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A Million New Terrorists

by Florian Roetzer Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002 at 6:41 AM

"With its retreat from international obligations and agreements, the struggle against international terrorism and its posture in the Middle East conflict, the US government is now entangled in politics with double standards." Translated from the German

A War against Iraq will Create a Million New Terrorists

By Florian Roetzer

[This article originally published in the cyber journal Telepolis is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

Massive anti-war demonstrations are planned in London and the US while the US government continues its justification of war.

While the Bush administration tries with all its powers to press Congress for a free hand for a military strike against Iraq through a resolution before the next elections, the opposition is gradually becoming stronger. If the Bush administration attempts to justify the desired regime change by a new UN resolution on weapons inspections and through a supposed connection of Hussein and al-Qaida, the opposition in the US and elsewhere is disunited on goals.

War preparations are always similar. Rumors and horror stories are circulated and fears fomented describing the enemy as threatening and insidious. One’s own strength is invoked and critics are accused of working together with the enemy. This time however the dreadful media event of the attacks of 9/11 were interpreted by the still controversial president as a reference to the “unique role in human history” for the nation and himself. The US government has pulled out the full register of the information war through media befuddlement with some success even if some propaganda divisions had to stop at least officially.

The Bush administration described Afghanistan merely as the prelude to permanent war. Last year the Bush administration sought to produce a direct connection between the Hussein regime and al-Qaida for its justification. This is now dropped on account of lacking evidence. As a final spurt, the joker is now pulled out so public discussion will not only concentrate on the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction. If a connection can be shown between al-Qaida and Iraq, the US government could hearken back to a war justification of self-defense granted for the attack on Afghanistan by the community of states.2 For a long time, there were only alleged references to the Ansar al-Islam group near al-Qaida operating in the region in northern Iraq controlled by the Kurds. For a long time, there was speculation whether the group was supported by Bagdad.3 (The US government doesn’t want to wait for evidence.4)

No Distinction between al-Qaida and Saddam in the War against Terrorism

At a press conference on September 25 with the new Colombian president Uribe5, Bush replied to the question whether al-Qaida or Hussein is now more dangerous after Defense secretary Runsfeld declared the day before during the NATO meeting in Warsaw that there was “certainly” a connection:

“That’s a – that is an interesting question. I’m trying to think of something humorous to say. (Laughter) But I can’t when I think about al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They’re both risks, they’re both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government. Al Qaeda hides. Saddam doesn’t, but the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam’s madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world. Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can’t distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it’s a comparison that is – I can’t make because I can’t distinguish between the two, because they’re both equally so bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.”

When Ari Fleischer commented on the assertion by President Bush, he said “Iraq is Iraq” on the objection that Ansar al-Islam doesn’t operate in an area controlled by Hussein. Then he promised to at least look more closely at a map.6

“Finally this is the man who once tried to kill my dad”

Without presenting any evidence7, security advisor Rice claimed there were documented connections between high government people in Iraq and al Qaida members. Iraq provided them with chemical weapons. Several “high” al Qaida members found shelter in Iraq. This information came from al Qaida members in American prisons who didn’t always say the truth but something the interrogators wanted to hear.

When evidence for the claimed connections was never provided, it was enough to work with conjectures if they were only repeated continually. These conjectures are taken up by the media whose attention naturally focuses on the war theme. Impressed in heads, they become elements of circulating information. Credibility grows through massive presence. The dossier offered by Tony Blair – that can be regarded as a media coup – also doesn’t provide any evidence but consists of surmises and speculations showing the potential danger of Iraq as justification for an attack.8 Yesterday after conversations with some Congress persons about the Iraq resolution that should be an “instrument of leadership” spoken “with one voice”, President Bush represented many of the conjectures as facts that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The construction of reality leads the way:

The danger to our country is grave. The danger to our country is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more biological and chemical weapons. And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations. And there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. The regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material, could build one within a year. Iraq has already used weapons of mass death against – against other countries and against her own citizens. The Iraqi regime practices the rape of women as a method of intimidation; and the torture of dissenters and their children.”

In an election campaign speech9, Bush referred again to the danger of Hussein who threatens the US and wanted to kill his “dad”:

“This is a specific American problem because I really believe that this man who has now changed the war and made us into a battlefield represents a much greater danger than anyone could ever imagine. Other countries are obviously exposed to the same risk. But there is no doubt that his hatred is mainly directed at us. Finally, this is the man who once tried to kill my dad.”

The Largest Anti-War Demonstration in Decades in London

The Stop the War Coalition10 and the Muslim Association of Britain11 sought to show through a demonstration in London that Blair’s close bond to Bush’s Iraq policy is not supported by a broad majority of citizens and parliamentarians. Leftist organizations, human rights groups, churches, intellectuals and artists alongside labor delegates called the anti-war demonstration. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and the bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Price, are the scheduled speakers.

Organizers like the Labor delegate Jeremy Corbyn expect a great participation: “Our demonstration on Saturday will be absolutely gigantic and the message will go around the whole world that Tony Blair does not speak for the people in this country.” Mike Marqusee from the “Stop the War Coalition” hopes that it will be the “largest anti-war demonstration in Europe in decades”. The common denominator seems to be that war is rejected because people will be killed, a land already suffering under bombardments and sanctions will be destroyed and the Middle East will be destabilized. The “oil- and war fraction of Bush” does not aim at weapons inspections but at a regime change. Unfortunately only the civilian population will suffer in a war. Demonstrations of globalization opponents against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will also take place this weekend in Washington12. There will also be protests against Bush’s war policy. Demonstrations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities called by the Not In Our Name Initiative will follow on October 6, the anniversary of the attack on Afghanistan. The initiative supported by numerous intellectuals and artists publicized its criticism in advertisements in large daily newspapers like the New York Times. The initiative protests against the “war machine” started by Bush and against the restrictions of civil rights, the establishment of military courts and the disregard of the law among the arrested.

The organizers expect a massive participation to show that the Bush administration does not act in the name of all Americans. After 9.11, a policy of revenge was followed and an “unlimited war” launched. The media blindly accepted the simplifying rhetoric of the struggle between good and evil propagated by the government:

“The government now openly prepares a war against Iraq, a land without any connection to the horrors of September 11. What world will we preserve if this US government receives a blank check to use troops, murder and bombs at will?”

On September 16, the predominantly Californian organization Americans Against War with Iraq (AAWWI) also published an advertisement15 on a whole page of the Los Angeles Times. Criticism aims at the Bush administration diverting from domestic programs with the planned war and offering no evidence for the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or a connection between Iraq and al Qaida.

A War against Iraq will Create a Million New Terrorists

The weakness of war opponents may be that they primarily turn against a possible war and its consequences. Perhaps it would be more skillful to take up the concerns of the US government, namely to liberate the world from dangerous unjust regimes, replace them with democratic legal systems and insist that this can and must only occur in aq just and legitimate way by strengthening the UN, international treaties and the institutionalization of a global legal system through the International Criminal Court. With its retreat from international obligations and agreements, the struggle against international terrorism and its posture in the Middle East conflict, the US government is now so entangled in a policy with double standards that repairing the damage will take a long time. On the other hand, only speaking out against war leads into the pacifist trap since the threat and use of military force will be necessary at times in the framework of a global legal system. Iraq is also an example for that.

The strategy of the German government to correct “poisoned” relations..could benefit the US government.. Ultimately the US government relies on fast actions with enormous media effect while hardly reflecting on the consequences of these actions and leaving their resolution to others.

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