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UFPPC ( Digging Deeper: October 18, 2004, 7:00 p.m.

Rahul Mahajan, Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond (New
York: Seven Stories Press, 2003).
[Dedication] "To the people of Iraq . . . and to the 44). The "National Security Strategy" (NSS) and
global antiwar movement" (5). Epigraphs from PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (RAD)
Joint Vision 2020 (2000) ("The overall goal of the have roots in the 1992 "Defense Planning
transformation described in this document is the Guidance" (45-46). Whereas the Cold War always
creation of a force that is dominant across the full pretended to be defensive, the war on terrorism
spectrum of military operations . . . Full spectrum admits it is aggressive (47-48). China figure
dominance") and from Donald Rumsfeld on Apr. centrally in the RAD (48-49). Four "principles of
28, 2003 ("We don't seek empires. We're not the neoconservative vision": (1) military
imperialistic. We never have been. I can't transformation; (2) military bases; (3) régime
imagine why you'd ask") (9). changes; (4) control of oil (49-50). Missile
defense allows the U.S. "to attack others with
Introduction: After the War: U.S. Power in impunity" (51-54). In RAD, "an American peace"
Iraq and Beyond. Iraq was a "component in a is a code phrase for dominance (55). The NSS is
sweeping new vision of U.S. foreign policy illogical in invoking terror as justification for
associated with . . . neoconservatives" (12). U.S. small-state pre-emption (56). Rejection of the
has plans to relieve Iraq of debt and establish International Criminal Court and the American
military bases there (13-14). War should open Servicemembers Protection Act (the 'Invade the
Iraq to U.S. oil companies (15-16). U.S. support Hague' Act) as needed complement (56-58).
for "democracy" in Iraq is "a code word" for "a
heavily dependent Iraqi government that will not Ch. 3: A Survey of U.S. Foreign Policy since
stray far from U.S. dictates" (16-17). Need, 9/11. Fiscal 2004 military budget $399.1 billion,
because of oil, for a government with "real up 30% from late 1990s (39). Shift from policy of
authority over the whole country (17-18). The nuclear deterrence to nuclear dominance;
U.S. organization of the political process is non- "bunker busters" (60-62). Oil-oriented base
democratic (18-19). The U.S. now seeks regime policy (62-63). Central Asia (63-65). Straits of
change in Syria and Iran (19-21). The 2003 "road Malacca (65-66). Philippines (66-67). Bab el
map"; approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Mandeb Strait and Straits of Hormuz (67-68).
is to recreate "a Palestinian client state . . . Georgia (68). Balkans (Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo)
headed by Arafat's long-time associate Abu (68). Colombia (68-69). Venezuela demonstrates
Mazen" (21-23). The war on Iraq was also a war "régime change" policy has nothing to do with
on the U.N. (24). U.N.'s future is humanitarian democracy (69-72).
support (25-26). Sanctions should not have been
lifted until a legitimate Iraqi government took Section II: The War on Iraq. U.S. arguments
power (26-27). The U.S. is an empire, for war were (1) to dissipate a threat and (2)
incompatible with "independence and promote democracy (73-75). Mainstream antiwar
international equality" and not "benevolent" (28). argument accepted these premises, supported
sanctions, no-fly zones, etc. ― but "the primary
Section I: The "War on Terrorism." driving force behind U.S. policy in the region [has
always been] control of oil as a crucial component
Ch. 1: What It's Not ― A War on Terrorism. of global hegemony" (75-76).
