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[casi] A Glossary of Warmongering

March 13, 2003

A Glossary of Warmongering

"War is obsolete"

-- Anatol Rapoport

The propaganda leading up to wars debases language. In an effort to counter
the inevitable prostitution of language, and to perhaps become aware of a
different reality, a glossary of commonly post-Gulf War abused terms is
presented below. It is an analogous development to the "Glossary of
Occupation", which was meant to clarify the abused terms found in the
Israeli-centric discourse.

There is one specific limitation to this glossary; it only discusses terms
generally abused in the US-centric discourse. Now, Americans don't want to
talk about what they have been doing to the Iraqis, and therefore there is
a tendency for there to be NO words to describe what they do. Americans
have no interest in describing, let alone coining terms for the Iraqi
condition. For example, there are no words for the myriad cancer patients
who don't have the requisite medicines. There are no words for the huge
areas of Iraq polluted by depleted uranium bombs, and so on. Similarly, the
media discourse has no words to describe the Iraqi condition because it has
adopted a US-centric point of reference. For this reason, defining terms in
a glossary is not satisfactory; it only looks at the glaring problems, the
instances where there is a descriptive word.

Abused Terms Translation

Collateral damage: Civilians killed--mentioned after the war. Issue not
arising before a war, and all references to civilians killed during
"no-fly-zone bombing runs" are vigorously denied. When you hear:
"Accidental deaths caused by a bomb" ponder what Joan Baez said during her
trip to Vietnam: "there is no such thing as an accidental bomb".

Cost of war: Diversion from profits of war. People moan about costs, but
don't look at the profits. Who cares about a few bucks here and there, just
look at the profits gushing forth in a year's time. If the second UN
resolution passes, then get others to pay for the war. Remember Japan was
forced to pay $15bn to cover the expenses of the first Gulf War. France and
Germany may be shaken down in a similar fashion this time around.

"And consider too the sheer, unadorned hubris of men like Wolfowitz and his
assistants. Asked to testify to a largely somnolent Congress about the
war's consequences and costs they are allowed to escape without giving any
concrete answers, which effectively dismisses the evidence of the army
chief of staff who has spoken of a military occupation force of 400,000
troops for 10 years at a cost of almost a trillion dollars." -

--Edward Said, "Who is in Charge?", March 2003

Democracy: A useful dictatorship of the remaining banana republic.

"once big powers start to dream of regime change -- a process already begun
by the Perles and Wolfowitzs of this country -- there is simply no end in
sight. Isn't it outrageous that people of such a dubious caliber actually
go on blathering about bringing democracy, modernization, and
liberalization to the Middle East? God knows that the area needs it, as so
many Arab and Muslim intellectuals and ordinary people have said over and
over. But who appointed these characters as agents of progress anyway? And
what entitles them to pontificate in so shameless a way when there are
already so many injustices and abuses in their own country to be remedied?
It's particularly galling that Perle, about as unqualified a person as it
is imaginable to be on any subject touching on democracy and justice,
should have been an election adviser to Netanyahu's extreme right-wing
government during the period 1996-9, in which he counseled the renegade
Israeli to scrap any and all peace attempts, to annex the West Bank and
Gaza, and try to get rid of as many Palestinians as possible. This man now
talks about bringing democracy to the Middle East, and does so without
provoking the slightest objection from any of the media pundits who
politely (abjectly) quiz him on national television." -

- Edward Said, A monument to hypocrisy, Al Ahram, Feb. 13, 2003.

"Democracy traduced and betrayed, democracy celebrated but in fact
humiliated and trampled on by a tiny group of men who have simply taken
charge of this republic as if it were nothing more than, what, an Arab
country? It is right to ask who is in charge since clearly the people of
the United States are not properly represented by the war this
administration is about to loose on a world already beleaguered by too much
misery and poverty to endure more." -- Edward Said "Who is in Charge?"
March 2003.

Depleted uranium aka du ammo: Weapons of indefinite destruction.

