From British Press

  1. What say you?
    http://argument.independent.co.uk/re...p?story=390822

    Sometimes, the only way to
    spread peace is at the barrel
    of a gun

    When it eventually emerges that the
    Iraqi people wanted this war, will
    the anti-war movement recant?

    By Johann Hari

    26 March 2003
    Kenneth Joseph is a young American pastor who
    was so convinced that the current war would be
    waged against the will of the Iraqi people that he
    travelled to Iraq to act as a human shield. He was
    convinced that he would be welcomed by the Iraqis
    as a hero. Yet this week Joseph was explaining that
    his trip had "shocked him back to reality".
    The Iraqi people told him that they saw the war as
    desirable, despite the inevitably high cost of civilian
    deaths. (Saddam's thugs are still murdering
    "dissidents" who question the regime, so they were
    risking their lives to tell him this.) They said - in
    footage he recorded on a hidden camcorder - that
    "they would commit suicide if American bombing
    didn't start. They were willing to see their homes
    demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's
    bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam
    was a monster."
    Every single anti-war protestor should - on the
    basis of this evidence and similar material I have offered in previous columns about the
    real wishes of the Iraqi people - reconsider their view. This is not "pro-war
    propaganda": Joseph was as anti-war as the most vehement members of the Stop the
    War coalition, but he was also an honest man who could not disregard the evidence of
    his own eyes.
    Who are the real imperialists here: those who want to carry out the wishes of the Iraqi
    people, or those who want to ignore them in the name of a non-existent peace? And,
    yes, it was non-existent. There is no peace if, at any time, people can be captured,
    tortured, burned or raped. Read the Amnesty reports. This was the everyday reality of
    Saddam's Iraq. Only the dishonest can say that British and American soldiers are
    interrupting "peace"; they are interrupting a decades-long war, waged by Saddam
    against the Iraqi people, to bring it to an end. Do not weep that this happening; be
    proud.
    Of course George Bush is unpleasant; of course oil is a factor. They know this, too,
    but they back the war anyway because it is the only way to get rid of Saddam.
    If you honestly oppose the war and think you can defend your stance to the people
    suffering under Saddam, dial 00964 and then guess an 11-digit number. Ask the
    civilians there what they want to happen. Go on. Tell them that you oppose the war,
    and see what they say.
    Zainab al-Suwaij, the executive director of the American Islamic Congress, a nonprofit
    Iraqi exile group, says: "I was shocked at first [to hear his relatives criticising Saddam
    over the telephone]. It's very dangerous. All the phones are tapped. But they are so
    excited." Listen to their excitement, and tell them why they are wrong.
    So why, you might ask, are the Iraqi armies still fighting? Why have they not
    surrendered? Saddam's propaganda channels have been reminding the Iraqis of the
    1991 betrayal, when the first President Bush told them that if they rose up against
    Saddam the US would support them. They did as he asked, and they were gunned
    down. The streets of Mosul and Basra are still studded with the bullet-holes from that
    terrible month. Saddam leaves them as a constant reminder of the danger of resisting
    him and of trusting America. I have seen those holes, and noted how Iraqis glance at
    them with a pale, chastened look. This time, the Americans will not walk away from the
    Iraqis' suffering - but the troops have yet, understandably, to be convinced of this.

    Once Iraqis are certain the Americans will not back off and leave them to the mercy of
    Saddam, they will explain why they wanted this war. This is not idle speculation: it is
    already happening. In Safwan this weekend, Iraqis called out to US and British troops:
    "You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious." Another person
    said: "I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand." One woman stated: "For a long
    time we've been saying: 'Let them come.' Last night we were afraid, but we said:
    'Never mind, as long as they get rid of him, as long as they overthrow him, no problem.'
    " This was reported in one of the most anti-war newspapers in Britain.
    Those who still deny all this evidence will know soon enough, once the war is over,
    what the Iraqi people thought all along. When it emerges - as I strongly believe, based
    on my experience of the Iraqi exile community and the International Crisis Group's
    survey of opinion within Iraq - that they wanted this war, will the anti-war movement
    recant? Will they apologise for appropriating the voice of the Iraqi people and using it
    for their own ends?
    Confronted with the evidence of Iraqis' feelings, many of the anti-war critics will, I fear,
    change the subject. They will say that, whatever the Iraqi people desired, the damage
    to international law was too great. In offering this argument, they fail to acknowledge a
    key flaw with international law as it now stands. The foundations for the present
    system were built in 1945, when the greatest threat to human life and dignity was war
    between nations. Its structures are designed solely to prevent conflict between states
    and to secure peace in the international arena - and in this respect, they have been
    phenomenally successful.
    What international law cannot do, however, is secure peace within nations. The
    governments of, say, Burma, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe may be judged
    "peaceful"under international law, while they are butchering and terrorising their
    populations. There is no peace for people living under tyranny. International law must
    be changed to allow democracies to act where there are reasonable grounds (as in
    Iraq) for believing that the people of a country wish it, and where the regime is
    systematically breaching human rights on a massive scale.
    Some people, such as the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Shirley Williams, have
    voiced the perfectly understandable fear that the alternative to international law is "the
    law of the jungle". Yet people living under a tyranny like Saddam's live under exactly
    that chaotic "law" - and international law forbids others to act to end it. To focus solely
    on the international order at the expense of the level at which people actually live - the
    national - is to write off the most desperate and needy people alive.
    It might seem perverse to seek to spread peace at the barrel of a gun; but the peace
    we enjoy here in Europe exists only because we (along with the Americans) acted
    with weaponry to banish tyrants. The Iraqi people want and deserve the same. If their
    wishes - as reported unambiguously by Kenneth Joseph and many more like him - are
    not compatible with international law, then an urgent priority once this war is over must
    be to reconstruct international law to make it encourage, not hinder, the overthrow of
    tyranny.
    •  
  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    OK, this is from the same paper. Link only:
    http://argument.independent.co.uk/co...p?story=391165

    Robert Fisk: 'It was an outrage, an obscenity'
    27 March 2003
  4. by   StuPer
    OK spacenurse... having read both pieces.... what are we to do? go home? Saddam Hussein has murdered 100's of thousands of the Iraqi people... and you can be sure most of them did'nt die in an instant. Most of them took weeks to die having been tortured in the most barbaric way.... trust me I recently nursed a prisoner in an Australian gaol who'd been a victim of torture in an Syrian gaol, it makes the spanish inqisitition look like a tea party.
    I may not agree with the way we got into this war.... however I did think that it was more or less inevitable.... I just wanted an international concensus before we went in. Now we are there, and even on the basic evidence found so far, it appears he does have WMD... so what he could'nt deliver them to the US/UK he sure as **** could to his own people..... is it ok as a person of conscience to allow that to continue. I know there are other regimes doing similar things, I know that Mr Bush may not entirely be being honest about his intentions... but just on the slight evidence we've seen so far it does appear as though the Iraqi people want this war.
    I am horrified to hear of mistakes that lead to civilian casualties.... but if you look at the history of most wars the remarkable thing about this war is the small number of innocent casualties... thats probably what makes the bombing of the market such a shock. In previous wars the civilian population could easily have died in their thousands.... not tens.
    I suppose you have to ask yourself, in the harshest way.... what is the lesser of two evils.... Saddam's regime and all it entails or the loss of some civilian lives to get rid of the regime.
    regards StuPer
  5. by   hollybear
    please stop refering to him as mister Bush, he is President Bush. have a little respect please
  6. by   mageean
    The first casualty of war is always truth. Dont believe everything you read and see as you will only take from it , what you want to. lets face it, like it or not, we are at war and while we are sitting at key boards people are dying (troops and civilians). We all have our views and no-one is right or wrong, only DIFFERENT! Lets be mature about it.
  7. by   Mkue
    Originally posted by spacenurse
    What say you?
    http://argument.independent.co.uk/re...p?story=390822

    It might seem perverse to seek to spread peace at the barrel of a gun; but the peace we enjoy here in Europe exists only because we (along with the Americans) acted with weaponry to banish tyrants. The Iraqi people want and deserve the same.
    Bravo
  8. by   Q.
    Originally posted by mageean
    The first casualty of war is always truth. Dont believe everything you read and see as you will only take from it , what you want to. lets face it, like it or not, we are at war and while we are sitting at key boards people are dying (troops and civilians). We all have our views and no-one is right or wrong, only DIFFERENT! Lets be mature about it.
    Wow, I didn't think anyone was immature. I thought Spacenurse's articles were thought-provoking, in the least, and StuPer's response wasn't at all rude or inflammatory.

    Our world is a mixture of very different views, yes, but certain things in this world are simply....right or wrong. Hilter was wrong. From what I know of Saddam....HE is wrong. Muslim, Christian, Black, White, Asian, blonde or brunette. Torturing of human beings is WRONG - not different - wrong.
  9. by   StuPer
    Thank you susy... I have to say I was a little surprised by this response.... but hey everyone is entitled to say their piece right?

    I know this may not appeal to some of my american colleagues... but refering to George Bush as Mr Bush IS being respectful in my case... I am british... and if you search my posts I have always refered to Blair as Blair.... nothing else.... Mr Bush is not my president and if you want to take the self-gratification to the extreme then everytime you refer to SH please use his titles.... which I believe are ridiculous... I mention Mr Bush as president of the US.. if you can't see that or feel I need to go on bended knee your going to be disapointed. Respect is earned, not given to someone because of their job,.... and although I know it is'nt popular... from my point of view the jury is out on Mr Bush, but thats just me....... I hope he will earn my respect.... but we'll see.
    regards StuPer
  10. by   Furball
    Hey there StuPer, I thought your post was outstanding.
  11. by   caroladybelle
    Originally posted by hollybear
    please stop refering to him as mister Bush, he is President Bush. have a little respect please
    Uhh, the American gentlemen is not her President. And even if he was.

    Respect should be earned.

    If that gentleman has not earned that respect in her eyes - s/he owes him nothing.

    It is a little thing - this equality - part of what being an American is " supposed" to be about.

    And while I am at it, Many Thank Yous to all brave men and women abroad in the Middle East fighting for end to Saddam's regime - of all the nations involved.

    They deserve more respect and titles than any politician.
  12. by   StuPer
    "They deserve more respect and titles than any politician."

    Well said caroladybelle... that is where the buck stops with me as well...... politicians are almost universally conspicious by their absence from the field of conlict... whatever their motivations... or moral justification. It is always easier to say what needs to be done... than to go out there and actually do it.
    regards StuPer
  13. by   Furball
    I tend to call leaders just by their last names. "I love Blair"
    "I don't fully trust Bush"
    No disrespect intended.
  14. by   jnette
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by StuPer
    [B]... if you want to take the self-gratification to the extreme then everytime you refer to SH please use his titles.... QUOTE]

    Well said, Stuper !

    Just a little food for thought, guys.


    I do hope and pray this is what we will find out in the end, and that all this will have been worth the many lives lost.. on BOTH sides. Good take on things, Stuper. I have decided to judge the war by its fruits.

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