Manufacturing Crisis and Leviathan

by | Feb 3, 2006 | Stress Blog

All libertarians know about Crisis and Leviathan – not just the great book by Robert Higgs, but the simple principle too: when bad things happen government almost always benefits, and further, the “ratchet effect” makes it so that when government power grows it is nearly impossible to get the lost liberty and money back – nevermind the lives, death is pretty much permanent.

This principle applies not just to the domestic powers of government over us, but, of course, to the subjects of our foreign empire as well. Once you’ve expanded your military “footprint,” it is much easier to get away with getting involved in the next conflict in the region.

The trouble is, politicians have also figured this out, and they will sometimes go to great lengths to trigger the next crisis themselves in order to play the victim and get their dirty work done. Once the US Airforce occupied all those wonderful bases in Saudi Arabia from which to launch the continual “no-fly zone” bombings, it was only a matter of time before individuals working for the State would come up with a way to move some of those bases North.

Remember last summer when the first Downing Street memo came out? It was actually a couple of pages of notes from the debriefing of Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI-6, after a nice visit with his American counterparts here in the US in July 2002, where they discussed different options for tricking the people of the US-UK into supporting an aggressive invasion of Iraq. The main plan was to do what they eventually did: “fix” 500 tons of lies about fake Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, call the invasion enforcement of UN gun control laws, build up 150,000 troops and then mount a massive invasion from Kuwait (Turkey backed out – democratically).

Had that plan not worked out – like say for example, if Joe Wilson had gone public before the war – there was “[Option] B: Running Start“:

“Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier.”

“…initiated by an Iraqi casus belli.”

As in: Mexican soldiers “starting it” it the disputed territory, Ft. Sumpter, Remember the Maine!, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin and Saddam’s engraved invitation into Kuwait from US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie twelve years before Dearlove’s little holiday in DC.

Now, check out this article from Channel 4 in merry old England, which has details from the new book Lawless World (Geez, wouldn’t that be nice? – editor) by British human rights attorney Philippe Sands.

“President Bush said that: “The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would ‘twist arms’ and ‘even threaten’. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.” Prime Minister Blair responded that he was: “solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam.” …

Mr. Sands’ book says that the meeting focused on the need to identify evidence that Saddam had committed a material breach of his obligations under the existing UN Resolution 1441. There was concern that insufficient evidence had been unearthed by the UN inspection team, led by Dr Hans Blix. Other options were considered.

President Bush said: “The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.”

Some of us remember reports of stepped up bombing before the war, and of course, we have the reporting of Jeremy Scahill and the testimony [.mp3] of Iraq Veteran Against the War, Tim Goodrich, to help seal the case that the air war began early.

It seemed to me at the time that this was mostly an attempt to provoke a response from Hussein which would have provided an excuse to invade, but as Rep. Ron Paul pointed out before the war began, Saddam hadn’t been able to shoot down a single one of our planes in 12 years of no-fly zone bombing.

In order to get them shot down, US planes would have to be ordered to fly below the deck as bait for Hussein’s anti-aircraft fire, and he had either prudently ordered his troops not to fire, or perhaps was too busy writing his novel about the Great Dictator and his resistance to care at all, because he never gave Bush/Blair their excuse.

Someone with some sense must have overruled the idea – after all, if Saddam couldn’t shoot down the typical US/British jet fighter, how the hell were we supposed to believe he hit a U2 spy plane at altitude?

Oh, I see the London Times article addresses this point:

“If the U2 idea was a serious proposal, it would have made sense only if the spy plane was ordered to fly at an altitude within range of Iraqi missiles. Mr Bush


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