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[casi] News, 12-19/02/03 (7)

News, 12-19/02/03 (7)


*  I'll be seeing you at the anti-war march on Saturday
*  Marching for terror
*  Millions Worldwide Rally Against Iraq War
*  Some US Cities Pass Anti-War Resolutions
*  37 human shields leave capital to protect Iraqi women, children
*  U.S. Accuses Iraq of War Crime Over Human Shields


*  The opponents of war on Iraq are not the appeasers
*  Rhetoric Of Evil Has Backfired On U.S. Before


*  Race to rewire a postwar Iraq


by Armando Iannucci
Daily Telegraph, 13th February

You, Daily Telegraph reader, are a peacenik. An anti-war protester. Someone
who thinks that what Tony Blair is doing is contrary to the values you hold
dear in Middle England's green and pleasant land.

Moreover, to bloody Blair's nose a little (for you're now quite angry),
you're prepared to perpetrate the subversive act of getting out of bed on
Saturday morning, and marching against war alongside donkey-jacketed media
studies lecturers who came down on a bus from Sheffield.

You - yes, you - who've never even said the word "placard", let alone held
one, can see yourself walking in line with some rather frightening women
carrying hundreds of the things saying "Mums Not Bombs For the Sake of

Of course, you haven't realised this yet, but you are. The Stop the War
march is on Saturday, and by then you will have made up your mind. The night
before, out for a Valentine's dinner, you will have brought an otherwise
romantic evening to a close by declaring to your beloved that, by God,
you're going to do it. Just this once.

I could see it coming. I could tell from the way you kept catching yourself,
puzzled, staring at the radio with a sort of angry curiosity. "I keep being
told nothing's been decided, but the countdown to invasion is on all the
channels, reported like hard fact."

The first hint of hesitancy. Rather unsettling, this feeling, isn't it? The
suspicion that events as they're being presented to you don't quite cohere.
"Last week," you thought in passing, "we were being told that, if they find
something, we'll go to war. This week, we're being told that, if they can't
find anything, we'll go to war."

Normally, you'd push these momentary doubts to the back of your mind, but
not so readily these days. Too many questions keep forming in your head
("Last week, they said they were going to present evidence. This week,
they're saying they're not going to present evidence. Can I trust them to
know what they're doing?").

Very, very basic questions keep nagging in response to every hard-line
political pronouncement. This crisis has to be resolved one way or another.
"What is this crisis?" you ask. "Am I being really thick here, but what
precisely started it? Not September 11. What, then? Why are we having it?
After 11 years. Just someone tell us."

It's happening because Saddam's weapons of mass destruction pose a direct
threat to Britain and its allies.

"The threat was from al-Qa'eda, wasn't it? And Blair said there's no proof
of a link with Saddam? Why are we going after him instead of the terrorists?
And what are these weapons of mass destruction? And how exactly do they pose
a threat to Great Britain? Again, tell us. I'm not being wilfully difficult,
I just desperately want to know."

This dialogue goes on inside your head with increasing agitation. We know
he's got these weapons and we're determined to make him disarm. "Fine, isn't
that what the weapons inspectors are for? Just give them a bit more time."
He's stalling. This can't go on for ever. We've got to . . .

"Wait a minute. This may sound stupid, but why can't it go on for ever? What
precisely are the disadvantages of this form of stalemate going on for a
very, very long time, and how do they outweigh the disadvantages caused by
launching a unilateral war in the Middle East? What exactly, dammit, is the
problem with having lots and lots of patience?"

But the news agenda has to move on. These questions should have been
answered months ago, and I'm sorry if they weren't, but now, you see, we
have to take up so much space reporting that war is inevitable that
unfortunately there isn't time or room to revisit them.

"Well, make room. Unless you answer my questions I'll . . . I'll . . ."
You'll do what exactly?

Exactly. You're not the sort of person who does much. Making a fuss,
complaining. Demonstrating one's anger publicly is, well, demonstrating,
isn't it? That's the sort of thing your daughter does at university. You are
more restrained, less outwardly emotional, overall more tolerant.

"But that's precisely what's bothering me now. All this bluster and anger,
this lack of restraint, the language of attack. It's not me at all." It's
not terribly British, is it? This has come up among your friends, and they
tend to agree. But what can you do?

And that's when you begin to realise who exactly you are. You're the most
important person in Blair's Britain. You voted for him once (though maybe
not last time; perhaps you decided to stay at home. He really didn't like
that), and he'll need you again.

