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[casi] News, 02-10/1/03 (7)

News, 02-10/1/03 (7)


*  What if there's no Iraq war?
*  Gulf War lessons, learned or not
*  Gulf War syndrome looms anew
*  U.N. Warns of War's Humanitarian Impact
*  The other war has begun - the one to save lives
*  Iraq: another fake liberation
*  U.S., British Troops Concerned by Anthrax Vaccine
*  Relief groups expect worst in Baghdad
*  Why the US and the UK are right to target Iraq


by Robert Malley
International Herald Tribune, 4th January

WASHINGTON: For some time now, the American debate over Iraq has focused on
a potential war and what should follow it. What is striking is how little
thought appears to have been given to the other possible outcome, the one
the rest of the world continues to push and the Bush administration itself
professes to favor: a nonmilitary settlement.

In short, all the talk has been about the day after a war. But what about
the day after a non war?

An invasion still seems likely. But we may witness an Iraqi turnabout -
last-minute compliance with the UN Security Council terms in hope of
salvaging Saddam Hussein's regime.

There may be a preemptive coup by Iraqi security officials determined to get
rid of Saddam before the United States gets rid of them.

Or we may have to live with an ambiguous situation that drags on for a long
time, with neither a smoking gun nor a clean bill of health, because
inspections are inconclusive, American allies deem Iraq's threat
insufficient to justify a war, and Washington concludes that it would be
wiser not to go at all than to go it alone.

In any case, avoiding war with Iraq does not mean resolving the problem of

For the past decade, Iraq policy has been caught between those who believed
that sanctions and covert action would make the regime go away, and those
who believed that time would make the whole issue go away. Thus Iraq today
suffers under harsh international sanctions and harsher domestic repression,
with intrusive inspections and disturbing uncertainty about its weapons

Sanctions leak, to the benefit of their intended target, the Iraqi regime,
and they hurt their unintended victims, the Iraqi people.

The regime's totalitarian power is intact, but the country's sovereignty is
in shambles, with no-flight zones north and south, a quasi-independent
Kurdish area and meddling by its neighbors.

Indeed, the message conveyed by the Iraqi citizens interviewed in recent
weeks by the International Crisis Group is that the situation is so
desperate that many now appear ready to accept a war whose destructive
impact they risk being the first to suffer.

Even if Saddam were ousted, the Iraq problem would be unlikely to disappear.
Iraq would still have a volatile domestic situation, long-standing border
disputes with neighbors, a rivalry with Iran and a drive to acquire
nonconventional weapons.

The responsibility today, especially for those who wish to oppose a
conflict, is to think about what will happen if war is avoided.

The central pillar of any plan needs to be deterrence, with commitments from
American allies - possibly backed by a Security Council resolution - for a
crushing military response so credible that the regime would understand that
any use of weapons of mass destruction, or indeed any threat to its
neighbors, would bring its immediate demise.

A second pillar would be to induce political change in Iraq. The United
Nations resolutions adopted after the Gulf War demanded that it cease its
repression of its citizens. Needless to say, this call has not been heeded.
But Iraq is in dire straits. The oil industry operates at nowhere near
capacity, roads and water facilities are a shambles, and Iraq's isolation
from most of the industrialized world makes paying for improvements

The quid pro quo for Iraq's economic reintegration, including international
aid, loans for reconstruction projects and the lifting of sanctions, ought
to be key domestic reforms: real elections, political pluralism, ethnic

Ultimately, so long as any concerns remain about the country's intentions
regarding weapons of mass destruction, the ban on military goods and the
oil-for-food program should be maintained. Other sanctions, like the one
banning technology that has both civilian and military uses, could gradually
be lifted to encourage domestic reform. In the longer term, a third pillar
would be a regional security system. Elements of this would include
commitments from all Gulf states (including Iran) to respect the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of their neighbors and to give up programs for
weapons of mass destruction. These commitments could be monitored by an
international presence on the ground.

The truth is that while Iraq and Iran may have some very bad reasons to want
to develop their nonconventional arsenals, they feel that they have some
pretty good reasons as well - not least of all their fear of each other.
Unless these fears are addressed, any solution is liable to be short-lived.

Failure to offer practical ideas for what should happen if war does not
occur makes war more likely - either now or when the next crisis is upon us.

The writer, Middle East program director at the International Crisis Group,
was special assistant to President Bill Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs
from 1998 to 2001.

by Michael Moran
MSNBC, 6th January
NEW YORK, Jan. 6 ‹   The Gulf War is remembered as a walkover by many
Americans ‹ a late 20th-century blitzkrieg. In reality, the U.S. military
had a legion of troubles in the 1990 91 conflict, many of which caused
unnecessary deaths to allied troops and Iraqi civilians alike. Other
tragedies were averted merely by luck or Iraqi incompetence. What new
tactics, technologies and procedures are in place today to ensure that some
of the worst mistakes of the first Gulf War will not be repeated in a second
Iraq war?     

THE GULF WAR of popular memory bears little resemblance to the one fought by
the United States and its allies against Iraq, then touted as "the
fourth-largest army in the world." By the end of the war, media-savvy U.S.
military spokesmen were deriding the Iraqi forces as "the second-largest
army in Iraq."

In 1993, John Keegan, the world's pre-eminent military historian, called the
war "a triumph of incisive planning and almost faultless execution." Colin
Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the first war and now
secretary of state, concluded in his 1995 biography that even though Saddam
Hussein remained in power, "the remaining Iraqi army is hardly a force with
a will to fight to the death."

Quick conclusions now look time-worn.

The larger, strategic questions now seem self-evident:
­ Did the United States tilt too far toward Saddam's Iraq during the Cold
­ Should the United States have pressed on to Baghdad in 1991?
­ Would U.S. troops still be in Saudi Arabia today ‹ the main issue
animating al-Qaida ‹ if Washington had supported the anti-Saddam uprisings
by Iraqi Kurds and Shiites that followed the war?

These are questions for politicians and academics, not soldiers. But the
Gulf War spawned in each branch of the U.S. military a serious round of
soul-searching about mistakes that had cost lives - its own and those of
Iraqi non-combatants. Friendly fire claimed 24 percent of all Americans
killed in action, and more British troops fell to U.S. weapons than to Iraqi
ones. Entire airwings became dependent on amphetamines, the "go pills" doled
out to keep pilots alert on long missions. Two huge Navy warships were
nearly sunk by Iraqi mines, exposing the fleet's inadequate mine
countermeasures. Disputes over the effectiveness of attacks on Iraqi
divisions bedeviled air war commanders.

Tragic errors in target selection and bombs that simply missed their
intended targets caused civilian deaths that briefly threatened the
coalition. And miscalculations about the effects of vaccines, the
vindictiveness of Iraq's occupying forces and the Iraqi Republican Guard's
determination to survive also had serious consequences: Gulf War Syndrome,
the world's largest ever oil spill and a failure to defang Saddam's army
when the chance arose.

"FRIENDLY FIRE:" As dire as the statistics sound ‹ 35 of the 146 Americans
killed in action were killed by their own comrades ‹ military officers
regard the figure as relatively low. "You have to put the number of friendly
casualties in context," says Jack Jacobs, a retired Army colonel who
received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. "Anything larger than
zero is a lot. But with so few casualties overall, the friendly fire number
seems large. The reality is, it is a lot lower than it would have been for a
similar operation in Vietnam or World War II."

Still, the military ‹ at least in part because of the incidents involving
American forces killing British troops ‹ grappled with ways of further
reducing the number during the 1990s.

One clear advantage today, according to Bill Martel, a professor at the
Naval War College in Newport, R.I., is that American forces now have Global
Positioning Satellite devices ‹ GPS for short ‹ which should make their
locations more "knowable" to their comrades.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Perry Smith notes that a "battlefield
coordination detachment" has been added to the Combined Air Operations
Center that would call the shots in any new Iraq air war.

No one pretends these systems are flawless. During the Afghan campaign, for
instance, a special forces soldier gave his own GPS coordinates rather than
the coordinates of the target to a B-52 crew, with tragic results. In
another instance, Canadian troops were killed in an incident still under

"I don't think there's any technological silver bullet that will make
friendly fire events go away," Martel says. "How do you employ tens if not
hundreds of thousands of people in combat and eliminate human error? You
can't. How can you prevent someone from entering the wrong GPS coordinates?
You can't."

But at least GPS will give U.S. forces some improvement. For the British,
who expect to send up to 30,000 troops to the Gulf, there has been little
done, according to Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Larpent, who commanded a unit
that lost 9 men to American fire in the last war.

"Why is it that our soldiers again will have nothing better to protect them
than some very rudimentary system that we used without success back then?"
he asked in a letter Sunday to a British newspaper.

THE 'AL-FIRDOS' BUNKER: On Feb. 13, 1991, two Stealth fighters received
orders to hit a hardened shelter in Baghdad that U.S. intelligence had
identified as a "command and control bunker."

The Air Force's desire to hit sites related to Saddam's ability to wage war
had led intelligence officers to suggest this target several times ‹ and
each time it had been rejected for lack of evidence that it was, in fact, a
military target. The bunker strike was approved after an Iraqi CIA asset
confirmed it was a key military bunker. In fact, while debate still rages
over the Iraqi military's use of the bunker, the two bombs dropped through
its reinforced roof incinerated more than 200 civilians (the Iraqis claimed
the number was far higher).

The growing percentage of "precision" munitions in the U.S. military arsenal
may diminish the number of civilians killed by missed targets. Andy
Krepinevich, a military analyst at the Center Strategic and Budgetary
Priorities in Washington, notes that only 7 percent of bombs dropped in the
Gulf War were "smart" bombs. "About 35 percent were precision munitions in
Kosovo, and that climbed to about 60 percent last year in Afghanistan," he
says. "The figure may be close to 80 percent if an Iraq war happens."

Still, the "targeting error" problem ‹ the one that chose Al Firdos for
destruction ‹ has haunted the Air Force ever since. In Kosovo, a Stealth
bomber dropped a bomb on the Chinese Embassy after the CIA and DIA failed to
coordinate data on what was in the building. A Red Cross headquarters in
Kabul and a wedding party in northern Afghanistan suffered similar fates.

"I think there have been strides made in the relationship between
intelligence agencies and battlefield commanders," says Gen. Perry Smith.
"But you're going to have an occasional goof like that because of human
error or a lack of real close coordination between agencies. In a 30-day war
of the kind being discussed, there will be at least one. That's just the way
it is."

SCUD HUNTING: The effort to detect and destroy mobile Scud missiles, in
retrospect, received too little attention, according to Smith. "Schwartzkopf
was not a big special forces fan. We had them but didn't use them that
widely," the general says. "We learned a lesson; we learned we could not do
this from the air."

In fact, Schwartzkopf authorized the British SAS to begin hunting Scuds two
days before the ground war began. He later agreed to allow the U.S. Delta
Force to join them. Not one Scud launcher was destroyed.

"Now, after Afghanistan, we have a large number of special forces, better
equipped and with better sensors. Reconnaissance drones, too, will play a
role, lingering over areas and swooping down."

So-called UCAVS - Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles like the Hellfire
missile-firing Predator ‹ also makes it more likely that "real-time"
intelligence can be harvested. "They may not be able to knock out a Scud
launcher," the general says, "but they can keep it busy while the F 16s are
on the way."

ANTI-MISSILE DEFENSE: When Scuds were launched, "day of" accounts told a
breathless tale of triumph, all built around the idea that Patriot missiles
based in Israel and Saudi Arabia had killed most, if not all, incoming

"After the war, we examined those claims, and as it turned out, they killed
a few or possibly even no Scuds completely," Smith says. Late in the war,
that reality became painfully clear when a single Scud slammed into a
crowded U.S. barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, killing 28, mostly U.S. Air
National Guard troops.

Since then, there have been two major developments. One is a new-generation
Patriot PAC 3, designed to hit oncoming warheads, rather than merely
destroying the missile and leaving the warhead to follow its own altered but
still deadly trajectory.

The second is a joint U.S.-Israeli program that developed a whole new
system: the Arrow anti-missile system. Israel now fields a dozen batteries
of these missiles, which, unlike the last-ditch Patriots, are designed to
intercept Scuds in their launch mode, far away from targeted cities. "We
should now be able to shoot down somewhere in the neighborhood of two-thirds
of oncoming missiles," Smith predicts. "Of course, it only takes a single
missile with a chemical warhead to change the geopolitics. But this is a
huge advance over where we were 12 years ago."

MEDICAL ISSUES: Beyond the obvious dangers of a battlefield, the military
found itself criticized harshly after the Gulf War on two fronts:
inadequately preparing troops for exposure to dangerous chemicals ‹
including biological and chemical weapons ‹ and overusing amphetamine "Go
Pills" used by pilots to stay alert on long missions.

