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Re: [casi] Anti-war tactics/strategy (formerly Blair's speech --keep the momentum going)

I'm not sure about this. I don't think those on the march on Saturday were
there because they are worried about terrorist attacks. There were plenty
of placards and chants pointing out that war, especially this war, is
terrorism by another name, and that it is futile to think that terrorism
can be combated by war. This seems to me to be the most straightforward
reply to anyone who does claim that Saddam etc must be eliminated because
they pose a threat in the form of terrorist attacks - just point out that
war has not worked as an answer to terrorism anywhere - not in Ireland,
Palestine, Spain (if you count dirty undercover work by the police as
military action) or anywhere else that I can think of. Correct me if I'm

However, the bigger argument to me is that I don't believe there is a
terrorist threat, and I wonder how many other people really do believe
there is one? Perhaps in the US, which has so little history of such
attacks, it is easy to be afraid, but in Britain, after years of IRA
attacks, we should know better. Terrorism may be a risk, but it hardly
warrants the kind of measures currently being employed. I don't remember
the government ever trying to whip up this level of mass hysteria about the
"Irish threat" (not to be interpreted as meaning that there ever was one!).
I am deeply suspicious: I feel that much of the current talk is propaganda,
and propaganda with racist overtones at that. The government would love us
to believe that there are cells of fundamentalists poised to strike at any
moment. Glen Rangwala has made clear, however, just how much faith we
should put in British intelligence. I would like to know how reliable
Kolko's are. I think for the moment that a healthy scepticism may be the
best policy, though.

Best wishes,


--On Tuesday, February 18, 2003 12:32 PM +0000 Dermot Moynihan
<> wrote:

> At 21:25 17/02/03, Salwa de Vree wrote:
> <snip>
>> None of the arguments address the problem which
>> I am often confronted with when talking to people about the situation.
>> This problem is the question of terrorist attacks here in the West.
>> People here are afraid. There are very real fears of terrorist attacks
>> by 'Saddam, Bin Laden & Co.' Many people do, unfortunately, believe that
>> Saddam and the Al-Qaida 'network' pose a real threat to the West and
>> that they can and will strike 'again' and quite possibly use biological
>> and/or chemical weapons. Israelis and New Yorkers are out buying gas
>> masks, while here in Holland, the military has already been called in to
>> protect our dams, tunnels and other strategic posts. Almost weekly there
>> are news reports of Al-Qaida 'cells' operating in Holland and I don't
>> need to remind you of all the arrests being made in Britain & the US.
> You raise a good point. I believe that most of the marchers at the weekend
> were not people who were there out of concern for Iraqis but because they
> are afraid for themselves and their children.  It is not a criticism but
> an observation. They are certainly not part of the peace movement -
> whether peace movement groups will grown in numbers as a result of this
> remains to be seen.
> Regarding your main point, Gabriel Kolko, a well respected historian, in
> his latest book (Another Century of War?, 2002) certainly believes that
> al-Qaeda is a very large threat. Assuming that he's correct, we are left
> with the question how will a massive attack on Iraq lessen that threat. As
> things stand, Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden are enemies. If there are
> chemical and/or biological weapons in Iraq Saddam is hardly going to give
> them to al-Qaeda with the likely possibility that they will be used
> against himself.
> If, however, the US and the UK attack Iraq, threatening Saddam with
> overthrow, if not worse, what has he got to lose at that stage by giving
> these weapons to al-Qaeda?
> The argument is surely one for allowing the inspectors to do their job.
> And we should be calling for their presence in many other countries as
> well.
>> I think the fear-mongering campaign is the real issue we
>> should address. People don't care what happens to the Iraqi people and
>> who is responsible for their suffering, they care about their own
>> security, and believe that Saddam and Al-Qaida (whether or not
>> connected) are a threat to the West and have to be eliminated.
> Incidentally, I believe that it's come as a surprise to those in power to
> see their "fear mongering" backfire on them. They hardly expected all
> these fearful people to make common cause with the anti-war movement.
> rgds
> Dermot
>> Regards,
>> Salwa de Vree,
>> Leiden, The Netherlands.
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