"And it's one, two, three, what're we fighting for?"
( April 2003 )
On the television and radio, I keep hearing euphemisms like "collateral damage" and "friendly fire" and suchlike abominations. I get really pissed off when people start distorting and screwing around like this with language. Let's cut the crap and stick to using the correct term - "dead human beings". I don't care whether they're Iraqui, Kurdish, Australian, British or American; I make no distinction on the grounds of race or nationality. Dead human beings are dead human beings and no number of mealie-mouthed ways of avoiding saying it changes that reality.
In the 1980s, I was one of the people campaigning for the US, UK and other western governments to stop providing Saddam Hussein with weapons and financial backing. We were ignored. The principle then was "he might be a sonofabitch but he's our sonofabitch". As we were saying back then, Saddam was nobody's sonofabitch but his own. As a result of that support from the US and UK to Saddam, several million Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish human beings are dead. And there are going to be a whole lot more dead human beings of all nationalities before this war is over. In my opinion, they will have died unnecessarily due to the stupidity, blind lust for power and vested interest of all the leaders involved on both sides.
I was also one of the people who campaigned for the US to stop providing armaments, training and financial support to the Afghan Mujahadin and in particular to the commander of one of the more extreme factions, a Saudi adventurist by name of Osama bin Laden. We were ignored.
The board of directors of the US-based Carlyle Group, one of the largest armaments corporations in the world, is dominated by former high-ranking US Government officials. Its director, Frank Carlucci, is a former deputy director of the CIA; his deputy, James Baker, was Secretary of State under George Bush senior. It employs several former politicians to act as overseas representatives, among them former UK Prime Minister John Major and former US President George Bush senior.
The Carlyle Group manages the financial assets of the Saudi Binladen Corporation, the company which played a principle role in helping George W Bush to win petroleum concessions from Bahrain when he was head of the Harken Energy Corporation (his Texas-based oil company), a deal which made the Bush family rather a lot of money. The Saudi Binladen Corporation is controlled by members of the family of Osama bin Laden, including his brother, Salem, who had representation on the board of George W's Harken Energy Corporation.
There is reason to believe that the Saudi Binladen Corporation continues to provide support to Osama bin Laden.
When the US-led coalition went to war in Afghanistan, the rationale presented was that it was to capture Osama bin Laden, and to wipe out his organisation, Al-Q'aeda. In the course of that war, the rationale quickly changed and it became a war to liberate the oppressed Afghan people from the terror of the Taliban. This resulted in a change of regime in Afghanistan with a US sponsored administration being put in place.
When the US-led coalition went to war in Iraq, the rationale presented was that it was to eliminate "weapons of mass destruction". This has changed and it has become a war to liberate the oppressed Iraqi people from the terror of Saddam Hussein. This looks as if it will result in a change of regime in Iraq with a US sponsored administration being put in place.
Coincidence or evidence of a pattern?
The latest pronouncements from the US administration are targetting Syria and Iran as possibly developing "weapons of mass destruction" and supporting terrorism, with Syria in particular being accused of providing assistance to the Saddam regime ....
Have a look at this map
Within that area lie the largest reserves of oil on the planet. But there's more to it than that. That region is the meeting point of the three continents which together make up the planet's largest continuous landmass - Europe, Asia and Africa. It is therefore probably the most strategically significant area on Earth. All the world's great empires have understood that. The Romans understood it, the Greeks understood it, the Ottomans understood it, the British understood it. And the Americans understand it. Whoever has military and economic control of that area can dictate much of what happens on this planet.
Right, that's enough of that.
This little quiz is loosely based on a Q&A paper by an American writer, Daniel Quinn, back in early March 2003. Quinn's version carried as a footnote a quote from the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr :
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
- Q: Did Iraq develop chemical / biological weapons on their own?
A: No, the US and UK governments and private corporations supplied the materials and technology.
- Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein's regime kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?
- Q: How many western countries condemned the massacre at Halabja?
- Q: Were the US and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
- Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: 20 million
- Q: The US and UK claim military action was necessary because Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions. How many UN resolutions had Israel violated by 1992?
A: Over 65
- Q: The US has criticised France over its threat to veto a UN resolution to allow military intervention in Iraq. How many UN resolutions on Israel did the US veto between 1972 and 1990?
- Q: What percentage of all taxes paid by US citizens is spent on the military?
- Q: What percentage of all military spending in all countries is spent by the US?
And now, for your further entertainment, a multiple-choice question (with thanks to Sheila Miller).
Here's a list, compiled by historian William Blum, of countries which the US bombed between the end of World War 2 and the current war in Iraq -
El Salvador throughout the 1980s
Nicaragua throughout the 1980s
Iraq 1991 and throughout the 1990s
In how many of these instances did a stable democratic society, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result?
Choose one of the following:
(d) not one