In the middle of 2002 the USA announced that it wanted to attack Iraq and change its government by removing its leader, Saddam Husein. The UK immediately fell into line closely following the arguments put forward by the USA. A number of reasons for wanting this “regime change” were advanced. This essay attempts to show that the reasons given are spurious and that there are other reasons not being put before the public.
The USA military budget for 2001 was $ 343,000 million. This is 69% greater than that of the next five highest nations combined. Russia, which has the second largest military budget, spends less than one sixth of the USA budget. The “axis of evil” (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Cuba and Sudan) states spend $ 14,400 million combined (4% of the USA budget) with more than half of this amount accounted for by Iran. In addition the USA has used chemical and nuclear weapons on several countries (including Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia)
In 2001, the USA unilaterally withdrew from the Intercontinental Balistic Missile Treaty signed in 1972. The USA also refuses to allow biological inspections on its own territories in defiance of the 1972 Biological Warfare Convention. In 1999, The USA rejected a nuclear test ban treaty.
During the USA war in Vietnam, a herbicide called Agent Orange was sprayed over the country. This substance was banned in the USA, because it contained Dioxin, a deadly carcinogenic (cancer producing) poison. This chemical weapon, which can be considered a weapon of mass destruction, was dumped on almostnt ff of South Vietnam. Today, as the poison continues to move through water and soil and food, children continue to be born without palates and chins and scrotums or are stillborn. Many have leukaemia. No compensation has ever been paid and no United Nations condemnation has been heard against the perpetrators.
Between 1967 and 1969 the USA sprayed Agent Orange over 23,607 acres (95km2) in the border region between North Korea and South Korea. In previous years over 500 people from 36 countries (including Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) were trained in the use of chemical and biological warfare at the USA army’s Chemical School at Fort McClellan in Alabama. The International Red Cross verified that USA-trained pilots from Egypt had dropped canisters of poison gas over Yemen in 1967. Over 150 villagers died after gagging, coughing and bleeding.
More than 300 tons of Depleted Uranium, another weapon of mass destruction, were fired by USA and UK aircraft and tanks during the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq. Many of the rounds were solid uranium which, inhaled or ingested, causes cancer. In a country where dust carries everything, children are especially vulnerable. From 1992 to 2003, Iraq has been denied specialist equipment that would allow its engineers to decontaminate its southern battlefields. It has also been denied equipment and drugs that would identify and treat the lung, blood, bone and kidney cancers which, it is estimated, will affect almost half the population in the south.
The USA armed Iraq during the 1980s when they were fighting Iran. When Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, it began a war that would last for 10 years killing over 1,000,000 people. The USA opposed United Nations condemnation of the invasion and removed Iraq from its list of “nations supporting terrorism”. Iraq was financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by the UK and USA. Between 1985 and 1989, private companies from the USA exported the following biological agents to Iraq after obtaining licenses from the USA Department of Commerce:
Bacillus anthracis, the cause of the often fatal disease, anthrax.
Clostridium botulinum, a toxin source.
Histoplasma capsulatum, a disease that attacks lungs, brain, heart and spinal chord.
Brucella melitensis, a bacteria that damages major organs.
Clostridium perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing illness.
Clostridium tetani, a bacteria causing tetanus.
Other exports included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, production facilities and equipment for filling warheads with chemicals. Most of the weapons that the USA is apparently concerned about actually came from the West.
In December 2002, the USA government confiscated the 12,000 pages of Iraq’s weapons declaration given to the United Nations, saying they contained “sensitive information” which needed “a little editing”. What is being hidden? The original Iraqi documents listed 150 USA, UK and other foreign companies that supplied Iraq with its nuclear, chemical and missile technology, many of them in illegal transactions. In 2000 Peter Hain, then a UK Foreign Office Minister, blocked a parliamentary request to publish the full list of lawbreaking UK companies.
In January 2003, the United Nations weapons inspectors stated that there was no evidence that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons. A few days later, Geoff Hoon, UK Secreteary of Defence, stated his country’s right to use nuclear weapons against Iraq: “We have always made it clear the we would reserve the right to use nuclear weapons”.
Other countries also have nuclear weapons: Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea and South Africa apart from the “big five” of USA, UK, France, China and Russia. Of these nuclear states, Pakistan, North Korea and China are not democracies. The USA, UK and France (as well as the old USSR) have tested their weapons in the open, often on other peoples’ territories, producing radiactive pollution. India and Pakistan have performed underground tests. The USA is the only country to have used nuclear bombs on population centres; it has done so on two occasions: the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
If Iraq was such a threat why have the USA and UK been able to bomb the country unopposed for 10 years? George Tenet (director of the USA CIA) has written to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iraq was unlikely to attack the USA with either conventional or weapons of mass destruction in the near future.
If Iraq is such a threat why do its neighbours not think so? International Law allows for countries under threat to put their concerns to the United Nations Security Council. This is the only legal way of dealing with alleged rogue states.
If it is established that it is a valid policy to attack a country because you think they may be a threat, what is to stop countries attacking the West because they feel threatened? This will lead to international anarchy.
Israel has been violating United Nations resolutions and the Geneva Conventions for over 30 years.
Since 1967, Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. East Jerusalem was annexed.
In 1973 Israel occupied the Golan Heights from Syria. The Golan Heights was annexed by Israel in 1981. Apart from United Nations resolutions, this annexation violates the cease fire agreement between Israel and Syria and the Camp David Accords.
The following are some of the United Nations resolutions being ignored by Israel.
