Monday, December 30, 2002

You may have heard that the U.S. government deleted thousands of pages from the weapons-program dossier that the Iraq released. According to the Independent of London the missing pages contained a list of European and American companies that supplied Iraq with materials for weapons. The list of companies is available online.

One of the most disturbing things about the Independent piece is the statement that these companies’ support for Iraq’s conventional weapons program “had continued until last year.” So while children were dying because of economic sanctions and the inability to import sufficient humanitarian aid, weapons companies were continuing to do business with Saddam!

What we need instead of war is an end to economic sanctions and stepped up enforcement of military sanctions against Iraq. And while we are at it why not increased military sanctions for other nations in the Middle East as well.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

I am reading the book “A Language Older Than Words” by Derrick Jensen. He has one section where he describes some of the atrocities of the first Gulf War. It might be helpful to review these as we prepare for the second.

- 250,000 – 500,000 Iraqis died during the war.
- American troops used plows mounted on tanks to bury Iraqis alive in their trenches, after one wave of bulldozers incapacitated the defenders, another filled the trenches with sand.
- in at least one verified incident American soldiers slaughtered thousands of unarmed Iraqi soldiers walking toward Americans positions, hands raised in an attempt to surrender
- two days after the ceasefire, Schwarzkopf approved the combined arms slaughter of Iraq’s Republican Guard Hammurabi Division as it retreated.
- in clear violation of international law, the American forces used napalm fuel-air explosives, and cluster bombs
- less than 10% of destroyed vehicles on the “Highway of Death” were associated with the military. One GI described most as “like a little Toyota pickup truck that was loaded down with the furniture and the suitcases and rugs and the pet cat and that type of thing.”
- the Air Force intentionally bombed a baby milk powder factory, a vegetable oils factory, a sugar factory, the country’s biggest frozen meat storage, 52 community mental health centers, a major hypodermic syringe factory and 676 schools.
- Americans intentionally bombed the Amariayh civilian bomb shelter, twice. The second bomb killed all but 17 of the 1500 mostly women and children hiding there.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

When I posted my comments below to an alumni board a friend responded with a tirade against about my response to terrorism. Here is how I responded:

Thank you for responding to my post.

What would I do? Back in a previous message I posted a long list of resources that offer analysis of why war with Iraq is unnecessary. Some of these articles also list alternatives to a war. Please take the time to read these. Here are a few that offer specific alternatives to the war:
http://www.fourthfreedom.org/php/t-si-index.php?hinc=www_report.hinc
http://www.thestranger.com/2002-10-17/feature.html
http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/papers/iraq3.html
http://members.tripod.com/~lutheran_peace/LJEIraqarticle10a.html (you skip over the religious stuff in the first paragraph)
"Disarming Iraq: Nonmilitary Strategies" David Cortright and George Lopez, 9-02, www.armscontrol.org
"With weapons of the will: How to topple Saddam Hussein, nonviolently," Peter Ackerman & Jack DuVall www.sojo.net

Much of your response deals with the problem of Osama and terrorism in general. This different issue than the question of war with Iraq which is what I was responding too.

There is no evidence that the Iraq government has supported Al-Qaeda, Osama or any other terrorist organization that has attacked the US. In fact, the Iraq government and Al-Qaeda are bitter enemies. Osama has issued a “fatah” against Saddam and considers the B’ath party he governs to be too secular. Saddam considers Al-Qaeda and other extreme Islamists to be a threat to his power and has had them executed.

Large-scale military acts and invasions have not stopped terrorism – especially terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda that are very decentralized. Before Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 80s there were an average of 5 Israelis killed every year from terrorism. Now that many die almost every week.

If you ask anti-terrorism experts they will tell you that the best way to defeat terrorism is not through mostly military options but through addressing the underlying root causes of terrorism. Please read this article: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11601 Note that it is not crazy “liberals” pointing this out but CIA terrorism experts.

You also brought up the massacre of Kurds in Iraq. This is a significant war crime. Saddam should be brought before an international criminal court and tried just like Slobodan Milosevic. The US government should not have been supporting Saddam when he did this. Donald Rumsfeld, our current secretary of war, should NOT have been in Iraq offering support to Saddam while the massacre was occurring. The US government should not be supplying Turkey with the military equipment that it is using against Kurds in that country. Try telling THAT to all the Kurds who are suffering.

Even the conservative estimates suggest that we will kill more Iraq civilians during a full-scale invasion than were killed by Saddam during the Kurdish massacre. So I am not sure how such a war would bring any justice to this world.

You also tried to paint my perspective as simply a “liberal” view. As I pointed out previously some of the best anti-war analysis is coming from a conservative viewpoint. See:
http://www.cato.org/dailys/08-19-02.html
http://www.antiwar.com
http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/6420
http://www.nowarblog.org
Someone offered the "hunch" that Bush is just bluffing and that their won't be a war with Iraq anytime soon.

Here are my hunches:

1) The Bush administration will find some excuse to attack Iraq. Perhaps they will say that all the "i"s are not dotted in the report due this weekend. Or, maybe that the weapons inspectors are incompetent. Or, maybe they will invent a lie like the incubator baby story from the first Gulf war. (See recent articles in British newspapers here, and here)

2) The attack will take place between Dec. 16 and the end of January – this is the ideal weather window for battle in the dessert (see: this source).

3) This war has nothing to do with “weapons of mass destruction” which is why we are not attacking N. Korea. It has to do with the fact that Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves and the Bush administration considers it strategic for their world domination objectives. (See London Review of Books article by Anatol Lieven, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment )

4) The war will cost $100 billion of our tax dollars and kill tens of thousands of innocent lives. In my view this is too high a cost for cheap oil and the administration’s ideas of grandeur.

5) The only thing that can stop the war is significant public opposition in the US and Great Britain.

6) The war will likely increase terrorist attacks against the US and Israel

Much of this anaylsis comes from moveon.org