military might.Rumsfeld's use of the
same belligerent word Hitler's generals used is not an accidental slip. Rumsfeld
was speaking at a war college--the National Defense University--to the very
officers and strategists who are planning future U.S. wars. Along with
Nazi military terminology, Rumsfeld made it clear he was embracing the Nazi
justification of overwhelming force and pre-emptive strikes. The focus of his
talk was that the U.S. must be prepared to launch pre-emptive strikes. "The best
defense and in some case the only defense is a good offense," he
said.Rumsfeld's call for an even more aggressive U.S. military posture
came as a reinforcement to George Bush's State of the Union address and the
president's use of the term "axis of evil" to threaten Iraq, Iran and north
Korea. Rumsfeld also underscored the developing view of U.S. imperialism
that other imperialist countries, which are at the same time allies and
competitors, "must not be given a veto over U.S. military goals."In a
Feb. 4 interview with Jim Lehrer on PBS, Rumsfeld went a little further. "When
the Germans transformed their armed forces into the blitzkrieg, they transformed
only about 5 to 10 percent of their force. Everything else was the same, but
they transformed the way they used it--the connectivity between aircraft and
forces on the ground, the concentration of it in a specific portion of the line.
One would not want to transform 100 percent of your forces. You only need to
transform a portion."Rumsfeld raised this to argue that President Bush's
wild increase of $50 billion for the military budget "reflects the priorities
that are appropriate to our times."Encirclement and
occupationIn blitzkrieg fashion the Pentagon smashed into Central
Asia, using the excuse of a "war against terrorism" to establish a permanent
military presence in oil-rich Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and
Uzbekistan, four bases in Afghanistan and four more in Pakistan. A
front-page article in the Jan. 9 New York Times confirmed that the Pentagon is
preparing a "long-term footprint in Central Asia" with military bases.
The rapidly expanding U.S. military occupation is arousing deep
apprehension among all the countries in the region. It is increasingly clear
that the aim is to consolidate U.S. corporate domination over the vast oil and
gas deposits in the region and the pipelines that will carry this enormous
source of wealth to market. U.S. News & World Report has put the
value of Central Asian and Caspian Sea resources as high as $4 trillion.
Articles in the Pakistani, Indian and Russian press, and a number of
European newspapers, have raised alarm regarding the long-term U.S. presence in
the heart of Asia. Many note similarities to the continuing U.S. military
presence in bases throughout the Middle East, Balkans and Korean peninsula.
The Feb. 10 Toronto Star quoted a blunt denunciation of U.S. aims by
Kommersant--Russia's main business newspaper. Kommersant stated, "The main goal
of the military presence is to uphold the economic interests of U.S. companies,
primarily the oil and gas sectors."Another Russian newspaper,
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, warned, "The so-called honeymoon in relations between
Russia and Washington, which started after the Sept. 11 attacks, seems to be
gradually developing into a new cold war." Chief of the General Staff of
the Chinese People's Liberation Army Gen. Fu Quanyou warned that positioning
U.S. troops in Kazakhstan, which shares a 1,000-mile border with China, "poses a
direct threat to China's security."Adding to Russian apprehension about
encirclement are NATO plans for one of the largest military exercises since the
end of the Cold War. These "war games" are set to begin in late February in the
Baltic Sea on Russia's northern border. Some 40,000 military personnel from 27
countries that belong to NATO or its Partnership for Peace program will
participate in "Operation Strong Resolve 2002" with ground, maritime and
airforce units. These transforming developments have happened with
lightning speed. Now U.S. oil corporations are rushing to consolidate their
position. The Feb. 3 Hindustan Times of India reported that a consortium has
revived plans to build a gas pipeline that will link gas fields in Turkmenistan
to India after stretching 1,000 miles across Afghanistan.At the beginning
of the last century the Caspian region generated one-half of the world's
petroleum. The Nobel and Rockefeller dynasties built vast fortunes based on
their ownership of this valuable resource. But after the socialist Russian
Revolution in 1917, these resources belonged to the many peoples of the Soviet
federation of socialist states. Nevertheless, the giant oil monopolies
never gave up on their drive to reclaim these vast fortunes. Immediately after
the breakup of the Soviet Union, oil company executives flooded back into the
Central Asian republics to reclaim their past wealth through new privatization
schemes and pipeline routes. Only these imperialists had the enormous capital to
invest to modernize the industry. Today the Bush administration is
top-heavy with CEOs from oil and gas corporations that have an enormous stake in
the control and development of resources in this region. These lucrative
contracts, worth billion of dollars, only have value if they are backed up and
defended by military force.War is not overThe U.S. military
command secured its position in Afghanistan through a terror campaign of
high-altitude bombing and overwhelming force. The tactics utilized by this
occupation army are beginning to leak out into the U.S. and world media.
On Jan. 23, Pentagon commando units mistakenly identified as Taliban
fighters some Afghan forces who were actually loyal to the U.S.-puppet regime.
In a nighttime raid on their village, U.S. forces reportedly shot 21 people in
their sleep. Some of the men were found shot in the back, their hands still
bound by U.S.-Army-issued plastic handcuffs. Twenty-seven prisoners who were
released two weeks later related that they had been kicked, beaten and
imprisoned in cages at a U.S. base in Kandahar.In another incident, the
Feb. 5 Washington Post reported that Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-appointed president
of Afghanistan, said U.S. forces admitted to him that they had killed 65
innocent people on their way to his inauguration. U.S. jets destroyed a convoy
of vehicles near the city of Khost.But it is not just the few "mistakes"
that are the crime in Afghanistan. Almost four months of pulverizing bombs have
turned hundreds of villages into rubble. Infrastructure that barely functioned
before has been destroyed. Warlords are back in control of every city.
Even the few United Nations emergency relief convoys are being looted. Hospitals
are not functioning. In the midst of a cold winter, following a year of drought
and famine, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been abandoned. As in all the
countries Washington has occupied--from Korea to Vietnam, the Philippines and
Kosovo--it is unable to solve any of the enormous social problems it has
created.The same capitalist drive for new markets in a capitalist
recession, which fueled the German military blitzkrieg across Europe 60 years
ago, is fueling the Pentagon today. The corporate CEOs are backing military
expansion to combat economic contraction. But the Pentagon's vast
overreach, its new bases, and the massive subsidies to the military-industrial
complex in the form of an inflated military budget, have not jump-started the
economy. Instead they are dragging the economy down, while creating a volcano of
opposition abroad and growing anger here in the United States.

- END -
Reprinted from the Feb. 21, 2002, issue of Workers World
newspaper
(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) workers.org. For subscription info send message to: info (at) workers.org. Web: http://www.workers.org)

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