You were the one you thought he was courting. Now, you're not so sure. That
whole top-up fee thing was annoying. Just the way they went ahead and did
it, without telling us they were going to. But he really doesn't like it if
you disagree with him. He didn't like that fuel thing, or the Countryside

He keeps asking me to trust him, he wouldn't put lives at risk if he didn't
believe it was right. But he's always doing what he thinks is the right
thing. Like the Dome. Like private funding of hospitals. Like on Bernie

Do I trust him? He seems quite shifty on the euro. And now this. This is far
more important. And it just doesn't seem right. Do I feel Britain is safer
since we started threatening Iraq? Do I feel my job is safer? Will it help
us beat the terrorists?

"Trust me."

Do I? Do I feel this is the right thing we're doing? How can I tell him? I
know this is being bloody-minded, but how can I really annoy him? They're
expecting half a million on the march. They can't all be Workers'
Revolutionary Party members. A friend of mine said she's going. If a million
went, well, I don't know . . ."

The marchers assemble at the Embankment in London at noon on Saturday, and
Glasgow Green at 10am. I'm telling you this, Daily Telegraph reader, because
I get the feeling I'll see quite a lot of you there. Some of you might even
bring a friend and a placard.

by Mark Steyn
Daily Telegraph, 15th February

Hello? Anybody home? After my colleague Armando Iannucci's stirring call to
non-arms on Thursday, I expect you're out on the march. But, on the
off-chance you're reading this over breakfast while waiting for the paint on
your placard to dry, I'd ask you to reconsider.

I understand you and Armando and the distressingly large number of my Daily
Telegraph and Spectator confreres, plus spouses and offspring, who'll be
joining you on this march, are in favour of "peace". Armando, countering the
hawks' argument that Saddam is stalling and "this can't go on for ever", put
it this way:
"Wait a minute. This may sound stupid, but why can't it go on for ever? What
precisely are the disadvantages of this form of stalemate going on for a
very, very long time?"

Why not ask an Iraqi what the disadvantages of stalemate are? As far as
Saddam's subjects are concerned, the "peace" movement means peace for you
and Tony Benn and Sheryl Crow and Susan Sarandon, and a prison for them. I
was in Montreal last week, which has the largest Iraqi population in North
America. I've yet to meet one who isn't waiting eagerly for the day the
liberation of their homeland begins. Then they can go back to the surviving
members of their families and not have to live in a country where it's
winter 10 months of the year.

They're pining for war not because they like the Americans, or the Zionists,
or me, but because they understand that, as long as there's Saddam, there's
no Iraq. Saddam has killed far more people than Slobo, Iraq has been far
more comprehensively brutalised than Kosovo. Marching for "peace" means
marching for, oh, another 15 years of Saddamite torture and murder, followed
by a couple more decades under the even more psychotic son, until the family
runs out of victims to terrorise, gets bored and retires to the Riviera.

It's easy to say it's up to the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam. That
theory worked well in the days when all the peasants had to do was storm the
palace and dodge the muskets. It doesn't work against a man who can poison
an entire village from the air. Marching for "peace" means marching against
the Iraqi people: it's the equivalent of turning them away as, to their
shame, many free nations in the 1930s turned away refugees from Germany.

But perhaps, as is the case with many marchers, your priority isn't the
Iraqi people living in bondage under an Iraqi dictator, but the Palestinian
people living in bondage under a Zionist dictator: fine, whatever, you're
entitled to your point of view. But you ought to know that, as long as
Saddam sits in Baghdad, there will never be a Palestinian state. Never.
Chance of the "Palestinian Authority" becoming a fully fledged People's
Republic: zero.

Saddam serves as principal sugar daddy to the relicts of suicide bombers and
neither Israel nor America is going to agree to a Palestinian state where
the prime business opportunity is strapping on the old explosives belt and
telling Baghdad where to mail the cheque. We're talking cold political
reality here: keeping Saddam in power may stymie the crazy Texans, but also
those downtrodden Palestinians. If you're serious about them, you might want
to think that one through.

Thirdly, "Stop the War" is a slogan that showed up too late. You can't stop
it now; it's already started. Even if the ricin factories and the NBC suits
in the mosque and the live grenades at Gatwick haven't persuaded you, you
can tell something's up from the uncertain tone of the Government's
once-confident voice: they've run up against something they don't know how
to spin.

