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U of Texas Prof Defends Imperialism, Suggests Bush Had to Lie Because People too Dumb to Understand

Going on the attack

By Allan Saxe

Special to the Star-Telegram

Criticism of President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq based on that country's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction continues without abatement.

The Downing Street memo recently surfaced in Britain. It implied that Bush wanted the war no matter what and that he used the WMD issue as a pretext.

Having been criticized for a lack of post-war planning, Bush ironically is being chastised for a surfeit of pre-war planning.

Nations have always used various reasons -- usually dramatic, oversimplified and visual -- as pretexts for war. This simple, sound-bite approach often obfuscates real and more complicated motivations.

The Declaration of Independence specifically mentions a variety of grievances in support of the revolution against Britain. However, some Tories believed that these were mere excuses to break away from Britain and place power in other hands.

The Declaration was not entirely accurate in describing situational realities. But its language inspired and motivated those fighting against the British empire.

The Civil War was about slavery. One of President Lincoln's concerns was to keep the "peculiar institution" from spreading to Western territories. But Lincoln also wanted to bring the South back into the Union, stabilize national government and fully assert national sovereignty.

Earlier in U.S. history, border skirmishes ostensibly led to the Mexican-American War. Adding to the war fever was the incorporation of Texas into the United States and defining the border between Texas and Mexico. The outcome was an expanded United States that would alter our political geography forever. Was this the main underlying reason for the war?

The sinking of the battleship Maine was used to mobilize the nation for the Spanish-American War in 1898. However, the sinking may have been a cover for American power expansionism in the face of a debilitated and weary Spanish empire.

And so it goes with Bush.

A simple justification was given for the war in Iraq, one that the public could comprehend easily: weapons of mass destruction. Bush and his advisers believed that Iraq could be defeated swiftly and made into a base for American power. Look at the geography: Iraq is bordered by Jordan, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

It is easy to understand the temptation to intervene in a nation that had given us troubles for many years, the underlying reasons obscured.

But for Bush, even without the weapons of mass destruction, the decision to go to war in Iraq was a strategic move to have a major presence in Iraq: to spread democracy, protect oil in the region, provide an object lesson and keep a watchful eye on Iran.

It's easier to mobilize a nation to war with simple sound bites than with complicated geopolitical scenarios. This does not mean that all wars are unnecessary or completely contrived.

The story of Iraq is still a long way from the concluding chapters.

Despite historically oversimplifying calls to war, the world is still much better off with a powerful United States of America.

Allan Saxe is an associate professor of political science at UT-Arlington. (817) 548-5558



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Maybe I misunderstand Professor Saxe. If I don't, may I suggest that he is too stupid to teach college students if he doesn't understand that people can think for themselves, and that treating people as if they can't understand complex issues and should be lied to or told half truths in order to have an agenda they might not believe in pushed upon them, is at the very root of what is wrong with American politics. Give the people the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and let them decide on their own.

Does this comment from the author look familiar to anyone?

"It's easier to mobilize a nation to war with simple sound bites than with complicated geopolitical scenarios. This does not mean that all wars are unnecessary or completely contrived."

This method has been used before with similar disasterous results:

“...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious...The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly... it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

Dear Allan Saxe,

Thank you for your honest, dubious and quaint article.
According to your logic in the above article, here are two questions:

1. Can one use your very same logic to justify Germany's invasion of Poland?

Germany also claimed a "strategic move", and wanted to spread its nationalist political philosophy, provide Europe with an object lesson ("blitzkrieg"-- the 20th century precursor to the 21st century's "shock and awe") and keep a "watchful eye" on Europe.

2. In light of the bloody U.S. invasion of Iraq (to control oilfields) what do you make of China's recent bid to buy UNOCAL?

Is China's move not a far cheaper solution than a full blown invasion of a foreign country, especially a country (Iraq) that has no history of democracy? Now that our soldiers are bogged down in Iraq, have the neo-cons unwittingly and pathetically emboldened China? Terrorists are breeding like termites in Iraq now. They certainly do not have China in their sights. They have your homeboy from Crawford, Texas, in mind, as well as soldiers from the country he pretends to represent.

