The war in Iraq
I do not believe that the current invasion on Iraq is justifiable, I firmly believe that the major motive in this conflict is oil despite the claim by our leaders that regime change is the reason. If removing Saddam was the plan they would have done this already.
In fact they could have done this during the last Gulf war, it certainly would have been more effective and they also had the backing of the UN in that event.
Many people will say that Saddam is an evil dictator, and they are right, however so is KIM Chong-il in North Korea and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe just to name two. America has been setting up dictators since the secession of Panama from Colombia in 1903.
North korea is much more dangerous, for everything the USA is claiming Iraq is doing, North Korea is jumping up and down saying "we are doing that".
Why is the US unwilling to look at North Korea?
The Bush Administration is claiming that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Before the original UNSCOM inspectors were ordered out of Iraq in 1997 (by the USA) they had been "able to ascertain that 90 to 95 percent of Iraq’s capabilities were destroyed ... we had already fundamentally disarmed Iraq." Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
The recent UN weapons inspectors consistently found nothing. They did, however, find some missiles that had a medium to long range. These were not weapons for mass destruction, but still considered a security threat, so Iraq agreed to dismantle them.
Every time the Iraqi's have done something to comply with the demands of the US, it has been shunned as a political stunt. The trouble is, from a thinking persons perspective, it is almost like the US is crying foul, claiming Iraq is only saying that to stop the US from invading.
Ironically enough, the USA has the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the world and has been the only country to use them. (Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
It is true that Saddam has used chemical weapons against the Kurds. In March 1988 he gassed Halabja, a small town under the control of Kurdish rebels, and killed 6,800 people. The Americans declared that there was not enough evidence of this and were happy to go about business as usual with Saddam.
Not long after that, Washington approved the export of virus cultures for military use to Iraq and a $1 billion private contract to build a petrochemical plant designed amongst other things, to make mustard gas.
Turkey, for their part refused to allow Kurdish refugees from that town into the country, and it has been rumored that they distributed poisoned bread to them in the camps and refused to allow the red cross and other humanitarian organizations to attend to them.
It is not true that Saddam trained terrorists like al-Qaida. They were supported by the Taliban, trained and financed by Osama Bin Ladin, and established in the late 1980s to bring together Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Bin Ladin is a member of a billionaire family that owns the Bin Ladin Group construction empire.
Propaganda is an extremly effective tool in a war. It serves to done motivated troops, send misinformation and unnerve the enemy and most importantly, allows leaders to keep public support for their campaigns.
In this war, the immediatly obvious use of this was Americans dropping leaflets and making radio broadcasts into Iraq encouraging Iraqi's to defect. This is extremely effective in a country where external information is restricted by the government.
What is a little less obvious is the use of media to influence western opinion of the war. Most media in the west are owned by commercial interests, you have exceptions like the ABC which have a charter designed to provide unbiased news reports, but generally news is treated as a business, designed to rate and make money. But there are more nefarious reasons for twisting the news. American media giant NBC is owned by the GE Corporation who also build aircraft engines for the US Military.
Increasingly, news is about ratings, ratings is about money, and war is great for ratings.
Another problem is that news services are under increasing demands to have the news ready to go to the people as it happens. This provides for incredibly powerful images and thought provoking situations, but it also restricts the checking and double checking that used to be so important in the past.
Naturally, one of the biggest sources of information in this war is the Military advisors themselves. It would be naive to think that you would get an unbiased report from people like Donald Rumsfeld.
Clear evidence of this can be found in the NBC Current Affairs show "Meet the Press". Shortly after Donald Rumsfeld claimed that American bombers were targeting the outskirts of the city, he was corrected by field reporter Peter Arnett. Peter Arnett no longer works for NBC after he gave an interview to the state-run Iraqi TV.
I agree that we can't sit idly by and let terrorists destroy our freedoms and lifestyle. However there is one thing about terrorists groups that often fails to get mentioned in the news, and that is simply, without the oppression that is causing their need to commit terror, these groups either completely disband, or change focus of their organization, for example, the IRA's Sinn Fein is more of a political party now.
Terrorism is borne from people running out of other options. It is the last act of a desperate person or group. As the coalition of the willing continue on their so called liberation of Baghdad, they are marginalising a lot of Iraqi people. People who would not normally do anything are watching their lifestyles being destroyed and are becoming ripe pickings. Could these people become potential terrorists? I think they can and will be. You only have to look at the number of people who are protesting this war who have said they have never protested before but feel incensed that the government isn't listening to them. They feel that they as an individual has to do something to stand up for what they believe in.
But things are hardly "desperate" for them, peace protesters are dealing with an assault on their ideology, not on their freedoms or even their lives. I think we will find as the war continues, it will get bogged down by civilians becoming soldiers for the defence of their country. With suicide bombing we have seen a single person not in uniform becoming an unidentifiable threat to the military, and this is only going to increase as the allies take "control" of more and more Iraqi cities.
As a father I can't help feeling scared of the future. What effects will this war have on the world? Will the Iraqi people surrender to the invasion of their country? Will Saddam be replaced by a greater evil? Will we see an increase of terrorism activities as Islamic fundamentalists take their wrath out on the western world?
I guess only time will tell, but I can't help that thinking that with Australia being only one of three in active conflict against Iraq, we will come under increasing scrutiny by terrorists. Do not forget that the worlds largest Muslim country, Indonesia, is our closest neighbour.
Links and Sources
The Good Dictators - America cares whether the world's leaders support its interests, not whether they have been freely elected.
In These Times - Resisting Regime Change - Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter: speaking out against war on Iraq.
Rojname News Network - State Racism in Turkey And Kurdish Question
Kurdistan Observer - America didn't seem to mind poison gas use on Halabja
Awtw.org - Why So Many Kurds Oppose US Liberation
US Navy - Information on al-Qaida.
GE Corporation - General Electrics Military contract
NBC Meet the Press - Transcripts for 23 March
Canada.com - NBC fires journalist Peter Arnett after interview with Iraqi TV
Sadam Pax - A weblog from inside Iraq
Hindustan Times - Has Iraq's Salam Pax gone silent or is he dead?