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Bush wants to create space for decisive strike on Iraq
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2002

By Chinondidyachii Mararike,

Will the US go ahead and launch military strikes against Iraq or will Saddam Hussein comply with Bush's ultimatum that "Iraq complies with all the relevant UN resolutions on weapons inspections, human rights, the repatriation of prisoners of war, and the state sponsorship of terrorism?"

Surely these are not the right questions to ask. What is right to ask is why now, and after months of dilly-dallying, has Bush seen it fit to seek UN approval for America's so-called war on terrorism? Is the issue simply that of weapons inspections or there is a greater and even more sinister agenda than the inarticulate Bush is either able or willing to articulate? Will Bush go for North Korea whose officials openly revealed, on 19 October this year, that the country had "nuclear weapons" and "more powerful things (presumably chemical and biological weapons) as well?"

And surely how can the US claim it is able to re-order the whole world and yet is today paralysed by a murderer in its own backyard, the so-called sniper whose marksmanship has so far claimed ten lives and yet has avoided detection by vanishing into Washington DC's permanently chaotic rush-hour traffic?

These, indeed, are the questions to ask for the truth is you cannot expect to arrive at the right answers if you ask the wrong questions.

The point then is that Bush's 12 September 2002 speech to the 190-member UN General Assembly was intended to provide international cover for American unilateralism, and thus give legitimacy to Bush's need for a regime change not only in Iraq but in other states that stand up against US domination and control.

Whether Saddam is a realistic threat or isn't is not the real issue; uppermost in Bush's mind is to find ways to shift responsibility onto the UN so he can confer to America a moral high ground in its quest for a global strategy that supports US post-Cold War imperialism.

The US President's seeming concern for the UN as an international institution of repute also carries with it a hint of self-serving, and reeks of deception and double standards of the worst kind.

While Bush spoke of his desire to work with the UN security council to hammer out the necessary resolutions that would give Saddam one last chance to avoid invasion, he also challenged the UN to "salvage its credibility" and "serve the purpose of its founding or it will be irrelevant".

Yet it is ironic that the US itself and Britain, countries that were instrumental in establishing the UN after the Second (largely) European Tribal War of 1945, and with the stated aim of ensuring "lasting peace by ending the scourge of war", should themselves engage in precisely what the UN was designed to prevent.

Bush's strategy is designed to put the world body in a dilemma: if the UN refuses to tow the US line then it would not have lived up to the purpose for which it was formed.

In the event then Bush would ignore and by-pass it and, under the guise of a war on terrorism, launch military strikes against Iraq.

If, on the other hand, the UN complies with Bush's demands, then the US would exploit the opportunity and craft a resolution loaded with what Anatol Lieven (Guardian 13 September 2002) called "so many conditions that Baghdad would be certain to reject it, leading to an immediate Anglo-American attack".

Bush's courting of the UN reveals his belligerence, his attempts to hoodwink the international community so he can create space for a quick and decisive strike on Iraq.

Fortunately most people, particularly African and Middle East leaders, know that the Bush (who seemed quite happy and enthusiastic to demand action from the UN against those who deny others human rights and generally flout international law) presides over a nation that imprisons people on the flimsiest of suspicion, denies them access to legal representation and visits from relatives; and that the US is a "nation" that has its own torture camp in Cuba, hidden away from the world.

Examples of the pretexts upon which the US has based its quest to destabilise other countries abound.

On August 5 1964, for instance, the US reported that the North Vietnamese had fired on American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Before that, support in the Congress for the involvement in the Vietnam War had been doubtful but on August 7 the "Gulf of Tonkin incident" led to the US Congress voting for troops to be sent to Vietnam, with only two votes against.

The Tonkin incident never happened - in fact, it was a lie - but American troops went to Vietnam nevertheless, resulting in the deaths of millions of innocent Vietnamese and only 65 000 young Americans, mostly of African descent.

In that war, the US - committed to upholding the basic human rights of others on mother earth - used chemical weapons, Agent Orange, destroying much of Vietnamese forests and poisoning a lot of the country's fertile agricultural land!

As it turns out, even the dog's breakfast tossed to the assembly by Bush - empty commitments to standards of human dignity shared by all, to a system of security defended by all, to Palestinian independence, and the US's immediate return to the Paris-based Unesco after 18 years of absence - cannot hide the fact American policy has increasingly turned this safe planet into a combustible world.

It may be important to note that the US pulled out from the body in 1984 during Ronald Reagan's presidency and when the organisation was under the leadership of Senegal's Amadou Mbow who promoted an equitable new world information order then (as now) opposed by Western countries, particularly Britain and America.

