Lies of the U.S. War Machine

Revolutionary Worker #946, March 1, 1998
They say:

Something must be done about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Bill Clinton's Speech to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, February 17: "This is not a time free from peril, especially as a result of reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and organized international criminals.... And they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen."

Answers and Facts:

There is no evidence at all that Iraq has unusually large stockpiles of weapons.

Today, Iraq is accused of having a few dozen medium range missiles, some chemical weapons, perhaps the capacity of developing biological weapons. It does not have nuclear weapons, and no one claims it does.

This is less military equipment than several of Iraq's neighbors, and certainly far less than the U.S. has sent into this region. Israel, a close U.S. ally in this region, has a major nuclear force and has repeatedly threatened its neighbors--including Iraq--with nuclear attack. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have large military forces, supported by the U.S. and other imperialist powers. And Iran has medium range Silkworm missiles.

Above all, the U.S. has no right to criticize others for possessing "weapons of mass destruction"--the U.S. has the world's largest stockpiles of weapons. It constantly uses its military to threaten people throughout the world. The U.S. has established bases in the Middle East and armed all kinds of reactionary governments there. Certainly, U.S. weapons are a far greater threat to the people of the Middle East and the rest of the world than anything Iraq has ever had.

They say:

Chemical and biological weapons are a special threat in today's world, and it is intolerable for Iraq to have any.

Answers and Facts:

Who is already waging germ warfare in the Middle East? The U.S. bombing attacks in 1991 destroyed most of Iraq's water and sewage plants. The U.S./UN embargo then prevented medicine, chlorine for water purification, and replacement parts to restore water treatment. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children have died from cholera, dysentary and similar diseases.

Chemical and biological weapons have been called "the poor man's atomic bomb." They are relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. This is why the U.S. wants to stop other governments from having them.The weapons Iraq is accused of having are no more immoral or inhumane than all the weapons the U.S. deploys all over the world.

The U.S. imperialists want unchallenged superiority in weapons of mass destruction to impose its will on the world--while the governments of smaller or poorer countries (and certainly anti-U.S. forces among the people) are to be denied anything to strike back. The U.S. arsenal has lots of chemical and biological weapons--but it acts like it is immoral and dangerous for anyone else to have them.

They say:

As the world's most powerful country, the U.S. has a responsibility to help maintain order. Something has to be done about an evil dictator like Saddam Hussein. If the U.S. doesn't contain him or take him out, who will?

Answers and Facts:

Talk of U.S. "responsibility as a world policeman" is classic imperialist bullshit. U.S. actively bullies other countries because that is how imperialist powers preserve the conditions for exploiting hundreds of milliions of people and rip-off whole regions of the world.

The U.S. has nothing against "evil dictators" (and certainly Hussein is no more "mad" than lots of U.S. allies and presidents). The U.S. has a long history of imposing, arming, and defending oppressive dictatorial regimes all over the world, like Indonesia's military dictator Suharto.

So when the U.S. talks about "maintaining order" in the world--it is not talking about bringing peace, democracy and justice. It is using its military to impose an order that serves U.S. interests--its strategic position in the world and the profit of its banks and corporations. That order is a nightmare for the people of the world--and it can never be anything else.

As for "taking out Saddam Hussein": The question of what forces and leaders rule Iraq is fundamentally an issue for the Iraqi people. It is not something for the U.S. government (or the U.S. people) to debate, or decide or "solve." The Iraqi nation has a right to independence, sovereignty and self-determination.

If the U.S. imposes some new government on Iraq (as its CIA has in many countries before, like Chile, southern Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, etc.), history shows that such a new regime would inevitably represent class interests deeply hostile to the masses of people, and would lead to continued exploitation and suffering.

They say:

The U.S. is acting on behalf of Iraq's neighbors.

Answers and Facts:

This is nonsense. The masses of Arab people do not feel threatened by Iraq. They so intensely hate U.S. occupation and aggression in the Gulf.

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak recently said: "You will not find one Arab leader who will say publicly, 'We support the air strikes.'...I cannot stand against the whole weight of public opinion."

Only the Kuwaiti monarchy (which was restored to its throne and oilfields by U.S. troops) is said to support U.S. attacks on Iraq.

They say:

The U.S. is acting on behalf of the world community and it is only trying to carry out resolutions of the United Nations.

William Cohen, U.S. Secretary of Defense, at OSU: "The United Nations has determined that he should not possess chemical or biological or nuclear weapons, and what we have is the obligation to carry out the UN declaration."

Answers and Facts:

The UN does not speak for the people of the world--it speaks for the governments of the world, which serve the world's exploiting classes, not the people. The Security Council, in particular, represents the interests of the world's biggest imperialist powers. It has been dominated by the U.S. for years.

