War & Premeditated Genocide

by James Petras

Z magazine, March 2003


According to UN estimates, over 10 million Iraqis will be killed, injured, displaced, or traumatized by the U.S. war of aggression. It is highly likely that U.S. military intelligence figures coincide with UN figures. Washington has put in place a military plan involving hundreds of war planes and a sea armada directed to dropping thousands of tons of explosives on Iraqi cities, towns, essential infrastructure, and defense installations. The mass media around the world report each and every ground, air, and sea deployment in greater or lesser specificity. U.S. public officials openly speak of the systematic destruction, plunder, and prolonged occupation of Iraq.

Genocide-massive, systematic destruction of a people and a nation -is planned down to the last tactical detail. The minutely calculated costs of troop movements, bombing, and population displacement is determined by economists who then estimate the war's impact on the national budget, future oil revenues, and the length of the occupation and its projected costs.

This is scientific pre-meditated genocide, similar to what took place in Nazi Germany at the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 when the high command decided on extermination of the Jews. The major difference is that Washington's decision on genocide precedes the war and is widely publicized by its executioners.

The architects of annihilation come from a plurality of ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds: two are blacks, some are Anglo-Saxons, several are Jews, and one is Latin American. With the exception of Powell, all avoided military service or any combat role during the Vietnam War. All have been previously involved in planning or supporting previous wars of aggression or military atrocities.

During the Vietnam War, Powell wrote a report justifying the My Lai massacre - the U.S. Army's slaughter of hundreds of unarmed peasants. During the Reagan administration, Rumsfeld was a strong advocate of military intervention and support of terrorist surrogates in Central America, Asia, and Africa. Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle designed the strategy for the systematic destruction of the Palestinian state as advisors to Likud - a policy since put in place by the Sharon regime.

What in the past were theoretical exercises in ethnic cleansing, planning, localized massacres, and fabricated justifications are now fused into a systematic doctrine of international genocide.

What matters to the genocide elite is not primarily oil or Wall Street, but unlimited power and world domination. They see no evil on the extreme right, only allies like Sharon. They see evil and "obstacles" among critical NATO partners like Chirac and Shroeder. They patronize and promote their ignoble and servile vassals in Eastern and Southern Europe. Bush seeks the complicity of the American people in order to proceed with his genocidal invasion of Iraq. The militarist elite move in military formation toward the systematic destruction of an entire nation with a high sense of impunity and blind arrogance.

But their advisers and publicists have brought to their attention that the people are restless. Hundreds of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets in all the major cities and many of the small towns throughout the U.S. The genociders at first dismissed those reports as "the usual leftists." But then hundreds of thousands of others, including prominent writers, artists, former ambassadors, and generals joined their voices to those in the street. The genociders became shrill-they moved to deny the detonator of active public opposition: "ban the street protests," "deny them all media coverage." They fabricate more audacious lies, give more press conferences, write more belligerent speeches, and send Bush to read them wherever a safe audience can be guaranteed.

The genociders are becoming more hysterical as they face "obstacles" in NATO and the UN and growing opposition on the domestic front. They feel that they are running against the clock, the longer the Europeans delay the genocide, the greater the public awareness of the horror of the undertaking and its implications, the more likely that the opposition will grow to millions-beyond the control of the mass media and the police. They want genocide now: they are obsessed that all their planning, their fantasies of world power and a Middle-East under Anglo-Israeli control, free of Arab resistance will go to naught-that they personally will fail and go down in history as the genociders who were defeated by their own people.

At the cupula of power, the leaders of Europe and the U.S. argue over the conditions and timing of war: the U.S. mobilizes the Eastern European satellites it has inherited from the former USSR, while the French, German, and Belgian governments count on the vast majority of the voters opposed to war. Washington and Britain call up the military reserves and mobilize right-wing Christian and Zionist fundamentalists, while English, French, Italian, and Spanish trade union confederations threaten strikes and mainstream Christian churches join with millions of citizens locking arms across nations in civil disobedience and protest.

The pending war in the Middle East is not simply an imperialist colonial conquest, though it is all of that. It is a clash between barbarism and civilization: the outcome and consequences of which will not be limited to the military result in Iraq. We are looking at a historic confrontation between the advocates of genocide, who believe in one, two, many Afghanistans and Iraqs, and the burgeoning opposition of millions of humanity, their best writers and intellectuals, the noble and worthy among their religious and spiritual spokespeople and, above all, their natural leaders among the popular classes.

There can be no compromises, there will be no end, until and when, either the world embraces a civilization cleansed of imperialism, genocide, and ethnic slaughter or we descend to an inferno of a world ruled by psychopaths who see war as a means for perpetual domination.

Wherever we live and work, we must become engaged because the empire is everywhere, from Northern Mexico to downtown Buenos Aires, from the oil fields of the Middle East to the banks in Jakarta. So too the people's movement is everywhere. In the streets of Rome, London, Paris, Madrid, Athens, Seoul, Manila, New York, and hundreds of smaller cities and towns, millions of workers, urban poor, peasants, retirees, members of the middle class and students have mobilized.

The confrontation has been joined. We are living history. I believe we will win. Not from visionary faith, but from the conviction that what we are fighting for represents the best of humankind.


James Petras is the author of numerous articles and books. He teaches sociology at SUNY Binghamton.

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