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October, 2002

Saddam's Ace

The message sent by Iraq's Foreign Minister to the UN's Kofi Annan announcing his Country's immediate acceptance of "unfettered" inspections by the UN team set the Washington establishment temporarily back on its heels. Bush's first response was to publicly doubt the sincerity of Saddam's gesture while reiterating the ever-present danger Iraq's president presented to the world, thus suggesting again that only a regime change in Baghdad would meet Washington's stipulations.

In response to Kofi Annan's reading of the Iraqi letter over the media, members of the European Union registered a public sigh of relief. The Arab States all welcomed the offer and supportive messages came in from China, Russia and other Asian countries.

The Administration's ' move in response was to ask for a vote from Congress, supporting the President's hardline position and permitting a military intervention at the President's discretion, should Iraq either delay inspections or if the UN Security Council failed to back Bush's hardline position in whatever Resolutions were forthcoming from that UN Organization. Bush will ask Congress for " the authority to use all means he determines to be appropriate, including force, to disarm Iraq and to dislodge the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein." ( SF Chron 20 Sept.)

Bush sent his Secretary of Defiance, Donald Rumsfeld to campaign on these issues on the media and this smiling liar was shortly seen on CNN, on the Lehrer News Hour and also on C-Span responding to questions from members of the House Armed Services Committee. Listening to these exchanges, one is impressed by the extreme deference offered this Bush appointee as well as the utter failure by Jim Lehrer as well as most of the Representatives to press Rumsfeld regarding his sources of his information or to question his outright lies.

For example: those who follow the news understand that none of Saddam's antiaircraft batteries can ever reach the altitude from which US and British jets are bombing Iraq and so Rumsfeld's statement that bombing is in response to radar contact is pure baloney. Rumsford repeated several times the canard that Saddam threw the UN inspectors out when the truth is Clinton ordered them out to protect them from his "desert Fox" bombing. Our Secretary stated that Saddam " intended to invade Saudi Arabia," but aerial photographs of Iraqi military vehicles on the ground in Kuwait never showed any of the equipment that would have been necessary to transport an army 325 miles across desert sands into Riyhad. Another lie.

Scott Ritter, Chief of the UN's inspection team in Iraq for six years has been busy campaigning against Bush's proposed war against Saddam, and has stated many times that Iraq had no 'weapons of mass destruction' when his team left Saddam's country in 1998 , and that Saddam has neither the material nor the intent to pursue these WMD in the face of constant overflight inspection by the US and Brits plus 24-hour satellite surveillance, plus a strict embargo which has made access to the materials required to manufacture WMD almost impossible. I have interviewed Ritter and believe him rather than either Bush or Rumsford.

Except for Washington's hawks which include Rumsfeld, Cheney, Richard Perle, Wulfowitz and Senator Lieberman, plus AIPAC and other Zionist lobbies, there seems to be little support for Bush's "GO-IT-ALONE " war. Our once reluctant Secretary of State has finally joined the hawks and is busy selling the advantages of a new Iraq around the globe, however not a single member of the European Union backs Bush.

In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is running on an anti-Bush War campaign. Schroeder's Justice Minister, Daeubler- Gmelin said: the other day that: " Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used." Washington was NOT pleased. Chancellor Schroeder has been active in pushing his Country to take a greater share in international peacekeeping. Germany presently has some 10,000 troops serving abroad., many of which saw service in both Kosovo and Afghanistan, but the German Constitution forbids any military actions by its troops in foreign regions without a UN Mandate. (SF Chron 20 Sept.)

In contrast, the US aggression in Yugoslavia, during which 78 days of bombing destroyed the infrastructure of that progressive socialist state, and killed hundreds of its citizens, was done without the international approval a UN Resolution might have offered. Our military foray against the Taliban during which the civilian population of Afghanistan suffered tens of thousands of both direct and "collateral" casualties also bypassed the restrictions which had been laid down by the UN Security Council.