Do you really think not invading Iraq will make all the bad stuff go away?
Do you honestly believe the fig-leaf argument that, because Saddam is a
nominally secular Ba'athist socialist, the Islamists would have nothing to
do with him? He recently donated enough blood to have a full-length copy of
the Koran written in it: that makes him less of a "secular" leader than
Charles Kennedy, don't you think? You don't have to believe that if you
don't want to. But your argument depends on giving both Saddam and al-Qa'eda
the benefit of far more doubts than their prior behaviour warrants. Your
line is basically: we can't really be sure he'd sell suitcase nukes to
terrorists until one goes off in Birmingham. Then you and Armando will say,
oh, OK, maybe there's a link after all - unless, of course, you're among the

I don't claim to understand the depth of opposition to Tony Blair. It must
be frustrating to switch on the television every night and see Blair
planning to save the world when he can't even do anything about the crummy
hospitals and lousy trains and rampant crime. But sending a million
Valentines to a monster to spite your own hard-hearted master is not the

Today's demo is good for Saddam, but bad for the Iraqi people, and the
Palestinian people, and the British people. One day, not long from now, when
Iraq is free, they will despise those who marched to keep them in hell.

Associated Press, 16th February

LONDON: Millions of protesters ‹ many of them marching in the capitals of
America's traditional allies ‹ demonstrated Saturday against possible U.S.
plans to attack Iraq.

The protests that started Friday in Australia continued through the weekend
with a massive Sunday demonstration of more than 100,000 people in Sydney.
The protests were the biggest in Australia since the Vietnam War three
decades ago.

In a global outpouring of anti-war sentiment, Rome claimed the biggest
turnout ‹ 1 million according to police, while organizers claimed three
times that figure.

In London, at least 750,000 people demonstrated in what police called the
city's largest demonstration ever. In Spain, several million people turned
out at anti-war rallies in about 55 cities and towns across the country,
with more than 500,000 each attending rallies in Madrid and Barcelona.

Spanish police gauged the Madrid turnout at 660,000. Organizers claimed
nearly 2 million people gathered across the nation in one of the biggest
demonstrations since the 1975 death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

More than 70,000 people marched in Amsterdam in the largest Netherlands
demonstration since anti-nuclear rallies of the 1980s.

Berlin had up to half-a-million people on the streets, and Paris was
estimated to have had about 100,000.

In New York, rally organizers estimated the crowd at up to 500,000 people.
City police provided no estimate of the crowd, which stretched 20 blocks
deep and two blocks wide.

"Peace! Peace! Peace!" Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said while
leading an ecumenical service near U.N. headquarters. "Let America listen to
the rest of the world ‹ and the rest of the world is saying, 'Give the
inspectors time."'

In Los Angeles, thousands of chanting marchers filled Hollywood Boulevard
from curb to curb for four blocks. Organizers estimated the crowd at
100,000, although police put it at 30,000.

London's marchers hoped ‹ in the words of keynote speaker the Rev. Jesse
Jackson ‹ to "turn up the heat" on Prime Minister Tony Blair, President
Bush's staunchest European ally for his tough Iraq policy.

Rome protesters showed their disagreement with Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi's support for Bush, while demonstrators in Paris and Berlin
backed the skeptical stances of their governments.

"What I would say to Mr. Blair is stop toadying up to the Americans and
listen to your own people, us, for once," said Elsie Hinks, 77, who marched
in London with her husband, Sidney, a retired Church of England priest.

Tommaso Palladini, 56, who traveled from Milan to Rome, said, "You don't
fight terrorism with a preventive war. You fight terrorism by creating more
justice in the world."

Several dozen marchers from Genoa held up pictures of Iraqi artists.

"We're carrying these photos to show the other face of the Iraqi people that
the TV doesn't show," said Giovanna Marenzana, 38.

Some leaders in German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government
participated in the Berlin protest, which turned the tree-lined boulevard
between the Brandenburg Gate and the 19th-century Victory Column into a sea
of banners, balloons emblazoned with "No war in Iraq" and demonstrators
swaying to live music. Police estimated the crowd at between 300,000 and

"We Germans in particular have a duty to do everything to ensure that war ‹
above all a war of aggression ‹ never again becomes a legitimate means of
policy," shouted Friedrich Schorlemmer, a Lutheran pastor and former East
German pro-democracy activist.

In the Paris crowd at the Place Denfert-Rochereau, a large American flag
bore the black inscription, "Leave us alone."

Gerald Lenoir, 41, of Berkeley, Calif., came to Paris to support

"I am here to protest my government's aggression against Iraq," he said.
"Iraq does not pose a security threat to the United States and there are no
links with al-Qaida."

In southern France, about 10,000 people demonstrated in Toulouse against the
United States, chanting: "They bomb, they exploit, they pollute, enough of
this barbarity."

Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, Norway; 50,000 in bitter
cold in Brussels, Belgium; and about 35,000 in frigid Stockholm, Sweden.

About 80,000 marched in Dublin, Irish police said. Crowds were estimated at
60,000 in Seville, Spain; 40,000 in Bern, Switzerland; 30,000 in Glasgow,
Scotland; 25,000 in Copenhagen, Denmark; 15,000 in Vienna, Austria; more
than 20,000 in Montreal and 15,000 in Toronto; 5,000 in Cape Town and 4,000
in Johannesburg in South Africa; 5,000 in Tokyo; and 2,000 in Dhaka,

"War is not a solution, war is a problem," Czech philosopher Erazim Kohak
told about 500 people in Prague, the Czech Republic.

In Mexico City, as many as 10,000 people ‹ including Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Rigoberta Menchu ‹ snarled traffic for blocks before rallying near
the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy. Demonstrators beat drums, clutched white
balloons and waved handmade signs saying, "War No, Peace Yes."

In Baghdad, tens of thousands of Iraqis, many carrying Kalashnikov assault
rifles, demonstrated to support leader Saddam Hussein and denounce the
United States.

"Our swords are out of their sheaths, ready for battle," read one of
hundreds of banners carried by marchers along Palestine Street, a broad
Baghdad avenue.

In Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, an estimated 200,000
protesters chanted anti U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans while marching to the
People's Assembly.

Najjah Attar, a former Syrian cabinet minister, accused Washington of
attempting to change the region's map.

"The U.S. wants to encroach upon our own norms, concepts and principles,"
she said in Damascus. "They are reminding us of the Nazi and fascist times."

An estimated 2,000 Israelis and Palestinians marched together against war in
Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

In Ukraine, some 2,000 people rallied in snowy Kiev's central square.
Anti-globalists led a peaceful "Rock Against War" protest joined by
communists, socialists, Kurds and pacifists.

In divided Cyprus, about 500 Greeks and Turks braved heavy rain to briefly
block a British air base runway.

Several thousand protesters in Athens, Greece, unfurled a giant banner
across the wall of the Acropolis ‹ "NATO, U.S. and EU equals War" ‹ before
heading toward the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller said the Greek protesters' indignation was

"They should be demonstrating outside the Iraqi embassy," he said before the

About 900 Puerto Ricans chanted anti-war slogans against the possible
invasion of Iraq. One man waved a U.S. flag on which the stars were replaced
with skulls.

In Brazil, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva began efforts to unite South
American nations against a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Police
estimated 1,500 marchers.
catOID=45C9C78F 88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=USA

by Mike O'Sullivan
Voice of America, 19th February

Officials in many U.S. cities are debating the use of force in Iraq, if it
does not comply with U.N. resolutions to surrender its weapons of mass
destruction. The local actions are symbolic, but reflect a debate that is
taking place around the United States.

A recent opinion poll shows U.S. public support for using force in Iraq has
topped 60 percent, but about one in four Americans are opposed to a possible
war. As millions of Europeans protested over the weekend, tens of thousands
joined anti-war protests in New York, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities.

Some 90 U.S. cities have passed resolutions opposing military action against
Iraq, despite the fact that U.S. foreign policy is a federal, not a local,
prerogative. Los Angeles officials debated the issue Tuesday. Councilman
Eric Garcetti wants his city to join others opposed to war. "Let me read
some of the names of them: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Portland, Des Moines, Newark, Cleveland, Providence, Seattle,
Milwaukee. If it isn't any of our business, it isn't any of theirs," he
said. "But they have clearly said "it is our business," and we sense the
tide turning."

Supporters of the measure to oppose war in Iraq include the actor Ed Asner
and some local religious leaders. But the measure failed to pass. With a
vote of seven to six, it fell one vote short of the eight votes needed to
become city policy. Council members will take up the issue again Friday.

The measure's opponents say Los Angeles has enough problems of its own
without getting involved in international issues. And some support the
position of the Bush administration, that force against Iraq should be used
as a last option. City Councilman Hal Bernson says Iraq's Saddam Hussein,
like dictators before him, needs to be dealt with. "I remember the days of
World War II," he said. "I remember Adolph Hitler. I remember seven million
Jews being exterminated in the camps, just as Saddam has exterminated tens
of thousand of his own people, the Kurds, with poison gas and other types of
extermination. And there is a parallel."

As the city officials debated, a State Department official was conducting a
briefing for international reporters in another part of the city. He said
the antiwar debate is part of the discussion that surrounds important issues
in a democracy. Deputy State Department spokesman Philip Reeker adds that no
one in the administration is pro-war. "Nobody wants a war, and the president
said it again today," he said. "It's a last resort, I don't want to resort
to armed conflict, but sometimes that is what it comes down to."

The official said it is not too late for Saddam Hussein to cooperate fully
with U.N. arms inspectors. "To fully come forward, provide the scientists,
drive the mobile biological weapons labs to the borders, say here, we want
to get rid of these, we want to get rid of these, we want to make a
strategic change," said Mr. Reeker. "Here are the 30,000 warheads that we've
never explained, here is the VX nerve gas, here is what we did with the

The State Department spokesman says U.S. officials believe the Iraqi leader
responds to diplomacy only when it is backed by a credible threat of force.

by Dina Al Wakeel
Jordan Times, 19th February     
AMMAN ‹ A group of 37 anti-war activists are expected to leave for Iraq
today to act as "human shields" against bombs that might fall from the
potential US-led attack on the country.

The volunteers, representing 10 nations ‹ France, the UK, Spain, the US,
Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Australia ‹ indicated
their efforts were to display solidarity with the Iraqi people.

"Let the world know that we are prepared to put our lives on the line in
support of the Iraqi people," said Carl Dallas, 72, and the oldest member of
the group, during a press conference Tuesday.

Dallas remarked that they are the beginning of a global tide moving against
war: "Everyone who stands for peace is a human shield."

"Now the Iraqis, tomorrow the rest of the world," echoed Aissiou Asdine, a
22- year-old French volunteer.

On Saturday, millions of people took to the streets of cities across the
world to protest against a possible US-led war on Iraq. The popular outcry
brought together a broad spectrum of voices all decrying the US-UK push for
war against the sanctions-struck country.

Donna Mulhearn, a volunteer from Australia, said the group is upbeat about
the mission, buoyed by the strong anti-war sentiment, particularly that
expressed over the weekend. She said the group would focus on protecting
women, children and the civilian infrastructure.

Volunteers will be received by the Iraqi Friendship, Peace and Solidarity
Organisation, which will situate them in strategic locations.

"We will not be protecting military targets, but children and families in
places like schools, refugee camps and hospitals," assured Mulhearn, making
reference to places such as the Amiriyah shelter where over 400 women and
children were killed by American bombs during the 1991 Gulf War.

"We also may centre ourselves with Iraqi family homes," said Dallas, who
also acted as a human shield in Nablus last July to prevent Israeli soldiers
from demolishing Palestinian homes.

This group of volunteers follows another group of 63 that arrived in Baghdad
last weekend. "Hundreds of human shields could be collected and dispatched
to Iraq in the coming month ... easily, Mulhearn said."

The volunteers also voiced hope that their action would echo worldwide and
deter any aggressive US actions.

Bernat Carreras, a 19-year-old psychology student and the youngest in the
group, said he is participating to show the Iraqi people that most in the
West do not support a war.

"Our government may be pro-war, but over 90 per cent of the Spanish people
are against it," he said.

by Will Dunham
Yahoo, 19th February

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States warned Iraq on Wednesday not to
place civilians at military sites in a bid to ward off attack, saying using
"human shields" would represent a crime against humanity punishable after
any war.

Iraq was also using schools, hospitals and orphanages to protect military
forces, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

He and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the military Joint Chiefs
of Staff, addressed the issue of human shields a day after about 100
civilians who drove to Baghdad from London said they would place themselves
near potential bombing targets to an attempt to prevent attacks.

The Human Shields group are guests of Iraq's government, staying in a hotel
across from one of President Saddam Hussein's palaces on the Tigris river.
Peter van Dyke, an organizer, said several Americans were in his group.

During a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld said the use of civilians as
human shields "is a practice that reveals contempt for the norms of
humanity, the laws of armed conflict, and, I am advised, Islamic law,
practice and belief."

Myers, referring to the arrival of the group from London, said using
noncombatants to shield potential military targets -- even those who
volunteer for this purpose -- "could be considered a war crime in any

"Therefore, if death or serious injury to a noncombatant resulted from these
efforts, the individuals responsible for deploying any innocent civilians as
human shields could be guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions,"
he said.

Myers also issued a similar warning on Jan. 15.

Rumsfeld noted that Saddam "held hundreds of non-Iraqi civilians at
government and military facilities throughout Iraq and described them as
human shields" before the 1991 Gulf War in which a U.S.-led military
coalition expelled Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait.

"It is the distinction between combatants and innocent civilians that
terrorism and practices like the use of human shields so directly assaults,"
Rumsfeld said.

Saad Qasim Hammoudi, a senior member of the ruling Baath Party, told Reuters
on Dec. 23 that civilian volunteers, including some from Europe and the
United States, "will be distributed to vital and strategic installations" in
Iraq to act as human shields. He called the strategy a "practical" reaction
to the buildup of U.S. forces in the region.

Rumsfeld accused Saddam of building mosques near military facilities, and
using schools, hospitals, orphanages and cultural treasures to shield
military forces, "thereby exposing helpless men, women and children to

He provided no evidence at the news conference for the allegation.

"Deploying human shields is not a military strategy, it's murder, a
violation of the laws of armed conflict and a crime against humanity, and it
will be treated as such. Those who follow his orders to use human shields
will pay a severe price for their actions," said Rumsfeld, adding those
responsible would be "dealt with" after any war.

By placing civilians at military sites likely to be bombed, Iraq has sought
to dissuade enemies from attacking a target because of the civilian
casualties likely to result.

The last time Iraq used civilians as human shields was in December 1998 when
the United States and Britain launched an extensive bombing campaign
triggered by Iraq's alleged failure to cooperate with U.N. arms inspectors.
Hundreds of Iraqis were placed in a number of presidential palaces scattered
in Baghdad and other main Iraqi cities.

The United States is building a large military force in the region, as
President Bush vows to lead a coalition of nations to disarm Iraq if it
fails to heed U.N. demands to give up its alleged weapons of mass

HISTORICAL ANALOGIES,3604,894422,00.html

by Seumas Milne
The Guardian, 13th February

The split at the heart of Nato over George Bush's plans to invade Iraq has
triggered an outpouring of charges of 1930s-style appeasement against those
resisting the rush to war. A line of attack hitherto largely confined to US
neo-conservatives has now been taken up by their increasingly desperate
fellow travellers on this side of the Atlantic.

On Tuesday, Jack Straw warned that if the west failed to use force against
Iraq it would be following "one of the most catastrophic precedents in
history", when Britain and France "turned a blind eye" to the fascist
dictators' subversion of international law. Tony Blair alluded to the same
period when he insisted that "all our history - especially British history"
points to the lesson that if international demands are not backed up with
force, the result is greater insecurity. Both were taking their cue from US
hawks like Donald Rumsfeld, who claimed millions died in the 1940s because
some countries had thought there wasn't "enough evidence" to be sure about
Hitler's intentions.

Rightwing tabloids in both Britain and the US - where France and Germany's
bid to avert war has aroused something close to political hysteria - have
now gone even further in their determination to see the current crisis
through a second world war prism. Rupert Murdoch's New York Post demanded to
know: "Where are the French now, as Americans prepare to put their soldiers
on the line to fight today's Hitler, Saddam Hussein?" In Britain, the Daily
Mail accused France and Germany of "unforgivable betrayal", while the Tory
defence spokesman Bernard Jenkin declared that, without the US, "we would
not have won the second world war".

Hitler analogies have long been the stock-in-trade of Anglo-American war
propaganda - perhaps not surprisingly, since the second world war still
retains near-universal legitimacy, just as Nazi Germany remains the
archetype of an aggressive, genocidal state. Nasser was the first to be
branded the new Hitler in the 1950s, while those who opposed the Suez war
were damned as appeasers. But there have been a string of others, from Ho
Chi Minh to Gaddafi, Milosevic to Mullah Omar. All were compared to Hitler
while British or US bombs rained down on their countries. Just how devalued
this currency has become was on show this week when the Tory historian
Andrew Roberts argued that the Iraqi regime should be equated with the Nazis
because both had "gassed their racial and political enemies" and Iraq fires
at British and US aircraft patrolling the illegal no-fly zones over its

It would be tempting to put these latest invocations of the second world war
down to ignorance if it wasn't that those making them clearly know better.
What they are in fact engaged in is a crude attempt to rewrite 20th century
European history to justify a war of aggression in the Middle East. The
parallel between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Nazi Germany is transparently
ridiculous. In the late 1930s, Hitler's Germany was the world's second
largest industrial economy and commanded its most powerful military machine.
It openly espoused an ideology of territorial expansion, had annexed the
Rhineland, Austria and Czechoslovakia in rapid succession and posed a direct
threat to its neighbours. It would go on to enslave most of Europe and carry
out an industrial genocide unparallelled in human history.

Iraq is, by contrast, a broken-backed developing country, with a single
commodity economy and a devastated infrastructure, which doesn't even
control all its own territory and has posed no credible threat to its
neighbours, let alone Britain or the US, for more than a decade. Whatever
residual chemical or biological weapons Iraq may retain, they are clearly no
deterrent, its armed forces have been massively weakened and face the most
powerful military force in history - Iraq's military spending is estimated
to be about one per cent of the US's $380bn budget. The attempt to equate
the Iraqis' horrific gas attacks on Kurds and Iranians during the Iran-Iraq
war with the Nazi holocaust is particularly grotesque - a better analogy
would be the British gassing of Iraqi Kurds in the 20s or the US use of
chemical weapons in Vietnam.

