must be Indicted for War Crimes by the ICC
By Christian P. Scherrer
Professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute (HPI)
of Hiroshima City University, Japan
April 9, 2002
In these hours the Iraqi people become victims of superpower aggression. How could that be justified?
In the USA the governments and media propaganda machinery made Saddam
the scapegoat for 9-11. We know that this is a big lie. The US government
lies when talking of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. There is not a shred
of evidence; the Bath party has traditionally tried to uproot Islamist
tendencies. Any operational link with al-Qaeda is due to ideological and
political incompatibility to be excluded. The US government also maintained
that Saddam Hussein possesses what the UN inspectors did not find, but
what US-UK stockpile and might even use in case of failing to achieve Iraq's
surrender: weapons of mass destruction.
Abuse of Terrorist Threat: Fear of WMD as Catalyst for Increasing U.S. Military Spending and Aggressiveness
The present war was prepared by 18 months of war-mongering by the USA against Iraq and an "Axis of Evil" of so-called 'rogue states'. This has been the most disturbing element of a wholesale policy change in the wake of the rise to power by Bush Jr. and his team of extremists and US suprematists.
The present US government is politically a renaissance of the neo-conservative reactionary Reagan-Bush Sr. era, partly recycling the same personnel already active in the Reagan period. As earlier in the 1950s (McCarthy) and Reagan's 1980s, the new policy has been designed to capitalize on and further spur growing patriotism and popular support for a government under the control of a "military-industrial complex" and "bigoil".
Initially playing on the fear of "Islamic" terrorism and the Taliban threat, both of which has been quickly replaced with an alleged threat by Iraq, is intended to advance an ideological agenda not different from the Reagan era, with commitment to the aggressive pursuit of global hegemony and supremacy by USA. With a majority in both houses of the US parliament for the Republicans in November 2002 the Bush team has it even easier to outmanoeuvre limited dissent in the political class against the project of unbound US supremacy.
The resurfacing of a dangerous neoconservative strategy of military dominance altogether rejects the policies of deterrence, containment, and collective security, which were the main pillars of the world peace order since 1945. Instead, the new aggressive strategy for US supremacy stresses offensive military intervention, first strikes, counter-proliferation measures against rogues and other enemy states ('axis of evil' and beyond), encircling Russia and China, and permanent military bases in all world regions. USA will be the world cop, acting above international law. The common US unilateralist tendency is greatly enhanced.
The terrorist threat and now Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is abused to further an aggressive agenda which has been designed in an aborted draft titled Defense Policy Guidance by Paul Wolfowitz et al under then Pentagon chief Dick Cheney during the presidency of Bush Sr. in 1992 and reformulated in fall 2000 in a report of a neoconservative group titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (www.newamericancentury.org). Six of its authors now occupy key posts in the Pentagon.
US military spending has been increase by another US$50 billion "to fight terrorism," as if terrorism could be fought with sophisticated bombs, "missile defence", and a new generation of nuclear weapons. USA now spends as much as the next 10 countries together! Stated aim is 3.8% of the BIP for military. The USA is currently the most dangerous threat for world peace, with war-mongering against ever changing enemies illustrating this.
The natural effect is the fear of the new 'evil empire' (term used by
Reagan for the former USSR) and a general increase in anti-Americanism
in the rest of the world. The Bush team is heading toward total isolation
of the USA in the world community. However, it is part of the dialectics
of world politics that rising anti-Americanism will help to ultimately
defeat US supremacy.
Bombing for Democracy?
US-UK also claim that they are going to war in Iraq to free its people from dictatorship, at least this is what the US government and parts of the media want us to believe. It is what I call the war propaganda.
Just think about it: If this is what the perpetrators (including Bush and Rumsfeld) claim, then there are dozens of more candidates of peoples to liberate from dictatorship. Some of them surely to be found in Asia, Latin-American and Africa, with Kenya being the last country to liberate itself from authoritarianism!
My questions to you are: Who is interested and who is entitled to remove dictatorships? In Iraq it is up to the Iraqi people to do so. US-UK have radically different objectives. They want to control the huge Iraqi oil reserves, drive the oil price down and bring the OPEC to its heels. If they have conquered Iraq they will impose their cronies from among the Iraqi exiles. Most are not known to be democratically minded, rather the contrary.
