i-NSIDER/No.106/March 17, 2003

Going to war after all?
-- The world superpower's five reckless schemes

The summit meeting of the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain in the Azores Islands on March 16 was like three cats gathering on a tin roof. Just the day before, in Washington, D.C., a hundred thousand protesters surrounded the White House, holding the placards that read "BUSH IS MAD", "NO WAR FOR EMPIRE", or "NO BLOOD FOR OIL", in response to a call from ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). Hundreds of thousands held anti-war rallies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and even in Tampa, Florida, where the US Central Command Headquarters is located. In Spain, a million people marched in Madrid and half a million in Barcelona, crying "STOP WAR", "RESIGN, AZNAR". The British government is near collapse, as many Labor Members of Parliament oppose the government, while anti-war sentiment is rising among the general public.

At the Azores Summit Mr. Blair and Mr. Aznar, the prime ministers of UK and Spain, reportedly implored Mr. Bush to get more support from other countries by making one last proposal to Saddam Hussein. But the president was firm and ready to go to war. He said he would give up diplomatic efforts unless a new UN resolution was passed by March 17. And it was unlikely that the US plan would get approved, even if the Security Council discussed and voted by the end of the 17th. So, instead of being rejected by the Security Council, US would rather withdraw from the diplomatic scene and start the war without a resolution. The US would do it any way with or without British help. In a week or so, an extremely ridiculous and absurd war will begin.

Why is this war ridiculous?

1 The aim is reckless. The purpose of this war is a "removal" of President Saddam Hussein. The removal of a regime is a violation of identified international rules. The UN Charter says in paragraph 4 of Article 2 that " All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat of force or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
The UN does allow its members, in Article 51, to exercise "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense", in case of an armed attack, until the Security Council has taken necessary measures. But this is not the case here, because America is not undergoing an armed attack from Iraq. The United States must not violate any Article of the UN Charter, even if, as Mr. Bush insists, Iraq violated UN resolutions.

2 The means are reckless. To "remove" Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has four scenarios : (1) He should go into exile voluntarily; (2) He should be killed or expelled in a coup d'etat; (3) He should be killed by an air-strike; or (4) He should be arrested or assassinated when the US ground force has reached Baghdad.
(1) is the least likely case in spite of Washington's strong desire: (2) and (3) are not probable: (4) is the only possible option to get rid of the Iraqi leader.
The US plans to drop enough bombs at the beginning of the war, impairing the country's defense and communication systems and creating confusion and apathy among Iraqi soldiers. However, the invasion to the Iraqi capital will not be so easy as the Americans think.
Baghdad is a big city of 5 million habitants. The super-elite military force of a hundred thousand soldiers, the central group of whom is the Special Republican Guard(SRG), will protect the city. It is not an easy task for American troops to fight in the streets of Baghdad without many casualties among themselves and among the Iraqi people.
Besides, the 4th Infantry Division of sixty thousand US soldiers, who were supposed to invade Iraq as a main ground force from the Northern Border, are still in Texas since Turkey has refused to let them pass. Their high-tech weaponry is off the shore near Turkey. Even if they can find another route to land in Iraq, they cannot be there when the war breaks out.
Furthermore, after much bombing and fighting in the capital, will Saddam Hussein be waiting for the US troops to capture him in one of his palaces?
Sending three hundred thousand troops to Iraq is therefore not a smart or effective way to achieve their objective, not to mention the validity of the objective itself.

3 The supposition is reckless that Iraq will be disarmed only if Hussein is "removed". Why has Iraq been armed with weapons of mass destruction? We won't argue about US technical support and supply to the Iraqi arsenal in the past. The country is surrounded by many a threat, Iran being its neighbor and Israel being armed with nuclear weapons. There is no solution for the Middle East without reconstructing a full peace process, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

4 The use of force is reckless when it is not backed up in political and diplomatic arenas. Military actions are based on a nation's politics and diplomacy. If a government embarks on a war without solid domestic support and international cooperation, it will lose public confidence sooner or later.
If this war starts, many innocent lives will be lost in air-strikes and in street fighting. Many soldiers will be killed or become missing in action. Iraq will diffuse images of American troops' cruelties and the Iraqi people's miseries. Arab media and some Western media, including French, German and Russian TV, will broadcast what is going on in the killing fields. The United States will no longer be able to control the media as they did in the Gulf War.
Even if they succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, they will have to stay there for a long period of time to maintain peace and order. Terrorism may occur in and out of the country. Long before a "democratic" regime is established in Iraq, Mr. Bush will have lost his presidency and Mr. Blair will have left his post.

5 Relying on a "war economy" is reckless. The Bush administration does not have any working strategy for financial and development issues. Double-digit deficits are resurfacing, and the value of the dollar is going down. World currency does not flow to the US as much as it used to. The only empire of the contemporary world is showing its symptoms of autointoxication and is gradually falling down as an arrogant and reckless state under the president, who grabbed the presidency in an unfair election.

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