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Did the US Really Need to Bomb Iraq?

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear

You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
When the government lies to the people
And the country is drifting to war

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

from Lives In The Balance, by Jackson Browne

There is a increasing awareness that the justification for the most recent bombing of Iraq was flimsy, and even the U.S. media has begun questioning what, if any, positive results came from it. All UN inspectors have now been ousted from Iraq, and President Hussein has asked all UN relief workers to leave the country. The media has noted that Butler's report contained no new information and had been a formality, and several commentators have questioned the timing of the bombing.

In the book The Fire This Time, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark makes a powerful case that the intent of the Gulf War and the embargo that followed had little to do with Iraq's military threat, which has always been considered minimal in US military circles. The intent, according to Clark and backed by documentary evidence, was simply to debilitate Iraq's independent status: to undermine its civilian infrastructure to the point that it would no longer represent an alternative to dependency on the Western countries (the U.S., Europe) or Japan.

The reason: regardless of Iraq's form of government - dictatorial or democratic - a country independent of Western influence presents a model to the populations of the Arabian states. This apparently represents a serious threat to "U.S. strategic interests," namely control of Middle East oil. Using detailed data from the war, Clark proves, for instance, that our "surgical strikes" against "military targets" destroyed every electrical station, sewage plant, water works, fuel pipeline, and bridge in Iraq. The strict embargo that followed prevented repair parts from being shipped, in addition to preventing shipments of even food or medical supplies. Over one million Iraqis have died of disease and hunger, and the entire intelligensia of Iraq has abandoned the country.

It is now time for the people of the US to recognize that the war against Iraq is not for national or world security, and that Iraq does not represent a threat to world peace. It is the actions of the US military, driven by short-sighted economic interests, which threaten world peace by destabilizing the Middle East by this war and angering Arab and Moslem people everywhere.

This is what Ramsey Clark says of the embargo: "There is one crime against humanity in this last decade of the millennium that exceeds all others in its magnitude, cruelty and portent. It is the US-forced sanctions against the twenty million people of Iraq... If the UN participates in such genocidal sanctions backed by the threat of military violence -- and if the people of the world fail to prevent such conduct -- the violence, terror and human misery of the new millennium will exceed anything we have known."

Here are some headlines from here and abroad, from a commentator in Scotland:

The Labour MP for Glasgow, Hillhead in a House of Commons debate on Thursday, Dec 17 described UNSCOM's Richard Butler as a ‘well known serial liar’. These reports from the USA and France would seem to confirm this. Please note that the Vatican this morning joined in the international condemnation of the Anglo American aggression against Iraq.

[Source: Washington Post] Dec. 17--BUTLER'S REPORT WAS MEANT TO PROVOKE THE BOMBING OF IRAQ. In its coverage of the bombing of Iraq, today's {Washington Post} reports that a New York-based diplomat, generally supportive of Washington, told the newspaper that UNSCOM's Butler deliberately wrote a justification for a war. "Based on the same facts he could have said, `There were something like 300 inspections and we encountered difficulties in five,'" which would have shown the true extent of the "violations." "There is a general feeling," the diplomat stated, "that in a growing number of instances, Butler has been an instrument of something other than the [UN] Security Council, and that is problematic."

[Sources: Liberation--Paris]Dec. 17 -THE REPORT BY U.N. CHIEF WEAPONS INSPECTOR RICHARD BUTLER CONDEMNING IRAQI NON-COMPLIANCE WITH WEAPONS INSPECTORS IS A GIGANTIC FRAUD. {Liberation} reveals that the report documents a grand total of THREE CASES, out of 130 cases outlined, where Iraq allegedly denied access to Butler's team. The French daily comments that this is "very minimal, to justify massive attacks." Furthermore, the paper points out, Iraq has fully complied with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. agency mandated to investigate Iraq's nuclear program. Chatham House's George Joffe was even more blunt. He said the Butler report was written "in an extremely derogatory manner."The cases where there were difficulties, were where there were understandable difficulties in working out new procedures for inspections. In only ONE case, is there a clear violation from the Iraqi side. Nothing is demonstrably shown, about a clear pattern of Iraqi obstruction.



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