January 3, 2003 ‹ The lawyer for a U.S. Air Force pilot who mistakenly
bombed Canadian troops, killing 4, says the pilot's judgment was impaired by
Air Force-issued amphetamines used to ward off fatigue. A USAF medical
doctor disagrees. During the war, Washington Post reporter Rick Atkinson
reported in his book, "Crusade," pilots of the 53rd Tactical Air Squadron
based at Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia, became psychologically addicted to the
pills. The pace was so ferocious, Atkinson reports, that an effort by the
squadron's commander to ban the pills had to be abandoned.

In Afghanistan, two pilots involved in a friendly fire incident involving
Canadian troops recently claimed their judgment was impaired by "go pills"
they were required to take, a charge the Air Force denies. Perry, the
retired Air Force general and a former fighter pilot himself, says the long
distances needed to reach the battlefield in Afghanistan may be partly to
blame. "That should not be a major issue in Iraq," he says.

More serious is the Gulf War Syndrome issue. Soon after the war, U.S. and
British troops began complaining of debilitating symptoms. There still is no
scientific agreement on what causes the illnesses, which range from joint
pains to memory loss to partial paralysis. Some blame the bio-warfare
vaccinations administered before the war. Others wonder whether destroying
stocks of Iraqi chemical or biological agents might have done it, or even
exposure to the oil fires that raged. Whatever the cause, reports from the
GAO and the Institute of Medicine and a variety of other sources blame the
Defense Department for not taking the issue seriously, for attempting to
deny the existence of the issue and ultimately for failing to safeguard

Given the uncertain root of the problem, experts say, there is no certainty
that a second rash of such illnesses can be avoided. However, the military's
stock of protective chem-bio suits, and its ability to detect such agents,
is vastly improved.

MINE WARFARE: Few now remember, but during operations intended to trick Iraq
into believing that U.S. Marines would land in Kuwait, two major Navy
vessels - the Aegis cruiser U.S.S. Princeton and the amphibious assault ship
U.S.S. Tripoli - very nearly were sunk by Iraqi mines. Since that incident,
according to CBSA's Krepinevich, mine warfare officers have tried without
success to get a major modernization of the World War II-vintage
minesweeping fleet.

"This is one place where progress is almost nil," he says. "This is not a
glamorous use of funds, obviously, and it is a problem that hasn't been

The sinking of a cruiser or one of the aircraft carrier-sized amphibious
assault ships would not have changed the course of the war but might well
have changed the public's perspective of it.

by Linda Carroll
MSNBC, 7th January

Jan. 7 ‹  When the Gulf War ended in 1991, veteran Mike Woods felt fine.
Within months, however, problems with concentration and short-term memory
emerged, soon followed by blackouts and seizures. A decade on, Woods is
paralyzed in one leg, and while doctors have failed to diagnose his illness,
Woods is pretty sure it stems from exposure to neuro toxic chemicals during
his stint in Iraq. Like many veterans of the Gulf War, Woods worries that
the next group of soldiers shipped to Iraq will be similarly afflicted.

ELEVEN YEARS after troops served in Iraq, experts still don't know what
caused so many soldiers to suffer the diverse panoply of symptoms labeled
Gulf War Syndrome.

Some speculate that the syndrome might be the result of soldiers receiving
multiple unproven vaccinations against chemical or biological attack. Some
wonder whether soldiers might have been exposed to low levels of nerve
agents, such as sarin gas, as American forces destroyed Saddam Hussein's
arsenals of these deadly materials. Still others suspect the sickness is the
result of stress ‹ a latter day form of "shell shock."

Whatever the cause, activists charge that little has been done to prevent
similar problems from happening again if the current crisis leads to a
second round of warfare with Iraq. Steve Robinson, executive director of the
National Gulf War Resource Center, a non-profit coalition of veterans, says
that American troops receive too little training in protecting themselves
against chemical and biological weapons.

A former Army Ranger who served with special forces in Iraq, Robinson says
he and other vets remain angry at the toll this affliction has taken on
their post-war lives, and they are unimpressed with changes since 1991.
Among the gripes he and other vets cite as troops move toward Iraq once

‹ A lack of urgency in diagnosing the illness and providing care to those
disabled in the Gulf War.
‹ Few improvements to the military's ability to track individual soldiers'
locations on the battlefield in association with suspected weapons of mass
destruction sites.
‹ A failure to remove up to 250,000 defective chemical and biological
warfare protection suits from the military's active stockpile.
‹ A failure to adapt protective gear or chemical-biological detection kits
to the realities of desert warfare.

Nobody knows how many soldiers have Gulf War Syndrome, says Dr. Robert
Haley, chief of the Epidemiology Division in the Department of Internal
Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"The problem is the government had a policy for many years saying that
'there is no Gulf War syndrome, so therefore no research can measure how
common it is.' You see the circular reasoning.

Haley says his research suggests that symptoms associated with Gulf War
syndrome likely are due to brain cell damage in deep brain structures caused
by low-level nerve gas in combination with other chemicals.

He and others say there is no way to estimate precisely the number affected,
but his own "educated guess" ranges from 20,000 to 150,000.

"I suspect the prevalence of the really sick neurological syndrome (our
syndrome 2) is more like 20,000," he says. "But again, all this is educated
guess work until our survey is completed."

Robinson and others accuse the government of sending soldiers off with
equipment designed more for battles in cool European climates than in the
heat of the desert.

In theory, the suits should provide protection for 24 to 36 hours, says Dr.
Michael E. Kilpatrick, deputy director of deployment health support at the
Department of Defense. But sweat can degrade the suits' performance, he

And given soldiers' experiences in the last Gulf War, this could be a
problem. Alarms requiring soldiers to suit up would ring three to four times
a day. Soldiers would then remain in the suits for hours sweating in the
heat as they waited for the all-clear signal, says Woods.

Compounding these problems is the fact that much of the protective clothing
going to the gulf with the troops this time may be defective. A report by
the Government Accounting Office in 2002 found that the military had
purchased almost 800,000 defective chemical suits. And while an effort has
been mounted to recall the faulty garments, 250,000 were still unaccounted
for as of July.

In addition, some reservists may be going overseas with no protective gear
whatsoever. Recently the DOD checked in with some of the reserve units to
document training levels and equipment, and found that some were lacking.

"Some reserve units don't have the equipment to detect nerve agents,"
Kilpatrick says. "If they're deployed, we have to figure out how to get it
to them."

Another key issue is the effect of low levels of chemical weapons. Attention
has mostly focused on monitoring and protecting against lethal levels of
these toxins, but it's possible that lower doses could cause harm.

