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News, 02-10/1/03 (7) IMPLICATIONS OF WAR * 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 IMPLICATIONS OF WAR http://www.iht.com/articles/82150.html * WHAT IF THERE'S NO IRAQ WAR? 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 Iraq. 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 capability. 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 impossible. 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 rights. 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. http://www.msnbc.com/news/852294.asp * GULF WAR LESSONS, LEARNED OR NOT 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 War? 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 investigation. "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 Scuds. "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 troops. 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 addressed." 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. http://www.msnbc.com/news/842367.asp?0sp=v3z2&0cb=-212106936 * GULF WAR SYNDROME LOOMS ANEW 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 again: 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 says. 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 gas. 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 weapons. 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18870-2003Jan6.html * U.N. WARNS OF WAR'S HUMANITARIAN IMPACT 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 survival. 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 Iraq. 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, suspended." "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 Iraq. 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. http://www.dawn.com/2003/01/07/int14.htm * THE OTHER WAR HAS BEGUN - THE ONE TO SAVE LIVES 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 territory. 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. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030107/7/2zkhd.html * IRAQ: ANOTHER FAKE LIBERATION 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 October. 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 Afghanistan. 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 1996. 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 amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030108/ts_nm/iraq_anthra x_dc_1 * U.S., BRITISH TROOPS CONCERNED BY ANTHRAX VACCINE 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 Syndrome." "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 function. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20030109/ts_usatoday /4764700 * RELIEF GROUPS EXPECT WORST IN BAGHDAD 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 relatives. 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 walkie-talkies. 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." http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-538091,00.html * WHY THE US AND THE UK ARE RIGHT TO TARGET IRAQ 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 missiles. 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 wish? 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 choose. 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. _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk