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[casi] FW: Tariq Ali: Attack On Iraq Could Have Nuclear Consequences

thanks to Rick Rozoff of 'Stop NATO'. f.;

If the Allies attack Iraq there will be a huge desire
by terrorists to punish them ..and a nuclear explosion
in the U.S. might well come true

The Mirror
March 18 2002

By Tariq Ali, Writer And Broadcaster

A NEW war is being plotted against Iraq and, while
most of Europe is nervous, the boy scout in No.10 is
ready and willing once more.

The Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals know there is
not much left to destroy.

In August 1999 the New York Times reported: "American
warplanes have methodically - with virtually no public
discussion - been attacking Iraq."

In the last eight months of 2001, US and British
pilots have fired 1,100 missiles against 359 targets
in Iraq.

In October 1999 American officials were telling the
Wall Street Journal they would soon be running out of

"We're down to the last outhouse," they admitted.

By the end of the year, the Anglo-US airforces had
flown more than 6,000 sorties, and dropped 1,800 bombs
on Iraq.

By early 2001, the bombing of Iraq had lasted longer
than the US invasion of Vietnam.

And still they talk of going on because he has
"weapons of mass destruction".

Even if he does, they're useless if he can't deliver

Economic sanctions have driven the population into
misery. Before 1990 the country had a per capita GNP
of over $3,000. Today it is under $500, making Iraq
one of the poorest nations.

What justification is offered for this?

THAT Saddam's regime is stockpiling weapons of mass
destruction. Thus the civilized world - read Israel -
can never rest until Saddam is killed.

The argument is hollow.

The deadly threat from Iraqi weapons was never a
problem as long as the regime in Baghdad was regarded
as a friend in Washington and London.

As Iraq crushed Communists at home and fought Iranian
mullahs abroad, few apprehensions about its weapons
were expressed.

Once the Iraqi regime had turned against Western
interests in the Gulf, of course, the possibility of
it acquiring nuclear weapons suddenly became an
apocalyptic danger.

But this is no longer a valid view. Today the nuclear
monopoly of the big powers has collapsed with India
and Pakistan getting the weapons.

And Iraq's own nuclear programme has been thoroughly

Even the super-hawk Scott Ritter, the UNSCOM inspector
now says there is no chance of its reconstitution. He
says the blockade should stop and a new war would be a

That the Ba'ath regime is a tyranny no one could
doubt. That it is unique in its cruelties is an abject

Turkey, where the Kurdish language is not permitted in
schools, has displaced 2 million Kurds from their

This is much worse than Iraq, where - whatever
Saddam's other crimes - there has never been any
attempt at this kind of annihilation. Yet, as a valued
member of NATO and candidate for the EU, Turkey
suffers not the slightest measure against it.

And the Saudi kingdom makes not even a pretence of
keeping human rights. Yet no state in the Arab world
is more toasted in Washington.

In killing and torture, Saddam was never a match for
President Suharto, whose massacres in Indonesia far
exceeded Iraq's.

But no Third World regime was more prized by the West.

Not a single part of the argument for war stands up.

So what? I've heard it said. Blair's favourite foreign
policy man, ex-diplomat Robert Cooper, has said: "We
need to get used to double standards."

The maxim underlying this view is that we will punish
the crimes of our enemies and reward the crimes of our

This moral blank cheque will increase terrorism.

If Iraq is attacked, the instability in the region
will be accompanied by a desire to punish the US and
its allies.

The worst-case scenario of a nuclear explosion in the
US might well come true.

That's why a political solution is needed. A war could
end badly for all sides.

Tariq Ali's book, The Clash Of Fundamentalisms, is
published by Verso in April

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