The U.S. government routinely ignores General Assembly resolutions that it does not like-- for example, those that denounce the U.S. ally Israel for attacking its neighbors.

They say:

Saddam has violated the agreements he made at the end of the Gulf War.

Bill Clinton, at his Feb. 17 Pentagon talk: "Instead of playing by the very rules he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War, Saddam has spent the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment"

Answers and Facts:

After the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. and its allies made a series of demands on the Iraqi government--including no-fly zones within Iraq that would be patrolled by imperialist air forces and limits on the kinds of weapons Iraq could possess.

These "agreements" were the result of an unjust war, and were designed to strengthen imperialist control over the Persian Gulf. The people of the world have no interest in seeing such unjust and insulting conditions imposed. There is no reason why such restrictions on Iraqi sovereignty should be supported.

They say:

The Iraqi government has harassed and obstructed UN inspection teams, and declared huge stretches of territory off limits.

Bill Clinton, Feb. 17 Pentagon talk: "One of these presidential sites is about the size of Washington, DC--40,000 acres. We're not talking about a few rooms here with delicate personal matters involved."

Answers and Facts:

The U.S. and the UN have insisted on the right to send their so-called "inspectors" everywhere in Iraq, snooping around for military secrets. This is a gross violation of the sovereignty of the Iraqi people--and is a precedent that the U.S. clearly intends to use against other countries.

It is particularly outrageous that the U.S. demands the right to inspect Iraq's presidential compounds at the same time that the U.S. media and military are openly speculating about how to assassinate Iraq's leader in his bunkers. Is it any wonder that the Iraqi government refuses to allow U.S. spies near their command posts?

Meanwhile, the UN team sent by General Secretary Kofi Annan, directly contradicted Clinton's claims. They report that the Iraqis only want to declare eight sites out of bounds--8 square miles-- far less than the 27 square miles the U.S. government accuses Iraq of demanding for itself. (NYT, Feb. 21)

They say:

Iraq must be disarmed because it has used its weapons in the past against its neighbors. Saddam Hussein is a repeat offender.

Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, at OSU, Feb. 18: "I think it is clear that other countries have weapons of mass destruction. It is a question of whether there is a proclivity to use them. And Saddam Hussein is a repeat offender. I think it is very important for us to make clear that the United States and the civilized world cannot deal with someone who is willing to use those weapons of mass destruction on his own people, not to speak of his neighbors."

Answers and Facts:

It is double-think for the U.S. to attack Iraq with weapons of mass destruction, while insisting that no one who uses such weapons should have them. And it is double-think to accuse Iraq of being a "repeat offender," when it is the U.S. who is about to attack Iraq again.

No one in history has used weapons of mass destruction as often and as recklessly as the U.S.--from chemical weapons in World War 1, to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the massive napalming and defoliation of Vietnam. The U.S. ruling class and military are the world's #1 serial killers.

Let's be clear: In the current war crisis, the Iraqi government is not threatening anyone. It is the U.S. and its allies who are threatening Iraq. Iraq is not the aggressor in the Middle East, the U.S. is! Doubletalk about "proclivity to use" cannot be allowed to hide this fact.

It is hypocritical for the U.S. to charge Iraq with attacking its neighbors in the past--since the U.S. played a big role instigating those attacks. In the 1980s, the U.S. urged Iraq to attack and punish Iran, after revolutionary uprisings toppled the U.S.-backed dictator there. The U.S. used Iraqi people as cannon fodder in this war, and hundreds of thousands died. After the war, Iraq found itself deep in debt to Kuwait (its ally in the 1980-88 war). As Kuwait made demands for taking over Iraqi wealth--the Iraqi government moved to cancel the debts by occupying Kuwait.

Who in the Middle East most consistently attacks its neighbors? The U.S.'s close ally Israel has repeated expanded its territory through war and constantly conducts air strikes and raids outside its borders. Who, above all, supplies and supports the Israeli war machine? The U.S.

As for "regional stability": The U.S. has always been perfectly willing to destabilize governments and regional alliances that did not serve their interests. When U.S. officials say "stability of the region," they mean "stable U.S. domination over the oil extraction in the Persian Gulf ." The masses of people have no interest in supporting that kind of stability--because it strengthens the power of the U.S. imperialists over the people throughout the world.

They say:

Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, proving he is willing to use them on anybody.

Answers and Facts:

The government that brought crack cocaine to South Central Los Angeles (and now covers it up!) has no right to talk about how other governments abuse "their own people."

U.S. officials have constantly referred to the Iraqi use of nerve gas in 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja inside Iraq. However, the U.S. claims of outrage over this terrible attack are extremely hypocritical:

First, this nerve gas attack on Kurdish people happened while Hussein was a close U.S. ally. At the time, the U.S. State Department said, "There is nothing in international law that prohibits that." The Reagan administration actively opposed any moves to sanction Iraq for these actions. Hussein's nerve gas was developed with help from Germany, a U.S. NATO ally.

