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Iraq: War and peace

What to do about Iraq? David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, writes pieces promoting peace. One, entitled "Policies rooted in arrogance are certain to fail", begins "These are difficult times for peace. Since the Bush administration assumed power in the United States, there has been a steady beating on the drums of war accompanied by a systematic undermining of the foundations of international law. The September 11th terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon bolstered the Bush administration's plans to secure US global military dominance through increased military budgets, deployment of missile defenses, development of more usable nuclear weapons and the weaponization of space. Congress has largely acquiesced in supporting these plans".

Politicians make politics out of the situation. Addressing a large Democratic rally, Senator John F. Kerry went through tbe usual ritual: first hyperbolic praise for the US to make the audience feel good, then praise for our brave troops in Afghanistan. Then came a denunciation of all kinds to military decisions there, as though it were the fault of the Republican administration. While the decision to invade Afghanistan was made by the Bush administration, the detailed operations were planned and conducted by military leaders, and to me they made sense, but not to Senator Kerry. One weakness of our system is that even matters of war and peace become political footballs. This was evident in the House of Commons when the Conservative Party tried to score points in the debate over violence in Northern Ireland.

The cover of The Economist (8/3-9/02) has a banner headline "The case for war", and that is to title of its first leader, with the subtitle "If you wish the end, it is only honest to wish the means" After a careful discussion of the issue, it concludes: "The honest choices now are to give up and give in, or to remove Mr. Hussein before he gets his bomb. Painful as it is, our vote is for war". The Economist is not a tool of the Bush administration nor indeed of the US. Indeed, some WAISers have quite unfairly accused it of being anti-American. It is an extremely well-informed journal edited by responsible people. It is possible that an attack on Iraq would find Britain alongside the US, with France, Germany, and some other governments adopting a critical stance. This does not mean that the the pro-war position is necessarily correct. Appearing before a Senate committee discussing Iraq, Casper Weinberger was very hawkish. Some years ago, when Mexico seemed to be shaky, he suggested that the US might have to intervene. There are individuals whose solution to all such problems is to intervene militarily. Some hawks point to Grenada as an example of successful intervention, but Iraq is not Grenada. WAISers certainly will not be unanimous in their views and counsel.

Ronald Hilton - 8/3/02