For analyst of state crimes it is common knowledge that US and UK have
for decades supported dictatorship all over the globe. The USA, guided
by Henry Kissinger, even brought down democratically elected leaders, such
as Salvador Allende in Chile. Remember, interestingly enough this happened
on September 11 -- in the year 1973. A generation of Chileans grew up in
a bloody US-sponsored dictatorship-very much comparable to Iraq, where,
I could not agree more, a bloody dictatorship has brought death and destruction
over hundred thousands! And, we also know who helped Saddam to prevail
against the much stronger Iran, who delivered the WMD, chemical as well
as a range of biological weapons, which were destroyed by the UN inspectors.
Why did the USA in a unprecedented move put its hand on 8,000 of the 12,000
pages report of the Iraqi government to the hands of the Security Council?
Because those pages give the details on the arsenal of deadly WMD illegally
provided to the Iraqi regime by US-UK from 1981 to 1989.
The US-UK War for Oil in the Gulf will be Illegal, Devastating and End in Permanent Occupation of Iraq
The aims of the USA in Iraq are the removing the Saddam Hussein regime, military occupation of Iraq, and the establishment of a wilful client regime under tight US control in the midst of the world's most important oil region. Meanwhile, Blair/UK made it clear that toppling the Hussein regime has to be followed by the imposition of an interim administration under a UN flag, to give the operation a modicum of legitimacy.
The first question to be asked would be "is an invasion legitimate", under what conditions, and than is an invasion feasible and to what ends. It is not the American people are exaggerating the threat to them, but the government. Polls said US Americans ask for the UN to be involved. But the Bush team wants to use the UN as a prostitute for US interests. Intense US pressure failed due to France, Russia and China remaining opposed to another Gulf war.
Before the enormous build-up of over 270,000 soldiers and huge war-machinery at the borders and around Iraq the question was, 'Will there be a unilateral aggression by US-UK?" My assessment at the time was that this would be unlikely because it would be an outright breach of all rules in a volatile region of strategic interest. But disturbing was that the build-up of troops and material in the Gulf went on unabated. The next question, 'Would a war be long or short?', seems secondary from this perspective. The US military planed urban warfare! Rather than asking "would the US occupation of Iraq be as successful?" we should ask "successful for whom?" How much blood for oil?
The question was, 'Why should the USA attack a country it has filly controlled since 1991, by slicing it in three zones, with a Northern and Southern no-fly-zone imposed?' Iraq has been the first systematic case of restricted sovereignty in military affairs and economic development (sanctions, never re-evaluated) since the era of colonization. The reply was that the real aim were that USA aims at controlling Iraq's huge oil reserves, which are the second largest in the world next to Saudi Arabia.
US Big Oil has no role in Iraq today. The Hussein regime signed oil
exploitation contracts with Russia, China and Europe to be effective after
sanctions are lifted - cutting out the USA. US Big Oil (together with the
military-industrial complex the power base of Bush's regime) can only have
a dominant role in the development of Iraq's huge oil reserves if the regime
is changed. -- The talk about WMD and cooperation with al-Qaeda are a deception
of the public opinion. The US is not seeking the return of the UN inspectors
but a pretext for invasion.
The True Story about WMD in Iraq
The Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations permitted the illegal transfer of arms and technology to Iraq, in order to support it against the much stronger Iran in a costly war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988. Shocking reports disclosed (NYT August 18, 2002) that in the 1980s president Reagan, Bush Sr. and national security aides (again active today) never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the US Defense Intelligence Agency were secretly providing Iraq with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments during the horrors of the Iraq-Iran Gulf war 1980-1988.
The most significant part--the furnishing of chemical and biological materials by the United States to Iraq which markedly enhanced Iraq's CBW capability, was left out in the NY Times story. A Senate Committee Report of 1994 pointed out: "These biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction." More than a dozen different extremely deadly biological germs producing slow, agonizing deaths. Dozens of other pathogenic biological agents were shipped to Iraq during the 1980s, probably starting before 1985 and ending 1989, when Bush Sr. became president--and only three years later bombed his former ally. The UN weapons inspectors, headed by Rolf Ekéus 1991-1997, found these biological and a long list of chemical weapons produced by US, British and French corporations. Ekéus also revealed that the USA used the inspectors for espionage and bombed the places they indicated (maybe "to leave no trace").