Second, it is hypocritical for the U.S. to posture as a protector of the Iraqi people. Who has used more "weapons of mass destruction" on the Iraqi people than the U.S. war machine? The U.S. dropped 88,000 tons of bombs on Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war, directly killing 200,000 people--and now prepares to drop more.

Third, the U.S. supports governments that wage war on their own people--if such acts serve U.S. interests. For example: the Turkish government, a close U.S. ally in NATO, has occupied the Kurdish regions within Turkey, wiped out whole villages, conducted widespread torture and murder. The U.S. strongly backs this allied government in waging war "against its own people."

Fourth, the U.S. was built by waging war against Native people within U.S. borders. In more recent years, the authorities in the U.S. used military explosives against the MOVE house in Philadelphia in 1985-- killing most of the people inside. In 1992, the U.S. government sent military units into Los Angeles--to suppress the rebellion there against police brutality in the Rodney King case. During the Gulf War, the U.S. war machine poisoned thousands of its own soldiers--and has tried to cover it up ever since.

They say:

If the Iraqi people suffer, it is Saddam's fault.

Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, at OSU, Feb. 18: "I am willing to make a bet to anyone here that we care more about the Iraqi people than Saddam Hussein does. He has for the last seven years, since the Gulf War, he has starved his people. We have provided food. So the point here is that he does not care a fig about his people, and if he does the totally uncivilized thing of putting women and children to guard his regime then the fault is his."

Peter Burleigh, U.S.'s Deputy Representative to the UN: "The United States is deeply concerned about the welfare of the Iraqi people, and we want to do everything we can to make sure their basic needs are met."

Answers and Facts:

For seven years, the U.S. and its allies have imposed an intense embargo on Iraq that drastically cut down the amount of oil Iraq could sell to the world. This UN embargo has caused massive suffering and death among the Iraqi people--by preventing the purchases of food, medicine and the machinery needed to maintain sanitary water. The UN estimates that more than 1.2 million Iraqi people, including 750,000 children under 5, have died because of the scarcity of food and medicine.

On February 20, as the U.S. escalates its preparations to bomb, the UN Security Council doubled the amount of oil that Iraq will be allowed to sell to buy food, medicine and other goods. This new plan was designed to humiliate Iraq in new ways: by denying the Iraqi government any control over the food and supplies bought through the sale of its oil. The UN also insists that funds may only be used to rebuild electrical grids in parts of Iraq that are outside government control.

When the Iraqi government protested these conditions, U.S. officials accused the Iraqis of being responsible for the continued suffering of the Iraqi people.

The real deal: All these gestures and statements about U.S./UN "concern" for the suffering of the Iraqi people are part of an official campaign that is designed to prepare public opinion for massive civilian casualties in the bombing the U.S. is about to unleash.

Joint Chief of Staff Henry Shelton has told people to get ready for civilian casualties. Former President Carter estimates the Iraqi dead may reach 100,000. In short, the U.S. government is pretending sympathy for civilians they are preparing to kill! The U.S. government wants to train people to blame Saddam Hussein for the thousands of Iraqi casualties that will be caused when U.S. bombs hit them.

They say:

The arrests of those carrying anthrax reveal that a real threat exists for people in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Answers and Facts:

Larry Wayne Harris, a former member of the white supremacist Aryan Nation, was arrrested in Las Vegas allegedly for carrying military-grade anthrax in a foam beer cooler. Immediately the U.S. media insisted that these things "show" the danger of biological weapons to the people of the U.S. It really shows something different:

The Harris case shows how easy it is to create germ weapons in simple laboratories and how impossible it is to prevent that by bombing a country back to the stone age.

Second, these media campaigns show that the U.S. authorities will stop at nothing to promote war hysteria and fear.

They say:

Bombing Iraq protects the people of the U.S.

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State, at OSU: "Let me say that what we are doing is so that all of you can sleep at night."

Answers and Facts:

Albright is being almost as ridiculous as George Bush's Secretary of State Baker, who claimed that the first Gulf War was about "creating American jobs." The masses of people in the U.S. have nothing to fear from Iraq. The U.S. government does not want to talk about its real interests and goals in the Gulf--it does not want to discuss how it has mobilized its armed force to occupy that region to enforce a U.S. imperialist stranglehold on the world's oil. During this war preparation, the politics of oil have become the unspoken O-word.

The masses of people in the U.S. have no interest in supporting imperialist attacks on other people. The people of the world are brothers and sisters. And they have a main enemy: the imperialist system--headed most prominently these days by the rulers of the U.S.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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