In recent reports by the GAO and the Institute of Medicine, the DOD was
criticized for not making a greater effort to determine the effects of
non-lethal doses of chemical weapons. Recent studies in animals have shown
that there may be neurologic consequences to exposure to low doses of sarin

Gulf War veterans also faced many problems documenting their exposures to
toxic substances. The military does not keep good track of where individual
soldiers are deployed, so it can be difficult to link illness with exposure.

With the onus on soldiers to document the association between exposures and
illness, it can take years before the military is forced to take
responsibility. And certainly the military's track record is less than
stellar when it comes to taking care of soldiers in the years following a
conflict. Take, for example, the case of Agent Orange, the herbicide sprayed
on jungle areas (and troops and civilians) in Vietnam.

Even in peacetime, government secretiveness has gotten in the way of sick
veterans discovering that they were guinea pigs for the US's own chemical

In an effort to keep better track of illnesses associated with deployment,
Congress mandated that the military perform a full physical exam, including
blood samples, on each soldier prior to shipping out and after returning to
the United States. But the DOD has chosen to implement a different plan.

"The law says that soldiers need medical exams before and after deployment,
including blood testing," says Kilpatrick. "I think the concept looks good,
but you're talking about requiring a full exam on healthy people and when it
comes to the numbers being deployed, say 100,000 or more, how do you have
time to do that?"

Rather than perform a full physical prior to deployment, the DOD will hand
out health questionnaires and require no further action unless a soldier
notes that he is ill on the form.

The DOD's Kilpatrick says the military can't guarantee that soldiers won't
be exposed to biological or chemical weapons.

"That's part of war," he says. "We're not going to be able to assure that
everyone's protected at all times. People die in plane crashes in training.
That's part of the risk of being in the military. There are multiple ways of
getting killed."

Woods and other veterans of the Gulf conflict see this as an unacceptable
attitude. They worry, too, that when it comes to chemical and biological
weapons, this war might turn out to be even more dangerous than the last.

"My own personal opinion is that Saddam didn't have any reason to use his
chemical weapons last time," Woods says. "We were there simply to remove him
from Kuwait. This time we're coming after him personally and he's got
nothing to lose. I don't think we're prepared for an all-out chemical
battle. And that's what I fear we're going to receive."

Linda Carroll is a free-lance reporter based in New Jersey. Her work has
appeared in The New York Times, Health and Smart Money.

by Colum Lynch
Washington Post, 6th January

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 6-The United Nations estimates that a U.S.-led military
campaign to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could place about 10
million Iraqi civilians, including more than 2 million refugees and
homeless, at risk of hunger and disease and in need of immediate assistance,
according to a U.N. planning document.

U.N. officials warned that the impact of a U.S. air and ground invasion in
Iraq would likely be worse than the humanitarian crisis caused by the
Persian Gulf War in 1991 because a decade of U.N. sanctions has made the
Iraqi population almost totally dependent on government handouts for

Such a conflict, the U.N. planners predicted in the document, would halt the
country's oil production, severely degrade its electrical power network and
disrupt the Iraqi government's capacity to continue distributing food
rations through a U.N.-supervised humanitarian program. It would also likely
lead to the outbreak of diseases, including cholera and dysentary, in
"epidemic if not pandemic proportions," the confidential report said.

The 13-page contingency plan, prepared by a senior U.N. task force last
month to coordinate U.N. humanitarian agencies' response to a possible
conflict, represents the most alarming official U.N. assessment of the
humanitarian fallout of a U.S.-led war in Iraq. It also underscores U.N.
fears that it may be impossible to adequately deliver relief to Iraqi
civilians in the initial weeks following the outbreak of war as U.S. forces
destroy or blockade key roads, rails, bridges and ports.

"The bulk of the population is now totally dependent on the government of
Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs," the document said.
"Unlike the situation in 1991, they have no way of coping if they cannot
access them: the sanctions regime, if anything, has served to increase
dependence on the government as almost the sole provider."

The document was obtained by the U.N. office of the Mennonite religious
group, which opposes a war against Iraq, and posted on the web site of the
Cambridge University student advocacy group, Campaign Against Sanctions on

The United Nations' preparations have been cloaked in secrecy because senior
U.N. officials feared it might appear that the world body was backing the
Bush administration's efforts to topple Hussein. U.N. officials have only
recently begun to acknowledge their plans, noting their concern that they
may be called upon to conduct a major humanitarian operation and
subsequently help administer a future Iraqi government. "We have had a lot
of experiences in the past where we were accused of not being ready," a U.N.
official said. "If something does happen nobody can say they weren't given a
lot of notice. "

The U.N. Children's Fund, the World Food Program and the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees are stockpiling food, blankets, tents and other
equipment in warehouses in Iran and other countries along Iraq's border for
more than half a million people. The United Nations also issued an appeal
last month in Geneva to the United States and other international donors for
$37 million to finance their initial preparedness plans. However
implementation of the plan could cost billions, according to U.N. officials.

The U.N. Department of Peacekeeping is planning for creation of an
Afghanistan-style U.N. political office that could help distribute
humanitarian relief aid and administer a new Iraqi government.

U.N. officials said they hope the resumption of U.N. inspections in Iraq can
avert a war and that their own efforts do not reflect support for U.S. aims
to oust the Iraqi leadership. The U.N. document cites the need for
developing a "plan b" that would outline the United Nation's future role in
Iraq in the event that "conflict is avoided and sanctions are, at the least,

"The United Nations often engages in contingency planning in countries in
which we work. In the case of Iraq we are of course preparing for all
eventualities," said David Wimhurst, the U.N. spokesman for peacekeeping.
"However, it is standard practice that we do not discuss such planning nor
disclose details about it."

Under the terms of a 1996 agreement, Iraq is permitted to export its oil and
use the majority of proceeds to pay for food, medicines and other
humanitarian goods. The program is expected to be suspended in the event of
a military conflict.

The United Nations expects the most serious fighting to occur in central
Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, causing shortages of clean water and
sanitation and driving civilians into southern Iraq and across the border
into Iran. But it also warns that the food distribution network that feeds
more than 24 million Iraqis could be disrupted, requiring the establishment
of alternative supply routes.

