The battle for empire

This commentary was written by Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Pennsylvania death row political prisoner who was unjustly sent to death row for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Here, we print excerpts.

By the time this is read, the flames of Baghdad may be cold; the bombing may have faded into memory.

By the time these words are heard or read by others, the war in Iraq may indeed be over. In this age, with the naked power of the United States military, there is no telling. It may be so. But if so, it can only be said to be an end to one war; there is little serious question but that it is the beginning of other wars.

It may be the precursor of other imperial wars, with laser-guided targets training their cold, green metallic sights on North Korea, or Iran, or Syria, or ...?

It may be that the adventure in Iraq has sparked other wars against other Western targets. What is virtually certain is that this is not a war to stop other wars (remember World War II? Our parents and grandparents foolishly called it "The War to End All Wars" -- uh huh), but a war that will make the waging of more wars far more certain, and far less containable.

Once more, an Arab people have been humiliated by the West, under the propaganda fig leaf of "human rights." We are assured by the voices in the Pentagon as well as the White House and their sycophants in the media, that this is a "War of Liberation." Any honest student of history can cite a half dozen examples of foreign nations claiming to invade another nation for their own good, to "liberate" them.

Governments often offer up pretexts to cover the real reasons for war. Those who fight the wars, or even those who support the wars for patriotic reasons, rarely know the real reasons.

In this age of the Internet and widening literacy, however, more and more people are able to pierce the veils of state propaganda, and therefore are able to do the historical and economic research to perceive the real reasons behind the Iraqi adventure.

The safest site in all of Iraq is most certainly the areas around the oil fields of Rumaila. What does that tell you? This is not about "weapons of mass destruction"; it's not about "liberating" Iraq; nor about bringing democracy to the Middle East.

It's about what Bush pere called "The New World Order." It's about replacing corrupt rulers and dynasties, with more malleable, more tractable rulers, who will kneel to Washington when ordered to do so. It's about a New Colonialism...a kinder, gentler, "democratic" colonialism.

There never was, in this world's history, a kind, gentle rule of one people over another people. Rome was feared; not loved. America is no different. We are embarking on an ugly, long and unpredictable path, for those who are already drunk with wealth and power. Our so-called Congress has already ceded its power to the president by granting him the power to wage war, wherever he sees fit. Those who claim to represent the People have ceded the most precious power a people have, the Power to Wage War, the Power of Life and Death, to a man who received less than a fourth of the nation's votes. Yeah...this is a war for "democracy" -- right?