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Media Lies on Saddam:

Test Your Knowledge

by Michel Collon

March 2003.
www.globalresearch.ca     March 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/303A.html


In 1991, the mainstream media in Europe as well as in the US funneled an accumulation of media lies intended to convince public opinion to support a war against Iraq. Today, many European governments have distanced themselves from Bush's tactics. Can we assume that the European media will tell us the whole truth right now? Have they subjected all the information that has been trotted out over the last twelve years to a critical evaluation? Here is a media test.

Answer the following questions:

1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

 TRUE  FALSE

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).

 TRUE  FALSE

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.

 TRUE  FALSE

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).

 TRUE  FALSE

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.

 TRUE  FALSE

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.

 TRUE  FALSE

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.

 TRUE  FALSE

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.

 TRUE  FALSE

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!

 TRUE  FALSE

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?

 TRUE  FALSE


1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

FALSE: The US Congress first decided to impose an embargo against Iraq in 1989 after he had made an appeal to the countries of the Middle East to unite in order to become more independent of the USA.

Why have the mainstream Western media carefully hidden the history of Kuwait? It had always been part of Iraq. But British colonialists granted it independence in 1920 "in order to weaken Iraq and to deprive it of access to the sea" (quoted from a letter written by the British governor at the time). No country in the region recognized this separation. And all the successive Iraqi regimes have sought ways to regain this lost province.

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).

FALSE: It’s true that Saddam unleashed this war, unfortunately, after Iranian provocations, one of which was the attempted assassination of Tariq Aziz. It was Iran’s leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, who refused to sign a peace treaty and made the war last eight years.

But most important here is the diabolical strategy of the United States: divide and conquer. The US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that he hoped that this war "would last as long as possible and that the greatest possible number of people die on both sides." In fact, the USA never tolerated a Middle Eastern state that had the means to resist Israel, and it has attacked Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians… And Iraq has faithfully supported the Palestinians.

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.

DOUBTFUL: Let us recall the numerous media lies that were launched in 1991 when the USA and Europe attacked Iraq: incubators supposedly stolen by the Iraqi army from Kuwait City, the oil lake attributed to Saddam (but which was in reality the work of the US army) the alleged torture of Western pilots who were taken prisoner, the nonsense about the "fourth largest army in the world" presented as if it were a threat to all of us…. All of these charges collapsed (see Attention, médias! Les mediamensonges du Golfe, EPO, Bruxelles, see http://www.freeflights.net/carl1/attmedia.htm).

As far as Halabja is concerned, in the January 31, 2003 edition of The New York Times, Stephen C. Pelletiere, a CIA officer in charge of following this war, and professor of the U.S. Army War College, refuted Bush, pointing out that 1) the gassing occurred by mistake during a battle between the Iraqi and Iranian armies; and 2) it was almost certainly the work of the Iranian army, the only one that possessed this type of gas (cyanide-based) used in the battle. His conclusion: "There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them."

Whatever one may think of it, what would people say if Cuba bombed Washington because the United States had committed serial war crimes, attempted to assassinate Castro and to invade the island, and had accumulated weapons of mass destruction in Guantanomo Bay?

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).

FALSE: Israel clandestinely acquired and illegally possesses 200 nuclear warheads, and denies it and refuses any inspection. Israel has imprisoned Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli engineer who was courageous enough to reveal the existence of this nuclear arsenal. This is the great taboo for the Western media. Why must Iraq, a sovereign state, disarm itself when Israel threatens the entire region?

But the greatest danger comes from the USA itself, which has used nuclear weapons (Hiroshima), chemical weapons (Vietnam – Agent Orange) and bacteriological weapons (Cuba). Today, the USA refuses to commit itself to not using nuclear weapons, even against a non-nuclear country. Under the pretext of a "threat." Hitler was also claiming to be "threatened" by Poland.

It's worth noting that even in 1991, when he was attacked by the West, Saddam did not use chemical weapons.

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.

HYPOCRITICAL: The United States has supported and still supports the worst dictators on the planet: Mobutu, Pinochet, all the dictators in Latin America, and Turkish generals…. because they serve the United States' economic interests.

The true objective of the USA was defined in July 2002 by one of Bush's close aides, Senator Lugar: "[W]e are going to run the oil business. We are going to run it well, we are going to make money; and it's going to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq because there is money there."

Esso, Shell and BP rank among the TOP 15 multi-national corporations. Before 1958, they colonized and pillaged Iraq. Driven out by a revolution of national liberation, they have never stopped wanting to recapture the second largest oil reserves in the world. And they want to oust their French and Russian competitors (Total and Lukoil, respectively). Washington wants to use total blackmail to control the energy supplies of its rivals: Europe and Japan.

The United States' economy is in bankruptcy: imports exceed exports by $450 billion per year. It is holding up only because of German and Japanese loans. And by confiscating petro-dollars from the Middle East, thanks to corrupt emirs and sheiks they impose on puppet states in the Gulf.

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.

ANSWER: Saddam represents the Iraqi nationalist bourgeoisie, which drove British colonialists out of the country in 1958. Because of this, he presents two different faces.

On the one hand, he certainly does not represent a "model for society" for those who advocate a socialist society and democracy as the only means of assuring the well being of the entire population.

But, compared to the other regimes in the Middle East, his balance sheet is much more positive: instead of pouring petro-dollars back into US multi-national corporations, he used them — and all Western observers have recognized this — to develop education, health care and, in general, the economy of his country.

Iraq is also the only secular state in the Middle East. In his administration, it is not unusual to see women holding important positions, and men working for them. Compare that to the other neighboring countries…

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.

ANSWER: We must start with facts, with economic reality. The aggravation of the crisis and the global economic war push the multi-national corporations of wealthy countries to leave the capitalist class in each third-world country nothing more than crumbs from the cake. They know how to take complete control of a strategic country, with its enterprises, and its raw materials.

In order to survive, the local bourgeoisie often has no recourse other than opposing imperialism. Its resistance has the effect of involving the largest part of the population in the struggle. However, in order to resist a planetary threat which is today represented by the United States and its allies, it is in the interest of the people that the anti-imperialist front be as large as possible.

What is the principal contradiction in Iraq today? That between the country and the threat of imperialist occupation. To bring another conflict into the foreground, the one between the Iraqi bourgeoisie and its population, plays into Bush's hands.

Imagine a man and his wife having a fight. A thief appears who wants to seize their property and set fire to their home. Which task has priority? Continuing the argument or putting out the fire?

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.

ANSWER: Good for whom? At this moment, Saddam represents the independence of his country, that is to say the right to refuse to give oil away for free to multi-national corporations. Any "imported" leader — whether he is brought in by bombs or by blackmail — will be a puppet. To say "we must replace Saddam", amounts, in the current balance of power, to letting the ruling class of the United States and Europe do whatever it wants.

To replace rebels with puppets is the global strategy of re-colonization. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's Secretary of State, stated: "Saddam's Iraq as well as Arafat's Palestinians need new leaders … capable of leading reforms as in Serbia and in Afghanistan." Let's take a look at the results. In Afghanistan, ten ministers out of sixteen carry a US passport, and President Karzaï is a hired hand of the US multi-national oil company, Unocal. In Serbia, the price of a loaf of bread has gone from four to thirty dinars; the cost of electricity has increased fourfold, depriving people of electric power as well as heating (170,000 families in Belgrade alone). The IMF has demanded that 800,000 workers be let go from firms before privatizing everything for the exclusive benefit of multi-nationals.

Such made-in-the-USA "democratic leaders" are spearheading the re-colonization of the world. It is a merciless process for the country's workers and farmers.

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!

ANSWER: The first question for any anti-imperialist is: Must everything possible be done to prevent the United States from completely dominating the world, yes or no? The answer is of course, yes. Because, if we let the balance of power deteriorate further to their advantage, it will result in a new fascism that will threaten all the peoples of the world.

When Hitler and Mussolini were menacing the world, it was necessary to support all those who resisted them. Including, for example, the Ethiopian dictator, Haile Selassie, who opposed the Italian invasion.

Is it then necessary to support the resistance of the Iraqi people and their leaders against invasion? The answer is also yes.

After Iraq, Bush will seize Iran, Syria, or even Saudi Arabia. If Washington completely controls the Middle East (and the other great strategic regions: Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central Africa, Maghreb, the northern part of Latin America…), the balance of power will be even more disadvantageous during the next wars planned by Bush.

And when the USA occupies a region, the conditions of the struggle become much worse for all the people living there, whether it's the struggle for the right to eat, the struggle for democracy, for the environment or for the solidarity of peoples. A US military occupation is the worst of catastrophes for these various peoples, and for the balance of power in the world. If Iraqi leaders resist US imperialism, is it a good thing to do for their people? Yes.

A Communist Iraqi fled Saddam and took Algerian citizenship. He returned in April 2002 with our mission as an "Inspector of Peace," and stated clearly: "Today, my duty as a Communist is to defend my country and its raw materials from the USA. With the present regime, if necessary. As soon as the threat has been neutralized, it will be up to the Iraqi people to decide whether to transform the regime or to replace it. To let wealthy countries decide instead is merely paternalistic colonialism."

The imperialist countries advocate the suppression of the sovereignty of third-world states in order to justify their rapacious interference, and they are able to threaten all people who resist globalization. But the right to sovereignty is something acquired by the anti-colonial struggle, and it is necessary to preserve it.

This is why the global interest of peoples is to support the countries and leaders who resist seizure by the United States. This does not imply approval of all of their actions, past or present, nor the rest of their political program. But its counter-productive to place such criticism in the foreground at the moment when Bush is looking for a way to swing international public opinion in his favor.

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?

ANSWER: This is what the dominant tendency in the Left in Europe has been inclined to say for the last twelve years, and it has borne extremely negative consequences.

In 1991, under the slogan of "Neither Bush nor Saddam," it said "no" to war but "yes" to an embargo against Iraq. In reality, it was another form of warfare: and soon there were two million victims.

In 1995 and 1999, with the slogan of "Neither NATO nor Milosevic," it approved (and in some cases even demanded) NATO bombardments. It was a prelude to imposing an IMF government and a NATO occupation in Kosovo, which today lives under a reign of terror led by the Albanian mafia and the ethnic cleansing of the national minorities: Serbs, Roma, Jews, Muslims, Turks, etc.

In 2001, with "Neither Bush nor the Taliban," they shut their eyes to the neocolonial occupation of Afghanistan, whose goal is to construct a US pipeline and the installation of military bases in the heart of Central Asia. We have heard "Neither Sharon nor Arafat" many times.

Tomorrow, we will hear more "Neither … nor …" propositions when Washington attacks Iran, Korea, Colombia (where a war has already started), the Philippines or other countries. It will always be done with the same humanitarian pretexts; it will always be done with media lies to demonize those who put up resistance. Now is the time to return to the true fundamental position of the Left, which must of necessity be anti-colonialism: the aggressor and the victim of aggression must never be put on the same footing; the war propaganda and media lies disseminated by the ruling class must be unmasked; and most of all, the hidden economic interests behind each war must be denounced.

Subsequently, the only possible anti-imperialist position is to say "no" to the global war and to support the resistance people put up against it. The "Neither … nor …" proposition is condemned to paralysis. The "Neither … nor …" proposition prevents the growth and unification of resistance to US imperialism.

Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich

   

 


 Copyright   2003.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .


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