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Let them drink Coke
Journal of a Futurist - 12 April 2003
Proud to be a Peacenik
Lets be honest. The fall of a tyrant is a moment of bliss, no matter how it happens. The world is well rid of Saddam Hussein. Dancing in the streets as the statues tumbled was a joy to behold, as brief as it was. And as staged as it was. In the morning, the hangover. The rough justice of the White House leaves a trail of gore. As I write, Iraq burns, hospitals are plundered, terrified citizens arm against mobs and wail, now we face a thousand Saddam Husseins.
The gloating of Donald Rumsfelds turns to rage. He damns the non embedded media for failing to focus on sergeants kissing babies. Its just a little untidy, he says, as we watch a street mob murder a teenager. I am stunned by tonights footage of a deeply traumatised boy in Bagdad who is carried to a hospital in his fathers arms, only to find the gates locked. Other hospitals overflow with weeping, limbless children. It is the second day of liberation.
What do the Iraqis really think? That the cost is too high, say some. Worth every shattered bone, say others. My own opinion counts for little, but youll get it anyway. The fall of Hussein is likely to brighten the long term future of the Iraqis. The rise of super-tech warlords is likely to darken the prospect of creating a fair, diverse & sustainable world. If the Bush White House achieves its goal of forging another American Century, at whatever cost, welcome to Texas justice forever.
Reasons to be cheerful - and morose
Heres a few reasons to feel good about having opposed the American War machine:
- Without your massive, worldwide protests, the bloodbath would have been bloodier, the marines even more trigger-happy.
- Despite its Kodak moment, the war remains illegal and unscrupulous; its legacy a danger to the world. Any nation is now fair game. You played your part in protesting the doctrine of pre-emptive strike.
- The weeding out of prohibited weapons was proceeding apace, without the need to slaughter children. Along with the proposed addition of UN troops, the inspection teams could have evolved into a surgical wedge for toppling the tyrant from within. Hans Blix: "We had the door slammed in our faces. I had a sense before the (US) decision to go to war, they were irritated by our work. Instead, the White House has reinforced the option of military invasion as an acceptable instrument of national policy - something the world will come to regret. You can tell your children you marched to find alternative ways to resolve global conflicts.
Dont Mention the Uniforms
The war is waged with lies and tricks. To this day, almost 50 per cent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein was a key instigator of 9/11. (Thats why the US flag that was briefly draped across Saddams teetering face in Fardus Square is the very one that was flying over the Pentagon on the day of the September attacks. Lucky it happened to be lying around. Strange too that the spontaneous upsurge of pro American fervour took place opposite the Palestine Hotel, a media barracks. Several of the enthusiastic Iraqi participants, it now turns out, are known associates of US forces see www.chicago.indymedia.org
The British were reduced to plagiarising a mouldy student essay to justify its fantasy that Saddam threatened London, (Tony Blair stole my homework). Leaks from peacenik insiders helped to expose such Orwellian tactics as the US bugging of Security Council members and the bribing of cash-strapped nations into token compliance. Despite claims of extraordinary precision, Iraqi hospitals are now rivers of blood in which childrens limbs are amputated without anaesthetics or even aspirin, just like in Afghanistan, (a dim memory for the West, but not to Afghanis). Weapons outlawed by global treaties, like cluster bombs and depleted uranium, were rained down upon the innocent with gusto. Hawks uphold cruelty. You stand for civilised values.
You also stand for common sense. Stars & stripes Baghdad will seed the future with hate.
Deluded apologists try to liken the conflict to World War 2. But the analogy only works in reverse. Iraq did not invade a small inferior power. We did. Even to call it a war is to claim a patina of legitimacy it doesnt deserve. More like an elephant sitting on a flea. True, the flea took a few bites, even without an air force, and got itself accused of contravening the Geneva Convention. Asked at a Pentagon press conference why it is OK for American commando troops to take off their uniforms, but a crime when the Iraqis do it, Defence Department hard hat, Victoria Clarke, deferred the question for a later answer. Were still waiting. Without the alertness of peaceniks on the web, such gems would rarely see the light of print.
The Kind of Mindset Running this War
Astute legal brains argue our invasion is a breach of UN resolution 1441. And it defied the known wishes of the majority of Security Council members, despite the bribes. This is relevant when it comes to pursuing war criminals. Only with continued peacenik pressure are we likely to see the spotlight put on atrocities committed by the Coalition. Despite all the talk of extraordinary precision, civilian casualties were excessive, whether at checkpoints, in the crossfire (The chick got in the way - a US Marine) in media centres, in residential areas. UK troops in the Iraqi southern port city of Umm Qasr set up mass graves in the city to cover up hard evidence of committing massacres that claimed the lives of some 200 Iraqis in the first days of the war, eyewitnesses reportedly told IslamOnline.net. They said the British left a lot of wounded Iraqis scattered across the streets without treatment, noting that the locals tried to treat them but were prevented by the UK soldiers. If so, this is a war crime. Who will prosecute it? While the Coalition refuses to count the dead, the peaceniks are keeping a tally.
According to the London Financial Times, April 11, a British official estimated that about 20,000-25,000 Iraqi soldiers had been killed in the three weeks of this conflict, mainly in what he described as "carnage" caused by coalition bombing. But given the scale of the destruction of the Iraqi army, this figure could well be an underestimate. Keep in mind that this army of supposed bogeymen was largely comprised of unwilling, starving conscripts, whose lives are of no less worth than that of rescued US prisoner of war, Jessica Lynch, soon to be a major motion picture.
Over and above highlighting Pentagon doubletalk, peaceniks play an important role in holding up the mirror to the kind of mindset that is running this war. It isnt pretty. When rumour had it that Saddam Hussein was skulking in a residential area of Baghdad, the US dropped its bombs of mass destruction without a moments thought for who was in harms way.
Over and above highlighting Pentagon doubletalk, peaceniks play an important role in holding up the mirror to the kind of mindset that is running this war. It isnt pretty. When rumour had it that Saddam Hussein was skulking in a residential area of Baghdad, the US dropped its bombs of mass destruction without a moments thought for who might be in harms way.
A young woman's severed head and torso and a small boy's body were pulled from a smoking crater carved into the earth by four U.S. bombs, so powerful they yanked orange trees from their roots, reported Hamza Hendawi of Associated Press. When the broken body of the 20-year-old woman was brought out torso first, then the head, her mother started crying uncontrollably, then collapsed.
Saddams whereabouts remaining unknown. Asked about this mishap, Victoria Clarke, the US defence departments gritty answer to Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf , replied, "I don't think that matters very much. I'm not losing sleep trying to figure out if he was in there." She may not have lost any sleep, but she has certainly lost her humanity. Victorias secret, and those of her colleagues, is that she has entered the war machines matrix, the zone of the emotionally dead.
The role of the peacenik is to prevent this disease from becoming a plague.
Richard Nevilles juicy paperpack, AmeriKa Psycho is available now from http://www.amazon.com