Think the Bush Administration is done trying open new fronts in using scare tactics in the service of war profiteering? Think again.
In yet another display of mindboggling display of fearmongering coupled with greed, the Bush Administration is now now telling Europe that it needs to buy American missile defense systems–or else. From the Los Angeles Times:
With American officials working to close a deal on a missile defense system in Europe, the head of the U.S. program warned Thursday that Iran was within two or three years of producing a missile that could reach most European capitals.
“They’re already flying missiles that exceed what they would need in a fight with Israel. Why? Why do they continue this progression in terms of range of missiles? It’s something we need to think about,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told a conference here on missile defense… [snip]
“Our short-range defenses could protect Rome and Athens,” Obering said, but he warned that London, Paris and Brussels would remain vulnerable “against an Iranian [intermediate-range missile] threat.”
That’s right, mes amis, meine Damen und Herren. Unless you buy our preposterously expensive and utterly ineffectual Star Wars “defense” technology, dangerous terrorist Ahmadinejad and his merry band of clerics will unilaterally start a war with Israel, create a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv, and use the expanded conflict to send your beloved Arc de Triomphe and Reichstag into the stratosphere.
The proposed U.S. plan is to build the Star Wars interceptor network in Poland (don’t forget Poland!) and the Czech Republic–both part of the New Europe that Bush and Rumsfeld find so much more attractive than dirty Old Europe. There are two possible reasons the Bushies want to build this silliness in Eastern Europe: either Western Europe will have none of it, or the Administration simply wants to jab a fork in Russia’s eye for the fun of it. As the L.A. Times says:
Malcolm Chalmers, a onetime foreign policy advisor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said the decision to locate the system in former Warsaw Pact nations may have sparked opposition in Moscow that otherwise “would be much less vociferous.”
“Did we only deploy it there because that’s the only place available?” said Chalmers, who is now a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, which sponsored Thursday’s conference.
Some Europeans have questioned whether Iran represents a genuine threat to Europe, and have accused the Bush administration of undermining existing arms control agreements by proceeding unilaterally on missile defense.
“This is firstly and foremostly an American choice and should be taken as such,” said Yves Boyer, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. “It has not been requested by any European state and . . . it does not answer the critical need for Europeans to process their own assessment of strategic capabilities.”
To say nothing of the fact that the Czech government would be acquiescing to Washington’s request against the protests of its own people.
Congress cut this fantasy plan out of last year’s defense budget because it was such an outrageous waste of money and needless pointy stick in the eye of Russia. Besides, even if the defense system did work, it would only work against one or two low-tech dumb missiles sent without decoys; who would possibly believe that Iran would attempt such a move and simply wait for the world’s retaliation? But the Bush Administration was never one to be deterred by facts, and is desperately trying to get this missile shield built regardless of the U.S. Congress, scientific consensus, coherent military stragetic planning, or diplomatic intelligence. And all for what?
$310 million dollars, that’s what:
The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requested $310 million in 2008 for a missile defense site in Eastern Europe, supposedly to defend Europe and the United States from Iranian missiles. However, Czech citizens and the Russian government strongly oppose a Czech Republic site. While Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed several practical alternatives, President Bush is pressing ahead with the European site, eager to pour concrete before his term is up.
$310 million dollars. At the rate we are spending money in Iraq ($222,222 per minute), the profit from selling this boondoggle to Europe wouldn’t even cover the cost of occupying Iraq for a single day. But the wheels of the military-industrial complex must be greased, no matter what the cost.
One has to ask oneself what the overall military strategy of the Bush Administration seems to be, even if one grants moral or strategic legitimacy to the Bush Doctrine of pre-emption, torture and abrogation of disarmament treaties.
They invade Iraq ostensibly to protect the world of terrorists’ acquiring control of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons. They push for the bombing of alleged Iranian nuclear sites and for the invasion of Iran to ensure that Hezbollah does not acquire weapons of mass destruction. Ostensibly focusing on the clandestine terrorist threat, they bungle diplomacy with North Korea, allowing them to develop nuclear technology coupled with ranged missiles. They also allow Pakistan, a country a few heartbeats away from radical Islamist government, to acquire even more sophisticated nuclear missile technology. But they also want to spend insane amounts of money defending against the very missile-based technology that they have allowed to proliferate while allegedly focusing on clandestine WMD threats–even if it means infuriating the rest of the world, escalating an arms race, and making the planet a more dangerous place from a diplomatic point of view. Exxon-Mobil doesn’t even get the prospect of more oil out of the bargain.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it seems to me that the Bush Administration simply wants to spend money on war, regardless of its purpose, strategic coherence or realpolitik considerations, to further the interests of its corporate cronies in the military defense establishment.
And that’s the problem with laissez-faire government of the corporate interests, by the corporate interests, and for the corporate interests: not even the warmongering makes sense anymore, even from an imperial perspective. Much as the Bush Administration might try to emulate them in political tactics and warfare technology, not even the Empire from the actual Star Wars movies would be so strategically inept: at least Darth Vader built the Death Star in order to expand Imperial power, rather than as an ultra-expense boondoggle to enrich a few of the Emperor’s corporate cronies. Anyone who has seen the extraordinary documentary Why We Fight knows that the conservative military-industrial complex in America is too greedy create the military dominance worth of a true imperial regime.
The Bushies just hope there are enough Polands and Czech Republics out there to buy into the game before they figure out that the Emperor has no clothes.