Reviewing Hollywood’s Wars

(Starring Clint Eastwood as George W Bush, Charlton Heston as George Bush Senior, James Earl Jones as Colin Powell, Dick Chaney and Osama Bin Laden as themselves. Fox Corporation 2001, Directed by Roger Donaldson, Produced by Clint Eastwood, Screenplay by George Orwell. R20 poor language and no sex scenes)

The world since S11 2001 has resembled a gigantic replay of the American Wild West. First a line up of super violent war films put on hold while the Indians were located. Now with the ‘war against terrorism’ being scripted by the White House and Pentagon, and watched by peak audiences round the clock on CNN, NBC, ABC etc. Hollywood doesn’t want to miss out on the billions of bucks riding on the rawtide of patriotism. Not since Vietnam have a spate of war films and TV series flooded the screens. Not to be outdone by the Patriot Bill passed by Congress, Holygook is moving rapidly to release new films on Somalia and Bosnia and now the Bush banger of them all ‘The Empire of the West". It attempts to present a gung ho history of Amerikkka the Great since the Second World War. We bring you a preview of this film before it has hit the streets, or is it kasbahs or markets, or caves, or schools, or refugee camps, or mission hospitals. Anyway this is the true story of the new wild west starring the Bush administration as sheriff, judge, jury and executioner in a ‘holy war against terrorism’.

The Bush family is old Eastern capital but they have boosted their wealth by becoming leaders of the midwest capital based on Texas oil. The history of Texas oil is one of genocidal wars against Native Americans and wars of conquest against Mexico. The most powerful grouping of US capital is now concentrated in the oil and armaments industries and they will stop at nothing to build their personal business empires. Their profits dictate the policies of the Empire. We see the opening shot of Bush reading in Spanish to school kids in a Texas migrant workers’ camp somewhere on the border.

The US became the no 1 world power by pushing its continental frontier to the Pacific. We see images of genocidal attacks on native Americans as ‘collatoral damage’. Today the US pushes its global frontier to the East to take in the whole of Asia. The stakes are still the same but only a thousand times bigger. The natives who can’t escape are starved, bombed and subjected to cluster bombs disguised as food parcels. For what is at stake today is not Texas but the whole of Asia.

This 'Wild West' tale is a neverending story. The Monroe Doctrine of the 19th century pushed the US frontier down into Latin America where US sponsored elites ruled the neo-colonies. US ‘sponsoring’ includes a montage of bombs, marine invasions, CIA drug cartels and Holygook culture. Today most LA states are virtual dependencies of the Empire. We see shots of desperate migrants holding up greenbacks to bribe the US border guards.

The march into Europe began with the Marshall Plan and NATO. It was stopped by the Red Army getting to Berlin first and then sealing off Eastern Europe. Now Amerikkka has no choice but to declare a ‘cold war’ on the Red heathen. Christian fundamentalists like Foster Dulles put together the first Western ‘coalition’- the so-called "Washington Consensus" of freedom loving deputies and their dogs to hunt down and eliminate the evil Red empire. The US collaborated with Nazis to begin the arms race that led to the world of Dr Strangelove.

The move into East Asia began with the nuclear bombing of 500,000 civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but was blocked by the victory of the Chinese peasant army led by Mao in 1950 and by a Vietnamese war of liberation led by Ho Chi Min. In 1973 at the battle of Saigon the cowboys got badly defeated and retreated in disarray to the sound of Wagner played backwards. This episode is cast by Holygook as the bloody coming of age of Pax Americana but most of the blood was Asian blood.

Despite CIA subversion in Indonesia in 1965 where between 500,000 and a million died and in East Timor in 1975 where more than 250,000 died, the East Asian masses remained relatively free of the Empire until their economies were brought to the knees by the so-called Asian crisis that forced them into the arms of the US ruling class. Images of Daihatsus with Jeep badges and Megawati Sukarnoputri backing the US in its war against terrorism.

In the Mid-East and central Asia the US stepped in to back Israel when the British empire crumbled in the Suez crisis in 1956. As always oil was at stake. When Mossadeg nationalised oil interests in Iran, the US staged a coup and put the Shah in power. When the Shah was overthrown the US backed Iraq in its long war with Iran, and then supported Pakistan in launching the Taliban to remove Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

But in Iran and Afghanistan the US failed to establish trusty client states to open up central Asia. Despite the best efforts of Rambo to help the Taliban to remove the Russians, the ‘natives’ in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran refused to be stooges of the US Empire. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Central Asian frontier was reopened to the Western cowboys. There was a new Western expansion from Europe and the Pacific into Asia to get access to the only large reserves of oil left in the world.

