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[casi] Greenpeace says no to war on Iraq

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sorry the last posting didn't go well (i've been told off before for this) - i'm
not too computer literate. i'll try again, but should it not work again, i
suggest you just read it straight from the greenpeace site, then you can also
see the pretty picture that goes with the article.

Salwa de Vree,

Leiden, The Netherlands.

The weapon is the enemy

Why attacking Iraq will not solve the problem of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Tue 24 September 2002


What did we learn from the cold war, the disarmament movement of the last
three decades, and the intricate history of arms control? What we should have
learned is this: The development, production and use -- or threatened use  of
nuclear weapons is a vicious cycle. Weapons of mass destruction don't buy
greater security. They don't bring stability. Mutually Assured Destruction
didn't end the cold war. The escalation of nuclear arsenals stopped when the
perception of hostility and threat was diminished, buffered by a global
perception of the moral and political limitations of nuclear weapons as tools
of diplomacy.

It's especially important that we remember those lessons now, as the world
community ponders a war which is allegedly against weapons of mass

War on Iraq would bring enormous financial benefit to western oil interests,
and we remain convinced that US strategy is not only about routing terrorism
or stopping weapons of mass destruction but also about dominating fossil fuel
supplies.. But let's take, for the moment, the argument on its own merit, that
the US is going after Iraq out of fear of the spread of weapons of mass
destruction, and particularly nuclear weapons.

Greenpeace has opposed the development, production and use of nuclear weapons
and other weapons of mass destruction since its inception more than 30 years
ago. The testing and production of nuclear weapons has already wreaked havoc
on ecosystems and human health; the use of nuclear weapons by accident or
through conflict could spell -- at best -- severely radioactive sacrifice
zones with many thousands of people affected, or at its worst -- the end of
our planet's ability to sustain life as we know it.

We believe that nuclear disarmament by all nations is a fundamental
prerequisite of a sustainable future for Earth in the 21st century. It is
therefore imperative that the international community - including the Bush
Administration -tackle the question of nuclear proliferation and nuclear
disarmament in a coherent manner.

A full-scale attack on the nation of Iraq for seeking to acquire nuclear
weapons would be without precedent. The US did not threaten to attack Israel,
India or Pakistan for acquiring nuclear weapons.

There are three military strategies available to prevent proliferation:
counter-proliferation strikes, nuclear deterrence, and military assault to
create a "regime change". All are flawed.

Military counter-proliferation -- the Israeli strike on Iraq's Osirak reactor
in 1981 is an example -- may deal temporarily with the technical
manifestations of proliferation,yet it raised the very tensions which drive
weapons programs in the first place. They're also only as good as the
intelligence they're based on. In the case of Iraq, the IAEA dismantled a
clandestine programme to obtain nuclear weapons; the threat of a military
counter-proliferation response from the US has apparently failed to deter Iraq
from further attempts to reinstate the programme.

If nuclear deterrence was a viable strategy, it would be working now. In Cold
War logic, deterrence would dictate that Iraq -- or any other state -- would
be cowed by the overwhelming superiority of the US nuclear arsenal and
military machine. This clearly isn't the case. For a regime facing destruction
whether it uses a nuclear weapon or not, even a single nuclear strike is
easily rationalised as legitimate self-defence, and an appropriate response
against a nuclear-armed aggressor. Can the US successfully disarm Iraq by
invading the country, taking over its infrastructure, and placing a puppet
regime in power? Possibly. Will a regime change bring peace to the region and
deter other states or agents from pursuing weapons of mass destruction? Of
course not. Quite the opposite.

Take Iran. It's a country with a chequered history of relations with the US,
but is currently counted as a friend in the declared "war on terrorism." It's
politically inconvenient for the US to notice at the moment that Iran is also
moving swiftly toward nuclear capability, just as it was politically
inconvenient for the US to note Saddam Hussein's use of biological weapons
against his own people in a different time. To Iran, the lesson of an invasion
on Iraq will be to ensure the swift development of its own weapons of mass
destruction, and to develop them while America is focused elsewhere.

