The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear Eric & List, When I started posting on CASI, I did so because I believed it is the best forum through which we could effect a change in peoples’ minds regarding the horrible effects of sanctions and the crimes committed in their names against the people of Iraq. I had some reservations regarding CASI and some of its public objectives, and sometimes openly expressed my opinions. But that didn’t stop me from posting, even when some of us were subjected to attacks and personal insults from some on the List. Eric’s analysis is incomplete, to put it mildly. I believe that people on the List were united against sanctions specifically because sanctions were a tool of mass punishment, violating international law and every human rights agreement. There was no division over the reasons for opposing sanctions: we all believed they were hurting the Iraqi people and should be lifted. Yet there were some on the List who believed that these Sanctions were justified, and they too were allowed to state their case. CASI’s unity over sanctions has not disappeared because there is a division over the occupation, but because many believe CASI’s reason for staying as a sanctions opposing forum lost its meaning with the official lifting of sanctions by the UN. Many have left the list or stopped posting on it for that reason. I believe Dr. Herring’s analysis of the division within CASI is faulty and lacks a clear vision of things: 1. I don’t know of anyone on the List who opposes the occupation merely to give imperialism a bloody nose at any cost. That would be immoral, childish and naive. I have not seen any post that as much as indicates such thing. I believe the majority on the List oppose the occupation because it is an illegal occupation that violates international law and because it was carried out with massive damage to Iraq’s infrastructure and a huge loss of civilian life. I believe that the right of resistance is a right of nations against an outside occupation, guaranteed by international law. Those who condoned the use of force against Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1991, should apply the same measures to the US/UK occupation of Iraq in 2003. If the international community is unable (for lack of morals) to force the US and UK out of Iraq, then Iraqis should be extended help to get rid of the occupation, including through the use of force. 2. There are those who supported the sanctions and the war even if it cost Iraqis a great deal. They believed that the ends (overthrowing Saddam) justified the means (attacking and destroying Iraq at any cost). Those people now support the occupation and oppose any resistance to it of any sort. They consider the occupation of Iraq “liberation”, and are ready to “cooperate” and “collaborate” with the occupiers. I would put Dr. Herring in this category! 3. There are those who opposed the sanctions and the war, but who have now decided to accept the occupation as a fact, and believe that is in the best interest of the Iraqi people. Dr. Herring likes to put himself in this category. The morality of such a stand is questionable in my opinion. Should Europe have accepted the Nazi occupation and ceased any resistance to it, because some thought it was in the best interests of the people? However, that is not what Dr. Herring said in his article 'Anti-war protesters and the fall of Saddam' in the Bristol Evening Post on 8 April 2003. Then Dr. Herring wrote: “In the short-term, war is the only way Saddam would be removed.” Was that in the spirit of CASI, supporting the use of force to overthrow a regime, knowing the human cost? Dr. Herring writes “The spirit of CASI lay in nonviolent support for the people of Iraq”, yet he supported a violent method to effect change in Iraq, while asserting that armed resistance to the occupation should not be supported. Contradictory? In another article 'How popular campaigning saves Iraqi lives' in the same newspaper published on 7 April 2003, Dr. Herring wrote: “The British and US armed forces are going to great lengths to avoid killing Iraqi civilians directly.” Needless to say, that assertion was totally mistaken, as the latest studies put the figure of civilians killed in the tens of thousands. How about the indiscriminate shooting of people, the bombing of towns and cities, and the terrorizing of people? Does that show “that an Iraqi life is worth at least something” in the minds of the US and UK soldiers like Dr. Herring wrote in the same article? 4. In Iraq and the Arab and Muslim world, there are of course those who want the occupation to fail to give US imperialism a bloody nose. We still don’t know if those see the attacks on the US, UN, ICRC etc as legitimate efforts at liberation, because we don’t have proof that these attacks were carried out by those opposing the occupation. What we do know is that in both cases of the UN and ICRC, those two organizations had criticized the occupation forces and called for an immediate end to it and its tactics. Soon after, those two organizations were attacked. Too good to be mere coincidences would you say? Who was behind the assassination of Sayyid Baqir al-Hakim? How did a car, loaded with explosives, manage to enter into the area next to the mosque housing the Holiest of Holies for the Shi’a around the world, amid all the security and warnings of an attack, without it being discovered, and park next to that of Sayyid al-Hakim, unless it was an inside job? It is illogical and counterproductive for the Iraqi resistance to attack any civilian Iraqi target, because it will turn Iraqis against the resistance; unless the attacks are exactly planned to cause that! And of course, the more such attacks occur, the more the occupation forces will have excuse to stay. Attacks on the UN, ICRC and civilian targets only serve the US and its men on the IGC. It does not serve the objectives of the resistance and I don’t believe they are carried out by them. One more thing. I do not understand why Eric Herring chose me of all people to send a personal copy of his post. If Eric had wanted to discuss with me, he could have done that personally, without involving the List. If the point was intended for the whole List, he didn’t have to send me a copy. However, I didn’t make an issue of it and left at that. Then came a reply from Muhamed Ali, who has decided finally that he wants to join those “peace-loving” people. Gone is the support for war and the death of Iraqis. Gone is the support for sanctions and the death of almost two millions. Again, Muhamed Ali sends me a copy of his message. Now, why was that, and how did he know Eric Herring had sent me a copy of his message?? The most surprising (and insulting) thing is that Eric Herring replied to Muhamed Ali with a message, a copy of which was also sent to me, which reads as follows: “Thanks for your email. I agree that those in the first category should go elsewhere, as what they do is not in the spirit of CASI. I also do not think that it is in the interests of the people of Iraq.” Thanks Eric Herring for the fatherly advice. But I don’t belong in your first category and I am not going anywhere.. Eric Herring may be an expert on Politics and may believe in his analysis (though they have been proven wrong), but nothing gives him the right to decide or even “suggest” who should stay on the List and who should leave it. He does not decide what the spirit of CASI is, and he certainly does not decide what is best for the people of Iraq. The people of Iraq decide what is best for them, and if it doesn’t suit Dr. Herring or those who support him, then that is too bad. I am, after all, an Iraqi and he isn’t. How does he know what is best for my people? Should I lecture him on what is best for the Scottish people? Iraq’s problems, and indeed those of the Arab world, have been caused exactly by such decisions by outsiders; intellectuals who believe they have the right to decide what is good for those people, and the results are evident in Palestine and Iraq…. The sanctions on Iraq were a crime against humanity, and the war and the occupation that followed it are worse crimes that should not be tolerated. If we accept them, then we betray our humanity and we stand naked without any morals. Is that what Eric Herring wants to do?? HZ __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard http://antispam.yahoo.com/whatsnewfree _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk