What If Wars, What If History (2)
Next up from our series of excerpts from David T. Pyne substack:
U.S. Involvement in major 20th and 21st century wars resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths while creating new enemies making the U.S. much less secure.
We could say this begins our modern wars. I take it that the First Iraq War was run simply to teach a lesson to the rest of our vassals—to let them know what could happen to them if, like our erstwhile important ally Saddam, they stepped out of line and pursued a program that hadn’t been pre-approved inside the Beltway. That would explain, to me, why the US had no interest in “peace offers”. Saddam was transgressing the US’ rules based order, than which no offense could be worse. A war to “encourage the others”, the other vassal states of the rules based order. (The quote is from Voltaire.) The result was a chain of foreseeable but somehow not foreseen events that are still with us today—a characteristic of most of our rules based order wars.
First Iraq War (1991)—This was an unnecessary war as Saddam Hussein did not threaten an invasion of Saudi Arabia as President George H.W. Bush claimed and because he issued a number of peace offers including one months earlier offering to withdraw from all of Kuwait except for the Kuwaiti portion of the Rumalian oil field and Bubiyan Island. Even had he not offered to withdraw his military forces, Iraqi control of Kuwait did not threaten U.S. national security in any way, particularly given the fact that Iraq had been a U.S. client state up until the time it invaded Kuwait in August 1990 after getting “a green light” to invade from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie. The U.S. decision to decimate the Iraqi military in the process of forcing it out of Kuwait greatly weakened Iraq’s ability to continue fighting its war against Iranian terror. The ensuing UN embargo and US bombings of Iraq continued for a decade after the war supposedly ended, causing the deaths of up to half a million Iraqi children. Most importantly, the U.S.-led war against Iraq also sparked a chain of events leading to Bin Laden’s attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, which resulted in an unnecessary U.S. Global War on Terror which cost the lives of several hundred thousand civilians spanning over two decades.
The NATO onslaught against Serbia seems to have been the start of the Clinton Middle East meddling. A war to prove to Muslims that the US was willing to slaughter all and sundry regardless of history and, in particular, regardless of religion. A truly modern war. It also, as noted, outraged Russia, but served the purpose of putting Russia in its proper, subordinate, place—outside the rules based order and subject to US whims. Woops!
NATO-Yugoslav War (1999)—The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in support of its breakaway province of Kosovo placed NATO in a position of siding with Islamist Kosovo Liberation Army narco-terrorists and even Al Qaeda fighters in Kosovo against the Russian-backed Yugoslav government, which had been struggling following the cessation of the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia. It was the first unprovoked act of NATO aggression following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In many ways this war, along with the expansion of NATO eastward into the former Warsaw Pact nations of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, marked the key turning point in US-Russian relations from one of cooperation to one more defined by conflict and confrontation. The subsequent replacement of Boris Yeltsin by Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian Federation at the end of the year signaled the commencement of the Second Cold War with Russia. Without the eastward expansion of NATO and the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, it is very likely that this new Cold War with Russia and the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 would never have materialized, particularly if the US and NATO had found a way to include Russia in some kind of mutual security arrangement.
My take on the Second Iraq War, at the time, was that it was largely a geopolitical war to increase US control over the Eurasian landmass. By establishing Afghanistan and Iraq as bases for our military empire, combined with our position in the Indian Ocean, we had Iran surrounded on three sides and were in a position—as we thought—to pressure Russian control over Central Asian energy resources. It hasn’t worked out that way—a result that should sound familiar at this point. Iran has successfully remained outside the US controlled global dollar based oil economy and Russia has maintained—often through adroit diplomacy, something the US disdains for more heavy handed methods—its control over natural gas from Central Asia. Russia has also thwarted our attempts to leverage our position in the Middle East (cf. Georgia, Syria, etc.). It also continued the pattern of made up exuses—frankly propagandistic uses of “intelligence”—for war-making which flew in the face of international law in favor of the “values” of a US rules based order.
Second Iraq War (2003-present)—The US invasion of Iraq to overthrow its secular Baathist regime in 2003 was entirely unprovoked and was essentially an illegal war of aggression. As was proven following an exhaustive search for Weapons of Mass Destruction lasting a full year, Saddam Hussein had destroyed his entire modest 200-ton arsenal of nerve gas before the war and even if he had not, he had no history of sponsoring terrorist attacks against the U.S. or Israel and posed no threat to the U.S. which had 7,000 strategic nuclear weapons at the time. Iraq’s armed forces had been severely degraded losing over 60% of its tanks and other heavy weapons during the previous Iraq War and Saddam had not threatened its neighbors since the previous Iraq War ended. Due to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, Islamist terrorists including Al Qaeda and ISIS were able to establish a strong foothold in Iraq and spread their influence to Syria starting a civil war there. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians have been killed due to this foolish and unnecessary war. Meanwhile, Iranian proxy Shiite Islamists took power in Iraq in a massively fraudulent election in 2005 spreading Iran’s imperial influence westward towards Israel. Estimates of the death toll stemming from the U.S. invasion of Iraq vary widely from a low of 151,000 to as many as 1,033,000 Iraqis. By comparison, Saddam Hussein is alleged to have killed up to 300,000 people during his near quarter century reign.
Once again, a war largely “to encourage the others” which has resulted in disastrous consequences. We’re still “over there”, but to what purpose it’s difficult to discern.