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[casi] Memo To UN: You're Either With Us Or You're History

Thanks again to Rick Rozoff - ' Stop NATO.'

Dawn (Pakistan)
September 18, 2002

Memo to UN: You're either with us or you're history
By Mahir Ali

No, the world will never be the same again. The
crucial transformation occurred not on September 11,
2001 but on September 12, 2002. That's the day George
W. Bush addressed the UN General Assembly.

Tony Blair dearly wishes to take credit for the
supposed change of heart, although it is more likely
to have been prompted by pressure from Colin Powell's
State Department as well as the broader Republican
establishment. It is being projected as the triumph of
multilateralism over unilateralism. That is debatable.
It is less inaccurate to interpret it as a last
chance. Not for peace, nor for Saddam Hussein's
regime, but for the United Nations.

The US president could have told the UN: "Look, as you
must be aware, we have a problem with this Saddam
fella. He used to be our friend once, when he was
dedicated mainly to killing Kurds and Iranians, but
that was long ago, in Daddy's days. He may have been a
bit of an s.o.b. even then, but at least he was our

"We gave him arms and encouragement. Our boys were
drawing up battle plans for the Iraqis even after
Saddam's men were found to have done something very
naughty: they actually went and used chemical weapons
against their enemies. We were willing to put up with
that. But Saddam went just too far when he invaded our
good buddies the Kuwaitis. Can you imagine the kind of
control that would have given him over the region's
oil? Could we tolerate that? Not in a thousand years!

"So we had to hit him - hit him hard. And we had to do
it before the Iraqis set up a puppet regime in Kuwait
and got the hell out of there (just like we had done
in Panama). We had to do it before any of the
diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis got anywhere.
Now, as I'm sure you all know, Dad's a great guy. He
was able to set up a diverse coalition that looked
really good on paper. He made sure the Security
Council passed just the sort of resolution that was
required. And we just went in there and sorted this
Saddam fella out nice and proper.

"But we were generous in victory. In 1991 we didn't
think Saddam's overthrow would best serve our
interests. So when he lashed out against rebelling
Shias and Kurds, we were willing to get out of his
way. Apart from everything else, it offered proof of
his cruelty."So we got the UN to impose stringent
sanctions, and in cooperation with our best friend,
the United Kingdom, we kept bombing Iraq bit by bit,
compounding it every now and then with a bunch of
missiles - such as when Saddam tried to do Daddy in.
Can you imagine that! Just who does he think he is?

"The weapons inspectors we - I mean the UN - deployed
were able to root out most of Iraq's deadliest
weapons. But now they haven't been there for five
years. Who knows what Saddam has been up to since
then? Actually, let me rephrase that: We all know what
Saddam's been up to in the interim. Rebuilding his
stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, that's
what. And one day he may even succeed in getting hold
of a nuke. Doesn't the very idea make you wanna puke?

"How do we know this? Well, I can't compromise the
sources of vital intelligence. You'll just have to
believe me. If I can take Dick and Don at their word,
you'll just have to extend me the same courtesy. And
who will Saddam use these weapons against? Well, I'm
sure he holds a grudge against me because of who I am
- not just the president of the incomparably beautiful
and almighty United States of America but also my
father's son. He may also be riled by the fact that
all my best men were seconded from Dad's army. And
women too - there, Condee, I've said it now.

"The only one who's turned out to be a bit of a black
sheep - don't get me wrong - is the ultra-cautious
Colin Powell. Actually, just between you and me, I
think the problem with Colin is that he must have come
under communist influence in his youth and, despite
his best efforts, has never been able to overcome
completely the effects of that brainwashing. Why, I've
been told that he proudly admits that his favourite
song is We Shall Overcome! Can you believe that?
That's a red anthem. I'm sure it's top of the pops in
the barracks of Baghdad... Or maybe not. Because
Saddam isn't a communist, is he? Actually, who knows?
He's never denied that, has he?

"Oh, I do wish that Senator Joe McCarthy was still
around. I don't know what he would have said about
Saddam, but you can bet your life he would have kept
Colin out of the State Department. The State
Department needs a regime change. But, of course,
there's no need to deploy the Pentagon's resources. As
befits a loyal retainer, Colin has chosen the path of
least resistance and agreed to step aside when the
Supreme Court puts me back in the White House in 2004.
Now that's what I call democracy.

