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They still don't get it In its April 21 edition the liberal weekly magazine, the Nation, presents a panel on strategies for the US antiwar movement. (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030421&c=1&s=cortright) The discussion illustrates how little effect the monumental events of the past months have had on US leftist intellectuals. David Cortright, who convenes the panel, outlined in August of last year a popular strategy to "Stop the War Before It Starts." Given the announced intention of the Bush administration to invade Iraq, Cortright and others promoted Iraq's disarmament by the United Nations as the means to head off the impending US war. Major political campaigns were initiated in the US to promote the UN weapons inspections. Bishop Tutu at the huge February 15th rally in New York City demanded, "Let inspections work!" This strategy was widely supported in the US peace movement as the most realistic perspective to stop the US war drive. But not only did the UN disarmament program not produce peace, it played a critical role in legitimizing the Bush administration's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" hoax. With Resolution 1441 the United Nations Security Council unanimously denounced Iraq's failure to prove it did not possess WMD, and demanded a return of weapons inspections. This UN Security Council mandate against Iraq was effectively used by the US administration to escalate the diplomatic isolation of Iraq. After two months of unfettered access within Iraq and finding no evidence of functioning biological or chemical weapons programs, the UN's chief weapons inspector Hans Blix declared that Iraq had still failed to comply. Who can ever forget the UN's Mr. Blix demanding Iraq destroy rockets that exceeded the UN established limits by five miles, as an immeasurably greater and deadlier arsenal of weapons gathered in the Persian Gulf to attack Iraq. The broadly promoted faith in the United Nations' disarmament scheme as a counterweight to the US war drive proved a cruel betrayal of the people of Iraq. In the chilling passage below David Cortright reveals his response to the Bush war agenda. "We support the disarmament of Iraq, North Korea and other nations regarded by the international community as potential proliferators. We favor vigorous UN weapons inspections to verify disarmament." "The policies we have supported for the peaceful disarmament of Iraq--rigorous inspections, targeted sanctions and multilateral coercive diplomacy--can and should be applied universally to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. Nations that refuse to comply with verified disarmament requirements should be subjected to targeted sanctions and coercive diplomatic pressures from the UN and other regional security organizations." Cortright is not in solidarity with the people of Iraq or the world threatened by US imperial power. In his scheme for disarmament he conveniently fails to point his attention to the most obvious proliferator and user of weapons of mass destruction. Beneath the thin veneer of this pacifist jargon lies an enthusiastic support for US diplomatic, economic and military aggression. In the wake of the invasion of Iraq we favor multilateral coercive diplomacy! We favor sanctions! We favor vigorous inspections! For Cortright the violation of the sovereign rights of the people Iraq by the United States and the United Nations Security Council should be applied universally. The demand for the UN return to Iraq While some of the panelists reject some of Cortright's politics, they all express agreement with the notion that "the antiwar movement must insist ... that the UN be re-introduced as a peacemaking body." This continued support of the United Nations is the most depressing evidence yet, that the "leaders" of the US antiwar movement have not developed even the most rudimentary understanding of the war on Iraq. Anyone who promotes the UN as a venue for Iraqi freedom, or Iraqi health, or Iraqi sovereignty is either ignorant or consciously covering up the twelve-year history of UN-sanctions against Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives because of UN sanctions. The UN intervention was so bad in Iraq that three top UN officials resigned. First Denis Halliday in 1998, the first administrator of the Oil-for-Food program, the supposedly "humanitarian" program designed to cover up the theft of Iraq's oil by the United Nations. The next year, his successor, Hans von Sponek resigned, along with the head of the World Food Program, and they too characterized UN sanctions in Iraq as genocide. Those who advocate the UN as the rainbow-after-the-storm for Iraq can only do so by consciously ignoring the record of the United Nations intervention in Iraq. The UN as a peacemaking body in Iraq? What happened to the troops assigned to the UN demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait? With the arrival of military forces in Kuwait intent on violating the sovereignty of Iraq these peacemakers were ordered by Kofi Annan to pick up and leave their posts! On the "humanitarian" front, the UN began pulling out its administrators from Iraq weeks before the invasion abandoning millions of Iraqis dependent on UN administered food programs. Now the people of Iraq again face the prospect of economic strangulation and starvation, which in the aftermath of the 1991 war, proved just as deadly, but more persistent than exploding US ordinance. Iraq today faces a combined assault of US military forces and a broad array of sharks intent on getting a piece of the reconstructing Iraq racket. Both will cynically converge around the banner of using Iraq's oil money to save the suffering people of Iraq. The UN Security Council has restarted the Oil for Food Program under Kofi Annan's direction, thereby reasserting its claim over Iraqi oil revenues and ensuring Iraq remains the largest single employer of UN staff people. The US capitalists, international banking institutions and the UN agencies all have ambitious (and to a certain degree competing) plans for Iraq. The US military administration of Iraq is intent on proving its commitment to the poor suffering people of Iraq, by spending Iraq's money on any and all programs deemed necessary by these imperial humanitarians. As we are continually reminded, Iraq is not like Afghanistan, it has something worth stealing. Along with the demand for the immediate withdraw of Coalition occupation forces, the international antiwar movement should stand with the people of Iraq against this feeding frenzy of international capital circling Iraq. We stand against the theft of Iraq's oil at the point of a gun by Bush & Co. and call for an end to Iraq as a cash cow for the United Nations. We demand respect for the sovereign rights of the Iraqi people. Bob Allen Campaign to End the Sanctions Philadelphia Pa www.campaigntoendthesanctions.org _______________________________________________ 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