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News, 15-22/11/02 (6) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * Pentagon Schools Reporters for Possible Iraq War * Iraqi army is tougher than US believes * International Law Has Failed to Lessen Horrors of War * Saddam's regime prepares for escape from Iraq * US puts microwave bomb on Iraqi menu * A Modest Proposal: Let Iran "Liberate" Iraq * After Saddam * US again turns its back on Afghans * Nasty surprise for US airmen IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021116/wl_nm/iraq_usa_re porters_dc_1 * PENTAGON SCHOOLS REPORTERS FOR POSSIBLE IRAQ WAR by Jim Wolf Yahoo, 16th November ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Maryland (Reuters) - The Pentagon launched a military education program for U.S. and foreign reporters on Saturday aimed at giving greater media access to possible future battlefields in Iraq and elsewhere and training them how to survive chemical attacks. Nearly 60 reporters, camera operators and photographers from more than 30 news organizations and three countries showed up for what military officials said was the most ambitious effort of its kind since at least the Vietnam War. Three more week-long sessions are planned in the next months, including one to take place abroad, possibly at a U.S. military base in Germany. Military officials said they planned to offer more classes to help educate reporters, many of whom, unlike earlier generations, have no military experience. The boot camp for journalists includes emergency-procedure training at sea, notably fire fighting, damage control and surviving nuclear, chemical or biological attack. For the ground-force piece at the Marine Corp's base at Quantico, Virginia, reporters will operate with Marines in "live-fire" situations and amid simulated biological and chemical attacks "The bottom line is that the more access we can facilitate, taking into consideration all the things we do -- operational security, safety -- the better off we all are," said Victoria Clarke, the Defense Department's chief spokeswoman. The Pentagon hoped to raise the media's and the military's "comfort level" in dealings with each other, notably so that military commanders would welcome more coverage of future combat operations. Reporters and the U.S. military have often been at loggerheads over access to the front lines of conflict. During the 1991 U.S.-led war that drove Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, for instance, many news organizations complained that they could get access to nothing more than military briefings in hotel ballrooms in Saudi Arabia. Clarke said the Defense Department's view was that, the more the public can see of U.S. military forces in action, "the more support we'll have over the long haul." "We firmly believe that when we're dealing with the kind of people we may be dealing with - who are very good at lies, deception and disinformation -- the most credible (thing) is that people see it and read it," she said. "So we think it's the right thing to do and we certainly think it's in our interest to do it." She referred to the boot camp-like training as part of "contingency" planning for any use of force by President Bush to make sure that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq retains no banned nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Reporters who have covered U.S. military operations in the past welcomed the Pentagon's pledge to open up more slots for front-line coverage. "I just hope this genuinely signals a new era of letting journalists go in on the ground during combat operations," said Eric Westervelt, a National Public Radio correspondent who covers the Pentagon and who reported from Afghanistan during U.S. operations there after Sept. 11, 2001. "This is a long-term commitment," said Captain Brian Cullin, director of the Navy-hosted leg taking place on the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima and ashore at Norfolk, Virginia. "It's going to be a regular investment. We'll be doing this regularly, consistently over the next few years." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,841182,00.html * IRAQI ARMY IS TOUGHER THAN US BELIEVES by Toby Dodge The Guardian, 16th November With just two days to go before the UN weapons inspectors arrive in Baghdad, George Bush's administration is still beating the war drum. On Thursday night, Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, confidently predicted that, should a war erupt, the Iraqi army would soon surrender in the face of overwhelming US force. He noted that in the first Gulf war, when allied forces pushed Iraq out of Kuwait, ground combat had lasted only 100 hours. "I can't say if the use of force would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," he said. "It won't be a world war three." You have always got to hope for minimum loss of life in any war, but Mr Rumsfeld's prognosis about the speed of an Iraqi army collapse is ideologically driven and strategically ill-informed. In the event of an invasion, US forces will face an army that has been thoroughly indoctrinated, with party commissars in every unit. In addition, a ruthless system of surveillance and constant purges mean that the officer corps has had to renounce