Mar 17, 2003
While Bush called his trip to the Azores "a summit on Iraq," it looked more like an attempt to escape from the diplomatic shambles he left behind. After threatening, promising, cajoling and attempting to bribe most of the members of the U.N. Security Council in an attempt to cobble together nine votes for a new vote authorizing a U.S. war on Iraq, Bush ended up with only four votes – and one of those votes was his own. The other three were Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. If the U.S. had pushed for the vote, as it promised it was going to, the other eleven countries on the Security Council had made it clear they would not have supported the U.S. resolution.
No one should believe, however, that war has now been averted. Bush has said it too many times: he intends to carry out this war, regardless of what the U.N. says, and regardless of what the inspectors find.
Nor should anyone believe that the U.N. will prevent this war. After all, this same Security Council agreed to the earlier resolution, the famous Resolution 1441, which was worded so ambiguously that Bush could say it was all he needed to go to war, while other countries proclaimed that no war could take place without a second resolution. And not a single one of the 11 countries which wouldn't give Bush their vote has proposed to censure Bush or the U.S. for bombing Iraq today and for massing troops on Iraq's border, making war nearly inevitable. Nor has a single country dared call Bush to account for his many threats to carry out war when he wants, under any ridiculous pretexts he wants. Nor did a single one of them call for the vote – which could have clearly illustrated how much the U.S. was at odds with world opinion. No, they let Bush slink off to the Azores, pretending that he was carrying out a "summit."
So there's nothing to say absolutely that a new resolution couldn't be put together. But whether or not it is, the diplomatic saga being carried out in the U.N. is nothing but a cynical farce. Some of the same governments which pose as the champions of peace have helped the U.S. and Britain to put their troops into the region – furnishing material, or opening up their own military installations in the area, or sending in their own "technicians" to help the troop deployment.
And what will happen when the U.S. military goes into Iraq? Which of the other big powers will refuse to put their own forces into Iraq after the first phase of the war – like the so-called "peace-keepers" Germany, France and Russia today have in Afghanistan. They'll be there because it's what they must do to grab some of the contracts for "reconstructing" Iraq for their big companies – not to mention, putting their hands on Iraq's oil. And in being there, they will give their approval to this war – even if after the fact.
Behind this charade is the reality of what this new war will bring to the Iraqi people: a blood bath. The Pentagon talks about all the supposed "high-tech" weapons it has sent into the region. In fact, what it is really counting on in all this affair is the massive amounts of ordinance it has sent into the region: 3,000 guided missiles are already there, along with a whole fleet of B-52s armed with bombs able to take out many city blocks in one blow. Bush may talk about "high precision" weapons – but the fact is that this war to be carried out against a nearly defenseless country will be carried out with weapons whose aim is to bring a population to its knees.
Whether the war on Iraq starts this week – as Bush right now threatens – or whether it starts a month from now, it will be a bloodbath. The only thing that can prevent it or attenuate it if it starts is a mobilization of people around the world – and starting, first of all, in this country.
On March l5, hundreds of thousands in the U.S. protested the war, in cities large and small, from tens of thousands in Washington D.C. and San Francisco to some hundreds in places like Tampa, Indianapolis, Albuquerque and Des Moines. Millions more protested in cities and capitals around the world. Following on the January 18 and February 15 mobilizations of many millions worldwide, the renewed protests linked major cities with small and out-of-the-way towns. Those who gathered expressed the real will of the population of this country and the populations of the globe: NO to this war!
The working people and others in this country who know that this war is not in our interest have the means to call Bush's bluff. And we have an obligation to show that his policy is not ours, that his war is not ours.