Socialist Worker

Don't believe Bush and Blair's lies about war

Issue No. 1822

1. 'THE THREAT comes from Iraq. It is a great danger to our nation.' George Bush

THE US's own intelligence agency, the CIA, says that is wrong. CIA director George Tenet issued a letter on 7 October stating that Iraq 'appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or chemical and biological weapons against the US'.

Tenet also quoted a 'senior intelligence witness' testifying in closed hearings on 2 October to the US Senate Intelligence Committee. He said, 'My judgement would be that the probability of Saddam Hussein initiating an attack in the foreseeable future would be low.' George Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice admits that for Iraq to even think about attacking other countries would be suicidal. She says, 'If they do acquire weapons of mass destruction their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.' Bush is lying about Saddam Hussein. It is a disgrace that Tony Blair echoes him every time.

2. 'THE IRAQI regime possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.' George Bush

THE INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) is charged by the United Nations with monitoring Iraq's nuclear capability. It visited Iraq earlier this year. In June IAEA director general Dr Mohamed El Baradei said, 'There are no indications that Iraq has nuclear weapons, weapons-usable material or the practical capabilities to produce them.'

Tony Blair and George Bush claim Iraq 'could' produce nuclear weapons with outside help. So could any country. There is also no evidence that Iraq now has the major industrial facilities needed to produce chemical or biological weapons - of the kind Britain has at its Porton Down weapons site or the US has in Nevada. The US claims it has evidence of industrial facilities being built to produce chemical and biological weapons. Iraq offered the US itself direct access to these sites last week. The US refused the offer.

3. 'IRAQ AND the Al Qaida terrorist network had high level contacts. Iraq trained Al Qaida members.' George Bush

A PRESS story appeared last October claiming that Mohammed Atta, one of the 11 September hijackers, had met Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmad Khalil Al Ani.

On 1 May this year the Washington Post cited 'a senior US administration official' saying 'there is no evidence' to support the story. George Bush claims that a 'very senior Al Qaida leader received medical treatment in Baghdad this year'. The man is Abu Musab Zarqawi. There is no evidence that he is connected in any way to the 11 September attacks. He was arrested in Jordan last year, but released without charge.

4. 'THE LIVES of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban.' George Bush

THE US victory over the Taliban has brought more devastation to the people of Afghanistan. The US and its allies dropped more than 10,000 tonnes of bombs on Afghanistan.

These killed more civilians than died in the World Trade Centre. Most of the country is now under the control of rival warlords. Government ministers have been assassinated and Hamid Karzai, the US-backed president, recently survived an assassination attempt. Seven million people are on the verge of starvation. The World Bank estimates it will cost $16 billion to rebuild Afghanistan over the next ten years. Donors have pledged $5 billion by July 2004. So far only $45 million has reached the Afghan people.

5. 'IRAQ HAS answered a decade of United Nations demands with a decade of defiance. Are UN resolutions to be honoured or cast aside without consequence?' George Bush

ISRAEL, the US's key ally in the Middle East, has defied far more UN resolutions than Iraq. Israeli settlers ethnically cleansed 750,000 Arabs from Palestine in 1948. The UN resolution calling for their right to return home has been passed 28 times. Israel has ignored it every time. UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for Israel's withdrawal from the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza which it conquered in 1967. It is still there. UN Security Council Resolution 446 declares Israel's settlements in the Occupied Territories illegal. There are now around 400,000 Israeli settlers on Palestinian land. George Bush has also torn up the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, blocked a treaty to ban biological weapons and unilaterally amended an agreement over chemical weapons to give the US president a veto.

6. 'SADDAM HUSSEIN is a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people.' George Bush

SADDAM HUSSEIN is a dictator. But the US backed him for many years. The US army helped Iraq pinpoint Iranian positions for poison gas attacks during the 1980s war between the two countries. The New York Times says the US 'provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war'.

Donald Rumsfeld, now defence secretary, flew to Baghdad to shake hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983. Iraq used poison gas against Kurdish civilians in Halabja in 1988. The US increased its support to Iraq in the wake of this crime. Only when Saddam Hussein stepped out of line by invading Kuwait did the US turn against him.


The war is about oil and boosting US power

THE REAL aim of the US war drive is to use its overwhelming military power to show it can enforce its will anywhere on the globe. By removing Saddam Hussein the US hopes to show that any state which does not bow down before it faces destruction.

Bush has signalled he has others in his sights. His 'axis of evil' list was Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Other 'rogue' states include Syria, Libya and Cuba. In the longer term the US is preparing to challenge China. The oil-rich Middle East is a key objective for the US. That is not just about ensuring US supplies of oil, but also about the US having a stranglehold over those supplies. This will allow it to dominate other potential economic rivals which depend on the oil - such as Europe, China or Japan.

Dick Cheney is George Bush's vice-president. As defence secretary under Bush's father in 1992 he spelt out the US's global strategy: 'Our strategy must now focus on precluding the emergence of any potential future competitor.'

The US National Security Strategy, published last month, argues that the US must use its 'unparalleled military strength' to fight for the 'single sustainable model' of 'free enterprise' across the world. 'The only path to peace and security is the path of action,' Bush said in June this year. And that meant being 'ready for pre-emptive action' anywhere in the world.

A US Space Command report, The Long Range Plan, called for the US to build up 'war fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict' to 'protect US interests and investment'. US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee, 'The US must be able to impose terms including the occupation of an adversary's territory and change of its regime.'


On anti-war day we can all do something

THE 400,000-strong anti-war demonstration in London on 28 September showed growing numbers of people oppose Bush and Blair's war plans. Many people who did not go on that protest will want to do something now. Recent opinion polls show over 40 percent against war. Others are unsure, but open to being convinced.

If anti-war activists put our arguments as widely as possible we can mobilise enough people to make it impossible for Blair to continue backing Bush. That would be a real blow to the US war plans. The Stop the War Coalition has called for 31 October to be an anti-war day across Britain.

  • Raise the issue of the war in your workplace or college NOW.
  • Hold debates, film showings and meetings to get the anti-war message across.
  • Get as many people as possible wearing anti-war stickers and badges.
  • On the day itself organise activities against the war.
  • Students can hold protest occupations.
  • Leaflet train and bus stations in the morning.
  • Hold lunchtime meetings or protests at or near workplaces.
  • Hang banners out of office windows.
  • At 6pm on 31 October organise people to gather in town centres for mass protests to ensure the anti-war message hits home in every corner of Britain.


The United Nations under pressure from the US

'US PLANS Military Rule And Occupation Of Iraq' was the Guardian's headline last Saturday. The report confirmed that the people who cluster around Bush would like to see invasion followed by the rule of a Pentagon general. The model would be the administrations imposed on Germany and Japan after the Second World War.

The occupation of Iraq would require an estimated 75,000 troops - including British forces - at an annual cost of up to £10 billion. Many people hope that the United Nations (UN) can be used to stop an attack on Iraq.

Others believe that if the UN backs war then it could be OK. The UN cannot be trusted to stop Bush and Blair. It is dominated by the five main powers - the US, France, Britain, Russia and China. They are all willing to use brutal methods to get their way. When they act together they are no less brutal.

China, Russia and France are engaged in a deadly oil carve-up with the US over Iraq. They want to make sure they still have access to Iraq's vast oil reserves before giving UN blessing to war.

China and Russia have been pursuing their own 'war on terror' over the last year. China has stepped up repression of minorities who want independence. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has tightened the savage repression against the Chechen people.

The US has turned a blind eye to this in return for Russia and China backing Bush's 'war on terror'. It recently placed a pro-independence Uighur Muslim organisation in China on its 'Foreign Terrorist Organisation List'. States outside the Security Council also come under intense US pressure. The US has a military presence in 120 of the 189 UN member states.

For more information and publicity materials from the Stop the War Coalition phone 020 7053 2155/6 or go to www.stopwar.org.uk


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Features
Sat 19 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1822
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