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[casi] Robert Fisk



Dear All
An interesting article by Robert Fisk

Best Regards
Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar
Baghdad, Iraq

*******************************************
http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=358255
Robert Fisk: We are being set up for a war against Saddam
The inspections are going unhindered. And what does Bush tell us? 'The signs
are not encouraging'

04 December 2002

In North Carolina last month, a woman attending a lecture I was giving asked
me when America would go to war in Iraq. I told her to watch the front page
of The New York Times and The Washington Post for the first smear campaigns
against the UN inspectors. And bingo, right on time, the smears have begun.
One of the UN inspectors, it's now stated  a man appointed at the behest of
the State Department  is involved with pornography. Another senior
official, we're now told  again appointed at the urging of the State
Department  was previously fired from his job as head of a nuclear safety
agency. Why, I wonder, did the Americans want these men on the inspection
team? So they could trash it later?
Actually, the official drubbing of the UN inspectors began way back in
September when The New York Times announced, over Judith Miller's by-line,
that the original inspections team may be on a "mission impossible". The
source was "some officials (sic) and former inspectors". Now President
George Bush is banging on again about the Iraqi anti-aircraft defences
firing at American and British pilots  even though the no-fly zones have
nothing to do with the UN inspections nor, indeed, anything to do with the
UN at all. The inspections appear to be going unhindered in Baghdad. And
what does George Bush tell us? "So far the signs are not encouraging."
What does this mean? Simply that America plans to go to war whatever the UN
inspectors find. The New York Times  which is now little more than a
mouthpiece for scores of anonymous US "officials"  has persuaded itself
that Iraq's Arab neighbours "seem prepared to support an American military
campaign". Despite all the warnings from Arab leaders, repeated over and
over again, month after month, urging America not to go to war, this is the
kind of nonsense being peddled in the United States.
And now the British government has come up with another of its famous
"dossiers"on Saddam's human rights abuses. Yes, again, we all know how
vicious Saddam is. We knew about his raping rooms and his executions and his
torture when we eagerly supported his invasion of Iran in 1980. So why is it
being regurgitated all over again?
Just take one little point in the latest British "dossier". It reveals that
a certain Aziz Saleh Ahmed, a "fighter in the popular army", held a position
as "violator of women's honour". Now I happen to remember that name. Was
this not the same Aziz Saleh Ahmed who turned up on page 287 of a book
published back in 1993 by Kanan Makiya, who formerly called himself Samir
al-Khalil? Why, indeed it was. Aziz Saleh Ahmed is listed as a "fighter in
the popular army" and  you've guessed it  "violator of women's honour".
There was a controversy about the translation back at the time, but I've no
doubt that there are raping rooms in Saddam's Iraq. I went inside one in the
northern city of Dohuk in 1991, women's underclothes still lying on the
floor. But the point is, what are we doing rehashing the Aziz Saleh Ahmad
story all over again as if we've just discovered it when it's at least eight
years old and  according to Makiya  was first seen more than a decade ago?
And yet again, the Americans are trying to establish links between Osama bin
Laden and Saddam Hussein in a desperate attempt to hitch the "war on terror"
to the war for oil (which is what, of course, the Iraqi "crisis" is all
about). Vice President Cheney has been parroting all the same nonsense about
"terror" leaders and Saddam, even though Bin Laden loathes the Iraqi leader.
No one  absolutely no one  has produced the slightest evidence that Saddam
had anything to do with the international crimes against humanity of 11
September. But still we are forced to listen to this trash.
Before Christmas or afterwards? I don't know. I do believe that the US 1st
Infantry Division will cross the Tigris bridges into Baghdad within one week
of an invasion. The first photos will show Iraqis making V for victory signs
at the American tanks. The second batch of pictures will show Baath party
members strung up from lamp-posts by the population they have suppressed for
so many years.
We will presumably use depleted uranium munitions against Iraqi armour  the
same depleted uranium that was used 11 years ago in the deserts of southern
Iraq, where children are now ravaged by strange and unexplained cancers. And
we will not  repeat this one hundred times  we will not mention oil.
The most the Iraqi army will do in response to an invasion  always assuming
they don't have nuclear or chemical weapons  will be to score a stray hit
on a Stealth bomber. Who, it is worth asking, knows the name today of Sgt
Zoltan Bercik, the Yugoslav Hungarian from Vojvodina who single-handedly
fired a liquid-fuelled Neva missile at an American Stealth bomber over
Serbia on 27 March 1999? The only man to bring down a Stealth  and still
his name remains unpublished, his story unknown. But that's remembering
another war in which the cause of the conflict  the ethnic cleansing of the
Kosovo Albanians  subtly changed shape once the war had begun and the
ethnic cleansing was under way.
In the meantime, Mr Bush's foreign policy advisers are busy hatching up the
conflict of civilisations. Take Kenneth Adelman, who is on the Pentagon's
Defence Policy Board. He's been saying that for Mr Bush to call Islam a
peaceful religion "is an increasingly hard argument to make". Islam is
"militaristic" in the eyes of Mr Adelman. "After all, its founder, Mohammed,
was a warrior, not a peace advocate like Jesus."
Then there's Eliot Cohen of the Johns Hopkins School of International
Studies, who is also on the Pentagon board. He now argues that the "enemy"
of the United States is not terrorism but "militant Islam". Mr Adelman and
Mr Cohen have not vouchsafed their own religion, but Islam is clearly being
targeted.
Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster  who used to run a vile radio
station in southern Lebanon which uttered threats against Muslim villagers
and UN troops  says that "Adolf Hitler was bad but what the Muslims want to
do to Jews is worse." Jerry Falwell, one of the nasties of the religious
right, called the Prophet a "terrorist", while Franklin Graham, son of the
same Billy Graham who made those anti-Semitic remarks on the Nixon tapes,
has called Islam "evil". And Graham, remember, spoke at Bush's inauguration.
We ignore all this dangerous rhetoric at our peril. Does Mr Blair ignore it?
Isn't he aware that there are some very sinister people hovering around
George Bush? Does he really think Britons are going to be cheer-led into war
by "dossiers" and the constant reheating of Saddam's crimes? Don't we want
the UN inspectors to do their work?
No, I rather think that we are being set up for war, that Britain will join
America in invading Iraq, whatever the inspectors discover. In fact, we are
being prepared for the awful, incredible, unspeakable possibility that the
UN inspectors will find absolutely no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
That will leave us with only one conclusion: they were no good at their job.
They should have been in the oil business.


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