political activity to survive. To quote President Saddam Hussein: "With our party methods, there is no chance for anyone who disagrees with us jumping into a couple of tanks and overthrowing the government. These methods have gone." It is true that Iraqi resistance in the 1991 Gulf war was negligible. The troops that surrendered in their thousands to coalition forces were badly trained, poorly led and had often not been fed for days. The war was a one-sided affair, with the Iraqis overwhelmed by superior weapons, technology and air power. However, it is often forgotten that the Iraqi leadership made no serious attempt to defend Kuwait City. The fortifications were half-hearted and badly planned. They were primarily designed for propaganda, to convince coalition forces that military liberation would be too costly. Despite the portrayal of a heroic resistance in the "mother of all battles", once the ground war began, President Saddam quickly withdrew most of the republican guard, redeploying them around Baghdad to guard his regime. Substandard and ill-prepared troops were left to face certain defeat. After the Gulf war defeat, the Iraqi army was cut to less than half its original size. The idea was to create a smaller, more disciplined force, ideologically committed to defending the regime. For more than a decade Washington has looked to this army for regime change. Today, the US government still hopes a coup triggered by an invasion will save American troops the high cost of fighting through Baghdad's streets to reach the presidential palace. Like Washington, President Saddam is also aware of the dangers the Iraqi armed forces pose to his continued rule. To counter this he has staffed the upper ranks with individuals tied to him by bonds of tribal loyalty or personal history. Like him, most officers are Sunni Arabs, the country's traditional ruling class. They are outnumbered by Shia Muslims and well aware of the resentment towards them. In addition, members of President Saddam's tribe, the Albu-Nasir, and those hailing from his hometown, Tikrit, dominate the army and security services' command, benefiting from regime patronage and enforcing his rule. They are also more than aware of the anger that will be directed at them if he goes. Because of this, those hoping for a coup may be disappointed. The regime has created a "coalition of guilt" that underpins its continued rule with corruption and great fear about what will happen when it is finally toppled. In contrast to 1991, the battle this time will be not for a foreign land but for the very survival of a regime many have spent their lives serving. An invading US army will face 375,000 Iraqi troops and 2,200 tanks. Analysts are right to point out that the army as a whole has suffered greatly during more than a decade of sanctions. Beyond elite regiments, equipment is old and badly maintained. Estimates suggest that the army is only 50% combat effective, and regular troops may well behave as they did in 1991, fleeing the battlefield once war begins. On the other hand, President Saddam has surrounded himself with a robust security system spreading out in three concentric rings. The security services become more disciplined, motivated and reliable the closer they are to the president. The republican guard makes up the first ring of the regime's security. Stationed on the three main roads to Baghdad, this parallel military force totals between 50,000 and 70,000 men. They are better paid than ordinary soldiers and much more likely to remain loyal. Many stood by their posts during the Gulf war, losing a third of their tanks. In the aftermath, they played the lead role in suppressing Shia and Kurdish revolts in the north and south of the country. The next ring of security is the special republican guard, formed in the 1980s when the republican guard became too large to be totally trusted. Consisting of 26,000 men, they are the only troops stationed in Baghdad. The loyalty of this force's officers is beyond doubt. About 80% of them come from the same region as President Saddam, and they have been used as the regime's main tool for policing Iraq. Finally, surrounding President Saddam and the 50 or so people who rule Iraq are a myriad of competing security organisations. Each one is charged with overseeing the others, and they are headed by a small group of individuals who are keenly aware that their continued health and prosperity is dependent upon the rule of their boss. They too would fight to the last to defend him. One of the main problems during the Iran-Iraq war was the army's inability to act on its own initiative. To counter this, Baghdad has reportedly decentralised its army command and control down to the lowest level possible. Responsibility for each urban centre, from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, has been delegated to a trusted high-ranking soldier. Each town has been garrisoned with troops, and stockpiles of weapons and food have been built up. Should hostilities start, martial law would be declared and troops brought on to the streets. The ministry of information has developed a highly efficient press handling system. Once bombing begins, with its inevitable civilian casualties, the hope is that international press coverage will put