Peace is not a thing of weakness.
It calls for heroism and action.
Day by day you must
wrest it from the
mouths of liars.
You must stand alone
against the multitude; for
clamor is always
on the side of the many, and the
liar has ever the first word.
The meek must be strong.
WHY WE MUST WAGE PEACE
Professor Roland G. Simbulan
Professor, University of the Philippines & Co-Convenor, Gathering for Peace
“If liberty means anything at all,
it means the right to tell people
what they do not want to hear.”
As you are reading this, the United States is feverishly preparing to launch a war of aggression against another sovereign state, Iraq. Since the September 11, 2001 attack on the very symbols of U.S. imperial domination, the Bush administration has exploited to its full advantage the grief and outrage of the American people not only to engage in a campaign of repression at home, including the wholesale assault on its own Constitution’s Bill of Rights and racial profiling. It is using the memory of September 11 to reassert its economic, political and military dominance of the world by destroying anything that stands in its way, branding anyone — country, group or individuals — who disagree with it as “terrorists” or “terrorist-coddlers”.
Now, a major war of aggression against Iraq is being prepared using Bush’s “doctrine of preemptive war”. This violates the very essence of international law and the UN Charter which forbids countries from waging war except as an act of self-defense. This “preemption” is in reality a cover to justify the United States’ post-Cold War foreign policy of armed aggression against any country, group or leader that stands in its way. Not satisfied with “liberating” Afghanistan for the U.S. oil and gas industry that now dominates his Cabinet, Bush and the oil and gas industry that he now convenes at the White House, have now trained their eyes on the rich oil fields and resources of Iraq and are planning to liberate it for the expansion of U.S. oil and gas industries which dominate the production and distribution of this vital “black gold” in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
The world is in shock at Bush’s attempts to cajole and use the United Nations (UN) as an instrument of war and aggression rather than as an instrument for peace as it was mandated when it was founded. The UN should resist any attempt to transform it into the instrument of the United States’ foreign policy of “preemption”. Otherwise, this would open the world to wars and conflicts based on “preemption” justified on the basis of a particular country’s perception (of being attacked in the near future) though it has not actually been attacked. Imagine if Iraq were to use that doctrine for itself right now.
America’s war with Iraq has been going on these past 12 years. Since 1991, it has continuously bombed Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities and towns, causing what it calls “collateral damage” to tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians–especially women and children. UNICEF and International Red Cross statistics report that, “aside from the 200,000 Iraqis slaughtered during the 1991 Gulf War, an additional 1.5 million civilians have died since 1991 as a result of economic sanctions, of which 600,000 are children under 5 years of age.”
The US, under both the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties of the United States has, since 1991 declared “no fly zones” in many parts of Iraq, meaning, any Iraqi aircraft flying over that country’s own territory will be shot down by the more superior F-16 or F-15 American fighter planes. In the 11 years of “peace” since Feb. 1991, an additional 400 tons of bombs have been dropped on Iraq in US-UK-French bombing raids, killing and wounding hundreds of Iraqi civilians. The United States’ policy of economic and trade sanctions these past ten years have further caused the deaths and starvation of countless Iraqi people.
We are no lovers of Saddam Hussein. He may be a tyrant or humans rights violator to his own people (as Bush is turning out to be in implementing the USA PATRIOT ACT against the American people), but Iraq is a sovereign nation. Saddam may be a genocidal maniac to the Kurds in Iraq, but Iraq is also a member of the United Nations. The United Nations is SUPPOSED to be an organization for Peace, not for War.
But again, lest we forget, like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein was put into power by a CIA-engineered coup to stop the Iraqi people’s revolution–which he did with US & Western support by massacring socialists and the left wing of his own Baath party. But Saddam, instead of obediently kowtowing to the wishes of his mentors in Washington, had his own vision and agenda for his country. Instead of opening Iraq to free-market capital penetration on terms that were thoroughly favorable to Western and US interests, he devoted a substantial portion of Iraq’s export earnings to basic services and economic development. An independent Western journalist told me that Iraqis enjoy free medical care and free education. In 1972, Iraq nationalized its oil industry, and was immediately denounced by the US and Western countries as a “terrorist nation.”
As a leading member and major funder to the United Nations, the United States is expected to practice consistency in its foreign policy. Several years ago, when the United Nations issued resolutions for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel continues to blatantly defy, did the United States send in the Marines to “discipline” its ally to whom it supplies and sells weapons to the tune of no less than US$3 billion a year? We have yet to hear a condemnation of “terrorism” by the United States against Israel whenever that country rains US-manufactured rockets and artillery on Palestinian civilians in their refugee camps. Why does the United States continue to train and sell weapons to the armed forces of Turkey which is widely known to perpetuate a policy of genocide against the Kurdish people in its territory? And why doesn’t the do-gooder America not also train its guns on the rulers of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait (to whom it now exports the largest amounts of weapons) who are known to grossly violate the human rights of their people, especially their women?
This is really about America’s oil fields overseas, and for the bankbooks of the American defense and armaments manufacturers. Again, lest we forget.
Why then, must we wage peace? We must wage peace because wars have always been against humanity. Wars and hatred reproduce more wars and hatred. If Sept. 11 is a lesson at all even for the biggest superpower on earth, it is that civilian populations are the most vulnerable to ANY war and conflict. And even with only its arsenal of hi-tech “efficient” and “smart” bombs today, the United States which has the largest arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the world, could just flatten the entire Iraqi nation, not just Saddam Hussein. Consider the United States’ non-nuclear, non-chemical weapons it just recently tested against the Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Afghan civilians killed in Afghanistan (according to New York City’s Village Voice, Sept. 4-10, 2002 issue):
“1.Fuel air explosives: Big, horrific bombs, these send out a volatile mist that spreads through any opening — a doorway into a building or underground bunker or, as at Tora Bora, a cave. The bomb then detonates, its explosion rocketing through underground passages.
“2. Daisy cutters– Used in Afghanistan last winter; these 15,000-pound monsters wipe out everything in a 300-feet radius. The bomb will not only literally break you apart besides making you catch fire; the shock wave is so powerful that it crushes your internal organs.
“3. Microwave weapons : Supposedly non-lethal crowd controllers, these beam-blasting transmitters can cause third-degree burns. In combat, the weapons might be used to clear urban riots, but their power source is cumbersome, which might prohibit using them.
“4. Cluster bombs: Tossing these sweethearts around has been likened to laying a minefield from 15,000 feet.”
Now we know why a famous World War I movie, “ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT” became one of the most famous anti-war films of the 20th century.
September 24, 2002
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)