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Analysis: Gulf War Tenth Anniversary protests
Critical Examination of Anti-Sanctions Movement Urgently needed
From: Kitty Bryant   Campaign to End the Sanctions

Here in Philadelphia we were able to marshal little active support for our 
January 17 protest against The War on Iraq.  Only about 20 people appeared at
the protest.  We displayed signs and a death puppet, distributed leaflets, 
talked
to passers-by and the press, and recounted the murderous truths about the
continuing Gulf War.  We represented a range of groups, and we received
several local endorsements, but the actual turn-out, in numbers, was 
alarmingly
small, given that the US is still each month killing thousands of Iraqis in a 
war
that Clinton and the State Department hushed up for eight years.  
     What issue of today compares with Iraq? Iraq confronts us with a 
relentless
war waged by the US against a defenseless population. The US government has
so successfully hidden this war that during the presidential campaign, 
everyone 
agreed that the US is, fortunately, at peace in the world.  
    Where has the US lied so blatantly?  Where has the United Nations been 
more
successfully perverted into an instrument of US self-interest? 
    
The hidden War on Iraq demands our attention.  Along with Israeli oppression
of the Palestinian people, it is the most pressing issue of war we face 
today.  The
government's policy is to wildly exaggerate the threats posed by Iraq.  We are
expected to accept troop and weapons deployment throughout the Middle East
as a requirement of "stability,"  because at all costs Saddam Hussein must be 
kept
in his "box."  The sinister threat of Iraq is trotted out time and again to 
justify the
huge US military budget, including weapons research and the development of a
missile defense shield.  We're well-trained: when we imagine "weapons of mass
destruction," we picture Iraqi terrorists, instead of the nuclear arsenal and 
the
chemical/biological weapons in the storehouses of the US.  
       
Given the singular importance of Iraq, why did the 10th Anniversary of the 
Gulf
War pass by with so little public protest? 
      
The furor created over the Bush/Gore election has been a major distraction to
addressing the big issues, especially Iraq.  J20  culminated in a vague 
protest that
distracted attention away from the conduct of the 1991 Gulf War and the
continuing war on Iraq.  At the J20 Washington, DC protest, the War on Iraq 
was 
an ignored issue.  The protest demands amounted to "Bush and Cheney go
away."  No one watching this protest would have learned that there is a hidden
war by the US still being waged, after ten years and a cost of over a million
people, against the people of Iraq.
      We failed, as a movement, on Jan 16-17. The disappointing turn-out (in
numbers) must be accepted as evidence that, in the ten years since the Gulf 
War,
the anti-sanctions movement has not created an educated, growing mass base
equipped to challenge US aggression and misinformation.  By mass base, I mean
the inclusion of ordinary people who generally credit their government with
doing the right thing.  Ordinary people in the US don't know about  the people
of Iraq. We have failed to get out the message that the US is wrong and has 
lied
about Iraq. 
       Most US people have been brainwashed by the two big lies of the Clinton
administration: (1) the bad effects of the sanctions on the people of Iraq 
are (and
always will be) the responsibility of Saddam Hussein, and (2) the US is 
forced to
keep its armed forces in an aggressive stance toward Iraq, deployed throughout
the Middle East,  because Saddam Hussein poses a threat to his neighbors and 
to
the world.  The two lies tend to collapse into one BIG lie: it's the good USA
fighting a new Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and we just can't drop the ball (the
world is counting on us).  If we can't successfully counter this lie, we 
can't get
ordinary people to listen to us. 

Since the Gulf War, and especially over the eight years of the Clinton
administration, the US has begun to define itself as the single superpower 
poised
for command on the stage of the world.  The Republicans and the Democrats
agree that the emerging US empire should dominate the world economically and
militarily.  No mainstream politician disputes that the US has a right to use 
its
political and military power to control Middle East oil.  All mainstream
politicians agree that the US must maintain its lead vis--vis other nations 
in the
power and precision of its weapons.  
      Iraq is an ongoing experiment in US foreign relations that is proving 
that the
US can flex its economic and military muscles, to the tune of over a million 
dead,
and most of the people of the US will remain silent.   

     Iraq is everywhere in the news, because the Middle East is threatening to
explode.  The Bush administration is challenged to respond to a situation in 
the
Middle East that grows ever more complicated.  The sabres rattle in support of
war.  And the US media dutifully regurgitates State Department lies about 
Iraq.  
     I'm sorry to say that much of the "left" is choosing to downplay Iraq,
in its desire to build a wider coalition of dissident groups. But the
forces in opposition to the US war on Iraq are vocal and growing. 
Ramsey Clark is returning from an IAC fact-finding delegation to Iraq
and will be in the US with new evidence of the War and its deadly
consequences.  Outside the US, the sanctions regime is under challenge
by many countries who want to trade with Iraq. Debate over the war
is alive in Britain, thanks to Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck,
who have publicly confronted the lies of the British Foreign Ministry.  
We have powerful voices of the truth on our side.

This is the time and this is the issue, against war and for the possibility 
of peace. 
We must make Iraq our number 1 priority because there is no more important
stand to take than against this war.   

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