pressure on Washington to stop the war prematurely, as it did in 1991. Baghdad will be key. It is within this sprawling city of five million that US troops will have to hunt down the Iraqi dictator and his close associates. With this in mind, all troops and security services loyal to the government will in the last instance be massed in and around the capital. Caught between a potentially hostile Iraqi population bent on revenge and an invading army committed to regime change, those fighting alongside President Saddam will have little choice but to remain loyal to the end. The result could be the worst-case scenario for US military planners: an organised, committed and disciplined force with nowhere to go, defending a highly populated urban area. In front of the world's media, US troops would have the unenviable task of distinguishing these forces from the wider, innocent, civilian population. If Mr Bush orders US troops to invade Iraq to topple the regime, it will not only be the most important and risky decision of his presidency, but a momentous event in world politics. The only thing certain about it is that it will not be as simple as Mr Rumsfeld says. Dr Toby Dodge is an Iraq expert at Warwick University and an associate fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. http://www.sltrib.com/11172002/nation_w/17519.htm * INTERNATIONAL LAW HAS FAILED TO LESSEN HORRORS OF WAR by Greg Barrett Salt Lake Tribune, 17th November [.....] Despite the humanitarian ambitions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its protocols, its wording presents a vague notion of fair play. Convention law "offers a loophole big enough to drop a nuclear weapon through," Lt. Col. Kenneth Rizer of the U.S. Air Force wrote last year in an online Department of Defense journal. Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention bars willful killing of civilians "if not justified by military necessity." But it fails to define military necessity. That means international law might allow for the killing of civilians and the destruction of their property if it is deemed imperative for victory, Rizer said. "In simpler terms, military necessity means that if one is justified in going to war, one is justified in doing what is necessary to win," he wrote last year in Air and Space Power Chronicles. In World War I, 5 percent of all direct casualties were civilian, according to Simon Chesterman in his book, Civilians in War. In World War II, civilian casualties amounted to roughly 50 percent of the total. During the 1990s, most casualties of armed conflicts were civilians. In some cases, including Rwanda, civilians made up 90 percent of casualties, said Chesterman, a senior associate at the International Peace Academy in New York, an independent security research organization. Although Chesterman said some scholars dispute his numbers, no one denies the trend. Collateral damage is endemic to modern war, where assaults rain from the sky and legitimate targets are loosely defined, said Thomas Nagy, a professor at George Washington University. Nagy claims the U.S. Air Force violated international law with its bombing of Baghdad in 1991. Protocol 1, added to the Geneva Conventions in 1977, forbids the destruction of civilian infrastructure, but the allied assault on Iraq began with bombing raids on electrical grids that supported civilian and military needs. The Pentagon defined the grids as legitimate dual-use targets. "The electrical attacks proved extremely effective," reads a 53-page U.S. Air Force analysis dated May 20, 1998. "The loss of electricity shut down the capital's water treatment plants and led to a public health crisis from raw sewage dumped in the Tigris River." Rizer, assessing the Baghdad bombing, wrote that the raid's legitimacy "is very subject to interpretation." Arend agreed. "Dual-use [targets] are sufficiently ambiguous," he said. "It's difficult to say if it is clearly prohibited by customary international law." The U.N. Security Council can order economic sanctions, such as those applied to Iraq in 1990. It can authorize the use of military force, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and it can create ad hoc international war crime tribunals. "The United Nations in general is a very weak body; it is only the Security Council that has power," said Derek Jinks, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law who worked for The Hague prosecutor at the International War Crimes Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia. But a single veto by any of the five permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom -- quashes any action. "One friend, if it is the right friend, can translate to immunity from any kind of coercion from the Security Council," Jinks said. The most striking example of that, he said, is Israel's friendship with the United States, which has allowed Israeli tanks to plow through Palestinian neighborhoods in search of suicide bombers. The United States has long supported Israel's right to fight terrorism and refuses to place blame in the Middle East conflict. In U.N. resolutions critical of Israel, only two nations -- Israel and the United States -- have consistently abstained or voted nay. "The United States has an idiosyncratic view -- shared