Shotgun Wedding: Bush Elites and Iraqi Extremists Join in Unholy Union

They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but these days, fearmongering invocations of "Islamofascism" performs the same rump-covering function just as well.

Defenders of George W. Bush's war crime in Iraq – particularly those super-tough "liberal hawks" who have cast their lot with the crony conquistadors – trot out the term at every opportunity. What else can they do? All the other excuses for their pet war have been exploded as bare-faced, deliberately concocted lies. So they've been reduced to the ludicrous claim that Bush's murderous plunder of the broken land is actually a noble defense of civilization against black hordes of "Islamofascists." In this way, these desk-bound warriors seek to identify themselves with the sainted figures of old, like George Orwell, who actually put their bodies on the line against real fascists.

Yet it is painfully obvious that the forces which come closest to matching this intellectually empty and historically ignorant propaganda term have in fact been empowered by Bush's war. Obscurantist clerics and deadly sectarian groups backed by Bush now rule in Iraq, while his war of aggression there – and his global gulag of torture and unlawful detention – are swelling the ranks of violent extremists around the world, as his own State Department acknowledges in its latest report on international terrorism.

For example, last month, 14-year-old Ahmed Khalil was shot dead by the Bush-backed Iraqi police on the doorstep of his home, the Independent reports. His crime? Homosexuality. He was just one of scores of homosexuals – or suspected homosexuals – systematically slaughtered by the sectarian militias that Bush is arming and training to serve as Iraq's official "security" forces. Ironically, Ahmed might not even have been gay; he was having sex with men in the neighborhood for money, to help his poverty-stricken family, which has been completely wiped out in the economic meltdown wrought by Bush's "liberation."

The "sexual cleansing" campaign by the death squads Bush has unleashed is just part of the ongoing organized slaughter in Iraq, where – by conservative, "tip-of-the-iceberg" estimates – almost 4,000 civilians have been murdered in Baghdad alone so far this year, many of them "hogtied and shot execution-style," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Others were strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, garroted or hanged…many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs." The majority of such killings are now being carried out by the government-backed militias and their infiltrated agents in the Bushist police brigades, as Bush's latest satrap, Zalmay Khalilzad, openly admits.

Keep in mind why this is happening. Iraq's bloody "regime change" was engineered in order to implement a thorough-going economic rapine plan drawn up for the Bush administration in early 2003 by the corporate consulting group, BearingPoint Inc., as Antonia Juhasz reports in her new book, "The Bush Agenda." BearingPoint, headquarted in the CIA company town of Maclean, Virginia, provided a detailed blueprint for opening up Iraq to predatory foreign "investment" on terms that allowed the wholesale looting of the nation's wealth while acing Iraqi companies out of the action.

Bush's earlier vi
ceroy, Paul Bremer, executed the blueprint faithfully during his dictatorial rule in Baghdad. His peremptory edicts were then incorporated wholesale, hugger-mugger – and without negotiation – into the new Iraqi constitution. They are now the law of the land. The dark heart of the scam is, of course, the oil laws. Now that a "sovereign" government has been established, these can be finalized at last. The plan is for 40-year "production-sharing agreements" that will give Bush's oil cronies a vast slice of Iraq's oil output at rock-bottom prices ("at cost") for decades, as Chris Cook reports in the Asia Times. This windfall will make today's record-breaking oil company profits look like chump change.

Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced that it is dispatching a "petroleum adviser" to Baghdad to help the new Iraqi government complete its "critical petroleum law," Dow Jones Newswires reports. The adviser is being sent at the request of the U.S. State Department, headed by former oil executive Condi Rice. And the private company contracted to supply the adviser is – oh, you already guessed! – BearingPoint Inc.

So that's why Ahmad Khalil had to die, along with untold thousands of others, gay and straight, Sunni and Shiite, religious and secular, Iraqi and American. It has nothing to do with any of the grand abstractions employed by the apologists for empire to mask their complicity with the immoral dictates of raw power: national security, humanitarian intervention, the war on terror, the clash of civilizations, Islamofascism, etc. No, it's just a crude, brutal – and no doubt temporary – marriage of convenience between old-fashioned religious extremism and old-fashioned elitist greed. Both are committed to the destruction of Iraqi society in order to impose their own form of bondage in place of Saddam's tyranny.

As long as the Iraqi sectarians are willing to give away their nation's wealth in exchange for some of the temporal power now in the gift of the money-grubbing Bush elite, the immense suffering of the Iraqi people will only increase day by day. Yet the inevitable break-up of this unholy union – when the sectarians decide to throw off their vassalage, or when Bush's looming attempt to secure the Iraqi conquest by eliminating its greatest threat, Iran, results in a horrendous revolt by the Iranian-backed extremists he has enthroned in Baghdad – this suffering will reach a new pitch of agony.

There is no good solution to the hell Bush has wrought in his arrogance and folly. There is only blood and horror all the way down.

Chris Floyd/A version of this piece appears in the May 12 edition of The Moscow Times.