U.N. organizations are expecting to concentrate their aid efforts in the
south, where it anticipates about 5.4 million people will be in need of
immediate relief. But they will have to find new supply routes to feed more
than 3.7 million people in three Kurdish-administered provinces in northern

They will also have to contend with more than 900,000 refugees expected to
flee to Iran and another 50,000 that will go to Saudi Arabia. A total of
about 130,000 refugees currently living in U.N.-supervised refugee camps in
Iraq are also expected to join the flood of internally displaced Iraqis
requiring aid.

by Peter Baker
Dawn, from LAT-WP News Service, 7th January

BAGHDAD: Sometime in the next few weeks 120 giant rubber bladders, each able
to hold up to 1,320 gallons of water, are scheduled to arrive at the Baghdad
offices of CARE , becoming front line weapons in the other war - the one to
save lives.

If the United States invades Iraq, any power outages would paralyze water
treatment plants. Tanker trucks that could be used to deliver water might be
pressed into military service. "So we thought that by using these bladders
we would transform regular trucks into tankers," explained Majeed Waleed,
deputy project manager at CARE.

Water would be among the most serious concerns in the early days of any new
war in Iraq, but hardly the only one, according to CARE and other
humanitarian groups here. Iraq's food distribution system, dependent on
UN-administered oil sales, likely would collapse.

Hospitals, already short of medicine under UN sanctions, could become
overwhelmed by casualties. Diarrhoea and measles could spread. And hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis could flee the fighting.

As more U.S. troops get orders to head for the Persian Gulf region and the
Pentagon readies its battle plans, humanitarian groups are preparing for
what they call a massive crisis in the making. Ruud Lubbers, the UN high
commissioner for refugees, recently declared that war "will be a disaster
from a humanitarian perspective" for a country where conditions have already
deteriorated dramatically during two decades of war, strife, repression and,
for the past dozen years, economic sanctions.

UN contingency planners estimated that as many as 4.5 million to 9.5 million
Iraqis could need food from outside shortly after the beginning of a war and
predicted that as many as 900,000 refugees could spill into neighbouring
countries such as Iran, Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

Three weeks ago, UN relief agencies requested $37.4 million to cope with the
expected crisis. Tents, blankets and medical kits have been stockpiled in
places such as Amman, the Jordanian capital, to be shipped in at a moment's
notice. Iran has agreed to open another border crossing where humanitarian
goods could be brought in by truck.

But preparations have been hampered by political sensitivities. Humanitarian
organizations, especially those run by the United Nations, feel constrained
in preparing for a war that most governments still hope to avoid. Aid groups
have held no all-inclusive meetings here to coordinate efforts in the event
of war, and the local UN umbrella agency said contingency planning is being
handled in New York.

At the UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, which oversees
local and foreign UN workers in the country and shares its headquarters at
the converted Canal Hotel with UN weapons inspectors, officials have gone
out of their way to present the appearance of business as usual.

"Here we're just doing our jobs as usual," said Veronique Taveau, the
spokeswoman. "You can feel it. No one is running around crazy. It's fine.
There is no crisis here."

Humanitarian workers have found it difficult to secure money to prepare for
a war. At the same time, they worry that visible preparations would only
contribute to war fever.

"What world do we live in where humanitarians are the biggest warmongers?"
asked Marcus J. Dolder, head of the Baghdad office of the International
Committee of the Red Cross. "I don't like it that humanitarians are bulking
up.... We're very uncomfortable and we don't want to be part of the
propaganda, the huge buildup. On the other hand, we have to prepare for the
worst and hope for the best. We would be very stupid not to get ready."

Without an official crisis to respond to, he added, there are limits to what
groups such as the Red Cross can do. "We can't make formal demarches for
something we hope doesn't happen," he said. "We can't do that until the
aggression takes place, the first minute, not even a day before. This is all
very tricky."

Nonetheless, the Red Cross plans to have on hand enough medical kits to help
7,000 people injured by bombs or fighting on the first day of the war,
including syringes, antibiotics, gauze, anaesthetics and surgical tools. It
also wants to stockpile enough tents, stoves, cooking pots and blankets to
shelter 100,000 people at the beginning of any conflict.

Similarly, by ordering its annual supply in advance, UNICEF plans to have
health kits for 900,000 people, including nutritional supplements and
enriched milk, in an effort to keep already significant malnutrition from
worsening. Both UNICEF and CARE are bringing in water bladders and compact
water treatment units. CARE also is preparing relief buckets with soap,
toothpaste, shampoo and more.

Moving these supplies into the country could prove problematic once fighting
begins. The road from Jordan crosses the western Iraqi desert, where bombing
cut off traffic during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Humanitarians are
optimistic that Iran will play a key role with two logistics bases,
including new roads into the Kurdish-dominated north. However, they are
pessimistic about negotiations with Turkey, which wants to seal its border
during any war for fear of Kurdish refugees instigating trouble in its

Another challenge for humanitarian groups is helping a population that is
significantly less able to fend for itself than during the Gulf War.
"There's a big difference between '91 and now," said Waleed. "In '91, people
had a cushion to fall back on. Don't forget, this was a rich country. If
they got married, they gave gold. They had three or four TV sets.... Now, of
course, after 12 years anyone who ever got gold has sold it. People sold
parts of their houses or sold the whole thing and moved to a cheaper area."

As a result, the planning may not match the problem. "There are 248
scenarios," said a UN official who asked not to be named. "Nobody has the
right scenario in mind."

Humanitarian groups are most concerned about water and sanitation. As
treatment facilities have deteriorated over the past decade, the amount of
drinkable water available to each Iraqi has fallen by half, and disease has
surged as a result. Typhoid jumped tenfold and the average Iraqi child now
experiences diarrhoea 14 times a year. Diarrhoea is a killer here;
respiratory ailments and dehydration from diarrhoea account for 70 per cent
of deaths among children.

Cutting electricity to the remaining treatment facilities, where backup
generators are often broken or non-existent, would exacerbate the problem
and expose people to greater risk of disease.

Food will also be a top concern. Iraq now feeds its 23 million people with
rations under the UN oil-for-food programme. Monthly baskets of basic foods
provide each Iraqi with 20 pounds of wheat flour, 6.6 pounds of rice and 4.4
pounds of sugar, as well as tea, salt, cooking oil, baby milk, soap,
detergent and cereal.

The government recently decided to provide three months of food baskets at a
time so Iraqis could store enough to survive in a crisis. Yet 30 per cent to
40 per cent of the people depend on the rations not just for basic food but
also for income, selling some of their allotment, meaning that many will not
have enough in storage.

In the end, for all the planning by humanitarian groups, it may fall largely
to the Iraqi government to handle the crisis, at least for a while. UN
officials are preparing for possible evacuations of their foreign staff, and
many if not most of the local workers could be drafted to fight in the army.

by Ted Rall
Yahoo, 7th January

NEW YORK--The American invasion of Iraq promises to be a blockbuster.
They've designed the logos, focus-grouped the test audiences, and run the
trailers. At this late date Bush wouldn't dare disappoint us with a boring
old peace agreement. There's just one thing still missing from the script:
the happy ending.

