Socialist Worker

Their lies to justify killing

Issue No. 1843

THE US and Britain have lied and stamped on every attempt at diplomacy to ensure their brutal war on Iraq goes ahead. George Bush and Tony Blair tried to pose as peacemakers who were foiled at the United Nations (UN). Foreign secretary Jack Straw resorted to blaming the French government for a war on Iraq.

He claimed the French threat to use their veto at the UN Security Council against the planned pro-war resolution of the US, Britain and Spain was the reason for war. But even the BBC's UN correspondent tore apart Straw's ridiculous claim. 'The majority of the Security Council were standing up to the US's new doctrine of pre-emptive strikes,' he said.

'The great result of five months of bargaining and arm twisting at the UN was the US winning over of Bulgaria.' Bush and Blair were only prepared to tolerate a new UN resolution as long as it would act as a fig-leaf for military action.

The US could not even stomach an alternative plan put forward by Chile, one of the six countries it wanted to win over to backing war, because it included a three-week deadline. The delegation got less than 100 yards from their meeting rooms towards the UN council chamber to distribute the new proposal before it was dismissed as 'a non-starter' by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. Bush and Blair cannot pose as peacemakers. They tried to bully and bribe other UN countries to back their warmongering, and when they failed they pushed ahead with war.

Who has weapons of mass destruction?

ROBIN COOK admitted the truth in parliament on Monday after resigning from the government. He said Iraq does not have 'weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of that term.'

Cook's admission blows apart the central case pushed by Blair over recent months. Cook was at the heart of the government as it pumped out successive dossiers claiming Iraq had such weapons. Now all that is exposed as lies. Even Blair does not now claim that Iraq has nuclear weapons - his central claim only weeks ago. There will be weapons of mass destruction used in the war. They will be unleashed by US and British forces.

  • US forces are ready to use the MOAB (massive ordnance air burst) bomb. This terrifying weapon contains 21,000 pounds of high explosive which detonates above ground. It wipes out everything within a one mile radius and is designed to have the same impact on people as nuclear bombs.
  • Jack Straw effectively admitted in parliament that US and British forces will use CLUSTER BOMBS. These scatter smaller bombs over a wide area which work like landmines, supposed to be illegal under international treaties. They lie around long after conflicts haves ended, and kill and maim children who are attracted by the bright yellow colouring.
  • DEPLETED URANIUM shells will be used by US and Britain. These burn through armour to incinerate anyone inside. Depleted uranium shells leave radioactive dust strewn around the landscape. Those used in southern Iraq in the last Gulf War are believed to be responsible for an epidemic of childhood leukemia and other diseases, as well as Gulf War syndrome.
  • The US has NUCLEAR WEAPONS in its arsenal, and is ready to use them. Its 'robust nuclear earth penetrator' is designed to burrow into the ground before detonating with horrifying effects. The US also has nuclear warheads available on its cruise missiles.

    This will be occupation and not liberation

    NO ONE knows how war will unfold. What is certain is that Bush and Blair are gambling on their overwhelming military force being enough to win a quick victory. They hope their forces will march into Basra and Baghdad and be greeted by cheering Iraqis.

    If that was to happen it would not be the first time a conquering army had been hailed in this way. Moreover this will not be the end of the problems faced by the occupying army, but the beginning.

    War could throw a fragile Iraqi society into turmoil that could quickly spiral out of control. There are thousands of Iraqi refugees from the southern city of Basra living just across the border in Iran.

    Many have been armed by Iran. If they returned they would be unlikely to simply accept living under Western military rule and occupation. Iran, after all, is part of Bush's 'axis of evil'. In the north of Iraq Kurdish forces hope to seize the key oil cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.

    They could look to drive out or kill Arabs and Turkish speakers who form part of those cities' populations. Turkey is already looking for a pretext to send its forces into northern Iraq to seize part of the country and teach its own Kurds a lesson. In Afghanistan we were told the US and British war would bring peace, prosperity and stability.

    Instead the country is today in turmoil, with rival warlords fighting for influence and starvation haunting people in many regions.

    US is the veto king

    BUSH AND Blair railed about the French government's 'unreasonable' threat of a veto at the United Nations (UN). But just three months ago the US vetoed a resolution condemning the killing of UN workers by Israeli soldiers and the destruction of a UN warehouse filled with food for Palestinians.

    Russia has only vetoed two UN security council resolutions since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. China has used its veto on only five occasions. France has vetoed on only 18 occasions, 13 of those alongside US and Britain. Britain has vetoed 32 UN resolutions. The US is the veto king. It has used its veto 76 times.

    Israel's nukes...

    A BBC documentary on Monday night revealed that there is a Middle East state with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction - Israel. The programme looked at the case of Mordechai Vanunu. He was a former technician at Israel's secret nuclear plant who first exposed that Israel had nuclear bombs.

    Israeli agents kidnapped Vanunu in Rome and smuggled him back to Israel. He has been in jail for 16 years, 11 of them in solitary confinement. The documentary also showed that Israel has chemical and biological weapons production plants.

    Yet there are no demands from the US and Britain for weapons inspectors or war to enforce the disarmament of Israel.

    ...and invasions

    'IRAQ IS the only country in the Middle East to attack another in the last 15 years' was the lie repeated by cabinet ministers this week. It is Israel that has invaded and occupied its neighbours more than any other in the Middle East.

    Israel has launched several full-scale invasions of Lebanon. It has invaded and occupied parts of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. And it still occupies part of Syria today, the Golan Heights. For over half a century Israel has occupied the bulk of the state given to Palestinians by the UN in 1947. Israel has openly defied UN resolutions calling for it to withdraw from the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza which it has occupied since 1967.

    Murder they ignore

    ISRAEL THIS week murdered an American peace activist in the occupied Gaza Strip. If this had happened in Baghdad and the murderers had been Iraqi forces this would have been headline news and used to justify war.

    Yet barely a word was said over the murder of 23 year old American Rachel Corrie in the Palestinian refugee camp of Rafah. Neither was Israel condemned for its murder of six Palestinians this week in the Nusseirat refugee camp. Those killed included four year old Elham as-Assar and a 13 year old boy.

    Peace activist Rachel Corrie was trying to prevent Israeli bulldozers from demolishing a Palestinian house. Nicholas Durrie, a 19 year old peace activist from Dundee in Scotland, reports, 'One of the drivers saw Rachel and drove towards her. She was carried up with a heap of earth in the shovel of the bulldozer. The driver continued.'

    US war criminal

    ONE OF the men who appeared on TV screens justifying war this week was US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte. Behind the suit and smooth talk this man is a criminal who has organised and financed murder and torture.

    From 1964 to 1973 he worked with war criminal Henry Kissinger in the US war on Vietnam. Negroponte was US ambassador in Honduras in Central America in the 1980s. There he helped organise death squads alongside the right wing military regime. He also played a key role in organising the brutal Contra guerrillas who waged a terrorist campaign in Nicaragua.

    Plea from Baghdad

    UZMA BASHIR from Watford is currently in Baghdad. These are extracts from a letter she sent to Tony Blair:

    'I AM a human shield, currently stationed at the important site of Durah Electrical Power Plant. I hope the British presence including myself will deter US/UK bombing of this humanitarian site, which if bombed will not only stop power to hospitals, schools and homes but also will bring down sites such as water purification facilities which provides clean water to millions of Iraqi civilians.

    Since my arrival in Iraq I have been overwhelmed with the generosity, love and compassion shown to me. These are clearly intelligent, beautiful people who have a right to live. This war will not be in my name. How could you kill any family? Any neighbourhood?'

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    Article information

    Sat 22 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1843
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