"Would Saddam Hussein be willing to follow suit? Not
in a million years. At least I hope not, because that
would only complicate our task. See, Dad was able to
establish a permanent American presence in the Persian
Gulf in 1991. Kuwait was the ideal cue. But that's no
longer enough. After 9/11, nothing short of direct
control will do - direct control of the oilfields,
that is. In the event of unrest or rebellion in Saudi
Arabia, our boys are poised to stake their claim. But
Iraq is equally vital. And the time to move in is NOW.

"Why now? Well, why not? It has to be done sooner or
later, and there's no time like the present. We've
successfully achieved regime change in Afghanistan -
not for the first time, mind you, and perhaps not the
last - and we're on a roll. We've gotta follow it up
with something bigger and better, and Saddam is...
well, he's just there. We've tried our best to
establish links between him and Al Qaeda and, believe
me, we'll succeed one day. But even if we can't, I'm
sure Saddam Hussein was grinning when the Twin Towers
were attacked. And that's reason enough to hunt him
down as part of our glorious, never-ending war against

"I've been told by some of your leaders that we've got
to achieve a settlement between Israel and the
Palestinians before taking action against Saddam. I
categorically reject that linkage. My great friend
Ariel Sharon has made it clear that he is with us and
against the terrorists. No one can say the same for
Yasser Arafat. The Palestinians deserve a regime
change, and we could turn our attention to them once
we've finished with Iraq.

"They also deserve a state, but they keep turning down
every decent offer. They want complete sovereignty
over an undivided territory, secure borders, the right
to trade with anyone they choose, the right to
determine their own destiny. Well, they can dream on.

"I've been told there's also a bunch of Security
Council resolutions that Israel has ignored for much
longer than Saddam's been around. Well, I really don't
understand how they got on to the books. Didn't
America have the power of veto at the time? Or did we
have a Democratic administration? Maybe it was a
communist conspiracy. Or Al Qaeda may have had
something to do with it. Someone must have slipped
them in while we weren't looking. The point is, they
shouldn't be there, and we support Israel's God-given
right to ignore them.

"Anyway, we can't be expected to suspend our crusade
until Yasser and all the little Arafats decide to get
real and accept that they can't have their cake and
eat it too. Israel reserves the right to cut it up,
remove the icing, and offer them one slice at a time
as a reward for good behaviour. Take it or leave it,
whichever comes first. But I have no intention of
sitting back and popping pretzels in anticipation.

"We could unleash our forces against Iraq tomorrow if
we wanted to. But the United States of America is
nothing if not generous. We want all of you - at least
the richer ones among you - to be a part of this noble
enterprise. That's why I am here today. Here's the
deal: You give us the all-clear, and we'll send a
posse after Saddam Hussein. That will be a
multilateral sanction for a bilateral action, because
my best chump - sorry, I mean chum - Tony will stand
by me come what may. Actually, trilateral at a stretch
because, for whatever it's worth, that eager-to-please
little fella from Australia has promised to chip in.

"If you refuse, well, we'll aim for Baghdad anyway.
And don't forget, after Iraq we'll be looking for
another target, and you could be next.

"I rest my case. Thank you, and God bless America."

Dubya made his case for a UN imprimatur rather less
bluntly than that, of course. His speechwriters had
clearly put a great deal of effort into the text. But
the occasional eloquence of the words (one cannot say
the same about the delivery, because oratory does not
come naturally to Bush) could hardly detract from the
selectivity of the cited facts and opinions. Nor could
there be much doubt about the upshot of the speech:
The UN risks irrelevance if it fails to legitimize
action against Iraq.

For all that, the gesture represents a small step away
from the warpath, creating an opening that Baghdad can
exploit. And it would be extremely foolhardy of the
Saddam regime not to do so. Although Bush has not
removed his finger from the trigger, he will find it
difficult to pull it if Iraq does indeed open its
doors to UN weapons inspectors. (And Iraq has now
agreed to do so.) And it ought to do so without
waiting for a fresh resolution, given that the
Anglo-American combine will be striving hard to couch
it in words that any self-respecting nation would find
hard to swallow. The stationing of the US Central
Command in Qatar is an ominous move.

The Security Council will be littered with carrots and
sticks this week, and it would be folly to count on
China or Russia vetoing the use of massive force. Of
course, unfettered inspections offer no guarantee that
the US won't find an excuse for blundering in anyway.
But any gesture that could potentially save tens of
thousands of lives is certainly worth a try.

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