Discussion Forum

Against the war

Posted by Simon Stewart,
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

'I'm sorry but the chick was in the way.'

'The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy.'

The comments above by Marines of our putative ally in this illegal war should have you worried. The Vietnamese were 'gooks', Arabs are now 'hajis' - if first you want to kill, dehumanise. It is not the language and attitudes of small town, down home hicks that scares me but their very fearsome firepower backed up by artillery and air support. This will not be their over vaunted and not quite as accurate, as claimed, PGMs (precision guided munitions) but the brute force of bracketed artillery and nervy pilots skipping around in the air avoiding flak while they fire their rockets; not forgetting what fire support and covering fire those on the ground in the confusion of a small action, or firefight, will be using. The Americans will be brutal in their use of force and it will be ricochet around the Arab world very quickly due to the excellent and, often, very brave work of the journalists and camera people of Al-Jazeerah. It's the way they fight, the Americans. Not that this use of the brutal will be unwelcome in the neo-conservative court that surrounds Bush and formulates his foreign policy. It wants to scare. It is already thumping the table at Syria and Iran.

Any 'restraint' that the British Army in southern Iraq is showing will be thoroughly eclipsed by American means, not that this matters that much. We are, after all, already thoroughly tarred with the same brush of arrogant imperialism and hypocrisy by having acted in concert with the US. On the Arab street, we are the second most hated nation on the planet. Making us a more likely recipient of future terror outrages as we further alienate and polarise the Arab mass than if we had kept well out of it. The coalition against terrorism of post 9/11 that allowed Bush to get away with bombing Afghanistan, and overthrowing the Taliban, is dead, as are the intelligence and diplomatic contacts that came with it - the very material that could warn us of future terrorists attacks.

Now, I seem to remember our government throwing out a line out, even a concern, about the human rights of the people of Iraq. I wouldn't dwell here with the history of this hypocrisy. It has been quite adequately and often written on, and is easily researched. However, where exactly are the current human rights of the Iraqi people at this moment as they are bombed, blasted, starved and left without water! With the invasion what distribution of food and the medical there was will have, or will be breaking down. People are starving, thirsty and in a desperate straits; and it is going to get worse - especially if there is any siege. What came in on the Sir Galahad was a pittance of what is needed; the port that it came into is totally inadequate, in its handling capacity, to what will be needed. Also, the UN and NGOs will not want to put their people at risk yet, or want to be seen as the food corps of an invasion. Just pray that this new contagion, SARS, from the Far East does not reach the Middle East because in the current situation of war, in Iraq, it will be devastating. A concern for human rights was just another piece of a mendacious jigsaw with which to justify what is actually a massive, wholesale denial of them. That is what war is, an attack on human rights.

'Two British soldiers lie dead on a Basra roadway, a small Iraqi girl - victim of an Anglo American air strike - is brought to hospital with her intestines spilling out of her stomach, a terribly wounded woman screams in agony as doctors take off her black dress.' Robert Fisk, Independent (28th March' 03).