Socialist Worker

10 reasons why the war in Iraq is wrong

Issue No. 1843a

1. US AND British forces are murdering civilians, including children, in Iraq today. None of these people have threatened anyone else in the world. None of them are responsible for Saddam Hussein's regime. In the last Gulf War in 1991 the US and its allies killed around 200,000 conscripts and civilians, including people who suffered disease and malnutrition because of the assault.

This time the destruction will be much worse. Iraq is much weaker after 12 years of murderous sanctions and the US firestorm will be more intense.

2. IRAQ IS not a threat as Bush and Blair claim. Even the US's own intelligence agency, the CIA, admits this.

CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, 'My judgement would be that the probability of Saddam Hussein initiating an attack in the foreseeable future would be low.' Bush's security adviser Condoleezza Rice said in 2000, 'If Iraq does acquire weapons of mass destruction they will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.'

No state in the region thinks Iraq is a threat. That is why the Turkish parliament voted against war in early March.

3. IT IS about oil. Whoever controls oil has vast power over other economies. The great prize in Iraq is the world's second largest proven oil reserves.

As the chairman of oil giant Conoco-Phillips said this year, 'We know where the best oil reserves are in Iraq and we covet the opportunity to get them.' Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has the world's largest oil reserves. The US will bully, bribe and if necessary use murder to make sure that nobody who opposes its interests gets control of oil.

4. IT IS about boosting US global power. Bush wants a world subordinated to US interests, where multinational corporations can plunder the globe without obstacle.

In 1998 a US government report called The Long Range Plan argued: 'The gap between 'have' and 'have-not' nations will widen, creating regional unrest. 'The United States will remain the only nation able to project power globally.'

The report called for the build-up of 'war fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict' to 'protect US interests and investment'. US rulers want to show that anyone who dares to challenge their power will be punished.

The US bombed the Amariya air raid shelter in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War, with hundreds of civilians trapped inside. Up to 1,000 were slaughtered

5. IT IS not about eliminating 'weapons of mass destruction'. The US has by far the biggest stockpile of deadly weapons in the world. The US has 10,600 nuclear warheads. All the other powers on the UN Security Council have vast stocks of nuclear weapons.

It is the only state which has used nuclear weapons in war, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing a quarter of a million people. The US has built and tested anthrax bombs and it has built facilities in Nevada that could produce biological weapons. It has more than a million munitions, armed with 31,000 tons of chemical weapons including mustard gas.

6. IT IS not going to end terrorism. On the contrary the war will make terrorist attacks more likely in the future. The war will create more of the bloodshed, oppression, desperation and poverty which drives people to commit terrorist acts.

There is absolutely no evidence that has proved that Iraq had anything to do with the 11 September hijackers. Every attempt by Bush to prove a link has been discredited. Bob Baer, a former CIA agent who specialised in Al Qaida, says, 'I'm unaware of any evidence of Saddam pursuing terrorism against the United States.'

7. THE US and Britain will not bring democracy to Iraq. They have never brought freedom to people whose countries they have invaded. The defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan brought more devastation to the shattered people there. The US and its allies dropped more than 10,000 tons of bombs on Afghanistan. These killed more civilians than died in the World Trade Centre.

Most of the country is still under the control of rival warlords. Government ministers have been assassinated. The World Bank estimates it would cost $16 billion to rebuild Afghanistan. So far it has recieved only $70 million.

8. IT IS not about getting rid of tyrants. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant. But the US supports tyrants across the world. The US gives millions of military aid and full diplomatic support to Uzbekistan, which is just across the Caspian Sea from Iraq.

A UN agency found the regime guilty of 'systematic torture'. The British ambassador says, 'Brutality is inherent in the government.' In the Middle East the US and Britain have traditionally backed the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia where there is no democracy, women have no rights and beheading is still used as a punishment.

9. ISRAEL, NOT Iraq, is the one power in the Middle East that definitely has nuclear weapons targeted at all of its enemies. The US gives Israel $3 billion a year. In September 1986 Israeli scientist Mordechai Vanunu disclosed to the world that Israel had secretly produced up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Before the publication of this information, he was kidnapped by the Israeli secret service. At a secret trial in Israel he was convicted of treason and espionage, and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. The first 11 years were spent in solitary confinement. He is still in jail.

10. THE WEST supported Saddam Hussein whenever he was useful to their interests. In the 1980s Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was a key part of the project that saw the US supply the Iraqi military with viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague for use against Iraq's enemies.

'Rumsfeld travelled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on a daily basis,' reported the Washington Post earlier this year. Iraq used poison gas against Kurdish civilians in Halabja in 1988. Afterwards the US actually increased its support to Iraq. Only when Saddam Hussein stepped out of line by invading Kuwait did the US turn against him.

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