To penetrate the mindset of the Bush administration on whether it will attack Iran or not, you must read a perceptive book by Canadian historian Prof. R. T. Naylor.
At first glance, Naylor’s " Canada in the European Age, 1453-1919 " (first published in 1987 and reprinted in 2006 by McGill – Queen’s University Press)  might seem dated and irrelevant to current affairs topics like the American invasion of Iraq, or the risk of war against Iran.
But this book prophetically illuminates the mind of Washington and, for me at least, leads to the sad conclusion that Iran will be attacked.
The background to my conclusion is rooted in the doctrine of colonization: looting other people’s wealth and enslaving them, while killing outright those who resist. And this seems to be the dominant doctrine in Washington today.
It is a doctrine that has never changed from the earliest days of European settlement of the Americas. The cost of colonialist looting was, and still is, considered limitless – so high, in fact, that the price tag includes scarifying the lives of your own people.
Naylor is an excellent storyteller. But the story he tells is a tragic one of unbridled human greed, a passion for obtaining wealth at any cost and using brute force power to loot, rob, kill and enslave other people whom their aggressors deem to be less-than-human.
In 1503 Christopher Columbus explained his motive for "discovering" the Americas. "Gold is a wonderful thing," he wrote. "Whoever possesses it, is lord of all he wants. By means of gold one can even get souls into Paradise."
Today’s gold is oil. And today’s Columbus and his brothers are George W. Bush, his administration, and his allies. But the doctrine and motivation are the same. For the sake of looting-for-profit, death, suffering and destruction are all justifiable. Any measure of lying is also acceptable in the process, along with the despicable tools of distorted religion, propaganda, war-mongering and hate speech that aggressor-criminals wield to lure a misinformed public to their side.
"The Spanish Crown decreed that Columbus’s success was God’s reward for its having just completed the destruction of the Moorish (Muslim) kingdom of Grenada," writes Naylor.
Columbus extracted gold and agricultural wealth through the forced labor of indigenous peoples, while capital expenses for vast plantations were raised through the sale of Indians from the Americas as slaves in Europe.
Many indigenous and Aboriginal people perished in the colonial gold mines and many more were shipped off to Spain as slaves, "slavery being the one enterprise from which quick and dependable profits could be made."
When Columbus first arrived in Espanola the population was thought to be well over a million, but a mere 50 years later survivors may have numbered as few as 500. Those Indians considered unsuited for slavery had their hands cut off, were thrown to the dogs, or were simply impaled on swords if their captors were in a hurry, Naylor continues.
"It was said that the traffic in slaves was so heavy that one could sail from the Bahamas to Espanola guided by the trail of jettisoned bodies. Jamaica suffered a similar fate. In 1509 its population was thought to be equal to that of Espanola, but a decade later its Indian population was largely extinct."
"As to gold, by 1509 some $5 million worth (valued at pre-1971 prices) had been extracted … at a cost of about 1.5 million Indian lives."
Columbus was not only a war criminal but a consummate liar as well, Naylor notes: "When Cuba was ‘discovered’ he forced his men to sign a disposition certifying that they had reached the mainland of China."
Increasing mistrust in Spain and revolt in the Caribbean, however, resulted in Columbus and his brothers being returned to Spain, humiliated, in chains. Yet their successors in the New World maintained "order" with similar cruelty by burning natives alive.
Today’s situation in Iraq is not unlike the legacy of Columbus. Nearly five years after the American invasion, more than 20 per cent of Iraqis (numbering in excess of five million people) have been killed, wounded, displaced within their own country, exiled as refuges abroad, or have lost one or more next-of-kin. The rest of Iraq’s population exists with little or no security, clean water, electricity, or accessible education for their children. But the oil — their oil that is — is looted every day by the Americans. In the meantime the Americans are busy preparing to attack yet another country, spreading more looting, more death, more suffering, and more destruction next door in Iran.
Washington’s horrendous agenda lays an intolerable burden on decent peace-loving people everywhere, who wonder now how to stop another crime in the making. Unfortunately, they may not able to stop it, but the effort is still vital and they can be proud of having tried.
. Canada in the European Age, 1453-1919
by R. T. Naylor