UQ Wire: For the Congressional Record
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For the Congressional Record
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday, 10 October, 2002
The sun may well rise tomorrow and find this article irrelevant. The Congressional decision train, bound for Bush's war on Iraq, very well may have already left the station. A goodly number of Democrats, and virtually every Republican in the House and Senate appear to have made up their minds on the matter, well in advance of the expected Thursday night vote to approve or alter Bush's resolution for war. Still, it is important for this information to be known. For the record:
There is no case for war in Iraq. There is no proof whatsoever that Saddam Hussein poses a threat to America or his neighbors. The marvelously absurd Catch-22 we have heard so often is that Hussein is a mortal threat, and yet will be a pushover in battle. There is no proof that Hussein retains any functional aspect of the chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs that were totally dismantled and destroyed by the UNSCOM weapons inspectors from 1991 through 1998. Repeated attempts by the United Nations to reinsert more inspectors have been spurned by the Bush administration in favor of combat.
Back in 1991, when Hussein had vast stockpiles of these weapons, he did not use them when American forces were bulldozing through his country. When he fired SCUD missiles into Israel, there was no mustard gas or other chemical agent attached to the nose comes, and there could very well have been. The only time Saddam Hussein has used these weapons was during the 1980s, while in the paid employ of the American government under Reagan, which gave him most of the stuff in the first place. Should an American army arrive in downtown Baghdad, however, and should the dire rhetorical salvos of the Bush administration prove correct, American solders may come face to face with botulinin toxin. You can put Israel on the firing line right next to G.I. Joe.
The irony is rich, wretched and deadly: Hussein only used these weapons when he was a vassal of America, after receiving these weapons from America, never against Americans, and may only actually use them against America - in the rare chance he still possesses them - if we invade.
The idea that Hussein has connections to al Qaeda terrorists is laughable; Hussein is a secular dictator who has crushed Islamic fundamentalism for 30 years. Bin Laden and al Qaeda despise him and want him dead. Hussein would sooner stick his face into a running chainsaw as give weapons of any kind to al Qaeda, because the end result of either action would be the same.
The concept of bringing democracy to Iraq through war, proffered by the Bush administration, is a joke. Democracy in the western sense means majority rule, and the majority in Iraq is comprised of Shiite Muslims who are ideologically and theocratically aligned with the extremist mullahs in Iran. The rest of the Iraqi population is comprised of Kurds, who will not be allowed to rule Iraq or anything else because of Turkey, and by the Sunnis, from whose vicious tribal politics came Saddam Hussein. Democracy in Iraq is a concept that terrifies our allies in the region, most notably Saudi Arabia. Given the fact that the House of Saud appears to have great management control over the House of Bush, it is profoundly unlikely that anything resembling democracy will ever come to exist in Iraq through this looming process. Whomever rules there after the 'regime change' will be as bad as Hussein, or worse.
Bush's resolution speaks of making war on the "region," not just Iraq, thus giving him legal cover for total war upon the entire Middle East. This is the passionate dream of the extremist neo-conservative hawks within the Bush administration who are actually running American foreign policy and the War on Terror: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. The resolution for war as it now stands is nothing more or less than a legal blessing to extend eternal war across the planet. George W. Bush is not running this government, and this war is not just about Iraq. It is about oil, and it is about power. Nowhere in this is anything having to do with the protection and well-being of American citizens.
Should we attack Iraq with the purpose of removing Saddam Hussein, there will be no easy repeat of the Gulf War. American troops will face house-to-house combat in the streets of Baghdad, a city of five million people. One former combat general interviewed on a cable news station predicted the possibility of American casualties amounting to a battalion a day. In order to prosecute this urban war, Baghdad will have to be 'reduced' via aerial bombardment and artillery, which is likely to cause tens of thousands of civilian deaths. The resulting outrage - termed the 'Al Jazeera effect' after the Arabic news station that will broadcast the shattered bodies of Iraqi civilians all across the Middle East - will spawn new and more horrible terrorist attacks on our shores.
Last, but not least, it is painfully obvious to any clear-headed person that the Bush administration has pushed this war to remove Enron, Harken, Halliburton, Arthur Andersen and the woeful state of our economy and the stock market off the front pages and out of TV news rotation. Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff, looks at his President in terms of marketing. In fact, he was quoted last August as saying that the administration would not bring up war against Iraq at that point, because August is a bad time to introduce new products.
No one can deny that this Iraq issue was sprung as a trap to snare Congressional Democrats, and their followers, in an enraged tailspin that would serve to blast the terrible economic news out of mainstream view. The fact that this political trap is matched by a very real intention within the Bush administration to go to war only magnifies the reality of the dangerous times we live in. Many are ready to throw up their hands and give up on the Democrats, who appear poised to hand Bush everything he wants on this matter. This is the final aspect of the trap, timed to create disgust within the Democratic electorate on the eve of the all-important mid-term elections.
The Thursday vote on war with Iraq may well come out wrong in the minds of many Americans. Let the above stand in the record; they have heard all this before, and if they vote for war in the face of the data, they will have some tall explaining to do when the deal goes down. Do not, however, forget who started this mess in the first place. The Bush administration is pushing for war as a political tactic and as a means to wrap their arms around the petroleum available. When voting day comes on November 5th, remember that. A Bush administration with control of the House, Senate and Supreme Court would be a menace on a level we have not to date experienced, and that is saying something. Remember that, too.
William Rivers Pitt is a teacher from Boston, MA. He is the author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in April 2003 from Pluto Press.