There are at least three reasons to suggest why Gulf War 1-1/2 came at the transition point between the end of the Reagan/Bush regime and the Clinton imperial inauguration.
One: The Last Desperate Act Theory. The bombing of Iraq by the murderous Bush in the last hours of his presidency was primarily a final act of vanity by the out-going President who realized he was going to be remembered by history solely for his failures and corruption—a crumbling economy, Iraqgate, the last minute pardons to stop the exposure of his role in Iran/Contra, etc. So, he played his one successful trump—the Sadaam card. Hopefully, thought the craven Bush, this would leave indelibly his only triumph. Gulf War 1. Problem: TV reruns never play as well as the original hit series.
Two: The Junk Food or “Twinkie” Defense. This was a unique legal excuse used successfully in 1979 by defense lawyers for an ex-cop who assassinated the Mayor of San Francisco and a gay city councilman. The killer was found not guilty by a jury who bought the story that his brain had sufficiently been twisted by a profusion of crapola food.
That precedent is relevant factor here because of information from the Washington DC outlets of the Domino’s Pizza chain which supply the White House and Pentagon with late night dinners. (This fact is of interest in itself since Domino’s is owned by a right-wing Catholic fanatic whose chain is the subject of an international boycott.)
As things began to heat up in the Persian Gulf (or more accurately as the Bush Administration heated them up), daily pizza deliveries to the White House increased from ten before the manufactured crisis to 210. Over at the Pentagon, the guys planning the military hit, upped their diet of cheesy goop from 100 to 500 orders.
Not guilty! None of them can be held responsible for their actions with that much junk food in their systems.
Three: Passing the Imperial Standard. Bush, in his harm filled final act, inextricably bound Clinton to the same Iraq policies as fueled his administration. He wanted to insure that the new president would unwaveringly continue the incontestable right of the Empire to intervene militarily anywhere in the world to protect U.S. “interests” (read: assets) and to retain a Cold War-size military supported by an unreduced level of Congressional funding.
Clinton, whose crafty election propaganda sought to stress economic reform as his central focus, found himself, from his first day in office, locked in combat with the wily Hussein, having been set up by Bush. Clinton must now appear “tough” on Iraq or give credence to Bush’s campaign charges of “weakkneedness” the then president leveled at his upstart challenger. However, it’s not as though Clinton and the Democrats represent an “alternative” to policies of war and Empire, just that the new prez probably would have preferred to pick his own target for his first bloodletting.
Bi-partisan commitment to slaughter of Third World people was stated quite simply in a Jan. 16, 1993 AP dispatch: “President Bush says he and the incoming Clinton Administration have been cooperating well on foreign policy. Bush says he intended this to happen, and he says President-elect Clinton did, too.” A few days later, installed in office, Clinton told reporters during a White House photo session, “We’re going to stay with our (Iraq) policy. It is an American policy.”
In the process of “bringing Hussein into compliance with UN resolutions” (actually U.S. imperial conditions), a prince’s fortune was spent killing 42 Iraqis, destroying several missile batteries, splattering a hotel in downtown Baghdad and a home in Basra. The forty Tomahawk cruise missiles which were aimed at an alleged nuclear processing plant went out the door at $1 million a throw.
Any liberal could quickly tell you how many homeless people could be housed, hungry fed or schools funded for such a sum. This total represents only a fraction of the amount spent on this splendid little war, Part 1 1/2. However, those who bemoan war as misspent public funds miss the point. Their expenditure is the whole idea: retain the massive state financed war economy even with the collapse of the “Soviet threat.” Without the existence of its traditional rationale for its trillion dollar suckhole, the U.S. military needs such events as Iraq and Somali-type operations to keep profits flowing to the armament industries and to maintain the political hegemony of the hawkish sector of the state security apparatus.