Military strategies will not succeed. A toolbox of responses is required, but
clearly the first and fundamental question is one of leadership and political
will. President Bush has said that the real issue in Iraq is not the
acceptance of UN weapons inspectors, but verifiable disarmament. This is true.
The problem is the enormous inconsistency of such a statement coming from the
possessor of more then six thousand nuclear warheads.

The formal non-proliferation regime has been undermined year after year by the
"official" nuclear weapon states, which by their behaviour clearly show they
believe nuclear weapons are necessary for their security. The nuclear weapons
states have effectively thumbed their noses at the United Nations and
international agreements with an alacrity equal to that of Iraq's.

The US and the other "official" nuclear weapon states have legal obligations
to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. They should be leading by example.
Instead, the US Senate has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty. The Bush administration has undermined the proposed verification
protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention. And arms control with Russia
has devolved into politically convenient bilateral deal-making rather than
transparent, legally binding and verifiable disarmament agreements that
actually destroy nuclear weapons.

The Bush Administration cannot reinforce the non-proliferation norm by edict.
It cannot act with any credible authority to eliminate the weapons of mass
destruction of others without addressing its own. The case against these
weapons must be a moral one, not a strategically convenient one.

Second, diplomacy. Pressure from other Arab states as well as western
countries is clearly important, particularly as a contribution to a more
effective and positive US Middle East policy. Solving the Palestinian issue is
a necessary prerequisite for any movement by Israel to join negotiations on
weapons of mass destruction in the region. The US can play a key role in
resolving that conflict.

Thirdly, containment followed by engagement. Continued pressure on Iraq must
include a comprehensive approach to the problem of the proliferation of
nuclear technology and know-how, particularly but not exclusively from Russia.
There must be a containment of the feasibility of the weapons programme. But
there must also be a containment of the ambition behind it. Furthermore
effective measures need to be taken to stop the spread of weapons usable
material ,and technology, thus further reducing the threat.

Ultimately, what we need is a new theory of deterrence when it comes to
nuclear weapons. At its root, deterrence is and always has been a matter of
perception: the perception of threat, imagined response, and a close
calculation of exactly what either of two combatants believe they can get away

Morality and what's deemed acceptable behaviour by states and their leaders is
also a perception, and one which changes over time. As we move toward a
globalisation of civil society, we need to build a world-wide moral deterrence
against the possession of nuclear weapons. The cornerstone of any state's
claim to moral authority, and any leader's, must be based on their
accountability to civil society. They must abide by global agreements for the
global good, they must conform to the most global definitions of acceptable

The ability of a state to exert its will upon the world community should be
measured in its demonstrable commitment to the common benefit of that
community. The authority of its leaders, at home and abroad, must rest in a
new, global and inclusive definition of the public trust. That would mean
nuclear weapon states would commit to, and begin, the process of eliminating
their nuclear weapons in the certain knowledge that such weapons are
incompatible with sane and sustainable security policies from a global

Any state thinking about acquiring nuclear weapons would have to be deterred
by the strength of global repugnance -- at both the state and individual
levels, to the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Any leader driving a state in
that direction must know that they will face a credible worldwide
outrage,untainted by hypocritical inconsistencies, and with a moral authority
that will be daunting to their futures as leaders, domestically and abroad.
This moral outrage needs to be effectively backed by agreed obstacles and
sanctions that can be applied in an impartial and objective manner.

It is evident that the Bush Administration is unenthusiastic about the use of
multilaterialism in general and the United Nations in particular as tools for
conflict resolution, preferring instead to use its military power to ensure
that its strategic objectives are met. This is perhaps the biggest challenge
for the international community of the 21st century. We can no longer afford
to continue as a planet made up of self-interested nations and national
leaders. A world in peril needs world leaders, accountable to the needs and
moral imperatives of our common future.

If every inhabitant of Earth were a voter, what future would nuclear weapons
have in a global plebiscite on their elimination?


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