Unpleasant and Unwanted Questions on Iraq

Analogies are difficult given world power realities, but consider the following. “The Chinese News Agency reported today that the Chinese Government has decided to oust US President George W. Bush.the debate is over. China has decided that the US nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs pose too great a threat to world security. Chinese intelligence presented government leaders with plans for massive covert action, sabotage, information warfare and extremely aggressive bombing campaigns against the US. The leadership was enthusiastic.” Or consider “The Iraqi News Agency reported today that Saddam Hussein has decided to oust Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Hussein has decided that Israel’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs pose too great a threat to regional security. Iraqi intelligence presented Hussein with plans for massive covert action, sabotage, information warfare and extremely aggressive bombing campaigns against Israel. The president was enthusiastic.”

Casting aside the implausible nature of each scenario, our response would be, among other things, moral revulsion, even though we might recognize elements of truth in each. These articles are constructs. Reuters published the real piece, February 13th, and it says “President Bush has decided to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.the CIA presented Bush with plans for massive covert action.significantly more aggressive bombing.the president was enthusiastic, etc.” Sadly, the fictional articles contain arguments with greater validity than the US article. Nevertheless, we would rightly reject them. Who will reject Bush’s pronouncements? In the real world, the US does pose a “nuclear, chemical and biological weapons” threat to the world, far more than Iraq, and Israel poses the same for the Middle East region, far more than Iraq. Nevertheless, US leaders and pundits “goose-step on command” at the decrees of our feeble and “enthusiastically” bloodthirsty leaders.

In the case of the fictional articles sane and moral people would ask, “what right do they have to engage in massive covert action.aggressive bombing campaigns and to oust US or Israeli leaders?” We would rightly answer “they have NO right.”

In our good Christian nation, we seldom resort to the basic teachings of the “Good Book,” to enlighten us, for example its pronouncements on hypocrisy. To avoid the designation “Hypocrite” the “Good Book” advises we must be willing to apply the same moral principles and arguments to ourselves that we apply to others. The hypocrite notes the gnat in his enemy’s eye while failing to note the vulture in his own eye.

So, let us attempt to be non-hypocritical and ask the obvious question: “what right does the US have to impose “massive covert action, sabotage, information warfare and significantly more aggressive bombing [on the people of Iraq]”? The answer: “the US, and George Bush, has NO right to bomb Iraqis or anybody else, etc!” But, “Hypocrisy has ample wages; the truth goes a begging.” We can reserve comment on “the president’s enthusiasm” over mass violence, carnage and death, and merely add, “The hypocrite is a sepulchre, that without is white, but within is full of corruption, vermin and death.”

“Bush has decided that Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs pose too great a threat to US national security.the debate is over.”(Reuter’s) The debate is “over” because weapons inspectors disagree with Bush’s assessment. Scott Ritter, former US Marine and UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq, has stated repeatedly and largely uncontroversially (outside of the White House) that “when you ask the question ‘does Iraq possess militarily viable [nuclear], biological or chemical weapons?’ the answer is a resounding ‘NO.’ It is ‘NO’ across the board. So, from a qualitative standpoint Iraq has been disarmed.” Here we have the standard conflict between Bush’s “higher truth” and “irrelevant facts,” and the facts go-a-beggin’

Obvious questions are avoided for obvious reasons – they provide the “wrong” answers. For example, “what right does the US have to impose mass levels of violence on much of the world; to impose chemical warfare and military violence on Colombians; to maintain a brutal embargo against the people of Cuba; to kill the people of Iraq through bombings and sanctions?” The answer, in each case: “the US has NO right?” The United States assumes the right, even as International Conventions and Laws, UN Resolutions, etc., are being violated – the Rule of Force prevails.

As noted, the bloodthirsty US leadership is again craving Iraqi blood. And what right does the US have to spill more Iraqi blood? None. To impose sanctions against the Iraqi people that kill over 4,500 children under five each month according to UNICEF? None. To stunt the growth of 23% of Iraqi children? None. To impose cancers through the use of depleted uranium weapons? None. To continue bombing Iraq regularly, having killed and maimed several thousand Iraqis since the end of the massive US attack in 1991? None.

“Ha’aretz” reports that Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, in Washington, said the US is determined to act against Iraq, “despite world opposition…international sentiment.Arab public opinion.[and] UN resolutions.” (LA Times) What right does the US have to act against Iraq and against world opinion and the UN? None. Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that President Bush [who probably could not find the Middle East on a map] is exploring “the most serious set of options that one might imagine” that will leave “no stone unturned.” The US bombing and sanctions have already killed, by some estimates, 1.5 millions Iraqis, and over 500,000 children. One can only imagine what “serious” US violent options will bring to the already traumatized Iraqi people. What right does the US have to reduce Iraq to rubble? None.

To repeat: A non-selective application of the reasons the US gives for attacking Iraq (weapons of mass destruction, repression, threat to the region, brutal policies, failure to abide by UN resolutions, etc.), in other words, a non-hypocritical stand, would lead to an unpleasant conclusion – the US will have to bomb Israel, and the United States. The rule of law is designed to be non-selective. The rule of force? Well, the victims provide the answer – corpses.

There is a simple point about mass violence, it brutalizes, traumatizes and destroys human lives, and the repercussions are manifold. There is a second simple point: we must work to abolish the conditions, and transform the institutions, which give rise to mass violence, whether it is military, economic, emotional, environmental, psychological, ideological, etc.

Paraphrasing Noam Chomsky, other questions come to the fore: Who refuses to hear the agonized screams of children killed by disease and starvation because of US policies; who refuses to see the tear stained faces, shaking hands, and shattered lives of mothers who must watch as their children are killed by cruel and savage policies; who will remain quiet thus guaranteeing that barbaric misery and horrific suffering persist and worsen, and do nothing to prevent intensified US crimes in the near future? Who will join in the self-righteous justifications for crimes against humanity and pretentious self-praise about our “noble” commitments to freedom and human rights, while averting their eyes from ruined cities and crushed bodies, the monstrous suffering and massive violence we have imposed, do impose, and will impose if we do not work to prevent it? Who are the real terrorists?

doug morris, dmorrisscott@yahoo.com Brattleboro Area Peace and Justice Group

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