The only country whose weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose a permanent threat to the entire Middle Eastern Region is Israel. (Bush's argument at UNGA was flawed: Israel has flouted many more UN Resolutions (about 40 since 1948) than Iraq (about a dozen).) The double standards applied by USA could not be more appalling. Israel has constantly denied any inspection of its ever growing arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The nuclear threat is known since the mid 1980s: Detailed information leaked by the Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu in 1986 (kidnapped by Mossad in Rome; since 16 years imprisoned, solitary confinement) and satellite photos have exposed Israel's nuclear sites.
The question of WMD in the Middle East is very different from the US
presentation of facts. It is Israel that has currently an estimated 200
weaponized nuclear devises and has the delivery systems. In the past it
had threatened Egypt to bomb Cairo and the Aswan dam with the effect that
Egypt signed a peace treaty. The comparison is telling: The Arabs did not
pre-emptively attack the Dimona reactor as Israel did on June 7, 1981,
when Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed the Osiraq nuclear reactor near
Baghdad. While the Iraqi regime had complied with all IAEA guidelines,
the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona was not under IAEA safeguards, because
Israel had not signed the NPT (as had Iraq) and had refused to open its
facilities to UN inspections. Iraq had a long history of peaceful use of
nuclear power since the construction of a Soviet supplied reactor in 1963
(four years before Israel started its nuclear program aided by France).
Israel bombed IAEA-sanctioned activities; this was essentially an attack
the entire NPT safeguards and UN security regimes. The Osiraq bombing greatly
inspired the US hawks. They now want to bomb Iran's nuclear plant at Bushehr
(as an option jointly with Israel or let the Israelis do it). Earlier in
2002 Iran gave Israel a stern warning.
The Israel Connection
The Jewish Lobby and Jewish hard-liners in the US government, in support
of the aggressive Sharon government, are to main instigators and planners
of the Iraq invasion that is to take place early in 2003. Israeli lobbyists
and conservative Christian fundamentalists have in effect censored all
free discussion of Israel and the Middle East in the USA. In the US everyone
who accurately reports the brutalities of Israel's military offensive in
the occupied Palestinian territories and the illegal occupation will be
vilified as an anti-Semite. - This assessment should not be denounced as
anti-Semitic (as any criticism of Israel); for proof, one glance at the
formidable and unprecedented position of right-wing Jews in mass media
and US decision-making would suffice. While top government representatives
such as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are evidently WASP, to represent the
US mainstream population, the Jewish hawks dominate all key decision-making
positions in the Pentagon and some in the presidency (White House) as well
as a good part of the US mass media; they form an influential 'war party'
(war against Iraq, support for Sharon's assault on the Palestinians).
War Crimes of 1991 to Be Repeated
The US has committed massive war crimes in Iraq and has waged devastating terror bombing in 1991, without harming the regime, with the victims being the 23 million people of Iraq--after USA had supported the aggression of Iraq against Iran in the first Gulf War. Illegal and a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions, in 1991 the USA systematically targeted civilian installations to make the life of the Iraqi people become hell on earth. Additional to the estimated 400.000 victims in 1991 according to WHO 5,000 Iraqi children die of water-borne diseases and malnutrition each month, bringing the death toll to est. one million! A new aggression would compound this appalling situation.
The reasons for the appalling situation for the civilian population in Iraq today are: (1) US B.52 bombers systematically destroyed purely civilian targets, such as water purification plants and electrical generators in the 1991 Gulf War, besides sinking bridges into the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and dropping DU bombs, which kill until today; (2) an embargo was imposed against Iraq and mainly hits the poor sections of the Iraqi population. Iraq used to have one of the highest living standards in the Arab world.
According to UNICEF, 30% of Iraq's children no longer attend school. They became beggars or have to help their parent in the struggle for survival. Iraq used to have the highest literacy rate in the Arab world (95%).About the Significance of the Horrors We See Happening in Front of Our Eyes Let us look ahead.It is time to figure out what is the significance of the horrors we see happening in front of our eyes. Five general remarks about the aggression war against Iraq, the outcome, its significance and possibilities for action in five steps:
1. This aggression against Iraq is illegal, illegitimate and immoral. The response of the world community must be determined and swift. People die in the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities-despite almost universal condemnation of such an act of unprovoked aggression. Across the globe millions already demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate against war. US-UK must be stopped! The UN must act!
2. In the practical reality the war is targeting the Iraqi people since city-dwellers are in their large majority defenseless civilians and pinpointing military targets is impossible. The USA is going to use Depleted Uranium weaponry massively, and even announced it publicly, knowing about the horrible impact these radiological-cum- nuclear weapons have on the middle and longer term health of the masses of the city populations in Iraq and even on their own soldiers (in the US called 'Gulf war syndrome'!). Thousands children died since 1991 a long antagonizing death due to nuclear intoxication and spread of all kind of cancers and leukemia.
3. The real reasons for the aggression war are not alleged support for terrorism or possession of WMD. One of the known real reasons is the abundant Iraqi oil reserves, thus the attempts to loot, to undermine OPEC and drive the oil price down. The other one is in my view geopolitical: the 3rd gulf war ushers in a new era of unilateralism and anarchy of the state system in which the US wants to achieve supremacy. The extremists among Bush 's advisors and officials have been open about their aims.
4. Certainly unilateral war will have grave implications for the UN, the EU, NATO and the entire multilateral framework. Let us believe that the period of relapse into 19 century gun-boat imperialism will be short due to the democratic possibility to change those at the helm of the present new regression into raw imperialist onslaught.
5. The USA seems poised to transform into the new evil empire. Let us
hope that the period of relapse into 19 century gun-boat imperialism will
Some Tangible Replies on the Question 'What Needs To Be Done?'
i) The threat can be overcome by a world-wide coalition against the USA, both by civil actors and within the framework of the United Nations.
ii) Coalition building could possibly be started with an ICC indictment of Bush and Blair as war criminals (an idea I spread recently but which seems legally rather demanding in the case of Bush but easier in the case of Blair).
iii) An indictment could be followed by UN sanctions against US-UK similar to those against Apartheid-South Africa.
iv) As for the USA the message for impeaching Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft conveyed by Francis Boyle and Ramsey Clark is spreading since January 2003. I may say they are very courageous men, and many of us share their idea 100%. This is an important symbolic skirmish. Attempts may fail or take too much time, given the real politics in the US Congress.
v) My surprise about the UN inactivity after the unilateral declaration of war is not small. The UN Security Council must meet for an emergency session. The General Assembly also must be convened. The UN system ought to react and declare its outrage in real terms: sanctions, embargo, suspension of membership for the aggressor states and other appropriate measures.
As for now, a debate about UN sanctions and the campaign for ICC indictments probably are the most important steps. Let us all unite against war, lawlessness and superpower arrogance
 Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century. Washington, PNAC, http://www.newamericancentury.org/defsep2700.htm ; September 27, 2002
 US Department of Defense: Doctrine for Joint Urban Operations. Washington 16 September 2002,
 See William Blum: "Chemical Weapons, the US and Iraq: What the New York Times Left Out", in CounterPunch, August 20, 2002.
 "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War," Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration, reports of May 25, 1994 and October 7, 1994.
 As for the US government I refer to Israel Shamir's 'The strange
case of Jeret Israel' list of Jewish hawks for war against Iraq and support
for Sharon: "Most US Jews that matter push for the Doomsday. Among them
Richard Perle, the chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, an
ex-employee of an Israeli weapon manufacturer Soltam, and the great supporter
of the war, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defence Secretary, a leading Zionist
Douglas Feith, a representative of an 'Israeli Armaments Manufacturer',
Dov Zakheim, Under Secretary of Defence, Edward Luttwak, of the National
Security Study Group of the Department of Defence at the Pentagon, Lewis
Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff and a lawyer for the
thief Mark Rich, Robert Satloff, the U.S. National Security Council Advisor,
and the executive director of the Israeli lobby's 'think tank', Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, Elliott Abrams, National Security Council
Advisor, and many, many others. For sure, there should be some Jews against
the war, but they keep their quiet." - As for the US mass media and print
media the Jewish hawks seem almost omnipresent: "In 1990, Joe Sobran listed
the commentators who constantly defend Israel: Podhoretz, Rosenthal, Dershowitz,
Martin Peretz, George Will, Mortimer Zuckerman, Morton Kondracke, Jeane
Kirkpatrick, Kenneth Adelman, Amos Perlmutter, Eric Breindal, Cal Thomas,
Max Lerner, Ben Wattenberg, Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, Fred Barnes.
Now all of them emerged as advocates of the War Party."
Dr. Christian P. Scherrer Professor at Hiroshima Peace Institute (HPI)
of Hiroshima City University, Japan
Head, ECORHPI, Hiroshima Mitsui Bldg. 12F 2-7-10 Ote-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, 730-0051 Japan
Tel: +81-82-544-7628 (direct) / fax: +81-82-544-7573
© TFF and the author