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September, 2002

To Rescue Baghdad
By Edward W. Miller

This last week, our "Bubblehead" Bush seems to be shaking the cage which houses his dogs of war with less vehemence. Whether reason has overcome some of his naive belligerence, or whether his public relations team has warned him to tone it down, only time will tell. There is no doubt, however, that his "anti-Saddam" campaign is subdued. Not only have our European friends publicly warned Bush that an armed assault against Baghdad is unjustified and even foolish, but in quiet but firm diplomatic language, every, every Arab country in the Mideast has refused to assist in this proposed war against the Iraqi people. The Saudi Kingdom announced that the US would not have access to military bases on their soil for war against Iraq, but their foreign minister did acknowledge from Jiddah that, "the long time US ally does not plan to expel American forces from an air base used for flights to monitor Iraq." (HYPERLINK <http://www.lasvegassun.com> <www.lasvegassun.com>).

In London, Jordan's King Abdullah, in no uncertain language, informed Britain's Blair that the priority for the US-British team should be a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and not an attack on Saddam. A spokesman for the King said that, "The lack of food and medicine due to the curfews and embargoes enforced by the Israeli government, in addition to the demolition of homes and the Palestinian infrastructure, has placed the Palestinian people in a critical situation and is a major impediment to peace." (HYPERLINK <http://www.timesonline.co.uk> <www.timesonline.co.uk>). Abdullah repeated the message with somewhat less vigor a few days later in Washington.

Both China and Russia have publicly denounced any US invasion of Iraq, and Russia's Putin, in a gesture that Washington viewed with dismay, just announced that negotiations were underway with Baghdad toward a five-year $40 billion trade deal between the two countries. The Washington post reported the agreement would deal with cooperation in a variety of fields, "foremost oil but also electrical energy, railroad construction and transportation. Soviet or Russian specialists built much of the infrastructure in Iraq so Baghdad wants Russian expertise to help repair or upgrade it."

Bush's usual support in Washington has also taken a surprising turn. Henry A. Kissinger, that Jewish bullfrog, noted in a column syndicated by the Los Angeles Times, that Bush's new approach is revolutionary. Regime change as a goal for military intervention challenges the international system established by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which established the principle of nonintervention in the domestic affairs of other state. Also, the notions of justified preemption runs counter to international law, which sanctions the use of force in self-defense only against actual-not-potential threats. Kissinger then waffles a bit, adding that "the case for removing Iraq's capacity to carry out acts of mass destruction is extremely strong when these weapons are being built in direct violation of UN Resolutions by a ruthless autocrat."

It was Brent Scowcroft, former Kissinger employee and advisor to two presidents, whose advice really shook the Washington establishment ( HYPERLINK <http://www.opinionjournal.com> <www.opinionjournal.com>) by saying, "An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter terrorist campaign we have undertaken." Scowcroft added that, "The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime, "but it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it would undoubtedly be very expensive -with serious consequences for the US and global economy and could as well be bloody."

International law forbids us waging a war of aggression against another country either because we don't like their leader, or because we think that sometime in the future they might attack us, or even because they might be developing those infamous "weapons of mass destruction" weapons, which only we and our close friends are allowed to develop. The United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions, both of which the US signed, strictly rule against such aggressive action. As writer Phyllis Bennis points out (HYPERLINK <http://www.alternet.org> <www.alternet.org>) such overt action on our part would also "isolate us from our friends and allies around the world." How would we Americans have felt if our country had been bombed back into the stone age just because we signaled our intention to attack Panama or even little Grenada, or because we were stockpiling nuclear warheads? We humans exist on a tiny planet, and if history tells us anything, it is that we will not always be the top dog. The decisions and actions of Washington today will influence the responses of other countries tomorrow.