Due to the U.S. response, Sept. 11, 2001, marked
"the beginning of a new era" (31). But "the 'war Ch. 4: Understanding "Containment": Iraq
on terrorism' is not a war on terrorism (32). after the Gulf War ― Sanctions, No-Fly
Domestic security neglected (32-33). Zones, and Weapons Inspections. [Longest
Internationally, the U.S. spurned extradition in chapter] "Containment" is a notion providing a
favor of violence (33-37). War "exacerbated the defensive guise (77). Post-Gulf War U.N.
threat from al-Qaeda and other Islamist resolutions 661, 665, 666 starved people of Iraq
formations" both strategically and tactically (37- (78-79). Res. 687 (April 1991) set up UNSCOM to
41). inspect for weapons, with IAEA (79-81). True,
Iraqis complied only "partially" (81-82). But
Ch. 2: A New Imperialism? Understanding inspections were effective at eliminating WMDs;
the Bush National Security Strategy. The problems were in accounting (81-84). U.S.
war on terrorism "can be fruitfully understood as explicitly said that nothing would bring about
a new Cold War" (42). Like the Truman Doctrine, lifting sanctions short of régime change (85-86).
the Bush Doctrine outlined in the 2002 State of Removal of inspectors caused by refusal of U.S. to
the Union address "is a doctrinal system in which commit to lifting sanctions (86-87). U.S. engaged
any development anywhere can be deemed a in spying through inspections (88). U.S.
potential threat to our own national security" (43- "deliberately undermined a largely successful
inspections régime by eliminating Iraq's possible to argue U.S. violations "released Iraq
incentive" (89). Iraq sanctions were from any obligations" (143). Bombing air
unprecedentedly comprehensive and harmful (90- defenses and command-and-control sites
92). Oil for Food program (92-93). Effect of beginning Aug. 2002, maneuvering over Res.
sanctions (93-94). Iraq's use of Oil-for-Food 1441, war planning, and false arguments that
money (94-96). U.S. to blame Iraq's delay in "time is running out" demonstrate "a clear case
accepting an Oil for Food program (96-99). Using of aggression" (143-46). Aggression is a "crime
its power to block contracts, the U.S. sabotaged against the peace" and "the most fundamental
and politicized provisioning of Iraq's humanitarian violation of international law" (147). "It surely is
needs (99-103). Devastation of Iraq's social unprecedented in world history that a country has
structure and economy (103-06). No-fly zones been required to disarm itself and even been
were "an illegal imposition" (106-07). castigated by the 'international community' for
significant though partial compliance with
Ch. 5: 9/11 and the Pre-Emption Doctrine: disarmament requirements, when all along it was
From Box-Cutters to Weapons of Mass under escalating attack from another nation and
Destruction. From 9/11 to attacking Iraq told repeatedly that it would be subjected to a
involved a "logical [i.e. illogical] leap" (108-09). full-scale war of aggression ― and that all of this
Anthrax attacks were useful in persuading public was done in the name of upholding international
of this (103). Nov.-Dec. 2001: John Bolton & the law" (147).
House International Affairs Committee claim Iraq
is a "growing threat" (109-11). "Pre-emption Ch. 8: Democracy and Human Rights:
doctrine" introduced in summer and fall 2002 Liberating Iraq. U.S. policy neglects or
(111). But "pre-emption" is a misnomer (111-12). subverts humanitarian goals in non-military
This is really "preventive war," and is illegal (112- areas; to think its war policy is different "requires
13). U.S. has often acted thus (113-14). What is a remarkable effort of doublethink" (148-49). In
new is the rhetorical/doctrinal change to a The New Crusade (2002), Mahajan codifies U.S.
"capabilities-based" justification for attack (114- principles of humanitarian intervention: (1) the
17). humanitarian crisis is an excuse to pursue some
other gain; (2) the intervention is structured to
Ch. 6: The Threat from Iraq. U.S. justifications pursue this gain; (3) military force better serves
for war were absurdities (118-19), lies and cover- U.S. interests than peacekeeping and
ups (119). Inspections were undermined (119- humanitarianism (150-51). U.S. policy in the
20). U.S. behavior demonstrates lack of belief in Middle East toward democracy has been "hostility
threat from Iraq (120-21). Even if WMDs were and subversion," actively opposing popular
found now, the failure to have used them would movements in Iraq (1963, 1991) (151-54).