The US had two problems. How to beat off its rivals, Japan and the EU for the spoils of oil? Second, how to pacify the natives? The solution was to declare war against native resistance to the Empire as terrorism and force all the Western powers to join in. This meant re-defining terrorism as any action that targeted civilians or the economic infrastructure and making sure that Western terrorism was unreported or redefined as UN peacekeeping.

The model of covert intervention in Iran (1956), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1990) became open wars against drug barons such as Plan Colombia. UN intervention against 'rogue' states from Korea (1950), Congo (1960) to Somalia (1990) continued but as no more than a series of one-off actions.

These tactics were too limited to produce decisive wins for imperialism. What was needed was a more global enemy than drug barons or rogue states. It was now common knowledge that the drug barons were themselves the product of Western policy. The UN ‘peacekeeping’ in rogue states was also exposed as part of the problem not the solution. What was needed was a universal enemy to replace ‘communism’ as the threat to freedom. That ideal enemy would be the religion that is used by the largest number of freedom fighters on the Eastern frontier - Islam. The new generic enemy became the Islamic 'terrorist'.

The model for the war against Islamic terrorism was being prototyped in Palestine. The Stern Gang was a notorious Zionist posse. The Wild West had to be updated to the modern world. The US backed fundamentalist Zionist regime had since 1948 demonstrated that the 'West' in the mid 20th century could occupy the territory of natives by force and get away with it in the name of democracy and human rights. UN advocacy of human rights proved toothless in the face of US patronage. Thus the just war of resistance of the natives, rather than the white settler occupiers, became first defined as 'Islamic terrorism' in Palestine. Islam rather than Zionism was the evil 'fundamentalism'.

So the war against terrorism was first officially declared by the Bush administration, not on Sept 11 2001, but in December 1990 in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. The war was reported by CNN and filmed by Holygook. ‘Getting Saddam’ became the first test of the US ‘new world order’ unilateral policy. It used the UN as a front against terrorism to pressure the other big powers to join up. The UK when along, other EU states such as France held back, and Russia and China resisted. Never mind, the concept had been launched and Iraq quarantined as on object lesson to other uppity natives. But this did not yet neutralise Russia and form a chain of client states as oil platforms to open up Asia. Solution?

Try again in Yugoslavia. Here the rival EU and Russia had a strong influence. It was to the benefit of both the EU and US that Yugoslavia was broken up, Russia's influence broken, and client states established to provide a bridgehead into Asia. This was achieved by backing Croatia and the Bosnian Muslims (at this stage bin Laden was an ally) against the Russian backed Serbia.

The partition of Bosnia and then the NATO bombing and occupation of Kosovo destroyed Serbian resistance and created NATO protectorates as stepping stones into Central Asia. The recent NATO intervention into Macedonia was designed to create another military base. As a result under the auspices of NATO Europe was extended towards the East and Russia neutralised as part of a wider Europe, and the US strategy of total dominance advanced another step.

September 11 2001 according to the Bush administration changed the World. What happened was that the plan to fight a war against Islamic terrorism now blossomed like a ‘daisy cutter’. After decades of the oppression of the masses in the middle east and Asia and after years of deliberate provocation, the 'evil' of Islamic Terrorism was no longer associated with particular rogue states or individual personalities like Saddam or Milosovic, but a universal evil personified in Osama Bin Laden and al queda. The attack on the World Trade Centre allowed the ruling class to move into high gear and introduce a war against terrorism to destroy all enemies of the Empire abroad and at home.

Now the former rivals to the US Empire were "totally supportive" of a military attack on the Taliban and Bin Laden, and prepared to accept 'civilian casualties'. Asian regimes that were offside with the Empire, like Pakistan and India, were bought off with loans and promises of aid from the Empire. China was promised membership of the WTO. Australia and NZ Deputy and dog saddled up for the posse.

Official workers’ organisations in the West were prepared to put their opposition to capitalism aside, justify the war and allow new state powers to limit the civil rights to combat terrorism at home. Some were prepared to endorse the use of torture to this end. In one swift move the Empire disarmed its most vocal critics in the East as well as the West. Those who were wavering were promised a role in a UN administered post-Taliban Afghanistan and bought off with promises of a share in the oil booty.

But unknown to the secret services of the Empire an underground resistance movement was emerging; basing itself on the ancient lessons of resistance of natives since the original European invasions, and on the historic workers revolutions that succeeded in defeating the Empire in the 20th century. Making full use of the great technological advances of previous centuries this rag bag army of subversives and dissidents is growing daily in its influence on the masses. The Empires days are numbered. Fox will bring out the movie ‘End of Empire’ next year.

From Class Struggle 42 December 2001/January 2002

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