This "tolerant" Atlantic democracy has, since 1945, continuously bombed the innocent, and has also used weapons of mass destruction on a large-scale - and in the form of atomic bombs and chemical weapons, often resorting to the most barbaric tactics ever known.

Using a series of fabrications to deceive the world, and also in the hope that this would result in a change of leadership, successive US Presidents have bombed defenseless and peace-loving nations: China (1945-46, 1959-53), Japan (1945), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1960, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-61), Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Lebanon (1983-84), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989), Bosnia (1985), Somalia (1994), Sudan (1998), Former Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (1988, 2001-02) and Iraq (1991 to date).

Presumably what Bush would have the world believe is that his hard-line stance on Saddam is based on just demands for global peace and security but, in the case of Iraq, the world recalls the main factors which earlier terminated the endeavour to have the UN weapons inspectors re-admitted into the country. In 1996, a failed US coup against the Iraq leader used Unscom information, that is, the inspectorate had been used as espionage agents.

In 1997, the US declared that it intended to invade Iraq anyway, which meant that it was irrelevant whether or not Iraq submitted to the inspection process. In 1998 Operation Desert Fox used Unscom information to find its bombing targets and the US - together with its 54th State, Britain - bombed the Iraqis.

The inspectors were ordered out of Iraq because of these re-bombings and thus signalled the termination of the inspections processes, and Unscom.

Today its successor Unmovic - headed by an impressively "neutral" Swede, Hans Blix - is ready to move in: to locate bombing targets. Yet in spite of this record - in which the neutrality and actual purpose of weapons inspectors is questionable - Unmovic is today insisting on new inspection teams to go into Iraq. On Unmovic's team are personnel from the two countries to have repeatedly bombed Iraq, and whose policies are geared towards an Iraq regime change: the UK and its former colony, US. This approach, needless to say, is not in any way compatible with the weapons inspection process, and flouts international law - including every conceivable UN resolution.

Speaking of which, it must needs be pointed out that both the US and Britain are guilty of double standards in that the technical difference between the extant UN resolutions on Iraq and those on Israel is statistically misleading. The US has forced through all the resolutions on the former while vetoing many more resolutions critical of Israel's illegal occupation of, and terror tactics in, Palestine.

England which today has pledged to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the US has done nothing to deal with Unionist terror in its backyard but, instead, has turned on the IRA, a liberation movement fighting against Britain's stranglehold on Irish territory, Northern Ireland, but which Westminster describes as a terrorist organisation.

The White House policy makers and so-called Pentagon hawks should stop deluding themselves into thinking that America's reliance on high-tech gadgetry gives it the right to unilaterally extend its hegemony over all countries and societies on planet earth without meeting with some form of resistance. It is this kind of thinking that, in America, continues to produce the kind of psychotic individuals who imagine themselves God and thus enter into bizarre dialogues with authorities whilst continuing to kill innocent people and, like the US' Zodiac the Killer of the 1970s, to kill across several state boundaries and, in the process, tying staggering amounts of state resources into embarrassingly fruitless searches!

Bush should know that the pain, disruption, fears, and anxieties the American feel and experience today, and also what those who lost relatives and friends in the Bali bombing have been going through these past few days, is exactly what a lot of people in Vietnam, Angola, DRC, Palestine, Nicaragua, Somalia and other countries the American military mighty has visited live and have lived with on a daily basis.

Surely if Bush had concern for upholding human rights then his government would not support, arm and underwrite the Israeli army to mount military campaigns against innocent Palestinians. And if America had respect for the rule of law then it would understand the Zimbabwean Government's commitment to correcting the injustices of colonialism and contemporary US-supported neo-colonialism and not impose punitive sanctions against our entire leadership.

I think it's time somebody reminded Bush, and his "blind" Caucasian American followers, that America is not the only superpower in the world but that people in countries continuously resisting US imperialism are in fact the superpowers. It is these same people - Africans, Asians, Persians, Arabs, Chinese - who today don't accept what Bush and Blair are saying, who refuse to be taken to those old dark days of Darwinian Caucasian superiority, who love their children, their peace and their countries.

Rather the US President ought to concentrate on finding this man with a telescopic high velocity gun that today is terrorising the residents of Baltimore, Washington DC.

Blair, on the other hand, must solve the dispute with Britain's grumbling fire fighters, revamp the crumbling British education, and also put a stop to the unending series of notorious scandals involving Britain's paedophile priests.

Chinondidyachii Mararike is a Zimbabwean lawyer, political analyst and Secretary General of Davira Mhere.

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