Lack of objectivity

The issue of Peace with the Tutu message is so disturbing that I feel I must write you to protest. I am angry and disappointed.

I fear another genocidal denouement of the mid-East conflict. As one who is with you and those associated with Peace and Science for Peace, I am dismayed by the anti-Semitic undertones in the kind of message sent out by the bishop, who equates the policies of the former racist regime in South Africa and Israel's. Factored out of all this is the fact that the people of that land are motivated by fear to support Sharon, not, as in the South African case, by racism. The vast majority want peaceful relations - assured survival or survivability amid neighbors who want their destruction. They would support policies that would dismantle the settlements and allow a Palestine state to be established on a viable territorial basis; but a majority have voted for Sharon and fanatical parties to endorse a strong-arm approach out of fear for their very existence.

I know you do not harbor anti-Semitism and will differentiate it from opposition to Sharon's policies. I too oppose his practices but when one goes as far as Tutu and others (like the Norwegian government, which boycotts trade with Israel) there is a choice that is so one-sided as to be suspect with regard to its objectivity.

All-angles coverage

I flipped through past Peace Magazine issues and noticed the generous, tough, all-angles coverage of Middle East topics, particularly Palestinian-Israeli issues. Bravo. You are 100 per cent right to promote non-violent resistance alternatives, even though few in the Occupied Territories or elsewhere in the Arabic/ Islamic world seem to be listening.

Regime change: how?

With reference to Lloyd Axworthy's article "Terrorism and Iraq: The Human Security," (January 2003) let me say: tyrants cannot be stopped by good intentions. Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, killing thousands of Kurds and maiming many more. As long as he and his brutal gangs are power, the Kurdish minority and the Shiite majority will live in pure terror. But Iraq can be liberated without civilian casualties.

What has become of the left which saw a moral responsibility to defend our fellow humans from fascist dictators? By taking the route of hunting for weapons of mass destribution, and only accepting the overthrow of Saddam on those grounds, we have a made a mistake.

Disarming Saddam and regime change in Iraq go together. Even if Saddam disarmed now, without being removed, he would rearm.

A recent covert survey of Iraqis inside by International Crisis Group (ICG), an independent group by no means pro-war, found that an overwhelming majority of Iraqis will support a US-led attack to oust Saddam Hussein. The ICG report said: "A significant number of those Iraqis interviewed, with surprising candor, expressed the view that, if regime change required an American-led attack, they would support it."

But Iraq can be liberated without civilian casualties. Most of southern Iraq is sparsely populated desert, which can be liberated while sparing the urban centres, without casualties on either side. Dr. Ahmed Chalabi, President of Iraqi National Congress (INC) presented proposals in 1998 to President Clinton, who was contemplating military action against Saddam for not letting UN inspectors do their job. His proposals involved "no-drive" zones north of the 35th parallel and south of the 32nd parallel. This would mean that the US and its allies might attack any tanks and other military equipments used by Saddam's forces in these areas, while maintaining a "no-fly" zone across the whole country. Dr. Chalabi said that these areas could be liberated within weeks if the allied forces move in under air cover. Once the south and north are liberated, Mr. Hussein probably will be ousted by his own people, just as Mussolini was ousted, once the situation became untenable.

Mr. Clinton did not follow the advice of Dr. Chalabi and instead opted for a short bombing campaign which killed mainly civilians, leaving Saddam and his Republican Guards intact. Mr. Bush can avoid the same mistake by taking over southern Iraq, installing Dr. Ahmed Chalabi as leader of an Iraqi provisional government, and letting him negotiate the surrender of Baghdad. Cut off from the oil fields and the port of Basra, the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein will fall like a house of cards.

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2003

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2003, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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