by Israel -- of what is a proportionate" military response, Jinks said. "The view is that any use of force necessary to minimize casualties on your side is the proportionate use of force, even if it includes heavy civilian casualties." Like the Palestinian ambulance worker who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers when he attempted to rescue Mohammed al-Durra and his father. Like the 10-year-old Palestinian boy felled by a single rifle shot the next day near the same spot in the Gaza Strip after throwing a rock at Israeli soldiers. Like the other 14 Palestinian children killed in the crossfire within 72 hours of Mohammed's death. The United Nations, sounding like an exasperated parent, has issued a dozen resolutions over the past two years saying it "condemns," "further condemns," "reaffirms," "also reaffirms," "calls upon," "calls once more upon" Israel to stop what it deems the mistreatment of Palestinian refugees. Yet bloodshed on both sides of the conflict continues unabated. A remedy could rest with the newly created International Criminal Court, an offshoot of the ad hoc tribunals of the United Nations. It counts 139 signatories -- the United Kingdom, France and Germany among them -- and is being hailed by the United Nations and human rights groups as the future of global justice. It is the world's first permanent international court to specifically address genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and is expected to begin operating in The Hague next year. Yet even as the White House plans to pursue U.N.-backed war crime charges against the Iraqi regime for atrocities alleged against Iraqi Kurds, it refuses to endorse the new court. The United States wants its soldiers and civilians exempted from the court because it fears politically motivated war crime charges. The White House is asking more than 100 nations to sign bilateral agreements that promise to never deliver an American to the international court. http://observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,841865,00.html * SADDAM'S REGIME PREPARES FOR ESCAPE FROM IRAQ by Peter Beaumont and Jason Burke The Observer, 17th November A senior Iraqi envoy has visited several Arab states to ask for asylum for key members of Saddam Hussein's regime in the event of its overthrow. According to Western diplomatic sources, the envoy - General Ali Hasan al-Majid, known as 'Chemical Ali' to Iraqi Kurds for his role in the attack on Kurds at Halabja in 1988 - visited Algeria, Tunisia and Libya in September to sound out governments about asylum for senior Iraqi officials fleeing the collapse of the Ba'ath regime. Other reports have suggested that members of the regime have recently been in Syria to organise an overland route for Saddam's family to flee in the event of a massive US-led attack. However, all reports suggest Saddam himself would remain behind. Although it is possible the story is being circulated by Western intelligence agencies to undermine morale within the regime, it seems likely there is much truth in these accounts. The visit by al-Majid has coincided with approaches by dozens of Iraqi officials to states that might offer asylum, and with approaches to members of the Iraqi diaspora by middle ranking officials to ascertain what any new regime's attitude might be towards them. According to the Times yesterday, al-Majid's visit to Libya was part of a £2.3 billion deal to secure asylum in Libya for members of Saddam's family and key associates, although not for Saddam himself or his son Uday. Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawish labelled the Times report 'a fabrication', according to the official Libyan news agency, Jana. But diplomatic sources insisted al-Majid had been touring the region looking for sanctuary for members of Saddam's regime and family. 'We know that al-Majid was touring the region in September,' said one source yesterday. 'And we know that key members of the regime have been making arrangements for places they could live in a post-Saddam world. These are members of Saddam's al-Tikrit clan and very senior members of his regime, who would be regarded as beyond the pale by any new regime and might justifiably fear for their lives. 'These are not middle-ranking officials who might go for the Nuremburg defence that "they were only following orders", but the most senior officials who might fear for their lives.' Diplomatic sources do not believe the disclosure of plans by the Baathist regime to open an underground railroad out of Iraq for key officials amounts to evidence of an impending coup against Saddam. 'This is not evidence of a coup,' said one British source. 'The security in this regime is so tight it would pick up any planning of a coup. But it is evidence that key officials - Saddam included - do not believe the regime would survive a US-led attack.' The source confirmed that evidence of the flight-not-fight instincts of so many key members of the regime was one reason behind the timing of Prime Minister Tony Blair's broadcast last week to Iraqis, criticising the Ba'athist regime and pointing out that Britain was not in conflict with ordinary Iraqis but with Saddam's regime. The disclosures came as chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix warned yesterday that Iraq would face the full might of the UN Security Council if it failed to co operate completely with inspectors looking for weapons of mass destruction. Blix has also warned that any intelligence agents found working among the inspection teams will effectively be fired. Blix was in Paris on his way to Cyprus, where an advance team of UN inspectors was gathering. The team is expected to fly to Baghdad tomorrow, with inspections possibly beginning on 27 November. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?artid=286 00584 * US PUTS MICROWAVE BOMB ON IRAQI MENU Times of India, 18th November WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has accelerated development of a new generation of advanced precision weaponry that could be ready for use in a high-tech battle for Baghdad, according to US military sources. Weapons ready for battlefield deployment include a microwave bomb that emits powerful pulses of energy to destroy enemy electronics, disable communications and even block vehicle ignitions, without hurting bystanders. Defence researchers have also successfully tested a radical thermobaric warhead - previously described as a "vacuum bomb" - to be aimed at suspected chemical and biological stockpiles. The warheads are designed to produce a heat so intense that any contaminants released into the atmosphere are neutralised instantly. After the success in Afghanistan of military innovations such as precision-guided bunker busting bombs and remote-controlled Predator drones, Pentagon officials have been racing to develop previously experimental weapons that might prove invaluable should US troops be ordered into action in Iraq. Military scientists have long been intrigued by the potential harnessing of microwave technology to paralyse enemy capabilities. The US air force used a related technique to disable Yugoslavian power grids during the Kosovo campaign. Since then, research has advanced so rapidly that US officials believe a single microwave device carried by an unmanned aircraft could hit 100 targets with 1,000 pulses of high intensity energy on a single sortie. Military analysts believe that microwave bombs could be particularly useful against the Republican Guard and other defences around Baghdad. Known as directed-energy weapons, they destroy electronic systems but -- in theory at least - do not harm people or damage buildings. Perhaps the most useful new toy in the Pentagon's Christmas sack is a three-dimensional computer simulation of the streets of Baghdad, complete with all known Iraqi military locations and satellite positioning co-ordinates. The 3D imagery is being studied by military commanders as they plan possible scenarios for a ground assault on the city. The combination of overwhelming fire-power and technological expertise helps explain why so many Pentagon officials are convinced that the battle for Baghdad will prove a walkover. http://www.counterpunch.org/chomsky1118.html * A MODEST PROPOSAL: LET IRAN "LIBERATE" IRAQ by Noam Chomsky Counterpunch, 18th November The dedicated efforts of the Bush administration to take control of Iraq--by war, military coup or some other means--have elicited various analyses of the guiding motives. Offering one interpretation, Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, observes that the Bush administration's efforts conform to "the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into nationalism" through fear of external enemies. The administration's goal, Lieven says, is "unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority", which is why much of the world is so frightened. But the administration has overlooked a simple alternative to invading Iraq. Let Iran do it. Before elaborating on this modest proposal, it's worthwhile to examine the antecedents of Washington's bellicosity. Ever since the September 11 attacks, Republicans have used the terrorist threat as a pretext to push a right-wing political agenda. For the congressional elections, the strategy has diverted attention from the economy to war. When the presidential campaign begins, Republicans surely do not want people to be asking questions about their pensions, jobs, healthcare and other matters. Rather, they should be praising their heroic leader for rescuing them from imminent destruction by a foe of colossal power, and marching on to confront the next powerful force bent on our destruction. September 11 provided an opportunity and pretext to implement long-standing plans to take control of Iraq's immense oil wealth, a central component of the Persian Gulf resources that the State Department in 1945 described as a "stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history". Control of energy sources fuels US economic and military might, and "strategic power" translates to a lever of world control. A different interpretation is that the administration believes exactly what it says: Iraq has suddenly become a threat to our very existence and to its neighbours. So we must ensure that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the means for producing them are destroyed, and Saddam Hussein, the monster himself, eliminated. And quickly. The war must be waged this (northern) winter. Next winter will be too late. By then the mushroom cloud