The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear All, Every Sunday, Canadian state radio (CBC) has a 2-hour phone-in on a current issue. People may also express their opinions on the CBC website. Last Sunday the program was split between the air shuttle disaster and Iraq. The question on Iraq was based on the Christian Just War Ethic (JWE). "Can a pre-emptive war be considered just"? That is, "when can a war be considered just"? An "expert", a university professor, listed the five principles of the JWE. Even by these principles, this would not be a 'just' war, he said. A political analyst also said this war would not be justifyable. Then came the voice of the people: 80 percent of the callers and 85 percent of the website respondents opted against war on Iraq. They scoffed the idea of Saddam Hussein posing a thread. Again and again, they cited the deaths and the suffering accomplished in the silent sanctions war. (Under the US Air Force Doctrine, if not the JWE, civilian morale is a legitimate target. And the sanctions have certainly undermined the living Iraqis' morale - the dead suffer no more.) Here are some of the responses: "A 'just war?' How can you call what is about to happen a war? The question should be: Is this a just massacre? The UN estimates 300,000 casualties in Iraq in the initial phase and up to 1 million in the year after. Almost all of these will be civilians." "I am a Christian" said a caller, "but I reject the Just War Ethic. All war is evil." "I am an Irani and know the region", said another. So I don't buy the claim that Saddam Hussein is a threat. And as someone who has "lost family and my best friend in the Iraq/Iran war, I am against this war. I say let the Iraqi people live". Several respondents drew parallels between the space shuttle disaster and the impending attack on Iraq: "The world was saddened by that terrible loss [air shuttle]. But, just a little thought, if we felt that sad for the death of the seven astronauts, how about the disaster of losing thousands, and probably hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people." "Seven innocent persons were lost in the Columbia and the continent grieves; we face the loss of thousands of Iraq citizens in the upcoming war and where is the grief for them? Are we saying here that North American lives are worth more than those of others?" Questioning the reasons/motives: "Why didn't the US attack the Soviet Union which was a much greater threat to the US as the US would have everyone believe at that time, using the logic of pre-emption? Wasn't it because they couldn't do this without suffering heavy casualties? In the case of Iraq, they know that they do not have to fear any casualties and hence can attack it with impunity. Hence, what does this leave us with in terms of US intentions? Isn't it just to control the resources of the region for the benefit of the US and its multinational corporations?" And a scathing indictment on the world's indifference: "Keep your mind focused ... on Saddam Hussein. Do not permit it to stray toward the thousands of Iraqi people, including ordinary Iraqi soldiers, whom we must unfortunately kill in order to disarm Saddam. Don't think about them. Think only about how wonderful and glorious it will be to see Saddam dead or put into the dock at an international war-crimes tribunal or paraded through the streets. "This war is about liberation. Yes, it's true that the thousands of Iraqis we must kill in order to finally get to Saddam will not experience the joys of that liberation. They will be dead. But think about the Iraqis who will live to experience them. Even those who are maimed, blinded, and paralyzed will sing our praises... "But just don't think about the deaths and injuries that we must inflict on the Iraqi people in order to disarm Saddam. Keep your mind focused only on him, and you'll do fine. "After all, think about how you have handled our economic blockade against Iraq, which has now been in effect for more than 10 years, a blockade that has contributed to the deaths of an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqi children, who also unfortunately will be unable to experience the joys of our war of liberation. "Have those deaths bothered you? Probably not. And the reason they haven't is that you haven't thought about them. Right? You've just kept your mind focused on how evil Saddam Hussein is and on the importance of a regime change in Iraq. Right? Well, it's important that you do the same thing once we begin our invasion. "Much has been said about the three high UN officials who resigned their posts because of the deaths of the Iraqi children that our blockade helped to cause. Pay them no mind. Once the UN voted to establish that blockade, those officials had no moral right to resign their positions just because they were suffering a crisis of conscience. That's not what loyalty and patriotism are all about. "After all, did you see Janet Reno resign her post after we gassed our own people at Waco, including the Branch Davidian children? Of course not. Because, unlike those UN officials who resigned their positions because of a crisis of conscience, Reno, a true American, loyally and patriotically stayed at her post." "Anyway, it's not really our blockade that has killed those children...." In this mood wrote and spoke the people of Canada - a country proud of its democratic principles. Date: February 2, 2003. And should we be unable to stop this massacre, just think how handy the JWE will be to justify the casualties and the destruction. Lt. Col. Kenneth Rizer of the U.S. Air Force admits that by the internalist argument of the JWE, even the Holocaust can been justified: "The internalist argument is fairly controversial as it can justify every sort of grotesque conduct so long as the end is just. Additionally, the historical record of this mode of thinking is poor, as it has been used to justify such things as the Crusades, Sherman's march to the sea, the Holocaust, and the dropping of the atomic bomb. While one can always debate the legitimacy of the causes for these acts, the fact remains that the internalist argument has been manipulated to condone some of the most indiscriminate and inhumane acts in world history." (internalist vs externalist) And logic compels Col. Rizer to asks critical questions about the (infamous) "intent". It is a "rhetorical sleight-of-hand", he asserts: "According to one RAF source, RAF tactics 'did not necessarily entail killing large numbers of people. It did entail depriving them of homes, heat, light, water, urban transportation, and perhaps food.'50 This rhetorical sleight-of-hand failed to explain how one attacks every aspect of civilian existence, including their homes, but avoids killing 'large numbers of people.'" (This refers to WWII.) Col. Rizer also challenges current US doctrine on 'intent' on the same grounds (deception): "One other point is worth noting. Air Force doctrine since the 1930s has included civilian morale as a legitimate target, although direct attacks on civilians have always been forbidden (except for during WWII). This raises the question, how does the Air Force intend to undermine civilian morale without having an intent to injure, kill, or destroy civilian lives?" "Bombing Dual-Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives" by Kenneth R. Rizer http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/cc/Rizer.html So why is the CBC (and the media in general) now trying to sell us the "just war" excuse. But, as this phone-in shows, people are not buying the argument. And justifying the genocide inflicted on the Iraqi people by any principles would be tantamount to holocaust denial. Would you want to inflict more pain on the victims by denying this genocide? Think of the pain that's already buried in their hearts. Inflicting pain - is this the price you are willing to pay? Just so the 'civilized' West looks squeaky-clean? And where does this leave us - as human beings? Sorry, compadres, I don't think the price is worth it. Elga Sutter P.S. I've come to respect Lt. Col. Kenneth Rizer of the U.S. Air Force. A week ago I didn't even know he existed. _______________________________________________ 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