During his radio address a few weeks back, George W. Bush promised that the
U.S. would "lead a coalition to disarm the Iraqi regime and free the Iraqi
people." Once Saddam is dead or has flown safely into exile, Bush and his
allies at Fox News swear, America will stick around to help liberated
Iraqis. We'll rebuild whatever we've bombed better than it was built in the
first place. We'll supervise democratic elections. Then, without asking for
anything in return, we'll leave.

"We were told by American officials that they want a broad-based Iraqi
government...with no direct American role," Hamid al-Bayati, a
representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an
anti-Saddam Shiite group expected to join a postwar government, reported in

What about oil? After all, Iraq holds one-tenth of the world's supply--it's
the second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia. Not to worry, a fatherly
Colin Powell assured: "We would want to protect those fields and make sure
that they're...not destroyed or damaged by a failing regime on the way out
the door."

The Bushies insist they have no interest whatsoever in Iraqi oil. Their war
aims, they say, are the elimination of a dangerous dictator and his
potential arsenal, liberating the Iraqi people, rebuilding the country and
spreading democracy, all while keeping nosy neighbors--Iran, Turkey,
Syria--out. Sounds nice. Maybe the cost--billions of dollars, thousands of
lives--will be worth it.

There's just one thing. Does anyone remember September 2001?

Bush marketed the invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan exactly
the same way. First we were going to go in and get Osama and his buddies,
"dead or alive." Then we'd liberate the long-suffering Afghan people from
Taliban rule. After supervising free elections, we'd wish Central Asia's
first democracy all the best and drive off in our Humvees.

Since our intentions were purely honorable, we'd never try to revive the
idea of building a Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline to carry gas and oil from
landlocked Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Indian Ocean oil
tankers. Liberation, not exploitation, was what we had in mind for

One year after Hamid Karzai--a former consultant for the oil company that
came up with the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline--took over as interim president,
it's become painfully apparent that neither liberation, nor rebuilding, nor
democracy, have begun.

Under the Taliban, Afghans were subjected to brutal Islamist law. Women,
banned from holding jobs, rarely ventured outside. Punishment was
medieval--adulterers were stoned to death and thieves had their limbs
amputated in the local soccer stadium. But if nothing else, these strictures
eliminated the banditry and rape gangs that terrorized the nation before

Post-Taliban Afghanistan is essentially the Taliban Afghanistan minus law
and order (news - Y! TV). Stonings continue and women remain under burqas,
but now thugs and rapists roam the streets unchecked.

The New York Times reported Jan. 2 that in Kabul--the only place governed by
Karzai--not a single house has thus far been built with international
assistance. According to the U.N., 650,000 Kabuli refugees urged by the U.S.
to return home to Afghanistan are now homeless. Millions of Afghans in
outlying provinces are without shelter. Few have received food or housing.
British troops were forced to dip into their own pockets to buy a generator
to heat Kabul's Indira Gandhi hospital. If the U.S. has plans to rebuild
Afghan roads, install a telephone system or otherwise create an viable
infrastructure, it has yet to announce them.

The Afghan people have given up on democracy. After U.S. representatives
bullied members of last summer's loya jirga into ditching King Zahir Shah,
Karzai's role as an American puppet became evident. Few expect the promised
2004 elections to be held on schedule.

Bush didn't liberate Afghans. He didn't rebuild anything. He spread
dictatorship, not democracy. And he didn't even try to catch Osama.

Bush's one accomplishment in Afghanistan, it turned out, was the one thing
he promised that he would never do. On Dec. 26, Karzai met with the
president of Turkmenistan and the foreign minister of Pakistan to work out
the final details of the $3.2 billion Trans Afghanistan Pipeline Bush's
friends had sworn would never be built.

Deputy Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones says the U.S. supports the
project, which I describe in detail in my new book Gas War: The Truth Behind
the American Occupation of Afghanistan. Gas War makes the case that the
Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, not the "war on terrorism," was the impetus for
the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Bush fooled us once. You know the rest of the clichι.

(Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American
Occupation of Afghanistan," an analysis of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline
and the motivations behind the war on terrorism. Ordering information is
available at and

by Paul Majendie
Yahoo, 8th January

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. and British troops who may be sent to war in Iraq
say they have suffered potentially deadly side-effects from the anthrax
vaccine they are being offered -- but defense officials insist it is safe.

Veterans groups on both sides of the Atlantic say up to one in three
soldiers has fallen ill after taking the vaccine and six of them died in the
United States.

But British Undersecretary of State for Defense Lewis Moonie said there was
no cause for alarm. "It has been given to many, many people over a long
period of time and there has never been a case of serious side-effects. Not
one case," he said.

British soldiers are now raising the anthrax alarm in calls to the National
Gulf Veterans and Families Association, set up after the last Iraqi conflict
sparked claims that thousands of soldiers were suffering from "Gulf War

"We have hard facts," said Association treasurer James Moore. "Two and Three
Parachute Regiments have had anthrax injections. At least a third come down
with flu-like symptoms and have been very poorly.

"If I was going out, there is no way I would have the vaccine. There is a
minuscule risk of being exposed to anthrax. I think Saddam Hussein would
more likely use mustard gas rather than something as unreliable as anthrax,"
he told Reuters.

"In the United States, over 30 percent have come down with symptoms and six
have died after taking the vaccine," he said.

Moore's concerns were echoed by Joyce Riley of the American Gulf War
Association who told BBC Radio: "My concern about the anthrax vaccine is
that it has proved to be unsafe. It is not a tested vaccine.

"What we are seeing from those who have been given the vaccine is usually
something to do with blackouts, with seizures and motor problems. We are
finding that these people become affected by skin lesions, they develop
sores and problems that just never go away."

But Moonie stoutly defended the inoculations. "I can assure you the vaccine
is safe. It has side-effects -- all vaccines like this do," he said.

"You may get soreness at the site of injection and you may get a flu-like
illness after it. But there are no serious complications," he added.

The mistrust of veterans still runs deep after years of battling over "Gulf
War Syndrome."

But neither the United States nor Britain accepts that a direct link has
been established between the 1991 war and the syndrome, even though they
have spent more than $300 million researching possible causes.

Veterans' groups say they suspect the use of pesticides in the battlefield,
burning oil tanks, bombs made from depleted uranium and new vaccines for
causing health problems that range from exhaustion to loss of motor

by Vivienne Walt
Yahoo, from USA Today, 9th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In a drafty living room in the poor Fatawat neighborhood,
Nabil Abdel Hamid, 35, warms his hands with a small electric heater. It's
the only source of warmth in the five-room house he shares with 10

After years of international sanctions, imposed at the end of the 1991 Gulf
War, life in the Iraqi capital already is a struggle for most people. Now
relief groups here say another war would bring the city to a halt after just
one day of bombing.

Relief organizations recently completed a study of the potential impact of a
war to determine how to help residents.

Their conclusions:

‹ Water taps would run dry within 12 hours.

‹ Food would become scarce.

‹ Epidemics could erupt if raw sewage spewed into the water supply and
residents began drinking from the polluted Tigris River that cuts through
the city.

"We're sitting in the center of a volcano that's likely to explode very
quickly," says Alexander Christof, an engineer who heads Architects for
People in Need, a German aid group working in Baghdad.

Many of the relief groups oppose a war and may want to exaggerate the
devastation one would cause. And U.S. military planners would probably try
to minimize damage because they want to keep the country intact. U.S.
military analysts say any attack would target only the Iraqi military's top
command and communications facilities in the hope of toppling of Saddam
Hussein's regime.

Bomb damage to the city would only make reconstruction more difficult,
Pentagon officials say. They say technological advancements since 1991 would
minimize civilian damage.

"Our planners have looked at a number of scenarios, including humanitarian
needs," says a Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. David Lapan. "If we are going to
hit infrastructure targets, there would be a consideration about the
civilian impact."

But Christof and other foreign relief officials living in Baghdad say that
unseating Saddam would be difficult and that allied forces would end up
fighting in the streets of the capital. They might be forced to bomb power
plants and bridges.

Unlike Kabul, Afghanistan's chaotic capital, Baghdad is a victim of its own
sophistication. Its highways and bridges are perfect military targets. "This
isn't Africa or Afghanistan," says Judy Morgan of CARE International.
"Everything was built to European-style standards."

How a war could affect life here:

‹ Water. Baghdad's hundreds of thousands of houses and apartment buildings
would be left without water within 12 hours if bombs hit the city's major
electric power plants, according to engineers with relief groups. Baghdad
sits on a flat plain and relies on electric pumps to force river water up to
treatment plants. Purified water is then piped to faucets. "Once the power
is cut, you won't get a drop of water," Christof says.

If sewage treatment plants were hit, waste would flow into the water supply,
says Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, a spokesman in Baghdad for the International
Committee for the Red Cross.

‹ Fuel. Gas stations would probably stop dispensing fuel to civilians, the
relief agencies say. The Iraqi military would commandeer the pumps to serve
their tanks and vehicles. It is illegal in Iraq for civilians to store fuel
at their homes. Fuel shortages also might make it difficult to run backup
generators. The generators serve Baghdad during the persistent blackouts
caused by the lingering Gulf War damage to power plants.

Residents who fail to escape to the countryside will need bicycles or
donkeys to get around, Christof says.

‹ Food. Almost all Iraqi families depend in part on government rations of
flour, milk, bread and other basics. The government distributes these once a
month. Since September, officials have handed out double rations, which has
allowed Iraqis to stockpile food at home in case of war. In a war, the food
distributions would be interrupted. Farmers would be unable to get to the
city's markets, so there would be little or no fresh produce.

‹ Communications. Baghdad's already patchy phone service could be knocked
out. Cellphones have yet to arrive. Only United Nations organizations,
embassies and some government officials are allowed satellite phones and

Relief organizations are scrambling to prepare for a war here. CARE has
ordered 60 water "bladders." Each of these rubber containers holds 1,600
gallons. They can be mounted on trucks and driven to crisis points. The
United Nations Children's Fund is importing mobile water-purification plants
that can dispense water in war zones. The International Red Cross has in
recent weeks handed out thousands of trauma kits to clinics and hospitals.

Relief officials say they're moving large supplies of U.S. dollars to
Baghdad. Without cash up front, no truck driver is expected to risk
distributing water or transporting food and medicine in a war zone.

CARE's foreign staff has opted to stay if there is a war, says Morgan, who
remained in Baghdad through the Gulf War. Many other foreign relief workers
plan to leave, however. In their absence, their organizations would be run
by locals.

Pentagon officials dispute the dire forecasts. They say the U.S. military is
in a much better position to avoid civilian casualties and infrastructure
damage than it was in 1991. Then, Baghdad's electricity was knocked out
three days after bombing began. Fuel supplies were gone within seven days.
Allied warplanes carried out about 890 strikes against electrical power
plants and oil installations.

Pentagon officials say precision-guided "smart" bombs would pinpoint
military targets without damaging the city's infrastructure. Smart bombs
were used for about 10% of strikes in 1991. In a new Iraq war, about 80% of
bombs dropped would probably be smart munitions.

The aim of U.S. military action would also be different this time. In 1991,
the goal was to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait; now, it would be to
overthrow Saddam's government. Devastating his capital would only cause
problems for a U.S.-backed successor government.

Saddam could be as big a danger to the city as U.S. bombs. U.S. intelligence
officials said recently that if the Iraqi leader thought he was losing the
war, he could destroy power plants, food stocks and oil fields and then
blame the humanitarian disaster on the United States.

Aid officials are skeptical that the Pentagon can minimize damage to the
city's infrastructure. They also insist that they are not raising alarms in
an attempt to mobilize world opinion against a war.

They say several key government buildings are in densely populated areas of
central Baghdad, including buildings for the foreign and defense ministries
and the main presidential palaces. Those facilities could be targets if a
U.S.-led force were to try to knock out the government's top command.

"The Pentagon says we're exaggerating," Christof says. "But war is war, and
you don't have a half-war or quarter-war. The U.S. says it will do precision
bombing. But the targets are all in civilian areas.",,482-538091,00.html

by Philip Bobbitt
The Times, 10th January

In the 1950s Bertrand Russell proposed that the Soviet Union be attacked to
pre-empt its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Instead, by threatening
retaliation we deterred the Soviet Union from aggression and induced
peaceful change. "Containment" was consistent with international law which
outlawed war except for self-defence, and implicitly gave to every sovereign
state the right to develop whatever weapons it wished. Pre-emption to
prevent the mere acquisition of weapons would not only have been unwise, it
would have been illegal.

