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If it's good for the US, it's good for the world
Journal of a Futurist - 28 January 2003
Get'n ready for a good ole Texan BBQ
The commentators agree that George Bush delivered a masterful speech. Yet the telly-grabs were specious and sick making. Perhaps you had to be there, thrusting to your feet at every flourish, swept up in the hysteria, a Bushie baying for blood. Saddam has such an evil mind, boy George told a later meeting, that he is beyond the reach of therapy. Could this condition also apply to those in the Whitehouse? Few villains are conscious of their villainy.
Take the US plan to bring Iraq to its knees within 48 hours, by unleashing 800 missiles upon its citizens. Well dispirit the inhabitants of Baghdad, notes, Harlan Ullman, architect of the mad plan, and knock out the lights, water and sewage rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima. Ullmans strategy is entitled shock and awe, and you cant argue with that. Its shocking. Its awful. Its evil.
Such a bombardment is more than double the missiles used in the 40 day Gulf war, from which Baghdads infrastructure still hasnt recovered. Sanctions imposed by the west and recently enforced by Australian navy vessels with a degree of brutality, prevent repairs. The water is toxic, sewers fetid, power precarious, medicines scarce. A 1998 report by the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) found that the impact of sanctions accounted for 7500 excess civilian deaths per month, most of them children. That amounts to 250 deaths per day, ten per hour.
Our Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sanctions
The ban on chlorine means that water cannot be purified. Pencils are seized because the graphite might be used to coat planes. Syringes are banned in case they are used in the manufacture of anthrax. Pumps are embargoed for fear of military application, resulting in untreated sewage flowing into the streets and the further spread of deadly diseases. On and on the list goes, this murder by stealth. (For further details on this and other hidden scandals, see the Links page). Prior to the Gulf War, WHO reported 93% access to high-quality healthcare in Iraq. Today, the country suffers the highest rate of infant mortality in the world.
Despite this, under US pressure, the number of items forbidden has been drastically increased. How many Iraqis does the Pentagon wish to punish, in order to sublimate its anger at Osama bin Laden? (Strange, this time his name wasnt mentioned by Bush. Instead of smoked out, hes been blocked out.) Dont mention therapy.
According to Richard Garfield, Professor of Nursing at Columbia University and an expert on sanctions "even if you cut conservative estimates in half, there are still more excess deaths in sanctions-related deaths than from all people involved in the Gulf War who died, military and civilian, from every country". But this is still not enough.
George Bush wants to tighten the screws on Iraqis even more, as he heralds war. But the war has never stopped. The illegal no-fly zones imposed on Iraq by Britain and the US since the Gulf War have caused numerous air strikes. How many? Cant say, theyre rarely reported. Almosy daily, some suggest. The subject is taboo. Just like the activities of Western special forces in past months, covertly spreading mayhem in Iraq.
Sparing the Innocent, any way we can
You may be wondering at the image above, from the Gulf War. It was taken on the Highway of Death, the road from Kuwait to Basra, at a time the Iraqi soldiers were in full official retreat. The Geneva Convention of 1949, common article 3, outlaws the killing of soldiers who "are out of combat." In compliance with UN Resolution 660, Saddam Hussein had already ordered a complete withdrawal from Kuwait. Gallant lads that they are, the U.S. bomber pilots disabled the vehicles at the front and rear of the retreating convoy, then rained down hell on the sitting trucks for as long as it took . In the end, over 2,000 vehicles and tens of thousands of charred and dismembered bodies littered the sixty miles of highway. According to one source (see Links page), the clear rapid incineration of the figure pictured above suggests the use of napalm, phosphorus, or other incendiary bombs, which are outlawed under the 1977 Geneva Protocols. It is further understood that many of those killed were Palestinian and Kuwaiti civilians. Remember this when you peruse yesterdays address, about sparing the innocent in every way we can. It is with good reason that the Pentagon is averse to an International Criminal Court.
On a less depressing note, it seems as if Uncle Sams mask of sanity is slipping. Thanks largely to the free flow of information and argument on the web, the citizens of America, Britain and Australia are beginning to voice their concerns. In Australia, the coalition is diverse, despite a hawkish media, blood lusting pundits, Rupert Murdoch and a Prime Minister who thinks hes fending off the Vietcong. (I loved Bob Dylans music, but I hated his lyrics- John Howard). Our organisations of teachers, doctors, veterans, etc, are voicing their opposition to the war. Can accountants be far behind? For the first time since his spell as the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Cream has made a meaningful utterance. (To our troops: You shouldnt be going.)
Heroes of the Hour
To others caravanning to Baghdad, I say, God bless you, though Gods probably too busy blessing Americans, if the Whitehouse is to be believed. Accept my humble blessing then, you absurdly brave, foolhardy travellers to a hellhole: Gordon Sloan, Ruth Russel, Edward Cranswick, the Reverend Neville Watson and hundreds more, protesting the wrongs of this war under banner of human shields, citizens ahead of their time, their lives on the line.
On Australia Day I found myself, unexpectedly, at an antiwar rally in Byron Bay, our sun drenched touchy feely paradise. How different the atmosphere at the local war memorial from the hate filled ranting of the Vietnam marches. All kinds of views were heard, including that of a brave young man with an Australian flag, declaring he was a patriot and reminding us to wish Godspeed to our boys on the battleship. A cool Anglican Minister curbed incipient anti Americanism by reminding us not to blame the whole tribe, because one of its members commits an atrocity, and then held the crowd with his guitar. No-one took the slightest notice of our PMs urgings to mouth an oath of allegiance. The only desire this crowd was interested in expressing the kind to which all Governments are blind is to be the patriots of humankind.