Discussion at Politics in the Pub, Sea View Hotel Shorncliffe, Queensland
A few weeks ago I was asked by an ex-student if I was writing lots of antiwar poetry I replied “No; essentially because the rationalisations for war coming out of the Bush/Blair/Howard orifice were so surreal that I was reduced to satire and analysis.”
Tonight I want to put two sets of Propositions:
The first set of propositions deal with why we should not go to war:
(1) There is no ethical reason sufficient to justify the evasion of Iraq.
(2) There are no self-defense reasons for America/Britain/Australia to invade Iraq.
(3) It is not in Australia’s economic interests to invade Iraq.
The second set of proposition deal with the real reasons for the invasion:
(4) The US wants to control Iraq’s oil.
(5) The US believes that it has a divine right to impose it desired geo-political outcomes on the rest of the world.
(6) Iraq has a considerable amount of water; Israel and perhaps other countries want to access that water.
(Proposition 1) There is no ethical reason sufficient to justify the evasion of Iraq.
Invasion will just result in a large number of deaths it will do nothing to promote Justice.
Neither in terms of the “problem” Iraq creates for the West nor in terms of the relative weaponry does a US led invasion meet the test of Proportionality.
Invasion will result in a repeat of the Yugoslavia break-up. Turkey will be in control of Kurds. To be ethical the war would have to improve the lives of people not make them worse.
The US has no right or obligation to intervene in the affairs of another country.
The widespread killing of non-combatants (which would be a direct result of the xenophobic enforcement of this white Western Crusade against Muslims) has no moral or ethical basis on which to rest.
(Proposition 2) There are no self-defense reasons for America/Britain/Australia to invade Iraq.
Iraq has no capacity to attack any of these 3 countries intending to invade its territory.
It has not attacked any country in the last 12 years.
There has been no evidence produced which establishes that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction.
There is no evidence that Iraq has either the intention or the capacity to attack its neighbours.
Colin Powell and Ari Fleischer responding to remarks by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix that his teams had not yet found a smoking gun in their of inspections in Iraq
When we came down the stair today
We saw a gun that wasn’t there
It wasn’t there again today
That’s why we must blow Saddam away.
(Proposition 3) It is not in Australia’s economic interests
WAR is very expensive- we can’t afford one- we’ll just have to put it on lay-buy. Australia by attacking Iraq puts into jeopardy the $800 million annual wheat trade with Iraq.
If the Yanks succeed in toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime the US will take over the wheat trade; if the Baath Party remains in office they may well choose to purchase their wheat from countries which don’t go around attacking Muslim countries.
The issue of trade goes beyond wheat to other goods and services that Australia might want to export. Our live meat trade to the entire Middle East might be put in jeopardy.
Our tourist trade with Asia and the Middle East could also be damaged.
There may well be a substantially increased refugee/asylum seeker outflow and given the current Australian policy stupidity on refugee/asylum seekers this will be very expensive.
There may well be an increased number of people who, in the wake of a second Gulf War, are prepared to launch terrorist attacks on those countries which invade Iraq.
(Proposition 4) The US wants to control Iraq’s oil.
US control of Iraq’s oil is simultaneously a metaphor for the entire US geo-political interests in the region and lucrative commodity which the US would like to control.
“Too much of a good thing” George Monbiot, February 18, 2003 The Guardian (UK)
“Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital.”
“Attacking Iraq offers the US three additional means of offloading capital while maintaining its global dominance. The first is the creation of new geographical space for economic expansion. The second …is military spending (a process some people call “military Keynesianism”). The third is the ability to control the economies of other nations by controlling the supply of oil.”
Read John Pilger, Robert Frisk, The Guardian, The Independent, Z Net, Green Left.
(Proposition 5) The US believes that it has a divine right to impose its desired geo-political outcomes on the rest of the world.
“Out of the wreckage” by George Monbiot February 25, 2003 The Guardian (UK)
“The US is planning to build a new generation of nuclear weapons in order to enhance its ability to launch a pre-emptive attack. This policy threatens both the comprehensive test ban treaty and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.” He notes also that the US has recently attacked the UN Security Council, and NATO, and ignored its promises to the WTO . “By tearing up the global rulebook, the US is in fact undermining its own imperial rule.”
At first the US was demanding destruction of Weapons of Mass Destruction, then it was suggesting that Iraq had close links to Al-Quida, then it was regime change, then it was total disarmament, now it is establishment of democracy throughout the region. The US is gleefully oblivious to the fact that you can’t bomb people into Democracy. Democracies grow out of the exercise of liberty.
The US wants to be able to enforce its every whim on Arabs in the region. US geo-politics equals Yank tyranny. It is very hard to tell the difference between a Yank and a jerk.
(Proposition 6) Iraq has a considerable amount of water; Israel and perhaps other countries want to access that water.
In Water Wars, Vandana Shiva uses her remarkable knowledge of science and society to analyze the historical erosion of communal water rights.
In Water Wars, Shiva reveals how many of the most important conflicts of our time, most often camouflaged as ethnic wars or religious wars, such as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are in fact conflicts over scarce but vital natural resources.
Israel has already engaged in hostilities in the region over access to water.
Should the US attack Iraq and set up its own puppet regime allegedly to plant the flower of democracy in the Middle East. The weed garden which will grow wont bare any resemblance to the ideal western democratic form rather it will look more like Palestine where 6 out of 10 Palestinians are currently living on less than $2.00 per day due to the Israeli occupation and devastation of their country.
It will just lead to a further round of exploitation and terrorism.
However it does not have to be this way we could settle for something like the French, German, Chinese and Russian position and have disarmament and…
We can beat the bastards.
We can stop the war.
There is no need to bomb the kids
to bathe in blood and gore.
But each of us has to act as one
to join in common union;
oppose all war for ever more
and seek just resolution.
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson