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Reply to D. Adriaensens

Dirk Adriaensens has written to say:

<<I find it very strange that no-one has made any comment on the next
sentence, written by Peter Brooke (News 19/26/1/2 (1)):

"And that they probably won¹t amount to anything at all unless Mr Hussein
really has his back to the wall. So the only serious reason they could have
for going to war is that it is the only way (short of restoring full control
over the Iraqi economy into the hands of the Iraqi government) of ending the
murderous policy of sanctions. This should be borne in mind. Those in the US
and British establishments who are arguing against military intervention are
arguing for the indefinite prolongation of sanctions and the continued
steady death by starvation and preventable disease of hundreds of thousands
of people."

I find this sentence really lugubrious. Who do you have in mind to put in Mr
Hussein's place? A new Unocal/CIA oil-creature like Karzai? Why can't we let
Iraq decide for itself? Is that too much to ask? I find it very strange that
a part of the anti-sanctions movement agrees with the idea of overthrowing
Mr Hussein.>>

Peter Brooke replies:

The point I was trying to make is that the 'debate' in Washington is taking
place between two sides neither of which is very admirable. The one wants to
kill thousands of people quickly by massive bombing; the other wants to
perpetuate the present policy, which is to kill thousands of people slowly
by starvation and disease. In the sentence Dirk quotes I was suggesting

1. that from a purely Imperialist point of view the option of containment is

2. that the reasons usually given for the war option - fear of President
Hussein's weapons capacity - is nonsense (at least from a US point of view.
Less so from an Israeli point of view, and not at all from a Kurdish point
of view).

3. that the only substantial Imperialist argument I can see for the war
option is that it would end the sanctions regime.

The option which I myself and, I assume, Dirk, would favour is to restore to
the Iraqi government full control over the Iraqi economy. But this is not
under discussion.

Ideally I would like to see the policy of 'containment' (= perpetuation of
the rule of S.Hussein in conditions that render the lives of ordinary Iraqis
intolerable) challenged by the other nations of the world. In particular I
would like to see a massive refusal to implement it, ie to break sanctions.

This seemed to be happening in a painfully slow, rough and ready manner,
which is why the US and the UK governments are currently trying to introduce
what they call 'smart sanctions'. But the prospects of it happening on the
scale that would be needed, never very great, seem to me to have disappeared
altogether since the idiotic attack on the World Trade Centre and its
predictable consequences.

With regard to Saddam Hussein and Hamid Karzai (or you might like to
substitute Zoran Djindjic): I don't know under what circumstances Dirk
thinks the people (or peoples) of Iraq might be able to choose their own
leader but it is possible they might prefer Hamid Karzai; just as, and for
much the same reason, the French in 1940 supported Pétain and Laval.
People who have been subjected to massive terror attacks of the sort
favoured by the US military tend to have the heroism knocked out of them.
And heroism requires faith. The Resistance throughout Europe would have been
impossible without the Communist movement.

Since I can't see Islam as an effective replacement for Communism I suspect
that Pétain and Laval, Karzai and Djindjic, will be the models a large
number of countries in the world will have to look to in this first part of
the twenty first century. But please, Dirk, don't think that, just because I
say that is the way things are, it means that that is the way I would like
them to be. I would dearly love to be proved wrong.
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