that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice predicts may have already consumed us. Let us assume that this interpretation is correct. If the powers in the Middle East fear Washington more than Saddam, as they apparently do, that just reveals their limited grasp of reality. It is only an accident that by next winter the US presidential campaign will be under way. How then can we achieve the announced goals? One simple plan seems to have been ignored, perhaps because it would be regarded as insane, and rightly so. But it is instructive to ask why. The modest proposal is for the US to encourage Iran to invade Iraq, providing the Iranians with the necessary logistical and military support, from a safe distance (missiles, bombs, bases, etc). As a proxy, one pole of "the axis of evil" would take on another. The proposal has many advantages over the alternatives. First, Saddam will be overthrown -in fact, torn to shreds along with anyone close to him. His weapons of mass destruction will also be destroyed, along with the means to produce them. Second, there will be no American casualties. True, many Iraqis and Iranians will die. But that can hardly be a concern. Those in US President George W. Bush's circle--many of them recycled Reaganites--strongly supported Saddam after he attacked Iran in 1980, quite oblivious to the enormous human cost, either then or under the subsequent sanctions regime. Saddam is likely to use chemical weapons. But the current leadership firmly backed the "Beast of Baghdad" when he used chemical weapons against Iran in the Reagan years, and when he used gas against "his own people", the Iraqi Kurds. The current Washington planners continued to support the Beast after he had committed by far his worst crimes, even providing him with means to develop weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and biological, right up to the Kuwait invasion. Third, the UN will be no problem. It will be unnecessary to explain to the world that the UN is relevant when it follows US orders, but irrelevant when it doesn't. Fourth, Iran surely has far better credentials for war-making, and for running a post-Saddam Iraq, than Washington. Unlike the Bush administration, Iran has no record of support for the murderous Saddam and his program of weapons of mass destruction. Fifth, the liberation will be greeted with enthusiasm by much of the population, far more so than if Americans invade. People will cheer on the streets of Basra and Karbala, and we can join Iranian journalists in hailing the nobility and just cause of the liberators. Sixth, Iran can move towards instituting "democracy". The majority of the population is Shi'ite, and Iran would have fewer problems than the US in granting them some say in a successor government. There will be no problem in gaining access to Iraqi oil. Granted, the modest proposal that Iran liberate Iraq is insane. Its only merit is that it is far more reasonable than the plans now being implemented--or it would be, if the administration's professed goals had any relation to the real ones. http://www.guardian.co.uk/analysis/story/0,3604,843740,00.html * AFTER SADDAM by John W Dower The Guardian, 20th November In their immediate response to the shock of September 11, journalists and pundits across America evoked, almost as one, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor 60 years earlier. Stories dwelled on similarities (and differences) between the holy war fanaticism of the Islamic terrorists and that of the Japanese - and, of course, on the dismal failure of American intelligence to anticipate either attack. Now, with the Bush administration promoting the virtue of pre-emptive strikes, Japan has emerged as possibly offering a very different sort of historical precedent. Does America's successful occupation of Japan after the second world war provide a model for a constructive American role in a post- Saddam Hussein Iraq? The short answer is no. By almost all standards, the occupation of defeated Japan was a remarkable success. A repressive and militaristic society emerged from occupation to become a viable democracy. Naysayers who declared the Japanese people to be culturally incapable of self-government were proved impressively wrong. Contrary to what self-anointed "realists" seem to be suggesting today, however, most of the factors that contributed to the success of nation building in occupied Japan would be absent in an Iraq militarily defeated by the US. When war ended the US-dominated occupation of Japan had moral as well as legal legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world. There was a level of unequivocal regional and global support that a projected US war against Saddam Hussein does not enjoy. The occupation also had legitimacy in the eyes of almost all Japanese. The Japanese government accepted this when it surrendered. Emperor Hirohito gave his significant personal endorsement to the conquerors. And Japanese at all levels of society quickly blamed their own militaristic leaders for having initiated an unwinnable war. Saddam Hussein will never morph into a Hirohito figure, and a pre-emptive war will surely alienate great numbers of Iraqis. In defeat, the Japanese proved to be anything but homogeneous. Political allegiances ran from conservatives to communists. But Japan was spared the religious, ethnic, regional and tribal animosities that are likely to erupt in a post-war Iraq. By the same token, the suicidal fanaticism that characterised Japanese behaviour on the battlefield did not survive the war. In an occupation that lasted from 1945-52, there was not one instance of Japanese terror against the occupation forces. Does anyone really imagine this would be the case in an occupied Iraq? Much of the success of the Japanese occupation derived from the fact that Japan surrendered "unconditionally", thereby ceding absolute authority to the victors. The exercise of this authority, moreover, was vested in the unusually charismatic General Douglas MacArthur, who, in effect, was authorised to rule by fiat. Planning for the occupation of Japan actually began in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and the general objectives of demilitarisation and democratisation of the vanquished foe were spelt out in the Potsdam Proclamation of July 1945, weeks before the Japanese government finally capitulated. MacArthur's staff had considerable leeway for creative interpretation of their orders, but those orders reflected long deliberation in Washington, in contrast to today's hasty policymaking. The great legal and institutional reforms that continue to define Japanese democracy today reflected liberal New Deal policies that now seem testimony to a bygone age: land reform; encouragement of organised labour; a new constitution that guaranteed an extremely progressive range of civil rights; restructuring of schools and rewriting of textbooks, and so on. Ideology aside, the simple logistics of such serious nation building would seem prohibitive. The key military and civilian personnel who carried out civil affairs policy under MacArthur numbered around 5,000 to 6,000, stationed mostly in Tokyo but also in grassroots offices throughout the country. Tens of thousands of bilingual Japanese support staff were hired. And for most of the occupation, US military forces - whose mission quickly turned to cold war objectives rather than the prevention of domestic unrest - numbered more than 100,000. What ultimately enabled the Americans to institutionalise democracy was not only the existence of strong pre-war democratic traditions, but also the survival of the existing bureaucracy. The administrative structure remained essentially intact from the central ministries down to village governments. Again, it is difficult to imagine a post-war Iraq in which structures of the old regime will provide so ready a vehicle for carrying out reforms. One could easily go on with examples of the unique nature of Japan's occupation. As an island, it was isolated from neighbours (like China) that soon became hostile to its incorporation in America's cold war strategy. By contrast, Iraq shares borders with potentially intrusive neighbours. Of even greater importance, MacArthur and his staff had the period of relative quiet from 1945-47 to concentrate on promoting democratisation, while policy makers in Washington were preoccupied with developments in Europe. In the cauldron of Middle East politics, there will be no such period of calm after a war with Iraq. Defeated Japan also was poor in natural resources and of virtually no economic interest to outsiders. It was spared the presence of carpetbaggers who might have tried to manipulate occupation policy to serve their private interests. In oil-rich Iraq, foreign capital is poised to play a major political as well as economic role. While occupied Japan provides no model for a post-war Iraq, it does provide a clear warning - even under circumstances that turned out to be favourable, demilitarisation and democratisation were awesome challenges. To rush to war without seriously imagining all its consequences, including its aftermath, is not realism but a terrible hubris. (John W Dower is the author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A longer version of this article appeared in the New York Times) http://www.dawn.com/2002/11/21/int12.htm * US AGAIN TURNS ITS BACK ON AFGHANS by Andrew Lawler Dawn, from Los Angeles Times, 21st November BOSTON: The governor of Ghazni, an Afghan province south of Kabul, is just the kind of leader Washington should like. He's young, educated and progressive. Haji Hassadullah Khalid studied political science before the Taliban shut down Kabul University, speaks passable English and dreams of studying in the United States. He is a striking contrast to the warlords, such as Abdul Rashid Dostum, recently implicated in the deaths of Taliban prisoners, or Ismail Khan, who pays little heed to Kabul's diktats. But Khalid gets no help from the United States. One year after coming to power, he says his people still must walk an average of three miles just to get drinking water. He has no tax money to pay teachers. And there is little support from the central government in Kabul. "This job is very difficult," he said, taking a break from the endless stream of supplicants who come to his reception room. What about support from the United States? He shakes his head, sighs and lights up another cigarette. "We've talked to USAID (US Agency for International Development), but we haven't received any help