Appeasement is in any case a misnomer for what was an attempt by rightwing
governments in Britain and France in the 1930s to befriend Germany and
accommodate Nazi expansion. There was certainly a widespread yearning for
peace in the aftermath of the butchery of the first world war. But the
appeasers were something else: effectively a pro-German fifth column at the
heart of the conservative elite, who warmed to Hitler's militant anti
communism and sought to encourage him to turn on the Soviet Union.
Chamberlain even hoped for an alliance with Nazi Germany. Fascist sympathies
were rampant throughout the establishment, from Edward VIII to newspapers
like the Mail which now denounce opponents of war on Iraq as traitors -
while mavericks like Churchill and what would now be called the hard left
resisted the Munich sellout. In none of this is there the remotest analogy
with current efforts to prevent an unprovoked attack on sanctions-drained
Iraq. And of course none of the opponents of appeasement in the 1930s ever
argued for pre emptive war on Nazi Germany, but for deterrence and

Just as absurd, against the background of the European-US standoff, is the
increasingly strident insistence of the war party that it was the US which
saved Europe from Nazi tyranny in the 1940s. It isn't necessary in any way
to minimise the heroism of US soldiers to balk at such a retrospective
reworking of the facts. Quite what the Russians - who lost perhaps 27
million people in the second world war (compared with 135,576 US deaths in
Europe), bore the brunt of the European fighting and, in Churchill's words,
"tore the guts out of the Nazi war machine" - are supposed to make of this
fable is anyone's guess. Particularly when Russia - along with France,
Germany and China - is opposing the current war drive and is presumably
therefore regarded by war supporters as ranked among the appeasers.

The idea that those opposed to US aggression against Iraq can be compared to
the appeasers of the 1930s is simply risible. But if appeasement - unlike
the form it took in the 1930s - is regarded as an attempt to pacify a
powerful and potentially dangerous power, it sounds far more like the
behaviour of Tony Blair's government towards the Bush administration. Of
course Bush's America cannot be compared with Nazi Germany - it is far more
in the traditional imperial mould. But Britain's apparent attempt to steer
the US away from unilateral action, if that is what it has been, shows every
sign of failing. Instead, Blair has ended up lining up behind a hard-right
US republican administration with the political heirs of Mussolini and
Franco in the teeth of British and global opinion - and helped to fracture
the US-dominated post-1991 global order into the bargain.

*  Rhetoric Of Evil Has Backfired On U.S. Before
by Paul B. Goodwin
Hartford Courant, 17th February

History often offers examples of past events that bear a close resemblance
to contemporary problems. Consider the vendetta that the United States waged
against Juan Perón in 1945 as we sought to prevent him from becoming
president of Argentina. Compare it with our present-day desire to rid Iraq
of Saddam Hussein.

In the eyes of the State Department, Perón was the key figure in a
government considered Nazi-fascist, a government that trampled on human
rights, censored the press and threatened the security of the United States.
But facts did not square with the rhetoric. Yet it was rhetoric that drove
our policy. In our effort to paint Perón as the Hitler of the hemisphere,
our government reported rumors as facts, embellished stories and influenced
the reporting of the press. Perón was evil.

When one uses pejorative language to describe a regime, it renders
negotiation difficult. How can one negotiate, or compromise, with evil?

The campaign of vilification continued. Our embassy in Argentina was
directed by the State Department to find damning evidence. Captured German
documents were culled for proof of Argentine complicity. Just two weeks
before the presidential election of February 1946, the State Department
issued its infamous "Blue Book," proof irrefutable that Argentina was a nest
of Nazis and that presidential candidate Juan Perón was cut from the same
cloth. The proof was highly circumstantial. The FBI admitted that it could
not find evidence that would stand up in court. Perón used the "Blue Book"
as an example of United States meddling in the internal affairs of other
nations to ride to power.

Our closest ally in World War II, Britain, did not see Perón in the same
light. Yes, he had dictatorial tendencies, but he was no Nazi. Argentina,
even though it did not declare war on the Axis until 1945, contributed
mightily to the war effort with its exports of critical foodstuffs to
Britain. And, the British noted, was not the Estado Novo (New State)
government of Getulio Vargas in Brazil, using the U.S. measuring stick, just
as fascist? Yes, but it hadn't defied the United States.

The British were frightened by U.S. policy because it could produce
unforeseen consequences: possible civil war in Argentina, the interruption
of exports of food to a starving Europe and social unrest. There was no
proof that Argentina represented any threat to the United States. Moreover,
the campaign against Argentina effectively destroyed Franklin Roosevelt's
Good Neighbor Policy and raised the specter of future interventions in the

The lessons offered by Argentina in 1945 prompt certain questions for the
United States on the eve of war with Iraq. Especially dangerous is the
rhetoric used by our leaders. Branding countries as an "axis of evil"
undercuts a flexible approach and has all of the elements of the kind of
crusade that so infuriates the Muslim world.

Saddam Hussein is a tyrant, but is he a clear threat to the security of the
United States? U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's performance before the
United Nations was impressive, but he only highlighted the need for stricter
inspections and Iraqi compliance with U.N. demands.

