by Tom Engelhardt
".......Certainly, many of the top officials of the Bush administration and their neocons allies, dreaming of just such an orderly, American-dominated "Greater Middle East," were ready to settle for a little chaos in the process. If a weakened Iraq broke into several parts; or, say, the oil-rich Shi'ite areas of Saudi Arabia happened to fall off that country, well, too bad. They'd deal.
Little did they know......
Here's the remarkable thing, when you think about it: All the Bush administration had to do was meddle in any country in that arc of instability (and which one didn't it meddle in?), for actual instability, often chaos, sometimes outright disaster to set in. It's been quite a record, the very opposite of an imperial golden touch.
And, on any given day, you can see the evidence of this on a case by case basis in your local paper or on the TV news. You can check out the Iraqi, or Somali, or Lebanese, or Iranian, or Pakistani disasters, or impending disasters. But what you never see is all those crises and potential crises discussed in one place – without which the magnitude of the present disaster and the dangers in our future are hard to grasp.
Few in the mainstream world have even tried to put them all together since the Bush administration rolled back the media, essentially demobilizing it in 2001-2002, at which point its journalists and pundits simply stopped connecting the dots. Give the Bush administration credit: Its top officials took in the world as a whole and at an imperial glance. They regularly connected the dots as they saw them. The post-9/11 strike at Afghanistan was never simply a strike at al-Qaeda (or the Taliban who hosted them). It was always a prelude to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And the invasion of Iraq was never meant to end in Baghdad (as indicated in the neocon prewar quip, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran"). Nor was Tehran to be the end of the line.
Under the rubric of the "Global War on Terror," they were considering literally dozens of countries as potential future targets. Dick Cheney put the matter bluntly back in August 2002 as the public drumbeat for an invasion of Iraq was just revving up:
"The war in Afghanistan is only the beginning of a lengthy campaign, Cheney noted. 'Were we to stop now, any sense of security we might have would be false and temporary,' he said. 'There is a terrorist underworld out there spread among more than 60 countries.'"......"