An Eye For An Eye Makes The World Blind
October 9, 2002
The Bush administration recently declared its intent to attack Iraq if the latter fails to disarm its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and if it impedes the “comprehensive” investigation of its weapons manufacturing facilities by the United Nations’ weapons inspection team.
This new rationale for a U.S. attack on Iraq is now being put forward by the Bush government having failed to produce evidence of Iraq’s links to the September 11 bombings and to al-Qaeda. But it should be pointed out as well that both the Bush and Blair governments have not established evidence of Iraq’s possession of WMDs or Iraq’s capacity to produce these weapons for it to constitute a threat to global and regional security.
Why then is the Bush government resolved to attack Iraq?
We believe that the Bush government is only using the aforementioned reason as a pretext for war—to gain full control of Middle Eastern oil and energy resources and to counter its economy’s downturn.
We condemn the manufacture and use of all weapons of mass destruction—biological, chemical and nuclear. But we also condemn the US and its allies’ blatant use of double standards, which allows the nuclear and WMD powers to monopolize WMD while isolating other countries suspected of having these weapons. Disarmament of WMD should be global and universal. And the US, being the most dangerously armed in these weapons, should take the lead.
We strongly oppose Bush’s call for an attack on Iraq, not because we are for Saddam Hussein’s continued reign, but because the main victims of the war will be the Iraqi people. The Iraqis have already suffered tremendous privations, including starvation and malnutrition, owing to the US-led embargo against Iraq over the last ten years. A new war will only deepen and broaden the suffering and misery of the Iraqi people.
But the victims of a new war against Iraq will not only be the people of Iraq, in particular, and the Middle East people, in general. The economic livelihood of 1.2 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East is also at risk. The dislocation of these OFWs can only have tremendous negative impact on their families and on the Philippine economy—as it did during the Gulf War.
It must be emphasized that the US’ militarist approach has not reduced terrorism but rather increased its attractiveness to desperate people—as evidenced by the unabated anarchy in Afghanistan and the greater conflict and destabilization in Basilan. These same counterproductive results are likely to occur in Iraq.
We are seriously concerned about President Arroyo’s outright willingness to assist the US in its new military adventure in Iraq. By offering the US carte blanche support for its military operations, the Arroyo administration subverts the United Nations-led multilateral solutions to conflict and, instead, promotes US unilateralism.
Mrs. Arroyo’s support for the US war also increases the possibility of the US using the Philippines as a take-off point for military offensives; this poses the danger of a deliberate and sustained US military presence in the country. Already, the Arroyo government has announced the extension of the Balikatan exercises in Central Luzon where some 1,200 US soldiers will be deployed by October 18. The Arroyo government promised to secure the US troops by deploying additional citizens’ armed force geographical units (CAFGUs).
We strongly object to the extension of the Balikatan exercises in Central Luzon or to its conduct in any other part of the country. We deplore the use of the rage and grief of terrorism’s victims by the Bush, Blair, Arroyo and any other governments to justify their war-mongering.
We believe that peace can never be achieved through more violence, more aggression, more weapons, and more militarization. “An eye for eye makes the world blind,” said one Asian peace activist, Mohandas Gandhi. It is a wise caution we all should heed.
GFP Secretariat, PRRM Building,
56 Mother Ignacia St., Quezon City
Call Lenard, Ember, Divine
Tel. 372-4989 or 372-4991
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002