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Hell Bent On War

September 10, 2002

This article was published in The Guardian, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia. It offers an alternative view of the debate over Iraq.


The US government leadership - Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney in particular -- are hell-bent on war against Iraq. They are vigorously supported by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and by Australian PM John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Robert Hill, Minister for Defence.

Mounting international opposition to the US's aggressive war plans from all European countries (except the British Government), from all Middle East countries, from Russia, China and many other countries, has forced the US Government and its tiny band of supporters to manoeuvre and intensify their propaganda campaign to justify war.

It is this opposition that has forced Bush to consult the US Congress and to make a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. But the purpose of these manoeuvres is not to find a way to a peaceful solution but to justify US aggression.

Bush's manoeuvres may also be related to the slump in his approval rating and a decided lack of enthusiasm among the American people for yet another war. There is also the huge drop in stock markets around the world that indicates an intensification of the worldwide capitalist economic crisis.

The New York Times (8/9/02) reporting on a public opinion survey in the USA says that only 25 per cent said Iraq presented such a grave threat that the US should act now, while two-thirds said the nation needed to wait for support from its allies. Another big majority of those surveyed said Bush should get Congressional approval before making war.

While John Howard has repeatedly claimed that Bush has "not made up his mind" about war, the fact is that he and his war-mongering cronies in top government positions have made up their minds. It appears that they have been forced to delay the official announcement and spend more time trying to justify an invasion.

Furthermore, should peace or war in the Middle East depend on Bush "making up his mind"?

Part of the propaganda hype is the publication of a satellite photograph of buildings in Iraq which are claimed by Bush and Blair to be associated with an attempt by Iraq to obtain nuclear weapons.

A report by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is also claimed as evidence that Iraq is "only six months away" from building a nuclear weapon.

"I don't know what more evidence we need", said Bush. "The policy of inaction is not a policy we can responsibly subscribe to", said Blair.

But in response to a report by NBC News, a senior administration official acknowledged last Saturday night that the UN report drew no such conclusion and that the photograph had been misinterpreted.

The Bush and Blair claims are lies.

What the IAEA report said was that Iraq had been six to 24 months away from such a capability BEFORE THE 1991 PERSIAN GULF WAR AND THE UN-MONITORED WEAPONS INSPECTIONS THAT FOLLOWED.

A summary of the 1998 IAEA report says that "based on all credible information available to date the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material."

Regarding the photograph a UN spokesperson, Mark Gwozdecky said that contrary to news service reports, there was no specific photo or building that aroused suspicions.

The photograph in question was not UN intelligence imaging but simply a picture from a commercial satellite imaging company. He said that the new construction indicated in the photograph was no surprise and that no conclusions were drawn from it.

Much is made by Downer and Howard of the United Nation's resolution requiring Iraq to admit weapons inspectors and comply with this demand "unconditionally".

Downer also asserted that if the UN Security Council failed to respond to Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions, then it would look meaningless, weak and completely ineffectual and would go the same way as the pre-WW 2 League of Nations.

Writing in the Weekend Australian (7-8/9/02) well-known journalist Paul Kelly says:

"If the US does return to the Security Council, that will become a decisive moment in world history. It is when the main powers must decide whether they will allow the US to solve its problems within a UN framework or whether they confirm for the US that the unilateralists were right all the time and that it [the US] must commit to a new go-it-alone phase."

Downer's statements and Paul Kelly's comments mean that unless the UN Security Council does whatever the US demands it will be disregarded and wrecked.

It is the US and its allies who are the wreckers and the bullies not those who are attempting to reach a peaceful solution as the UN Security Council is charged to do under its Charter.

Downer claims that the Australian Government's stand is one of "principle" in demanding the destruction of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Yet the Australian Government has not protested the abrogation by the US of the ABM treaty which at least limited the nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia.

Nor has the Australian Government ever protested the fact that the state of Israel has nuclear weapons in its possession and that Israel has refused to implement the many decisions of the UN Security Council that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders when it launched a war against Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

If it is a "principle" for Downer that countries that have weapons of mass destruction or which violate UN Security Council resolutions must be dealt with, why does this not apply to Israel and to the US itself which has more weapons of mass destruction that all other countries combined?

Downer and the Howard Government continue their support of the crippling sanctions against Iraq. These sanctions have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children because the import of medicines has been denied.

Is it possible that the sanctions could prevent medicines being imported by Iraq but have allowed the importation of the machinery and materials necessary to manufacture nuclear weapons?

The wall-to-wall coverage of the destruction of the New York World Trade Centre is being commemorated with sickening self-pity by the United States and Australian media.

Not a thought is being given, at the same time, to the hundreds of Iraqi children and their families killed when an American bomb destroyed their bomb shelter at the time of the Gulf War in 1991.

Is a thought being given to the civilians, including a wedding party, also killed by American bombs recently in Afghanistan?

Have the people of Belgrade suffered less than the people of New York when buildings were destroyed in the Yugoslav capital by US and British bombs in 1999?

Are the thousands killed and wounded in the US invasion of Panama in 1989 worth less than the lives of US citizens?

None of these casualties of US bombs will receive even a passing mention during the September 11 hype, which is also part of the preparation for war against Iraq.

Colin Powell, when asked about pre-emptive strikes recently said, "It is not an entirely new concept. Pre-emption has always been available as a tool of foreign policy or military doctrine. When we went into Panama in 1989, in response not to a declaration of war against us by Manuel Noriega [the then President of Panama] so much as the fact that he had killed an American, his forces had killed an American. And there were Americans in danger. We decided that we had to go."

Here is the mentality of gangsters and of a "master race" - not Aryans any more but of an American master race.

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