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The War on Iraq - It's Happening Now!
15 August 2002
The war on Iraq is under way. Despite Bush's denials that no decision has been made to go to war, tactical maneuvers over the last week in Iraq and troop movements over the next few weeks underscore that military intervention in Iraq is proceeding. In the absence of any real Congressional debate and vote and against world opinion, the war mongers are preparing all the logistics for an eventual all-out attack on Iraqi population centers.
Since March US Special Forces have been active in the Kurdish sanctuaries of northern Iraq, training local militias and expanding facilities for Pentagon deliveries of more men and material. According to sources in the Middle East, 5000 Turkish troops joined US Special Forces in an August 8th assault on the Hurriyet airfield in Northern Iraq near the coveted oil fields of Mosul and Kirkuk.
Both Turkey and the US have long been interested in gaining more control over these Iraqi oil fields. In particular, Kirkuk, some 150 miles north of Baghdad and just south of the northern no-fly zone, is connected by an oil pipeline with Turkey. Moreover, US oil companies, such as Chevron and Exxon-Mobile, have been purchasing crude oil from Kirkuk through various Russian sources for the last few years.
Members of the Bush Administration have made no secret of their desire to install a more friendly regime in Iraq, primarily in order to control Iraq s oil and natural gas reserves. In particular, Dick Cheney has spoken of the need to gain unfettered access to Iraqi oil. This should come as no surprise since Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton, oversaw the sale of pipeline equipment through French subsidiaries to Iraq. Nor should it come as any surprise that it was Cheney who met recently with Iraqi opposition leaders in Washington.
While there has been apparent dissent from some of the military to specific plans for an all-out invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon has continued to expand its operations in Central Asia and the Gulf States. US Naval forces are poised in the eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf to launch massive air attacks on Iraq. In fact, on August 6 US and British planes destroyed an Iraqi command and control center near the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In a follow-up to that attack, US warplanes flew over Baghdad to test and/or taunt Iraqi defenses.
Of course, these kinds of logistical feints are obvious preparations for a more concerted effort. Even though governments in the region have expressed their opposition to a war on Iraq, the Bush Administration is taking advantage of their resignation in the face of the determined pursuit of a policy of war. As reported recently in the Jordanian Times, the Secretary General of the six nation Gulf Corporation Council asserted: The US doesn t need any support, it needs acquiescence.
The Bush Administration is also counting on the acquiescence of the Congress and the American people. Certainly, there has been little opposition to the decade old policy of bombings and sanctions against Iraq which have resulted in an estimated thousand civilian deaths by bombs and over half a million children under the age of five dead as a result of the lack of medical treatment for preventable diseases. Added to this horrific death toll is the increase in childhood leukemia and other cancers from the residue of depleted uranium used by the US military in the Gulf War. When asked whether this was a worthwhile trade-off, former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, answered without any obvious remorse in the affirmative.
Now the present government in Washington is contemplating even more heinous ways to inflict punishment on Iraqi innocent civilians. As the thousands of dead civilians in Afghanistan suggest, so-called precision weapons do not discriminate in densely populated areas. If Baghdad comes under heavy bombardment, it won t be Saddam Hussein and his elite Republican Guards who will suffer. It will be mostly Iraqi civilians.
To deter such death and devastation, we need to recognize that the war on Iraq is in process at this very moment. Alerting our nervous fellow citizens about what is happening now and the horror sure to come is of paramount importance. History will judge our decision to act or acquiesce.