The media has been full of what the SF Chronicle editorial today (20 Sept.) called: "Our Pathetic Spy Game." but intelligence failure has little to do with the Twin Tower-Pentagon fiasco which stimulated president Bush's "HUNKER DOWN" campaign against terrorism. America has been warned again and again that we cannot continue a colonial policy which kills, subjugates, or economically deprives other peoples on this tiny planet without paying the price. In response to Reagan's military support of Israel's 1982 killings in Lebanon when our President ordered our USS New Jersey to shell Beirut, stampeding some 600,000 citizens from their homes, the blowback (as our CIA calls it) cost some 314 US Marine and Navy lives. After we failed to keep our promise to Saudi Arabia's Kind Faud and remove our troops from his country we lost a few more Marines in 1993. The Saudis were already mad at our CIA for lying about a likely Iraqi invasion of their Country. Which Saddam never intended.

Americans may be proud of the motto emblazoned on that first American flag: DON'T TREAD ON ME raised by Lieutenant John Paul Jones on December 3rd 1775, but somehow we can't relate to a similar message from Osama Bin Laden when he announced in a 1998 interview with ABC's John Miller that some 1.2 billion Muslims scattered around the would no longer tolerate the bombing and genocidal embargoing of their fellow Muslims in Iraq by the US and Britain, nor the military and economic savagery of Israel 's war against defenseless Palestinians, also paid for and supported by the Washington. His people , Osama pronounced: "would respond in kind."

With no intelligent response from Washington, we were again warned as our embassies, first in Tanzania and then Kenya were destroyed. by bombs. President Clinton's knee-jerk missile barrage into both Sudan and Afghanistan managed to kill a few Muslim students studying in their madrassa and wiped out poor Africa's source of medications for cholera, typhoid, malaria and Dengue Fever as their Khartoum pharmaceutical plant emploded.

Still no response from Washington. The killing in Iraq continued as did Sharon's savagery in the Occupied Territories using US -supplied helicopters, tanks and F-16s.

The next warning came in Yemen's port when a large hole was blasted in our USS Cole and 18 sailors died. Our response was to send in FBI to track down the guilty.

The Twin Towers and Pentagon explosions followed , but again, instead of examining our policies abroad which we had been warned again and again were creating these "Blowbacks," Washington pursued its negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and failing to achieve either the pipeline access we demanded or the turnover on our conditions of Osama Bin Laden, we declared war on one of the poorest peoples in the world in a country we had previously destroyed in our Cold War with the Soviets.

Except for killing some thousands of Afghan citizens, and a few Al Qaeda, plus failing most of our promises of "post war reconstruction" we have achieved nothing in Afghanistan except to further pauperize a people and create a few million more enemies. At home we are fast losing our civil and other constitutional rights with a PATRIOT ACT which never achieved Congressional debate. Our economy is on a serious downturn while Congress makes feeble gestures to meet the challenges of corporate corruption which have aided and abetted the whole mess.

Few Americans recall the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a force of mostly young volunteers from all over the world who fifty years ago traveled to Spain to fight against fascism. Several hundred of them were killed, but their example helped arouse the spirit of freedom around the world. Today, languishing in hot cages in the US compound in Guantanamo Bay some hundreds of young men who see themselves as freedom fighters are subject to torture, endless interrogation, deprivation of contact with their families and lack of the legal support. promised under our Constitution. Our intelligence services have admitted that over 36 different countries are represented amongst these internees, and not all are of the Muslim religion.

Washington presently hosts two lobbies intent on establishing a colonial empire for the US in the Mideast: The oil friends of Vice President Dick Cheney

and the Israeli lobby funded by Jewish money funneled via AIPAC. It is the political and economic pressure from these two entities that has largely prevented Washington from encouraging a public or even a Congressional discussion of our self-defeating Mideast policy which is the source of the "terrorism" we face today.

To repeat the words of Robert Fisk, British writer and renounced reporter : " the safety of America depends on its behavior overseas."

 

 

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