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        by LINDA HEARD

Time to become an even finer generation


   With war clouds ominously looming over the world's most ancient civilization, and the planet's leaders demanding that the Iraqi president hand over his weapons - not only his weapons of mass destruction but also medium-range missiles - leaving his nation vulnerable, nobody is asking this question: why on earth should he? Why should Iraq be singled out?

    Imagine that America or Britain had been the object of United Nations sanctions for 12 years leading to the deaths of more than half a million children and babies. Imagine that Western countries had to put up with international weapons inspectors crawling all over them for years, including enemy spies. How would you feel if the Iraqis had been regularly dropping bombs on Alaska and Florida, or Inverness and Cornwall for a decade while the world pretends not to notice?


    Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and Iraqis and their allies were surrounding the US or Britain with hundreds of thousands of service personnel wielding state-of-the-art weapons, and refusing to rule out the use of nukes. You can't can you? It could only happen to poor, weak third world countries not to 'proud' nations like ours.


    Ask yourselves these questions: Would the US, Britain or Israel lead UN and IAEA inspectors to their stocks of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons? Would Britain let Iraqi spy planes crisscross over its skies? Would the White House or Downing Street submit to their very own scientists flying off to a third country to be interrogated or to allow inspectors to rummage under the beds of their sick wives? The answer is of course not.


     "Ah, but that's different", I hear you muttering. "Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds and has used chemical weapons on his Iranian foes". You are right, he did. But is he any worse than a succession of American leaders who were responsible for crimes against humanity and horrendous death tolls in Japan and South East Asia? Brutal dictator he may be, but when he was the West’s very own brutal dictator, he received Washington’s seal of approval.


    Is he worse than those stalwarts of Britain's upper crust who rudely carved up the Middle East and brutally subjugated hundreds of millions on the Indian subcontinent? Is he so very far apart from Ariel Sharon who was found by an Israeli commission to have been responsible for the murder of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and who is even today slaughtering them in their thousands on the West Bank and Gaza (over 2,000 to date)?


    I can hear you muttering, ’yes, but he invaded his neighbour. He can’t be trusted. He certainly did - some believe after a wink and a nod from America’s former ambassador to Iraq - and nobody in their right mind can defend that. But the question is: has he aggressed anyone since his humiliating defeat in 1991? No, he has not. Instead he has been trying to rejoin the world community, get the crippling sanctions lifted, and he has even ’kissed and made up’ with Kuwait during the Arab League Summit held in Beirut last year.


    What is clear is that there is one rule for the Superpower, its satellite Tony Blair's Britain, and its protectorate Israel but there is quite another for everyone else. There is no moral high ground in their aggressive stance. There is no justice. Just a hotchpotch of propaganda, and paranoia-inducing rhetoric designed to elicit fear in the populace. Bush, Blair and Sharon are the ultimate conmen and we are their victims. All three are presently engaged in planning the theft of oil and/or land under cover of protecting us from the ubiquitous enemy.



Dancing a diplomatic minuet


    The Bush-Blair combo is determined to go to war with or without a credible pretext. By the time you read this the daisy cutters, J-dams and even missiles with bunker busting nuclear warheads could be raining down from the sky onto Baghdad.  They would, of course, prefer to do this with the blessing of the world community and they are currently dancing a diplomatic minuet in the UN, but at the end of the day they will probably simply say 'to heck with the lot of you' and go ahead anyway. In the unlikely event they are restrained by the international community, led by France, Germany and Russia, this will signal a huge victory for the innate decency of humankind.


    The UN itself has been the object of the American president's derision and it constantly been put under threat of being deemed irrelevant. Bush warned the UN not to become ’an empty debating society’ if it didn’t bend to his will.


     American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has described Jacques Chirac and Gerhardt Schroeder as being of 'Old Europe' while the Potentate of Poodlestan has labeled his detractors as treasonous. As I write there are millions of anti-war demonstrators gathering in most of the world’s cities, people who have never joined a protest march before. Can these students, lawyers, teachers, carpenters, religious leaders, grannies and children all be traitors?


    George Bush has called the opposition among the Democrats as unpatriotic and going by all the statements emanating from the Oval Office and Downing Street, there is no doubt that Bush and Blair are on the same page when it comes to Iraq.


    What page is that exactly? There are various interpretations of this. According to the incoherent Texan, Saddam Hussein with his deadly arsenal is a danger to the entire world, while Britain's own smooth talking Prince of Spin concurs.


    This motley pair, however, appear little bothered by the real threat looming over the planet, which is Kim Jong-Il of North Korea. Kim is a peculiar character who actually does have nuclear weapons, the missiles with which to deliver them to Los Angeles, Alaska, Hawaii and London, and has threatened the US with their use, as well as neighbouring South Korea and Japan.


    ”If you call me 'evil' again I'll make you eat your words” is Kim's reaction to being included in the evil Axis. In Bush's State of the Union address earlier this year, he stopped short of referring to the Korean leader as 'evil' but his personal attacks on the North Korean regime were just as venomous. Incredibly they come just when Japan, South Korea and China are attempting to resolve the crises through diplomat means.


    Saddam Hussein, the dictator who Bush accuses of representing an imminent threat to the entire world, has opened his doors to weapons inspectors. However, they've failed to produce anything other than a dozen rusting warheads, and an out-of-date document on laser technology. The Iraqi leader has made it clear that he doesn't want to attack anyone and his neighbours believe him. So, why not let sleeping Saddams lie?


    The answer is clear. This planned invasion of Iraq has nothing at all to do with threats that Iraq will radiate the planet or spread smallpox in downtown Seattle. The inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei have said as much in front of the UN Assembly, although you would hardly realize that by the way their words have been twisted, turned and taken out of context by American Secretary of State Colin Powell and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.


    The 'Great Leader of the Universe', on the other hand, didn't even bother to twist and turn, preferring to totally manipulate the truth. All of a sudden, we the people are expected to believe that Saddam Hussein is buddy-buddy with Osama bin Laden (remember him?). Bush and his neo-conservative gang tried this tactic immediately after 9-11 and failed dismally. Now that their accusations that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction isn’t panning out in the way they would like, up they pop with a regurgitated Al Queda linkage.


    Conveniently, Al Jazeera broadcasts a message from Bin Laden urging Moslems to join with their Iraqi brethren in fighting the imperialist forces, and, voila, according to Bush and Powell, they are in cahoots. Never mind that Bin Laden is a Wahhabi who has called Hussein ’an apostate’ and his government made up of communists. On the Western media this part of the tape was carefully edited out.


    It is now patently clear that Bush will distort the truth to back up his self-serving agenda. But Bush isn’t the only one. Tony Blair still has a red face from his so-called intelligence dossier, termed as ’exquisite’ by Powell, which relied on the work of an Arab-American post-graduate student lifted off the Internet, typos and all. Worse, this document had been embellished by Blair’s spin-doctors to paint the Iraqi regime in a lurid light. Here, we have a mix of deceit and incompetence.


    Let's face it. In the event that Britain and America knew that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and wished to launch them on an unsuspecting world, would they be treating that country with so much disrespect? No, they would not.


    The glaring truth is that the Bush administration, backed by Whitehall, is on an oil grab. They know it, we know it and the Iraqis certainly know it. Non-Opec oil is dwindling fast, a fact, which lends far more importance to the rich deposits of black gold under the soil of Iraq, the second largest in the world.


    Lending credence to this argument is the President's own words during his State of the Union address. He stressed that he wanted America to be less reliant on foreign energy sources and wants to devote 1.2 billion dollars to fund research on hydrogen-powered automobiles. The implication is that in the meantime, Iraqi oil will do just fine. With Pasha Tommy Franks as Iraq’s Grand Wazir for at least two years, Iraqis will be lucky to pick up the loose change from their energy exports.


    Now that there is such a large allied force in the Gulf, the world's richest energy resources are under Washington's control. This strangulation of the region not only insures that gas-guzzling America can continue enjoying cheap petrol but could only mean that the expansion of 'strategic competitors' (to use a Bushism) like China could be curtailed at the whim of the White House.



Showdown at the Crawford Corral


    Another spin-off from an invasion would be the 'display of power and might' factor. Experts say that the Pentagon's war plan includes bombarding Iraq with more missiles in one day than the total expended during the entire duration of the Gulf War. If the Iraqis aren't cowering in their boots after that then they can expect more of the same until they discard their footwear and run for the dunes.


    Iraq would serve as the perfect testing ground for new weapons too. There are plans to test new microwave technology, designed to render the enemy's electronic weapons as useless. Experts have suggested that bunker busting nuclear warheads could be part of the Pentagon's armoury. If the campaign goes as planned by the hawks in the form of a short Blitzkrieg, like the fastest gun in the Old West, the US would reign supreme over all of us.


    Anyone who sashayed into the Crawford Corral wanting a showdown at dawn would be terminated before he could utter 'pretzel anyone?' 'Naturally, though, Britain's Blair, the trusty sidekick, would be allowed to flex his puny muscles and bask in the ensuing, Bush-approved, benefits, including, perhaps, a place on the board of Carlyle like his Prime Ministerial predecessor John Major.


    But like in the Old West, there is always somebody out there who is even more ruthless, someone who will not shirk from shooting his enemy in the back or someone with an even faster draw. George Bush and his cohorts are creating the soil in which contenders for top gun will flourish. He is virtually saying to America's foes: 'Come and get us. We are invincible'.


    Sadly, Mr. Bush, no individual and no nation is invincible forever. Unless you stop creating enemies where none exist, and fuelling the flames of anti-Americanism around the world, then the day will come when you too will be challenged by a merciless opponent... and another... and another.


    Come on Americans and Britons. Let's see your mettle. Our grandfathers and great- grandfathers who swallowed mud in the World War I trenches have been designated 'the finest generation'. Let's show the world that we are just as fine and we will not allow egomaniacal greedy leaders to endanger the very existence of humanity in our name.


Linda Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be reached at: freenewsreport@yahoo.com



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