Have other contexts and explanations been explored? If we do go to war, have
we considered the consequences? How will Iran react with more American
troops on its borders? What new Iraqi regime can escape the charge that it
was created by the United States? What will be the reaction in the Muslim
world? How will people such as the Kurds use a war with Iraq to further
their own national aims - which clearly threaten Turkey? How will North
Korea react? Will we feel any safer, or will we simply afford terrorists
another reason to exact revenge against the United States?

Our rhetoric of evil in Argentina in 1945 blinded us to other options. It
seems as if our current policy toward Iraq is equally blind and prevents us
from embracing choices favored by much of the rest of the world.

Paul B. Goodwin is a professor of history at the University of Connecticut
and is studying Anglo-U.S.-Argentine relations with fellowship support from
the American Philosophical Society and the UConn Research Foundation.


by Simon Romero
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 18th February

The U.S. telecommunications equipment industry is quietly pinning its hopes
on a short war in Iraq that would be followed by a U.S.-led effort to
rebuild the country after the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq, whose communications networks were heavily damaged in the 1991 Gulf
War, is sorely in need of an entirely new and modern telecommunications
system for its civilian population.

And if a pro-American government were to emerge in Iraq, telecommunications
equipment analysts say U.S.-based companies such as Lucent Technologies Inc.
and Motorola Inc. could gain an edge over competitors from France and China
that have won relatively modest contracts in recent years to help Iraq
improve its communications network.

An important precedent, these analysts say, came after the Gulf War when
Saudi Arabia awarded Lucent at least $4.5 billion of contracts to overhaul
its telephone system.

That deal, among the largest government awards to any equipment manufacturer
in that decade, was widely associated with an effort by allies in the region
to favor U.S. companies after the war.

"A new government in Baghdad more favorably disposed to the United States
could tilt the geopolitical favor of telecoms' future contracts in the
direction of American companies," said Joseph Braude, a senior analyst at
Pyramid Research, a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that conducts
international telecommunications research.

Braude, who is also the author of "The New Iraq," a book soon to be
published about rebuilding that country's infrastructure, estimated that
Iraq needed to invest at least $1 billion over the next several years to
improve its basic fixed-line telephone system.

With a population of 24 million, Iraq has one of the least advanced
telecommunications networks in the world. The number of telephone lines per
100 inhabitants has declined to three from 5.6 in 1990. People who do have a
telephone often face strict rationing, according to Pyramid and the
International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, which monitors investments
in the Iraqi phone system.

Iraq is one of the few remaining nations without a commercial wireless
network in its capital. Some residents of relatively well-off sections of
Baghdad have strengthened the radio power of their household cordless phones
to allow them to use their handsets at short distances from home. But
otherwise, the only operable mobile system in Iraq is one that has been set
up in the northern Kurdish region, which functions like an enhanced
walkie-talkie system.

The establishment of a new wireless system in Iraq would come after several
unsuccessful attempts to build one. The most recent effort was by Huawei
Technologies Co., a Chinese equipment manufacturer that was awarded a $28
million deal in 2001 by the Iraqi government to construct a mobile network
with a capacity of 25,000 users. But Huawei pulled out after complaints that
the project might violate United Nations sanctions.

The Iraqi government reportedly chose another Chinese company, China
National Technology Import, to replace Huawei in building the wireless
network, but it is not clear how far China National has proceeded with the
project. Several Turkish companies are also thought to have secured small
contracts to improve Iraq's telephone system, according to UN data.

It is Alcatel SA, which built much of Iraq's telephone system in the 1980s,
that might have the most to lose if a new government in Iraq favors U.S.
companies over European and Asian rivals.

The French company recently began work on a $75 million contract to build an
international telephone exchange and a microwave telephone system linking
Baghdad with central and southern Iraqi provinces.

Alcatel was also planning to restore numerous existing telephone links in
Baghdad and install new exchanges with a capacity of 280,000 lines.

Tim Fiala, a spokesman for Alcatel, said the company was proceeding with
both projects, but he declined to elaborate on Alcatel's preparations for
possible political changes in the country. "We would not want to speculate
on what will or will not happen in the future in Iraq," Fiala said.

Executives at U.S. companies that are analyzing contract opportunities in
Iraq are hesitant to discuss their views of the Iraqi market publicly. Mary
Lou Ambrus, a spokeswoman for Lucent, declined to comment.

Jennifer Weyrauch, a spokeswoman for Motorola Inc., said, "If an opportunity
exists under the right circumstances, we would take a close look at it." The
company, a leader in wireless communications, operates in 10 countries of
the Middle East and North Africa.

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