David H. Hackworth
3 Mar 98


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan put the latest bout with Saddam Hussein on ice with a deal that's the same type of hoax Neville Chamberlain cut with Adolph Hitler in 1939.

After the agreement was signed, Bill Clinton took a break from the Oral office and dashed off to Utah to unwind after months of bobbing and blinking. He'd flat worn himself out lowering the threat bar from gonna-make-you-dead-in-a-Little-Rock-minute to a bottom rung gonna-reduce-or-diminish- your-ability-to-cook-up-more-germs-and-deadly-gases.

Clinton's nemesis, Sen. Trent Lott, R - Miss., continues to rant that he wants to bomb Iraq into finely minced camel dung -- just the way Barry Goldwater wanted to zap Vietnam back in the 1960s when Lott and Clinton were learning their war-fighting skills behind their university's skirts.

Meanwhile, for our warriors in the Gulf, about as welcome among the locals as a case of ham and beans, there's neither winter sports nor senatorial posturing. They remain overworked pawns in a dumb exercise guarding American elite's favorite gas station.

Acting like he's still in charge of our no-win gulf policy, oil multimillionaire and former Secretary of State James A. Baker says "We will maintain our current military strength in the gulf for the foreseeable future."

Current Secretary of State Madeline Albright seems to have no problem with this. She holds that our warriors are all professionals and that being there, laying their lives on the line, is what they're paid to do.

However, to maintain a presence in the gulf is not just costly in dollars -- since November perhaps as much as $10 billion has been spent trying to checkmate Saddam -- this mission also further saps our already over stretched forces.

The $10 billion price tag ,which is increasing at an estimated $200 million a month, could well come out of each service's hide. If this becomes the case, it will slug our forces where it hurts: their readiness, which is already in the toilet.

Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago "The skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fightinghe overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field without losing a man, his triumph is complete."

Has Saddam been reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" while our leaders read the oil prices in the Wall Street Journal?

The Bushes and Bakers have been chanting for decades that the Persian Gulf region is critical to our national interests. It's clear that "national interests" is a Texan code word for "oil".

Would this power clique give a damn about Saddam if there were no oil in the Persian Gulf ? I doubt it. His weapons of mass destruction would receive the same attention as other loony tunes who have them such as Qaddafi and the Ayatollahs.

Saddam's neighbors -- who say we should guard 'em, but not launch our war planes from their bases -- don't seem to sweat Saddam's bugs and germs. Even Israel is cool, but they're on record they'll turn Iraq into a nuclear melted glass factory if one bug comes their way. Yet the U.S. oil barons and pals are all chanting, "Bomb, bomb, bomb."

Where Saddam is a clear and present danger is to the entrenched U.S. oil interests. Besides keeping oil prices from plummeting if Iraqi oil hits the world market, our oil/defense cartel needs a bogeymen in the Persian Gulf to justify the $50-billion-a-year U.S. military presence there -- a presence that's good for the porkers and their racketeer corporate buddies who deal in oil and wonder weapons.

Since our undeclared war with Iran in the 1980's, Bush and Baker and fellow oil barons have thirsted for a permanent U.S. military force in the Persian Gulf. By billing Saddam as the greatest evil figure since Hitler they have:

A propaganda tool to con the American people into believing that the new cold war is in the gulf.

Justification to maintain U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other nearby countries. Without bogeymen Saddam, these nations would say, "Yankee go home."

A way out of this ever worsening nightmare is to stop letting the oil barons wag our dog and let the Arabs defend themselves. We should pull our troops out of the gulf and use the $50-billion-a-year savings to make America oil-independent.