yet." The Bush administration pledged to try to do more to rebuild Afghanistan, but help so far has been too little and too late. Outside the heavily guarded walls of Khalid's residence, the burnt fields, destroyed irrigation systems and virtually non-existent roads are mute testament to his helplessness. The drive from Kabul, once smooth and easy, is now a harrowing four- hour ride. When Khalid travels it, he does so only by day in a convoy with soldiers and machine guns. He is struggling to control sporadic fighting across the desperately poor province, often between rival Pakhtoon and Hazara ethnic militants. In August, he was forced to place soldiers around the United Nations relief ministry in his own provincial capital after an armed robbery. President Bush last month ballyhooed the $588 million in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction showered on Afghanistan during the past year. Now the Pentagon promises to bring in a few hundred more civilians to help. But put that in perspective: The Pentagon spent nearly $15 billion on the war in that same period. The truth on the ground is even more alarming. Kabul is full of European and Japanese aid workers, while American GIs are largely confined to a military base north of the city. Beyond Kabul and its environs, there are few signs of foreign assistance. In a recent two week trip through central and south Afghanistan, outside the relative safety of Kabul and the surrounding area, I saw few signs of foreign aid. Groups of armed men, some in fatigues, some not, block what's left of those roads between the major cities, demanding money. The only roadwork I saw outside Kabul was being done by hundreds of people - almost all children - along desolate portions of the rutted roads. As drivers approach, they throw a spadeful of dust into the ruts and then hold out their hands for money. Given enough political and economic willpower, the United States could rebuild the main roads, sink thousands of new wells and help revitalize the devastated school and university systems. Instead, the United States is training a much-needed national army but turning a blind eye to broader reconstruction. We did it for Germany, but Afghanistan is yesterday's problem. American statesman George Kennan foresaw the problem during World War II, when he was assigned one summer to Baghdad, Iraq. "Our government is technically incapable of conceiving and promulgating a long-term consistent policy toward areas remote from its own territory," he wrote. The problem, he said, is that "our actions in the field of foreign affairs are the convulsive reactions of politicians to an internal political life dominated by vocal minorities." It was that lack of a long-term policy that led us to walk away from Afghanistan in the early 1990s, after we had pumped the country full of weapons to defeat the Soviets, leaving it in chaos and eventually to Mullah Mohammed Omar and Osama bin Laden. Now we are again moving on to other things, such as Iraq. A media darling just a few months ago - remember reading about his fabulous wardrobe? - Hamid Karzai is out. Kurds are in. And Khalid is left on his own. Didn't we learn the first time? http://www.rnw.nl/hotspots/html/ukr021121.html * NASTY SURPRISE FOR US AIRMEN by Hans de Vreij Radio Netherlands, 21st November If the long-anticipated American attack on Iraq goes ahead, the US Air Force may find itself in for an unpleasant surprise. Their so-called "stealth" aeroplanes (the B-2 bomber and F 117 fighter) are invisible to normal radar systems. But Ukraine is strongly suspected of having sold Iraq a number of "Kolchuga" passive detection systems which, the producer claims, are able to track stealth aircraft at ranges of up to 500 kilometres. Earlier this month, US and British military experts visited Ukraine to find out more about the alleged deliveries. But the outcome was said to be unsatisfactory. As early as March, a spokesman of the US Defence Intelligence Agency bluntly stated, when asked about the Kolchuga delivery, "Iraq has them". Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma was told he wouldn't be welcome at the Prague NATO summit this week in direct retaliation for the alleged delivery. Another US punishment for Ukraine's alleged shady dealings with Saddam Hussein's regime said to be worth 100 millions dollars is the suspension of 54 million worth in aid to the former Russian satellite. Ukraine has been actively marketing the Kolchuga system at international defence exhibitions. According to the firm producing the systems, Topaz in the city of Donetsk, clients so far have included Russia and other countries from the former Soviet Union, China, Ethiopia and Ukraine itself. Compared to traditional anti-aircraft radar systems, Kolchuga and similar products have one obvious advantage. Since they are passive systems, enemy aircraft cannot detect their presence or activity. They therefore cannot themselves be neutralised by anti-radar missiles. In the case of a massive US air strike against Iraq, there is no way the presence of the Ukrainian systems would tip the balance in Baghdad's favour. They might, however, cause the loss of a few very expensive aircraft, not to mention their pilots. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk