Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation
The Bush administration and its opinion purveyors are now changing tack in order to obtain support for the US war on Iraq because their justifications for war haven't convinced large segments of Western public opinion. The new slogan is "Let the U.S. liberate Iraq" for the benefit of the oppressed Iraqi people. The war is now not anymore presented as an attempt to eliminate the threat from Iraqi WMD but to "liberate" the Iraqi people from tyranny ! Renewed focus on atrocities committed by the Saddam Hussein regime is one of the tools used to increase public support for a military attack on Iraq. The ruthless nature of the Iraqi regime has been known for a long time, yet no attempt has been made by the U.S. to indict Iraqi leaders, say with the backing of a Security Council resolution.
One of the most effective ways to tackle this new Washington P/R campaign is to ask: Why is the United States - of all countries - so zealous about helping Iraqis to "liberate" their country ?
A presumtion exists in international relations that when states engage in wars outside their own territory, they do so for their own interest and not for altruistic reasons. In the case of the United States, the following reasons have been mentioned that would prompt the U.S. to initiate war on Iraq: Seizing control of Iraqi oil on behalf of US corporations, securing US strategic dominance over the Middle East, helping Israel deport the Palestinians to Jordan or to Iraq and securing highly profitable orders to military-industrial corporations. In exchange for political support by other States to its war drive, the U.S. is reportedly willing to divide some of the war loot with them. The only question remains: What price will the U.S. accept to pay to China and Russia for abstaining in a vote of the Security Council permitting the U.S. to engage in war.
Has the United States traditionally showed concern for human rights in the Middle East ?
The United States has never shown any interest in democracy and human rights in the Middle-East. It has provided massive economic and military support to M.E. regimes that systematically violate fundamental human rights. U.S. courts, seized occasionally on human rights violations by Middle-Eastern states, have bowed to "state reason" in order not to undermine US foreign policy interests and declined to offer remedies to individuals harmed by ruthless Arab governments. U.S. allies in the Middle-East, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and the Gulf states, are notorious human rights violators. Iraq, when supported by the United States (in the 1980s) was ruled by the same vicious dictator as today. Since 1990, the United States has maintained lethal economic sanctions against the Iraqi people, denying millions of human beings in Iraq their fundamental human rights to health, education, work and life.
The new public-relations spin implies that the U.S. administration has now really changed its nature. Overnight, the wolf has become a lamb. In order to convince public opinion that the wolf has really become tame, sweet words are not sufficient. In order to prove its good faith to the world and its readiness to become a good citizen of the world community, the US will have to demonstrate by actual acts that it means what it says. It would have to in the very least to:
(a) Secure for the Palestinian people their inalienable rights, including an independent, sovereign state and the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland;
(b) Ratify and accede to international and regional human rights conventions;
(c) Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court;
d) Ratify international treaties on landmines and resume in good faith negotiations for the abolition of nuclear weapons;
(e) Work in good faith for the elimination by Israel of its weapons of mass destruction;
(f) Accept a democratic reform and judicial oversight of the UN Security Council;
(g) Allow unhindered international inspections of US chemical and biological weapons facilities;
(h) Accept a democratic reform of the international financial institutions (The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) and their subjection to obligations on human rights;
(i) Lift its embargo against Cuba and pay reparations to the people of Cuba;
(j) Pledge not to engage anymore in unilateral policies of coercion against other states;
(k) Pledge not to bribe or threat other states to secure votes in international institutions;
(l) Ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and support the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, permitting individuals to submit complaints to UN human rights bodies against violations by states of their human rights;
Until the U.S. passes the above test, its spin should be exposed for what it really is: Devious and dishonest war propaganda.
Elias Davidsson is an author, composer and committed peace activist based in Iceland. He is a CRG frequent contributor. Copyright Elias Davidsson 2002. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
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