Lies & Greed Behind the Illegal War
By Brian Reade
WITH every passing day it becomes clear that the muddled thinking behind this illegal assault on Iraq is based on lies, greed and ignorance.
That the argument for the invasion is so morally weak and the objectives so vague, that the only justification left is that it has to be right because Our Boys are there.
How patronising and incalculably dangerous that logic seems, especially if your loved one is now scrambling through the desert.
What an admission that the war is being packaged in myth and sold by deceit. And nowhere has that become more clear than in the language used to flog it.
Washington claimed Iraq would be crushed by a new doctrine called Minimum Lethal Force. Or MLF. Attempt to de-construct that phrase in your head without laughing, or crying. Try to work out how, when it comes to war, you can use the word minimum to soften the word lethal. Then realise they are actually saying Not Quite Hiroshima.
Think of those other euphemisms that insult both the English language and human dignity. Collateral Damage and Friendly Fire. Then remember how much of it we have seen in so few days.
Coalition fire and accidents has claimed 16 British servicemen and an ITV camera crew. America has lost five. A US missile has hit a bus full of Syrian workers as they tried to flee Iraq, killing five and injuring 10. Thirty-three Kurds were murdered as a stray bomb hit a village in Kurdistan. Two Tomahawk cruise missiles have landed in Turkey and American rockets have landed in Iran.
It's shocking all right. But not very awesome.
That is before we count the hundreds of Iraqi civilians maimed and killed by that wonderfully benign doctrine MLF. And we are still only softening Baghdad up for the real horrors.
Donald Rumsfeld said his heart breaks when he hears of friendly fire and collateral damage. We all share the heartbreak but some of us also dredge up the facts.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Syrian civilian with his arm blown off after a US missile hit a bus full of workers
DURING the first Gulf War, 24 per cent of American deaths (35 servicemen) were caused by their own friendly fire.
As for collateral damage who can forget last year's slaughter at the wedding party in Afghanistan? Or the 64 Albanian refugees who were killed on tractors as they fled Kosovo?
And after every one of these incidents the same excuse is trotted out. That there has never been a "eath-free war".
Well why then did Bush and Blair sell this as one while they tried to arm-twist authorisation for it through the United ations?
The ambiguous language and the unsure notion of where America's WMDs another beauty) should be landing, fits in perfectly with the ill-defined nature of the conflict. Even the American convoy which was captured ended up in Iraqi hands because the driver thought the area he was turning into was under Allied control. Well when you control only areas of sand it is an easy enough mistake to make.
The Allies are telling us they have taken towns and cities, then having to go back and re-take them. And you wonder how well this bodes for any peace. How easy it will be for guerrillas to wage a constant war for many years to come, with our soldiers having to take these bombs and bullets. And for what?
In the south of Iraq the coalition says it is suffering major setbacks due to the unforeseen level of resistance among soldiers and civilians. Why didn't their intelligence predict this?
Meanwhile in the north, the nightmare scenario of Turkey invading Kurdistan is unfolding, and with it a legality that Washington cannot question. According to the Turks they are simply carrying out a pre-emptive strike on a hostile people. Now where have we heard before?
This is the mess you end up in when your cause is neither just nor legal. When contemptuous arrogance and blind stupidity makes a superpower believe that because it has the technology, the fire-power and the dollars to buy off the little guys, its might will prevail.
That simply turning up on Third World soil with promises to re-build the country in your image after you have destroyed it, guarantees you the moral high ground and the spoils of victory.
It was exactly what America thought in Vietnam - that is before the body-bags kept being sent home in their thousands.
Suddenly having Their Boys over there seemed the worst justification of all.