You break it, you own it [Archives:2006/975/Opinion]

August 24 2006

By: Munir Daair
In his book 'Plan of Attack', Bob Woodward wrote that Colin Powel warned George Bush of the consequences of occupying Iraq. Powell called it the pottery barn rule, 'you break it, you own it'. But then, military generals advising politicians is anathema, especially draft dodging politicians. One wonders how General John Abuzaid manages around Bush, Cheney, and Rice. Especially with American laser bombs falling on Lebanese children. They say blood is thicker than water. Some blood anyway. But if you are busy killing Iraqis, killing Lebanese shouldn't bother you.

Anyway let's go back to the pottery barn rule. Three years after the invasion, America seems to have failed in Iraq. Now America has broken Lebanon. What else Bush intends to break before he leaves office is an open, scary question. Assuming he does not create a crises of such magnitude that it 'justifies' calling off or postponing the next elections. After all, under the two terms limit, it is impossible to steal another election. You think I am crazy? Under the 'new world order' everything goes. Think about the scary London news. Granted, there might have been an attempted 'terrorist' attack. How big? We don't know. What we do know is that it has diverted attention from Israel's atrocities in Lebanon. Nicely timed. Makes you wonder about the motives of both, terrorists and big brother. Big terrorist and big brother now sound and behave so similar that it is hard to know whom to believe. One has sleeper cells the other Guantanamo sleep deprivation cells, one uses suicide bombers the other smart bombers, both tell us “if you ain't with us, you are against us”. Isn't Tony Blair the guy who claimed Saddam could launch a WMD within 45 minutes? That lie contributed to the mass murder of 100,000 Iraqis and counting. How crazy was that? Maybe we should call him Tony B-liar. I wonder sometimes what's more stupid. The fact these lies are believed again and again, or the fact that the liars are elected, again and again. Now they tell us terrorists tried to blow us up to kingdom come. However, we should not be intimidated. Instead, just empty all our pockets, get rid of all our hand luggage, including your grandmother's milk of magnesia, strip when asked and then, have a pleasant flight. Yeah, sure! More terrorist threats, real or imagined, more power to the intelligence organizations. In the past few years big brother taped our phones, snooped at the wife's housekeeping bank account, read our mothers-in-laws' medical records, checked on our kids' school reports, emptied our pockets in more ways than one. But it doesn't seem enough. Think about it. How much money do these guys need to hijack or blow up a plan? A small wad of whatever banknotes and a few smalltime credit card frauds, that's all. But what does big brother do instead? Big time global banking espionage. You think your local terrorists boys go about their business making big time bank transactions? And now after the London scare, what else? Need I spell it out?

Anyway, back to Lebanon and the pottery barn rule. How does America plan to mend this one? American hand picked government ala-Iraq, Arab money, American contracts, business as usual, different address. But, for those weapons flights, will Blair get a piece of the action for British business? After all, Tony has been telling anyone who has a moment to listen about his special relationship with George and how seriously he is regarded in Washington. Didn't do him any good in Iraq. Why? Because it's all in Blair's imagination. But one cannot blame Blair for desperately wanting to hangout with the big boys. It would of course help if Blair occasionally read a bit of history. The page about Churchill's 'trusted' friend Roosevelt during the WW2 race to Berlin is interesting. That's how the big boys play Tony.

Back again to the pottery barn rule. Having broken Lebanon, what's the next address. Syria? Neo-con's wishful thinking blueprint is no secret. Stage one. Iraq divided into American oil pumping fiefdoms, Palestine annexed by Israel, in practice if not in words, Syria and Lebanon part of one colony. Iran? Junior Shah is waiting in the corridor. Does this look like a “new” Middle-East? Looks like an old one to me, only new players. No Sykes-Picot here. Its Neo-con-Zionism, America and Israel. Should be called Middle-East of the “new” instead. No wonder good old Jacques Chirac is mixed up. The Middle-East of the new is not good for France. In the past France had only Syrian influence in Lebanon to contend with. Chirac went along with America to kick out the Syrians, thinking it will help France regain its position in Lebanon. Sorry friend Jacques, you shot yourself in the foot. Again. You should read the same history page I recommended for Tony.

Anyway, back again to the pottery barn rule. It won't work American style in Lebanon. Hezbollah will make sure everybody's party is pooped. Including all those who quietly encouraged Israel, hindsight crocodile tears notwithstanding. They knew Israel's brutality. They saw it in Palestine and in Lebanon in 1982. Yet their misplaced fear and hatred of Hezbollah blinded them. Now America and Israel have cheated them by going beyond the agreed red line. Had they bothered to ask, I would have recommended they read the same history page I recommended for Tony and Jacques.

Pottery barn rule? Yes, America will mend Lebanon, just after they mend Afghanistan and Iraq. Might take years and a lot of bloodshed, just like Afghanistan and Iraq. But that's the American pottery barn rule for you.

Munir Daair is a Yemeni political writer. His articles appear in a number of publications. He can be contacted at [email protected]