Under the economic embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council,
now in its 14th year, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to
decontaminate its battlefields from the 1991 Gulf War.

Professor Doug Rokke, the US Army physicist responsible for cleaning up
Kuwait, told me: 'I am like many people in southern Iraq. I have 5,000
times the recommended level of radiation in my body. Most of my team are
now dead. We face an issue to be confronted by people in the West, those
with a sense of right and wrong: first, the decision by the US and Britain
to use a weapon of mass destruction: depleted uranium. When a tank fired
its shells, each round carried over 4,500g of solid uranium. What happened
in the Gulf was a form of nuclear warfare.

'In 1991, a United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority document reported that
if 8 per cent of the depleted uranium fired in the Gulf War was inhaled, it
could cause '500,000 potential deaths'. In the promised attack on Iraq, the
United States will again use depleted uranium, and so will Britain,
regardless of its denials.

-- John Pilger, "Inside Iraq--The Tragedy of a People Betrayed", The
Independent, February 23, 2003

Dual Use: Justification to reject large proportion of Iraqi requests for

While food and medicines are technically exempt, the Sanctions Committee
has frequently vetoed and delayed requests for baby food, agricultural
equipment, heart and cancer drugs, oxygen tents, X-ray machines. Sixteen
heart and lung machines were put 'on hold' because they contained computer
chips. A fleet of ambulances was held up because their equipment included
vacuum flasks, which keep medical supplies cold; vacuum flasks are
designated 'dual use' by the Sanctions Committee, meaning they could
possibly be used in weapons manufacture. Cleaning materials, such as
chlorine, are 'dual use', it seems, considering the frequency of their
appearance on the list of 'holds'.

As of October 2001, 1,010 contracts for humanitarian supplies, worth
$3.85bn, were 'on hold' by the Sanctions Committee. They included items
related to food, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and education.
This has now risen to goods worth more than $5bn. This is rarely reported
in the West.

-- John Pilger, "Inside Iraq--The Tragedy of a People Betrayed", The
Independent, February 23, 2003 [NB: this is a reprinted chapter from a book
published before SCR1409]

Since SCR1409 (14 May 2002), the Sanctions Committee only deliberates on
items on the Goods Review List. The vast majority of goods have always been
given import licenses, but often one or two components being held up and
would scupper the effectiveness of the permitted imports (e.g., if
essential tech components of a water treatment plant are held up, then the
percentage of holds is less relevant than their nature).

Evidence: Any rotten factoid to prove Iraq is evil. An unfinished PhD
thesis written by a graduate student was used to prove that Iraq had
weapons of mass destruction. Most documents used as evidence date from
1991--hardly relevant in the current context. No attempt was made to cover
up the plagiarism or the deceit.

Failure to comply: Foregone conclusion: Iraq will never be able to live up
to the US's high standards. US tactics: force Iraq to do something that
will most likely lead to an Iraqi rejection. If Iraq complies nonetheless,
then change the standards or objective. No matter what it does, "Saddam has
failed to comply, over and over and over again."

Freedom fries: the US House of Representatives cafeteria's new name for
french fries  (ditto french toast).

Gulf War syndrome: Gulf War veterans who were victims of US chemical or
nuclear weapons. All efforts by the US and UK Defense establishments were
made to stall investigations into the causes of this syndrome afflicting
thousands of veterans--about 6% of veterans. The likeliest cause is immune
system damage due to exposure to the radioactivity emanating from depleted
uranium weapons. Other weapons systems are also thought to have caused
serious disorders. Will the weapons causing this syndrome be proscribed
during the next war? Answer: No.

A cause for a disease that is not usually discussed because one may
possibly wonder what happened to the Iraqi people.

Gulf War II: US-Iraq War.

Iraqi Opposition: Iraqi opportunists on the US payroll. The head of this
group, Mr. Chalabi, was on the run from Jordanian law because of a massive
fraud perpetrated there. He has since been magically pardoned.

Justification for war: Lies. There are many reasons: Oil, arms industry,
deflect attention from political scandals, deflect attention from
nose-diving economy, Israel [oops, can't mention this one], protect the
hegemony of the US dollar, create another arms race Of course, these
reasons are too crass, and must instead refer to the threat of WMD or
making Iraq safe for democracy.

Moral Case: The morality thing.

[Another] thing hasn't been reassuring. That was his [Blair] seeming to
discover a week ago, after some months of ardent campaigning and presumably
reflecting on Iraq, that there was a moral case he could make -- presumably
about the right thing to do. It was about possible or probable effects on
Iraqis themselves of leaving Saddam in power. That raises a question. What
kind of case did Mr. Blair think he was making in connection with the war
before then?

-- Ted Honderich, Killing in Defense of Ideology, CounterPunch, March 5,

Neocons: "Chicken hawks"- Ralph Nader. Neo-Likudnik right-wing warmongering
politicians. The "intellectual" progenitors of war plans.

Neutralizing agents: If we use them, it is OK. It is no secret that the US
plans extensive use of chemical agents to "neutralize" the enemy. Never
mind that this is in breach of Chemical Biological Warfare treaties. If
Iraq were to possess, let alone use, such weapons then it would be
chastised for using weapons of mass destruction. In the hands of the US
military, this is another matter. Ample supplies of CS and stinging gases
have been produced for the US military. However once these gases are
spread, then can people run away? If not, then it could count as a war

"I would not hesitate to state that the spraying of CS from the air--which
is an action entirely impossible to control--and the imposition of a curfew
after its wide use, should be thought of as a war crime." -- Prof. Israel
Shahak, AIC, Jan. 5, 1991

New Europe: The neo-vassals. European governments willing to subvert
democracy to play second fiddle to the Americans.

"What I say to France and Germany--and all my other European Union
colleagues--is take care. Because just as America helps to define and
influence our politics, so what we do in Europe helps to define and
influence American politics. We will reap a whirlwind if we push the US
into a unilateralist position." -

- UK (New Europe) Foreign Minister, Jack Straw.

A poodle's argument: Is he saying that if we don't play along with the US,
then it may carry on its unilateralist tendencies without European
participation? The fact that the US is undermining post-war legal framework
and 30+ multilateral agreements should be the basis to shunt the US. The US
already has taken a unilateralist position--Europe will not change this
into "multilateral" by sycophantically coddling up to it. Europe is the
principal countervailing power to the US, but it is a role which some don't
want it to assume.

No fly zone: A unilateral demarcation imposed by the US. The "no fly zone"
has no legal basis, and was never approved by the UN.

I made two trips last month into the 'no-fly zone' created by the U.S. with
Britain and France in southern Iraq. Actually it would be better named the
'only we fly' zone or the 'we bomb' zone. 'We' refers to the United States
who does almost all of the flying and bombing (France pulled out years ago,
and Britain is largely a nominal participant). -

-Thorne Anderson, journalism professor and photojournalist

Nothing against the Iraqi people: We'll massacre them, but it is not
personal. If the strategy is to "shock and awe", then the interests of the
Iraqi people can hardly be expected to be taken into account.

I read recently a statement by a Pentagon official about the impending war
on Iraq: 'There will not be safe place in Baghdad.' Well, that is
interesting. Five million people live in Baghdad 'There will not be a safe
place in Baghdad.' I thought you were only going to bomb military targets,
then there should be safe places where there are no military targets. No,
'there will be no safe place in Baghdad.'

-- Howard Zinn, speech given at New School University, Feb. 2003

Oil: America's Oil -- of course! The Marines used to fight to keep the
American banana companies safe. Doesn't it sound a bit more glamorous to
have the Marines fight to keep America's oil safe? Just wait, these folks
will get the Exxon-Mobil medal for valor.

Old Europe: France and Germany. If you aren't with the US, then it will
conjure deprecating statements. "France is no longer our ally", "At a
political level, Donald Rumsfeld was making it brutally clear to Europeans
that the sole superpower will not pay much attention to what they

Permanent war: The war on terrorism entails endless wars. Iraq now, Iran
tomorrow, Syria, Libya The wish list is updated weekly by Ariel Sharon.

Preemptive War aka: preemptive defense: A doctrine that ratifies war
without cause, without end.

[if] the US wages a war against Iraq, then it will be violating one of the
most basic principles of the UN Charter, not just a Security Council
resolution, but the UN Charter. [The UN Charter] makes it clear that it is
not legal, it is not legitimate, it is not acceptable to go to war against
another country unless you have been attacked. You can only engage in war
if it is for self-defense. You can say whatever you want about Iraq [] but
Iraq has not presently attacked or threatened anybody. Unless you think you
ought to attack a country because some day it may threaten you. Well, that
is a prescription for endless violence. -- Howard Zinn, speech given at New
School University, Feb. 2003

Prime Minister Blair: Poodle, aka English poodle. Long tradition of British
prime ministers to ingratiate themselves to the Americans. Prime Minister
Thatcher established a precedent and was called a "lap dog", although less
kind commentators insisted she was a lap bitch.

Regime: US Enemy du jour. Bush eloquently stated: "you are either with us
or against us." If you are with America, then you are a democracy. If a
country is not sure, then the country is demoted to a regime. NB: the
dictionary definition of regime implies no negative connotation.

Regime change: Region change. The real objective of the warmongers is to
redraw maps and alter the power configuration of the entire region. A
rationale for war proffered early on, but thought too crass to sell the
war. It was quickly replaced by the "he has weapons of mass destruction"

Saddam: Personalizing the enemy.

Powell also personalized the alleged Iraqi prevarication. Instead of
highlighting Iraqi mendacity, he always sought to personalize it as
"Saddam's lies". This construct suggests that the US is only after Saddam,
and that "one bullet" would do the trick as Ari Fleischer suggested some
months ago. However, at the same time that the US is demonizing Saddam
Hussein as an individual, it has been made abundantly clear that the war
against Iraq is going to be massive and devastating. If Powell really was
only going after Saddam Hussein, then the current war would seem to be
unnecessary--a mere assassination is needed. Instead, the war that is being
prepared will certainly harm millions of people in the area. This is an
admission that Powell would not like to make--millions of people around the
world would object. A rather transparent propaganda ploy was used to
present the conflict as focusing on one demon--thus diminishing the
implications of the horrors that actually await the region.

-- Paul de Rooij, Where are the incubators?, CounterPunch, Feb. 6, 03.

Sanctions: A proven weapon of mass destruction. The US instigated sanctions
implemented via the UN. The sanctions have made of Iraq, a modern developed
society before the war, into a country rivaling Congo in terms of
socio-economic statistics.

In response to a question about the effects of sanctions where an estimated
500,000 Iraqis died due to its impact, former Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright, famously said: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the
price--we think the price is worth it."

Denying Iraq replacement parts to fix its water sanitation and purification
systems is a form of bacteriological warfare. Contaminated water is the
main contributor to massive increase in child mortality post Gulf War. NB:
the US-dominated UN sanctions program has not allowed the repair and
rebuilding of these systems. At the same time that water borne diseases
stalk the population, the US denies Iraq access to important medicines.

Hey, this can't happen anymore, now we have smart sanctions!

Security Council Resolution: UN-sponsored declaration of war. Resolution
crafted so that the guaranteed outcome is one suitable to the US, in this
case war. It turns the purpose of the UN--to avoid wars--on its head.

Shock & awe: Mass murder.

the indiscriminate murder of civilians.

-- Chris Hedges, Democracy Now, Feb. 27, 2003

"Recent statement by Pentagon official: 'the psychological destruction of
the enemy's will to fight'. That was the kind of language used to justify
the bombing of Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg and other civilian areas. That
was the language used in Vietnam to justify the bombing of villages. The
objective is to destroy the morale of these people. They use words like
'shock and awe'. It sounds like terrorism to me." -

- Howard Zinn, speech given at New School University, Feb. 2003

Smart weapons: Yet another murder implement. These weapons are only so
smart as the people that order their launch, and that makes it "at most as
smart as Bush". This is hardly reassuring.

Video feeds are the main improvement in the newest generation weapons.
Improving the video show generated by these weapons was seemingly
considered of utmost importance. These weapons should be better known as
smart multimedia weapons.

Softening up Iraq: The war already started. Twelve year long campaign of
relentless bombing of Iraq. Supposedly, most targets were air defense
systems threatening "coalition" airplanes. In reality, a useful area for
all sorts of training exercises utilizing both live and dummy bombs.
Concrete-filled bombs have been thrown in civilian areas, including
schools. (

Iraq is expected to disarm while at the same time the US is "softening up"

Stability in the region aka making the region safe for democracy: Making
the area safe for "our" and Israeli interests. Not necessarily in that

Terrorist linkage: Demonizing an opponent. Iraq had nothing to do with
9-11, but strenuous efforts are made to make the linkage. "Saddam funds
Hamas", "a suspected Al Qaeda operative went for medical treatment in
Baghdad", , that is about it. NB: The number of Iraqis involved in 9-11 =

UN: A moribund organization meant to either do what the Americans tell it
to do or else it is expected to shut up.

UN inspections: A meant-to-fail futile exercise. Threatening war with a
massive build-up, and expecting full disarmament compliance and prying by a
hostile UN inspection team is contradictory. No statement by Hans Blix has
been issued on the continued bombing of Iraqi positions while the
inspections were supposed to be going on.

UN Resolutions: Power projections. Rules only meant to work when the US
wants them to. Israel has ignored 64 UN resolutions (with US support), yet
this is not a problem. But of course, the UN resolutions were written
referent to another chapter of the UN Charter! (chapter VI as opposed to
chapter VII) Ah, these tricky lawyers.

Voila Moment: Military wishful thinking.

At the Pentagon they call it the Voila Moment. That's when Iraqi soldiers
and civilians, with bombs raining down on Baghdad, suddenly scratch their
heads and say to themselves: 'These bombs aren't really meant to kill me
and my family, they are meant to free us from an evil dictator!' At that
point, they thank Uncle Sam, lower their weapons, abandon their posts, and
rise up against Saddam Hussein. Voila!

-- Naomi Klein, "Put away the cuddly toys. Now it's time to get tough", The
Guardian, March 3, 2003

War: Massacre. Given the imbalance of forces and technology, it is likely
that the Iraqi army will be decimated.

[Khokhlov] What human losses could Iraq suffer? [Slipchenko] Very
considerable ones. Since the Americans are planning to physically
annihilate the Iraqi army, I reckon that at least 500,000 people will be
killed. This will be a very bloody war.

-- Russian Expert Predicts 500,000 Iraqi Dead in War Designed To Test
Weapons Rossiyskaya Gazeta in Russian, Feb. 22, 2003.

Detailed documentation on Iraqi casualty estimates.

We must do something: Argument leveled against the anti-war movement. It
doesn't mean that we have to massacre them to save them.

Mr. Blair says we can attack Iraq because if we don't, Saddam will be free
to do terrible things to his own people. This is about as alarming as an
argument can get. There is no parity between our doing something with the
dead certainty of killing and maiming thousands, and not doing it with only
some probability that some people will suffer. Saddam may not have changed,
but his world sure has.

-- Ted Honderich, Killing in Defense of Ideology, CounterPunch, March 5,

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): Useful excuse to justify war. Despite
the fact that reputable sources indicate that Iraqi chemical,
bacteriological or nuclear capabilities are not a threat, it serves as a
useful excuse for war.

Yes, Iraq at some point had chemical and bacteriological weapons. We know
that because the countries selling that technology were primarily the US
and UK. When the weapons were sold, Iraq was our bulwark against Iranian
revolution. This rationale was quickly forgotten.

Paul de Rooij is an economist living in London and can be reached at

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