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Re: Talking points on current Iraq crisis (fwd)

My response is to a variety of statements and trend of previous postings.

One is the accusation by the Arab-American Democratic League (forgive me
isf this is not the exact title) that there is an anti-Arab stance in the 
US State Department.
While the US is on bad terms with Iran and Iraq, it is not on such bad
terms with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, primarily because these two nations
recognise the US as a consumer for their oil, and the major power to turn
to if Iraq again becomes aggressive.
None of the Arabic states want to incorporate US values or succumb to US
cultural or economic imperialism, however, they are all perfectly willing
to accept US interference if it serves their interest. Consequently, there
are military advisors in Saudia Arabia who are retired US military
officials, whose presence there is explicitly to build a Saudi army. This
is an example of using the US to their own benefit.
For an anti-Arab state, the US has pumped millions of dollars of weapons
into the area. It could be argued that it was to protect oil interests,
but that forgets the importance that the USSR played in the previous
four decades of US foreign policy and its desire to establish larger
spheres of influence than those held by Soviets.
So everyone here is playing for their self interest.

One of the key arguments for the continued presence of weapons
inspectors is that Hussein is a dictator with a history of aggression
against both his neighbours and his own people (the Kurds). Consequently
he cannot be trusted, and must be throughly brought under surveillance. It
is not simply US military appetite being exercised, when most
Americans don't understand the politics of the area or care. The US
government is working very hard to educate the public about why it is
worth caring about this dictator in the desert. As one who
was in the US in 1991, I watched the country rally around the soldiers
sent to the Gulf region  more than it looked at the actual issues
involved or repercussions for civilians. The US people are grossly
ignorant of the human results of the bombing and sanctions on the people
of Iraq, but they know a lot about what kind of a man Saddam Hussein is.
It has become a sterile conflict of governments, rather than a human

The criticisms of US policy on the matter are keeping the conflict
political rather than human. These critiques recognise Hussein as leader
of a people who are oppressed by their Western inflicted poverty-
which Hussein has used to augment his own popularity. However, the
people also suffer at the hand of their own military and ruler. It is not
to the benefit of the Iraqi people that weapons be stockpiled. In fact it
is all the more immoral to expend energy and resources in this way, in
light of the poverty. Nevertheless, the Western obsession with these
weapons means that the Iraqi people are again being lost from sight,
because the richest nation in the world- instead of using its wealth for
the benefit of humanity and providing the material, medical, and
rebuilding aid that the nation needs- is spending its resources to
eliminate the weapons.

The US political approach is pushing a crisis. The way to deflect the
crisis is to redirect attention to what is truly important- the needs of
the Iraqi people. The UN has not been sufficiently vocal, perhaps because
of underfunding, poor organisation, or being shouted down by the
Americans. The rich and big US is in a position to dominate the
international reaction- be it humanitarian or military. Because the US
interation in the area has been consistently military, that is what they
first resort to. But it is not anti-Arab agendas that guide these actions,
for the US is not interfering with the governments of other Arab nations
(Palesstine excepted). The extent to which the US oil interests exist,
they are not to undermine the status quo, but rather to preserve it. Even
though it is illegal, haven't you  wondered why the CIA hasn't
assassinated Hussein? Because the US doesn't want to disrupt the current
political situation. THat would interrupt their access to oil and hike up
its prices. The American people have a better memory of the gasoline
crises of the 1970s than they do of the US involvement in Lebannon in the
1980s or the removal of the Shah of Iran and rise of the Ayatollah Khomeni
(forgive my spelling). Like people anywhere, the things that they can see
and that directly affect them are much more real. 

This is not to say thatAmericans are ungenerous. They just have to see-
the faces of the babies, the houses destroyed by the Patriot missles that
missed their mark, the fact that people get up in the morning and worry
about their aging parents' health and their children's performance in
school and how they will pay their bills- and that their struggle is that
much worse- unneccessarily worse- because of US sanctions and focus on
their government rather than them. 

By using military force, the US government is avoiding the responsibility
of showing its people the tragedy of Iraq- a tragedy that is hard to
articualte and explain, especially when the US people in good faith
supported a military effort to end the suffering of people and injustices 
wrought by the invasion of one state by another in 1991, which instead
simply worsened the lives of millions. So the US government can
accentuate the bad traits of the Hussein dictatorship and not draw
attention to the suffering that both governments bring to the Iraqi
people. But it is a mistake to underestimate the compassion of Americans.
 The politicians know their reticence to support 
a costly foreign military intervention for the silly reason that the
dictator may have weapons. Why do you think that the newest statement is
that Hussein (who the press has worked hard to prove to be volatile) has
enough weapons to wipe out all of humanity? Americans are feeling- the
politicians appeal to their fear. 

To do something good, however, more than fear must come into play. More
than political situations must be important. Hussein must lose the
spotlight and the Iraqi people must recieve it. That is the only way to
improve the situation. The militaristic approach is wrong, because it
doesn't really confront any problems or offer anything more than increased
destruction. But we too are wrong, because we discuss the military and
political tensions, rather than keeping our focus and turning that of
others to the real issue, which is the Iraqi people.   


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