A personal note, in my best Texas accent:
(Mr. Saxe please lay off the neo-con kool aid and have a few good 'ol American beers. Listen to some Willie Nelson. This might just root you in reality. It ain't lookin like a cakewalk for the USA over there-- its lookin worse than 'Nam! This country's just been drug through a knothole backwards by your boy W and I ain't likin' it!)

yes, they lie all the time, but for a good reason.

Though we don't understand this reason, we're to dumb.


Treason is alsways treason, mass-murder always mass-murder, torture stay ever torture, even if you'll call it with newspeak words.

There are no good reasons for such behaviour.

Does anyone remember Professor Irwin Corey, the "World's Most Foremost Authority"? He used to make the rounds of the talk show circuit in the 60's and 70's. I think Professor Saxe may be the reincarnation of this comedian, except we are not talking about a joking matter here.

I suspect the professor being from U of Texas feels compelled to protect and defend is fellow Texan in true Alamo tradition. I would like to advise the professor that I am from the "Keystone State", the home of the very Declaration Of Independence he desecrated by reference in his defense of Bush. Hey, Prof Saxe, get your nose out of Bush's butt and come up for some air! Get the fresh air of some truth and not a steady diet of right wing drivel.

Saxe's comments are truly an insult to any educated person. His analogies are devoid of any merit, being mere stretches to try to support the unsupportable, that Bush was merely acting in the traditions of past American patriotic icons. GIVE ME A BREAK!

Anyone considering sending their college bound teen to U Texas should have second thoughts after reading Saxe's piece.

Given the historical evidence he cites... remind me again, why is the world better off with a strong America? [apparently strong does not mean moral or just in texas]

Look at his last sentence: "Despite historically oversimplifying calls to war, the world is still much better off with a powerful United States of America." Problem is, prof, the United States is LESS powerful today because of our Iraq adventure: our military ranks have been thinned, recruitment has fallen off significantly, our friends are turning away from us, our enemies are more emboldened, our financial condition shows us going deeper toward bankruptcy, our country is more politically divided than at any time since the civil war, our moral standing as a nation is being chopped to shreds. Other than that, the whole idea's ok, right?

Look at his last sentence: "Despite historically oversimplifying calls to war, the world is still much better off with a powerful United States of America." Only problem, prof, is that we are considerably LESS powerful today because of this war: our military ranks are thinned, recruitment is down sharply, we are accelerating toward national financial bankruptcy with the war debt piling up while the super rich get their increasing tax breaks, our national moral fiber is being chopped, our friends are turning away, our enemies are more emboldened, etc., etc. But other than that, things are ok, right, prof?

Professor Saxe, Your admirable attempt to protect the President is
commemdable but very flawed and history will prove you wrong. Some of you neocons may be Lemings following the leader but not all Americans,
especially those in the Blue States won't buy your poor attempt to
call us stupid. Lying to Congress to go to war is a High Crime and
Misdemenor, in the eyes of our forefathers. Your excuses for the
Presidents illegal actions will not fly with the american people
no matter how stupid you think we are. Power corrupts and absolute
power corrupts absolutely. That fits this president to a tee.

Professor Saxe doesn't seem to be concerned that we study history partly to avoid repeating past mistakes. He also fails to mention that since the advent of the Republican party in the middle of the 19th Century, wars fought partly, at least, under false pretenses include the Spanish-American war(Republican William McKinley), Vietnam War(Johnson and Republican Nixon), Gulf War (George Walker Bush), and Iraq War (George W. Bush)...a score of 3.5 out of 4. Hopefully, four wrongs don't make a right. One can't help but wonder the outcome if an authentic, undisputed government memo had surfaced in 1899 revealing that McKinley had known all along that the sinking of the Maine was not the fault of the Spanish. One also wonders if we would be here today if Bush or someone like him and his minions had held the executive branch during the Cuban Missle Crisis. How would the principle of "pre-emption" been played out in that scenario? Would the missles have served as a convenient cover for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union?

How is it sir,that you find yourself so far above those you call stupid. I know your language. Stupid and poor are one and the same.
You , the one blessed with such vision. The keeper of the paradigm.
In your mind the rest of us need your lies to protect us from our simple ideas of right and wrong truth and justice. The joke is on you but it is not funny.
Your heart has forsaken your real god. Things like morals are simply a building struture for your grand design.
If just once you could feel the love of a third world family your heart would cry a thousand years.

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