JR'S Free Thought Pages
Thoughts on the Impending War in Iraq
The National Post written one week before the attack
Letter to The National Post written one week before the attack
The journalist and author I. F. Stone once said “Governments lie” and no more so than in times of crisis, whether real or imagined. When governments resort to vacuous slogans like “war on terrorism”, “weapons of mass destruction”, “let’s free Iraq for democracy” and “axis of evil” we can usually be certain that we’ve been had. The “weapons of mass destruction” gibberish from the Bush camp is especially ironic. The United States has more of these weapons than the rest of the planet combined and has used them more often than any other country. They used napalm and other chemical weaponry in Korea and Vietnam and with respect to the latter dropped three times more bombs in terms of tonnage than the bombs dropped by all combatants in World War II. Moreover, most of the weapons of mass destruction in the world held by other countries were purchased from those very same Americans.
Is the real issue then “blood for oil”? There can be no doubt that this is a powerful motive since it underlies all American Middle Eastern policy since the end of World War II. Saddam Hussein is but one of dozens of despots in the world who are oppressing their own people – so why are the Americans venting their spleen on this particular tyrant who, on the face of it, seems a threat only to his own people? In the opinion of George W. Bush Iraq is guilty until proven innocent. They must prove to the international community that they do not have such weapons. So much for Logic 101?
When you take the moral high ground you not only had better be right, but your own ethical life should be untarnished and beyond reproach. But the history of the United States over the past 250 years is a chronology of deception, repression and imperialism. Their intrusions into Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba, Central and South America, South East Asia and the Middle East are shameful to say the least. Not to mention the decimation of and subsequent humiliation of their First Nations People and enslavement of and subsequent racist policies toward those of African descent.
But there are other motives for beating up on Iraq – the vivid memory of the indignity of losing the war in Vietnam, the political ambition of George W. Bush, the desire for revenge and retribution for September 11, the opportunity to use the latter as an excuse to diminish civil rights of recalcitrant political factions and the attempt to deflect attention from serious economic and social problems on the domestic front – to name a few.
The attitude of British Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair, a man who stands at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Bush but sounds more like Attila The Hun is a total mystery.. But labels on political parties don’t seem to have any relevance any more. Even if we are credulous enough to believe the mythology of wanting to free Iraq from tyranny as the real motive for an attack, Bush and Blair should heed the words of Machiavelli almost 500 years ago.
"...there is nothing more difficult to execute, nor more dubious of success, nor more dangerous to administer than to introduce a new system of things: for he who introduces it has all those who profit from the old system as his enemies, and he has only lukewarm allies in all those who might profit from the new system."
- Machiavelli (The Prince - 1513 CE)
Note: For anyone who is aware of the deep seated biases of the National Post, it is not necessary to mention that the letter went unpublished