The war drums are booming. Should we march to their beat?


The reasons for going to war

The Bush administration is hell-bent on war. Why?

"Iraq is harboring weapons of mass destruction."

Scott Ritter spent seven years in Iraq with the UNSCOM weapons inspection teams. The team tracked down every bomb, missile and factory designed to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weaponry, and destroyed 90-95 % of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "If Iraq was producing weapons today, we would have definitive proof," says Ritter.

Of all the nuclear powers, only the US has declared itself prepared to used a nuclear weapon in a first-strike capacity. Such use by any other country would be suicidal.

Why wage war when you can reach your goal without war … unless your true goal is, simply, war itself?

"Saddam Hussein has links with Al Quaeda and international terrorism."

If Saddam gave weapons to Al Quaeda, he would be their first victim! Saddam has never been tender with Islamists, to say the least.

"The Iraqi declaration is incomplete."

Colin Powell remarked, "Most brazenly, the Iraqi declaration denies the existence of any prohibited weapons programs at all." It's the classic witch-hunt strategy: if you deny the charge you're lying, if you confess you're guilty. The US and UK allegations are based on nothing but speculation. If Iraq has a prohibited weapons program, the inspection team is there to find it and destroy it. Why don't the American secret services hand over their information to Blix – if they have any – to make his job easier? But suppose the Iraqis omitted something. Bureaucratic muddle exists, and not only in war-torn lands. Can we, in good conscience, consider this to be grounds for WAR ?

"War will liberate the Iraqi people from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."

Tens of thousands will be liberated right into the cemetery*. The survivors are bound to be delighted with their new US military dictatorship (the same US which has been bombing their country and strangling it with sanctions for ten years)… and happy to see Iraq's oil revenues funnelled to you-know-where. (Well, somebody must pay for the war!)

Power, arms and oil

When the Bush team's stated reasons for the war are non-reasons, we have to look elsewhere.

A Defense Department document in 1992 already envisioned the United States as a colossus imposing its will on the world through military and economic power. Paul Wolfowitz drafted the document. Richard Cheney was Secretary of defense. 1

In September 2000 – a year before "9/11" – the " Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) issued a report which reads like a blueprint for current Bush defense policy. It advocated repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty, a commitment to a global missile defense system, an increase in defense spending so the US could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars", and the development of small nuclear warheads "required in targeting very deep, underground bunkers." Iran, Iraq and North Korea were already identified as primary short-term targets. The report said, "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."2 Among the report's authors and PNAC members, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Stephen Cambone, Eliot Cohen, Devon Cross, I. Lewis Libby, Dov Zakheim, Richard Perle and Zalmay Khalilzad now hold key government or policy-making positions. 1, 2

A swift war on Iraq using our most deadly technology will certainly impress others. For countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea, the question "Are you with us or against us?" will take on a new and terrible meaning. Even European nations may show increased respect for their "big brother" when questions of tariffs, markets and treaties come up.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in 1961: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Since 11 September 2001, America has established bases at the gateways to all the major sources of fossil fuels..2 Iraq has 12% of the world's known oil reserves. Control over these resources means not only wealth, but an important lever of power.

America's leaders may also believe that a war will distract Americans from economic woes and may stimulate the economy via the weapons industry.

The foreseeable effects of the war

The Patriot Act already erodes Americans' fundamental liberties. The press is on its way to becoming the Administration's echoing-box. As John Pilger observes, "as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. … The more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists … are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda." 2

It will be very surprising if the war on Iraq diminishes world tensions, anger, hatred, "anti-Americanism" and ultimately terrorism. We can expect quite the opposite.

Unilateral military action by one power in defiance of the UN charter will set a terrible precedent. It will devastate the very concept of international law and entrench the principle of "might makes right." Is this the sort of world order we want?

Are we all sleepwalking to the hypnotic beat of a subliminal drum?

It's time to WAKE UP !!!

We, citizens of America and residents of Europe, believe in justice, fairness and respect for international law. We believe in the community of nations, not the dominance of one nation. We believe that brute force, capriciously used, cannot not solve world problems, it IS the problem. We say that the Bush administration's war plans must be stopped!

*100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis died in the last Gulf war. Snow plows mounted on tanks were used to bury thousands of Iraqi soldiers, some still alive.