negate the claim they were a threat (121). All Generally, U.S. pursues political control and
evidence is against Iraqi hostile intent toward the benefits for U.S. corporations; democracy matters
U.S. (121-27). No evidence of Iraq-al-Qaeda ties little (154-55). U.S. "régime change" policy
(127-30). The chaos of the Iraq war was more represents a shift from currently dominant
likely to put WMDs in terrorists' hands than was economic form of control to "the creation of
Saddam Hussein (130-31). The term "WMD" is governments . . . within a military framework of
itself a U.S. propaganda victory (131-32). U.S. global hegemony," as more effective "in
Supposed evidence of Iraq WMDs was distorted penetrating the societies where most of the
or unreasonably inflated (132-34). U.S. has world's oil lies" (155-58). Polemical denunciation
subverted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of the "unbelievable effrontery" (162) and "most
(ignoring Article VI), the Chemical Weapons obscene hypocrisy" (160) of U.S. claims to act on
Convention (introducing an exception to the human rights and humanitarian concerns, belief
inspections clause), and the Biological and Toxin in which is possible only through "a certain
Weapons Convention (failing to support dehistoricization" (158-62).
development of an enforcement mechanism)
(135-37). "Disarmament is impossible for the Ch. 9: Oil as a Component of Empire. Iraq
foreseeable future . . . proliferation is the order of war demonstrably served principles of U.S.'s "new
the day" (137). U.S. absurdly asserts the Iraq war imperial vision" (cf. 49-50), but assertion of oil
should deter proliferation (137-38). North Korean interest inexplicably evokes charges of belief in a
crisis demonstrates the opposite (138-40). "conspiracy theory" (163-64). Overview of
history of Western involvement with Middle
Ch. 7: International Law. The U.S. claim that Eastern oil: 1920 San Remo agreement; 1928
the Iraq war upheld international law "was "Red-line" agreement; 1933 Saudi concessions;
ridiculous on its face" (141). Iraq's violations 1943 FDR-Ibn Saud connection; 1951-1953 Iran;
were technical; many have violated U.N. Iraq's Law 80 (1961); nationalization in Libya
resolutions with impunity; the U.S. avails itself of (1971), Iraq (1972), Kuwait (1975), Venezuela
immunity through its Security Council veto, or (1975), Saudi Arabia (1980); Carter Doctrine; Gulf
else ignores international law (141-43). It is
Wars (164-67). Correcting some misconceptions: post-WWII (181-83). What is different: a new
oil companies do not always get their way (167), "unipolarity" (183-85); assertion of "a U.S. right to
U.S. does not always pursue a "cheap oil" policy aggression" ("pre-emption") (185); its "military
(168), U.S. Middle East policy is "not about access mercantilism" offsets weakening effects of a
to oil" (168). But size of Iraq's oil wealth reserves huge and growing current account deficit (185-
(112.5-220b barrels) "magnify" its importance: 87); U.S. and Israeli strategic interests are
(1) for U.S. oil companies; (2) as geopolitical converging (187-88); unipolarity permits marriage
lever; (3) in support of the dollar; (4) in response of Realpolitik with neoconservative ideology
to growing world demand for oil (169-70). Iraq (189); it lacks political legitimacy (189-91). The
will bring U.S. oil company profits and invested "decent left" is working "to keep the antiwar
petrodollars (171-75). Politically, Iraqi oil gives movement from becoming a more sustained
leverage over the EU, Japan, and China, and may movement and from becoming an anti-imperialist
allow the U.S. to break the power of OPEC (175- movement," but it is possible for it to become "a
76). The role of dollar denomination of oil sales is sustained, mass-based political avenue" to bring
doubtful, but "dollar hegemony" is a reflection of down an empire for the first time (191-94).
"broader U.S. political hegemony" (177-78).
Rising demand necessitates expansion of Notes. 13 pages.
productive capacity; war "is necessary if the About the Author. Web site:
United States is to maintain control of that Ph.D. [Physics], U. of
process" (179-80). "Oil is . . . behind this war . . . Texas at Austin. Founder, Nowar Collective
as a component of empire" (180). ( Wrote The New
Conclusion: The New Imperialism. The Crusade: America's War on Terrorism (2002).
imperialism of the Bush administration is a [Born 1969; BA Caltech in math.]
continuation of earlier policies, at least back to