Despite the above ignored resolutions, the USA continues to finance Israel to the tune of $1,800 million per year. The USA also gives political support to Israel. This often involves vetoing proposed United Nations resolutions against Israel.
In 1981 alone, The USA vetoed 18 United Nations resolutions concerning Israel.
The first demanded that Israel cease excavations in areas of East Jerusalem (considered by the United Nations to be part of the occupied territories). The vote was 114 to 2. The second condemned Israel for bombing Iraqi nuclear installations (108 to 2). Two resolutions condemned Israeli policy regarding living conditions of the Palestinian people (109 to 2 and 111 to 2).
The fourth resolution vetoed by the USA attempted to establish a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East (107 to 2). The fifth demanded that Israel renounce possession of nuclear weapons (101 to 2). Two further resolutions attempted to establish rights for the Palestinian people. The votes are 121 to 2, 119 to 3 (with Canada also voting against).
Other USA vetoed resolutions: To clarify the status of Jerusalem (139 to 2); Discussion of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip (141 to 2); Rights of displaced Palestinians to return to their homes (121 to 3 again with Canada); Revenues from Palestinian refugees’ properties (117 to 2); Establishment of the University of Jerusalem for Palestinian refugees (119 to 2); condemning Israeli human rights violations in occupied territories (111 to 2).
Another condemning the Israel closing of universities in occupied territories (114 to 2); Opposing Israel’s decision to build a canal linking the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea across the occupied West Bank; Sovereignty over national resources in occupied Palestine and other Arab territories (115 to 2); Affirming the non-applicability of Israeli law over the Golan Heights (121 to 2).
Time and again the overwhelming will of the international community has been thwarted by the USA’s protection of Israel. In 2002, Israel blocked a United Nations enquiry into the events in Jenin where the United Nations Commission for Refugees reported that Israeli soldiers smashed medical equipment even though there was no fighting. In Jenin the Israelis stopped medical help getting through. Stopping rescue services from treating the injured is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
On 28th March 2001 the USA vetoed a United Nations resolution calling for the deployment of unarmed monitors to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Apart from Israel and Iraq, several other countries are violating United Nations resolutions. Three examples are described below.
These are some of the United Nations resolutions being violated by Turkey. This country is a member of NATO and houses USA bases.
These are some of the United Nations resolutions being violated by Morocco.
These are some of the United Nations resolutions being violated by Croatia.
United Nations resolutions are also being ignored by Armenia, Sudan, India, Pakistan, Russia and Indonesia.
The table below shows the major fields in Iraq.
The reason France and Russia are wary of military action is that they fear losing out on the post-Saddam oil bonanza.
A new regime would allow USA and UK oil companies concessions. James Woolsey, a former CIA director told the USA newspaper, the Washington Post: “It’s pretty straight forward. France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government we’ll do the best we can to ensure the new government and American companies work closely with them”.
Note the assumptions that American influence will be strong enough to decide these matters, not the Iraqi government or people. The phrase “decent” government means “compliant” government.
Grant Aldonas told a business forum that a war in Iraq “would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers”.
Dr F J Chalabi, a former Iraqi deputy oil minister (now living in the UK) states that “the scenario exists whereby [the UK] and [the USA], by handling Iraq’s oil resources a certain way, could carve out the ultimate ‘strategic petroleum reserve’.” He continues: ” Iraq is the only country in the world that could, conceivably, replace Saudi Arabia as the guarantor of world oil price stability. Given [the USA’s] feelings about Saudi Arabia right now, it is not hard to imagine how a [USA] backed government will deal with oil policy”. He confirms the notion that Russia and France “may think that with a new government in Baghdad, they may lose the opportunity to have access to this really abundant and cheap oil”.
The USA government is full of people with oil interests.
George W Bush (President): Received $2,800,000 from energy companies and another $2,300,000 from the car sector. Enron donated more than $1,000,000. Bush is a shareholder in General Electric, BP, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Newmont Gold Mining Corporation, Pennzoil and Tom Brown, Inc.
Dick Cheney (Vice President): Used to head Halliburton (the world’s biggest oil-services company worth $18,200 million). Since 1992, Halliburton has contributed $1,600 million to politicians. Was a co-sponsor to a measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and voted against the Clean Water Act which required industries to release their toxic emission records. Since 1998, Halliburton has completed $24 million’s worth of repairs to Iraqi oil pipelines.
Spencer Abraham (Secretary of Energy): Received donations from General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler.
Gale Norton (Secretary of Interior): Has received donations British Petroleum and Ford.
Condaleeza Rice (National Security Adviser): Spent 10 years on the board of oil giant Chevron Corporation. Chevron is involved in Nigeria where there is increasing USA military involvement, including training of Nigerian military to police the oil fields and secure pipelines.
Don Evans (Secretary of Commerce): Was Chief Executive and Chairman of Tom Brown Inc. (an oil company). He was also a board member of Sharp Drilling, an oil industry contractor.
The USA Center for Public Integrity, reports that the top 100 officials in the USA administration (as of late 2002) have the majority of their personal investments in traditional energy and natural resources. The amount involved is almost $ 150 million.
On 11 October 2002, the USA newspaper New York Times published a story describing how the USA administration was planning to put a senior USA general in charge of Iraq during a planned lengthy occupation of the country. The USA could then gain control over Iraqi oil fields, representing 11% of the world output of crude oil.
In January 2003, the USA admitted it wanted to “take charge” of the Iraqi oil fields “in trust for the Iraqi people”.
As a previous USA president might have put it:
“it’s the oil, stupid”.