On the Eve of War, Once Again

On the eve of another war, Norman Mailer has it right: "We are a conservative property-loving nation obsessed with the passion to destroy other nations’ property."

Sure enough, the four horsemen of the apocalypse – war, famine, disease and death will be strewn across Iraq for second time by the world’s most powerful nation. And once again, the assault is on a small Third World country. In the first Iraqi war under George Bush I, some 200,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the desert by one of the most intensive bombings in history. Most of the victims were conscripts, in what was less a war than a slaughter. A typical example came at the war’s end when thousands of Iraqi soldiers were desperately retreating back to Iraq. U.S. warplanes using cluster bombs mercilessly slaughtered them. Journalists on the scene labeled this carnage the "Highway of Death." An American pilot said, "It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

The bombing under George Bush I left much of Iraq’s infrastructure in ruins, resulting in widespread disease and hunger. The harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after the military assault has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians according to UN figures. The war on terrorism was supposed to root out the organizers of the 9/11 atrocities on the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon. But the Bush team has provided no concrete evidence that Iraq was involved. None of the hijackers were from Iraq.

George Bush II tells the UN that war is justified because Iraq has ignored one UN resolution after another. But so has Israel, and they receive billions of dollars from this country every year while they ignore UN resolutions and continue their illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. We must demand that the United Nations be the judge of any military action and other war/peace issues. And this means real UN action voted by all member states, and not more manipulation of the Security Council by the U.S. to have the UN rubber stamp its actions.

Everyone wants the criminals responsible for the 9/11 atrocity to be caught, brought to justice, and permanently put our of the terror business. However, bombing Iraq will not achieve this. What it will do is recruit more terrorists, while killing and maiming thousands of innocent civilians, and add to the list of countries subjected to American bombing and firepower. This list is staggering in number: Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Sudan, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Iraq. And note they are all small and mostly poor countries.

In 1967, Nobel Peace Laureate Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own country." Thirty – five years later in an interview with Newsweek, another Nobel Peace Laureate, and respected statesman, Nelson Mandela, stated: "The U.S. is a threat to world peace." Regarding Bush’s dismissal of Iraq’s decision to accept UN inspectors, Mandela said: ""What right has (Bush) to come and say that the offer is not genuine. We must condemn that very strongly. That is why I criticize most leaders, all over the world, for keeping quiet when one country wants to bully the whole world." As we stand on the eve of yet another war, it’s important to protest, demonstrate, and demand that Congress act responsibly by restraining the Bush team of perpetual warriors. Resolution of this problem requires diplomacy, cooperation, the United Nations, and for a change, wisdom rather than threats and war.

Read more by Douglas Mattern