Two developments render this strategic and legal paradigm redundant today.
New techniques for acquiring and delivering weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) have been developed; and a shadowy global terrorist network has
emerged against which threats of retaliation are pointless.

We misconceive deterrence if we imagine that the overwhelming force of the
US will deter President Saddam Hussein from further aggression. In August a
former UN weapons inspector testified bluntly that despite inspections "the
current leadership in Baghdad will eventually achieve a nuclear weapon in
addition to their current inventories of WMD". It is Iraq, armed with WMD
which, if that happens, will deter the US from interfering in the Gulf and
enable Saddam to press his luck again. That ambition is the only conceivable
reason he has resisted for 12 years, at a cost to him of more than $150
billion lost through sanctions, his obligation under the ceasefire deal to
abandon such programmes.

The West is running a terrible risk if pre-emptive action forces Saddam's
back against the wall; but unless we are willing to grant him a free hand in
the Gulf, his back will be against the wall some day anyway ‹ but with a
vastly increased power to do harm, and while the US will have a
significantly diminished capacity to prevent it.

Most commentators ignore the impact of a nuclear-armed Iraq on its
neighbours' arsenals. If Iraq's arms programmes are not subdued, WMD are
likelier to proliferate in other states, especially Iran, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and Libya. Even if Saddam were deterred from a direct attack on the
US by its WMD, US capabilities would not deter him from another attack on
Iran or Kuwait (or other Gulf states). One cannot imagine a Desert Storm
operation in the context of Iraqi nuclear capabilities and accurate Iraqi

The matter of Iraqi WMD cannot be detached from the development of
non-state, or even virtual state, actors like al-Qaeda, which are
well-financed and global, but are of no fixed abode and therefore immune to
threats of retaliation. Whether there has been any direct collaboration
between al-Qaeda and Saddam, the very existence of a global terrorist
network makes Iraq's nuclear and WMD capacity so much more threatening than
that of other tyrannous regimes in previous eras.

Saddam would clearly be capable of using these non-state actors as
unidentifiable agents to attack the US or the UK with weapons he would not
dare use against us directly. But surely, some argue, we would know he was
behind such an attack and would retaliate? Perhaps. But many doubt whether
we know all the actors responsible for Lockerbie; we still do not know the
authors of the anthrax attacks on Washington. In any case, the real question
is: would Saddam, a figure not averse to risk, be so sure that he would be
found out, and that his friends on the Security Council would not protect
him, if the situation were sufficiently murky?

Then ask yourself what happens to Iraq's WMD when the Iraqi regime finally
changes. Then, if not before, whatever WMD Iraq accumulates will find the
lucrative black market, selling to well-financed non-state actors that have
money but lack the facilities to develop nuclear weapons. We are already
experiencing enormous difficulties trying to account for Russian fissile
material, despite their genuine co-operation.

But, it may be objected, by what right do we propose to invade another
sovereign state on the basis of a scenario? Is there any clear evidence that
Saddam actually has (or is close to getting) WMD, or that he is in fact
collaborating with his ideological enemy al-Qaeda? What about the rule of
law that allows sovereign states to make whatever weapons and alliances they

To answer these questions is to leave the world of the blackboard, where all
states are the same regardless of their constitutional make-up, and where
history confidently advances from age to age towards an ever-increasing
universal peace under international laws, similar to those that govern the
citizens of civilised countries. Such a world ignores the unique lethality
of WMD and denies that there is really anything new in global terrorism.

We must recognise that the demand for conclusive evidence of weapons
acquisition is an inadequate requirement in the world we are entering. It
confuses deterrence with indictment, as if Saddam were guilty of violating
an international gun control law. In fact deterrence of WMD acquisition has
failed once the overt act is committed or the covert act unmasked. It must
be better to take action before we know that the situation we most fear has
indeed come about if we are clear with regard to his intentions.

The intelligence required to catch Saddam in the absence of an actual
nuclear test will be hard to come by ‹ as we have seen with most of the
nuclear powers. The Soviet Union, China, Israel and, quite recently, India,
all took the world by surprise despite intensive surveillance.

The real evidence we require is in plain view. Does Saddam, who has twice
invaded his neighbours, who has the unique distinction of having been the
first state to annex another member state of the UN, who has acknowledged
seeking nuclear weapons, developing biological weapons and using chemical
weapons in an unprovoked war of aggression against his own citizens, who has
violated his ceasefire commitments, shot repeatedly and continuously at
coalition forces enforcing the no-fly zones imposed by the UN in 1991,
really stand in the same position vis-ΰ-vis other countries? States are
judged by their intentions and their capabilities. There is ample evidence
of Saddam's intentions; must we wait on his capabilities?

If we are to depend on inspections indefinitely, then we must impose
sanctions indefinitely because otherwise Saddam could use his wealth to
replace in months whatever he had destroyed. Yet because Iraq is a police
state, the regime has been able to build up its armies in this period and
use the sanctions to wring ever greater suffering from its people, blaming
the West. The situation of the Iraqi people is dire. It will become worse if
war comes, but if that war is successful Iraq's oil revenues can once again
enrich its people.

Action against Iraq, like previous actions in Kosovo, Haiti, Panama, and
Afghanistan, would represent a profound change in the dominant 20th-century
norms of international law. It would strengthen the emerging rule that
regimes that repudiate the popular basis for their sovereignty ‹by
overturning democratic institutions, by denying even the most basic human
rights, and by practising terror against their own populations ‹ jeopardise
the rights of sovereignty, including that of seeking whatever weapons they

This does not mean that pre-emption is the best way of challenging such
policies in every case. Theatre missile defences, alliances, economic
sanctions and regional denuclearisation all have a role. North Korea is now
demanding a non-aggression agreement from the US as a condition of giving up
its WMD. Let's give it to them. And, if there really were a demilitarised
Iraq ‹ as agreed by Baghdad in the ceasefire accord that saved the regime ‹
why couldn't there be non-aggression pacts that include Iran and Israel so
that eventually no state in the region sought or possessed WMD? Ask
yourself: is such a world more or less likely if Saddam remains in Baghdad?

Profound change in international law responds to equally profound changes in
the strategic environment. But it would be wrong to conclude, as some in
Washington seem to, that our efforts to cope with a new international
situation must rely on "might makes right" rather than a new legal order.
For the sake of such an order the US and the UK should seek further UN
endorsement of coalition action based on the false affidavit submitted by
Iraq and the pattern of its behaviour.

Sometimes our political leaders seek a better world than the one we have at
present; sometimes they only seek a less worse one than we would otherwise
have in the future. Disarming Iraq serves both.

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