Americans, even before September 11, had conveniently ignored the repeated warnings of Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda that 1.2 billion Muslims would no longer tolerate our murderous bombings, and genocidal sanctions against their Iraqi brethren as well as Washington's economic and military support of an aggressive Israel against an unarmed Palestinian people. The tragic events of September 11, which followed two warning assaults against American embassies in Africa plus the blasted hole in our USS Cole in Yemen, rather than stimulating an intelligent and in-depth review of our obviously-failed foreign policy, instead produced in Washington both a denial of accountability while fostering the ongoing "Anti terrorist" campaign, which, rather than lessening the likelihood of further explosive assaults against Americans, is sowing more dragon's teeth of hatred against this country.

Our destructive bombing campaign in Afghanistan, which followed our belligerent demands on Mohammed Omar and his Taliban, increased anti-American feelings whereas a combination of patience and quiet diplomacy might have achieved both our political and economic goals. The tragic experiences of international oil companies in both Africa and South America should have warned us that a safe oil-gas access in any country demands that we treat the indigenous population with both humane and economic respect. The ongoing anti-Taliban rhetoric in our compliant media in no way reflects the true feelings of the majority Pashtungs in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. As for Iraqis so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction, the US shut the door on its access to this information when the UN's Butler recalled our inspection team from Saddam's country in November 1998, just so Clinton's "Desert Fox" bombing campaign wouldn't hit our own men, several of whom have turned out to be CIA spies and not the professional UN inspectors the Security Council Resolution had designated.

We know from the IAEA inspection team that Iraq's nuclear program has been destroyed and that since 1998 Saddam has had no access to fissionable material. So much for the nuclear hoopla in the US media. As for biological warfare, anyone can whip up enough germs in a bathtub to wipe out a city, but our daily satellite surveillance tells us clearly that Iraq lacks the military hardware to deliver such material.

In Washington this week, it was noted that not only have the bigwigs put a damper on Bush's militaristic rhetoric, but that vocal crowd of pro-Zionist Jews who have been beating the drums of war for a US takeover of Iraq's regime, have mostly shifted their anti-Saddam rhetoric into law gear. William Saffire, Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, Jeffrey Kent and Senator Lieberman, perhaps realize that public support for military intervention in Iraq in the presence of a serious economic slowdown may be losing its glamour. Even House majority leader Dick Armey, speaking more freely as he heads towards retirement, said, "I don't believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation."

Americans, however, should keep a careful watch on Washington, particularly since our media marches in step with the Bush administration. Our President just sent National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice to either cajole or threaten our European friends into looking more favorably on his intended replacement of Saddam, and King Abdullah of Jordan, while emphasizing the Palestinian's agony found time to meet with some who aspire to a new Iraqi leadership. Abdullah also welcome additional CIA advisors into Amman as personal bodyguards, should he alter his Anti-War stance and side with Bush and thus arouse discontent amongst his Jordanian population.

Meanwhile, though, our military expresses dissent for an all-out invasion of Iraq, our armed forces this week, joined by soldiers from Turkey's army seized three Iraqi airstrips in the northern US-Brit no-fly zone. The US military has been busy extending its huge airfield and military facilities in Uzbekistan, a possible base for assault against Iraq should Arab airports remain closed to us. US naval forces are presently poised in the eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf, ready to launch air attacks on Saddam's country. (commondreams.org)

Though Turkey's Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, has encouraged economic and political ties with Iraq, while begging Russia's Putin to restrain Bush's anti-Saddam campaign, he is not well, and the US may pressure his successor to alter Turkey's stance, especially since Bush's oil friends have suggested Turkey might share in the oil booty should Saddam's reign end, and the rich Kirkut oil fields fall into US hands.

Hopefully, the rising tide of anti-war feeling in this country will restrain the militancy of our capital, and Bush be content with his war against "terrorism," a campaign not as yet completed even in Afghanistan, where warring between tribal leaders makes travel dangerous anywhere outside Kabul, and where President Karsai just replaced his native bodyguards with US Marines just to feel a bit more secure since a Vice-President had recently been murdered.

 

 

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