dam as “worse than Hitler,” as George Bush put it, has obscuredrnAmerica’s tilt toward Iran, now formalized by Iranianrnovertures and a warm, albeit cautious, American response.rnWhile American complicity in Iran’s shipments of arms tornBosnian Muslims is well known, the arms-length embrace ofrnthe Iranian mullahs by the Clinton administration makes thisrnalliance semi-oflFicial.rnIf Bill Kristol were to get his fondest wish, and an Americanrninvasion succeeded in planting the flag of “democracy” inrnIraq, its domain would not extend far beyond Baghdad. Thernbreakup of Iraq would likely lead to the creation of a separaternShiite Muslim “republic” in the south, aligned with Iran: this isrnthe price of Iranian acquiescence. Saddam’s demise would alsornalmost certainly lead to the renewal of the ongoing strugglernfor a separate Kurdish nation in the north. The introduction ofrnthe Kurdish factor into the equation means that any conflictrnwould spread to at least four other nations in the region —rnTurkey, Syria, Iran, and the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijanrn—all of which have substantial Kurdish minorities that longrnfor political and cultural independence. As the U.S., Iran, andrnothers face off over the Iraqi corpse, the image of vidtures feastingrnis hard to escape.rnVultures are greedy, quarrelsome creatures, just as likely tornturn on each other as they are to attack the weak and the dying.rnYeltsin was right: in Iraq, all the ingredients of a global conflagrationrnare in the mix, not only religion, nationalism, and thernpassions they invoke, but also the fate of Iraq’s vast oil wealth,rngreat pools of it bubbling beneath the scorched earth.rnIt is hopelessly naive to believe that the giant multinationalrncorporations, which do a thriving business in the region, havernfailed to exert considerable influence over American policy.rnThese same interests are well served by the advocates of outrightrninvasion in both parties: American troops can seize Iraq’srnoil fields, but who will pump the oil out of them? A sure-firernmethod of identifying the source of a government policy or arnpolitical movement is to ask the key question: Cui bono? Whornprofits? War, and a propaganda campaign to support it, doesrnnot come out of nowhere. Wliile Hillar)’ Rodham Clinton isrntaken seriously when she blames “a vast right-wing conspiracy”rnfor the sexual peccadilloes of her errant husband, the samernrhetoric employed to describe the events leading up to a war isrnroutinely dismissed as beyond the pale, and dangerous to boot.rnSome Republicans, however, have bravely spoken ovit. Beforernthe agreement was hashed out by U.N. Secretary-GeneralrnKofi Annan, Representative Steven E. Buyer of Indiana askedrnpoint blank: “Why are emotions running so high at the WliiternHouse? Why are the tom-toms of war sounding?” RepresentativernRon Paul of Texas excoriated his jingoist colleagues forrn”tring to appease the militar)’-iirdustrial complex and appearrntough for campaign ads.” He complained that “once hostilitiesrnbegin, debating the policy which created the mess is off-limits;rnthe thinking goes that everybody must support the troops byrnblindly and dumbly supporting irrational and irresponsiblernpolicies.” The only solution, he concludes, “is a pro-Americanrnconstitutional policy of nonintervention.” But “unfortimately,rnwe cannot expect such common sense to prevail in the currentrnpolitical climate.”rnPaul’s sentiments are correct, but his pessimism is unwarrantedrnand shortsighted. As Patrick J. Buchanan put it, the usernof ground troops would require a half-million soldiers in arms,rnand this means “cannibalizing U.S. forces around the world,rncalling up the reserves, and perhaps reinstituting the draft. Wernmay soon see just how enthusiastic we really are about playingrnGlobocop, if it comes to the serious shedding of Americanrnblood.”rnPat Buchanan and the editors of this magazine, in alliancernwith other conservatives and libertarians, stood firm against thernwar hysteria that preceded Gulf War I. The next time around,rnwith the stakes even higher, that same alliance has the potentialrnto expand its ranks to include the overwhelming majority ofrnAmericans. If our rulers decide to scrap Kofi Annan’s settlementrnwith Saddam, they could unleash the dogs of war and igniterna social and political explosion that will make the 1960’srnseem relatively tranquil. crnThe Coward’s Rewardrnby Emanuel di PasqualernFor even,’ licked toe,rna slap in the facernin rooms heftyrnas catacombs.rnFor every low moan,rna kick in the bellyrnunder blankets heavyrnas bank doors.rnJUNE 1998/25rnrnrn