On Valentine’s Day morning Saddam Hussein released a decree calling for a ban on the importation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and of all materials that are used to produce them.
The United Nations has sought such a ban for over 10 years, and Saddam’s timing could not be more pertinent for calling on the UN to continue with its inspections. Questions must now be raised as to why the Bush administration is so adamant to strike before all diplomatic means have been exhausted.
Apparently the White House is attempting to downplay such a call to stop importation and production of WMDs, as Ari Fleischer noted, “if one would want to make believe and pretend that Iraq is a democracy that could pass meaningful laws, it would be 12 years late.”
If I were a betting man, I would have to bet this war has been a go for months. The UN has become an irrelevant institution when up against the goals this administration is propagating. NATO may soon be irrelevant as well, with three member countries detesting a pre-emptive attack on Iraq.
Several hours after Saddam produced his cry to stop weapons importation and production, Hans Blix and nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei explained to the UN Security Council that they had found “no evidence Iraq had resumed its nuclear weapons program.” But apparently the hawks in Washington don’t need UN evidence, or international support to proceed with such an attack.
Currently the United States and Britain have over 200,000 troops in and around the Gulf region, and next week they expect to produce their own resolution–authorizing a military strike with the backing of the few remaining ally countries. NATO will be disregarded, as well as any authorization the UN could earmark. The inspections that have been going on since November will be rendered meaningless.
Dissent over the weekend is expected to be on display worldwide, with the largest protests in a decade expected in New York and San Francisco. The world is crying for a peaceful response to the Bush Administration’s unyielding attempts to force Saddam out.
But the war movement must be prepared to counter Bush once his bombs begin to fall on Baghdad. Election season is approaching quickly and anti-war activists must rally Washington politicians who oppose this attack to start speaking out. They must take after US Senator Robert Byrd’s speech displayed last week, in which he stated that this administration “has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling…..which will have consequences for years to come.” We need a broad coalition of politicians in DC to begin their own rants and questions about this war.
The attack on Iraq now seems imminent, opposition among citizens is mounting, and dissent among the international community is soaring. It is way past due for more opponents in Washington to begin stonewalling Bush–forcing the administration to allow more time for UN inspectors to work.
The loose cannons in the White House can no longer afford more division on the Iraq issue; Bush’s mastermind Karl Rove is losing his footing among supporters–this only means as dissidents we have to stay vigilant–we can still win this.
JOSH FRANK is a 24-year-old writer and activist living in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org