Original version published Aug. 27, 2004, in The Moscow Times.
If you would know the hell that awaits us – and not far off – there's no need to consult ancient prophecies, or the intricate coils of hidden conspiracies, or the tortured arcana of high-credentialed experts. You need only read the public words, sworn before God, of top public officials, the great lords of state, the defenders of civilization, as they explain – clearly, openly, with confidence and pride – their plans to foment terror, rape, war and repression across the face of the earth.
Last month, in little-noticed testimony before Congress, the Bush Regime unveiled its plans to raise a host of warlord armies in the most volatile areas in the world, Agence France-Presse reports. Bush wants $500 million in seed money to arm and train non-governmental "local militias" – i.e., bands of lawless freebooters – to serve as Washington's proxy killers in the so-called "arc of crisis" that just happens to stretch across the oil-bearing lands and strategic pipeline routes of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America.
Flanked by a gaggle of military brass, Pentagon deputy honcho Paul Wolfowitz told a rapt panel of Congressional rubber-stamps that Bush wants big bucks to run "counter-insurgency" and "counter-terrorist" operations in "ungoverned areas" of the world – and in the hinterlands of nations providing "sanctuary" for terrorists. Making copious citations from Bush's 2002 "National Security Strategy" of unprovoked aggressive war against "potential" enemies, Howlin' Wolf proposed expanding the definition of "terrorist sanctuary" to any nation that allows clerics and other rabble-rousers to offer even verbal encouragement to America's designated enemies du jour.
Any rogue state that countenances such freedom of speech within its borders will become a prime target for "the path of action," said Wolf, quoting Bush's most ringing Hitlerian phrase from the 2002 manifesto. To relieve the overstretched U.S. military, the "action" will be carried out largely by Bush's new hired guns: religious and ethnic militias, tribal forces, mercenaries, cultists, insurrectionists, druglords, pirates – basically anyone willing to slit throats and terrorize populations at the order of the Oval One.
A more sinister – not to mention stupid – policy can scarcely be imagined. One of the most spectacular miscalculations in modern history was the American decision to create an international army of Islamic extremists to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Together with the repressive militarists of Pakistan and the head-chopping religious tyrants of Saudi Arabia, American leaders armed, funded, supplied and shaped the global jihad – beginning before the Soviet intervention, which the bloody religious insurgency successfully provoked, as Washington intended. The CIA ended up fighting cheek-by-jowl with the likes of Osama bin Laden, helpfully providing the holy warriors with extensive training in "asymmetrical warfare" – i.e., terrorism. These rabid chickens came home to roost with a vengeance on Sept. 11, 2001, and are now running wild all over the world.
Meanwhile, the Afghan warlords thus empowered by Washington proceeded to tear the country to shreds, killing more than 50,000 people in Kabul alone during their post-Soviet factional frenzy, creating a hell so dire that even the Taliban's vicious moralism seemed a welcome relief for a time. These same warlords are back in the saddle again, paid by Bush as they re-establish their petty fiefdoms of repression, religious obscurantism, rampant crime, factional violence – and dope-dealing on a record-breaking scale, the Independent reports.
The "victory" in Afghanistan has deteriorated so badly that last month the UN's own staff workers called on the organization to leave the country because it is too dangerous, the BBC reports. This follows the July pull-out of Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Nobel-winning medical aid group that managed to survive in Afghanistan for 24 years, through the anti-Soviet jihad, the murderous civil war and the depredations of the Taliban. But with Bush's paid proxies now in control, even the redoubtable doctors have had to quit the field.
There's nothing really new in Bush's murder-by-proxy scheme, of course; America has a long, bipartisan tradition of paying local thugs to do Washington's bloodwork. For example, late last month, Guatemala was forced to pay $420 million in extortion to veterans of the U.S.-backed "paramilitaries" who helped Ronald Reagan's favorite dictator, right-wing Christian coupster Efrain Rios Montt, kill 100,000 innocent people during his reign, the BBC reports. The paramilitaries, whose well-documented war crimes include rape, murder and torture, had threatened to shut down the country if they weren't given some belated booty for their yeoman service in the Reagan-Bush cause.
But Wolfowitz did reveal one original twist in Bush's plan: targeting the Homeland itself as a "terrorist sanctuary." In addition to loosing his own personal Janjaweed on global hotspots, Bush is also seeking new powers to prevent anyone he designates a "terrorist" from "abusing the freedom of democratic societies" or "exploiting the technologies of communication" – i.e., defending themselves in court or logging on to the Internet. As AFP notes, Wolfowitz tactfully refrained from detailing just how the Regime intends to curb the dangerous use of American freedom, but he did allow that "difficult decisions" would be required. (Perhaps a stateside version of those rigged "military tribunals" now serving up prime kangaroo meat down in Guantanamo Bay?)
No doubt the arrogant Bushists believe they can control the mercenary dogs of war they're now unleashing. But history shows that armed bands driven by religious, ideological or ethnic fervor – or just the ordinary lust for loot and power – rarely follow the script set for them by their elitist paymasters. Bush's morally depraved "path of action" is in fact a highway to hell.