Eastern Daily Press, Tuesday, 31st December, 2002
Iraq is just a scapegoat
[Picture and caption: SADDAM HUSSEIN: Cruel, perhaps, but not the only tyrant in charge of a country.]
Carr Lane, Overstrand.
Our Govermnent has been trying to convince us war with Iraq may become necessary, but the arguments are far from convincing.
We are told Iraq has "weapons of mass destruction". No evidence Iraq still has them has been uncovered by UN weapons inspectors despite their unfettered access, and no firm evidence has been put forward by the US or Britain.
We are told that Saddam Hussein is a cruel tyrant. He may be, but many tyrants head governments and this did not stop the West doing deals with him when it suited us.
Iraq is accused of disobeying UN resolutions, but it is far from alone in this. Israel has disobeyed UN resolutions but the US still protects Israel despite its atrocious human rights record.
When Tony Blair and George W Bush talk of Iraq, they are keen to mention al Qaida, yet there is no proven link between Iraq and this organisation. Many Saudis are amongst the ranks of al Qaida and Osama bin Laden is a citizen of that country, yet noboby talks of invading Saudi Arabia.
1 do not believe any of these reasons motivate the US and Britain. They are put forward as propaganda. The real causes are political and economic. Politically, we threaten Iraq because we can, rather in the way a school bully threatens a small victim. Having beaten Iraq once and driven its armies from Kuwait, it makes, a good scapegoat this time around.
How can it win against the overwhelming firepower of the US? Would the West contemplate military force against a more powerful country - perhaps one with nuclear arms? 1 think not!
Meanwhile, Bush struts his stuff in John Wayne style. He is 'seen to be doing something' after September 11 but it is akin to having a bad day at the office and coming home and kicking the dog! However, it makes him look good to the American electorate, at least until the bodybags of American servicemen start to arrive home. For Blair, too, how much better to be standing on the world stage advocating the righting of wrongs by military might than having to concentrate on education, health and transport in his own country.
This posturing serves to distract us from home issues.
Economically, the US is the most oil-hungry country in the world (and, per capita, the most polluting). Its electorate demands cheap and plentiful oil and will tolerate nothing less. To meet this need, the US needs to look beyond its shores to secure supplies from compliant foreign producers. Saddam Hussein is no longer compliant, so it is in America's interests to topple him. In attacking Iraq, the Middle East already a volatile area will become even less stable. The hatred generated will provide a steady stream of recruits for acts of terrorism against the West for years to come.
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