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------------------------- Via Workers World News Service Reprinted from the February 5, 1998 issue of Workers World newspaper ------------------------- EDITORIAL: IT'S NOT "WAG THE DOG" Were the makers of the popular Hollywood movie "Wag the Dog" just lucky? Or did they know that their story would look like a barely fictionalized account of real life? In the movie, the president of the United States finds himself facing a crisis over an alleged sexual encounter with a teenaged girl touring the White House. The revelation could end his career. Sound familiar? The rest is about how the president's advisers arrange to create a phony crisis and launch a phony war as a diversion from the White House scandal. Everyone is supposed to "rally `round the flag" and forget about the president's misdemeanors. There are some good laughs in the movie. And audiences seeing it since the allegations about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky surfaced have been howling. But "Wag the Dog" is a movie. It's not reality. The reality is not so funny. Presidents in crisis really do try to bomb their way out of the crisis. Not with phony Hollywood-staged wars--but with real, deadly wars. President Richard Nixon answered his Watergate indictment with a declaration that an attack by the Soviet Union was imminent. He put the military on full nuclear alert for a full week. It brought the world closer to a nuclear devastation. Later, after Nixon had left office, Henry Kissinger admitted that there was never any threat from the Soviet Union and apologized for Nixon's action. Some believe that President Ronald Reagan ordered the bloody invasion of the tiny island nation of Grenada as a diversion from the defeat of the U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983. Now, as Clinton faces the biggest crisis of his administration, the news out of Washington is that a sustained military attack on Iraq has been set for mid- February. But this time it's not really a "Wag the Dog" diversion-- because both political parties are preparing for and urging an attack on Iraq. The impetus is coming not from the White House scandal but from the Pentagon. Not that Clinton wouldn't like a little diversion. He just puts it the other way around: He says the scandal is diverting him from concentrating on important matters--like bombing Iraq. This is pure cynicism. There is no reason for the U.S. military to attack Iraq. And there is no reason for the Iraqi people to suffer such attacks. The fact is, Washington's anti-Iraq policy is in trouble. There is no international support, except from the British government, for the Draconian sanctions imposed by the United States. The United States would never dare to put the issue before the United Nations General Assembly and let all the nations of the world vote on the sanctions. The issue is kept tightly inside the Security Council--and even there U.S. imperialist bullying has barely sustained the sanctions. In the Arab world, even the right-wing governments dominated by U.S. imperialism have dropped their support for sanctions against Iraq. Mass opposition to the sanctions has emerged throughout the Middle East. A million petitions were collected in Egypt. Even in Qatar--a small Gulf emirate with a population of 600,000 that is dependent on Britain and the United States for its existence--more than 40,000 people have signed a petition demanding an immediate end to the sanctions. A U.S. military campaign against Iraq will be met with mass outrage in the Middle East and around the world. - END - (Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For subscription info send message to: email@example.com. Web: http://workers.org) -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Do not respond to emails erroneously sent to the whole list.