Archive article from The Socialist Issue 272
Debunking Bush's Lies
WAR ON Iraq - what team Bush doesn't want you to know by William Rivers Pitt, which includes a lengthy interview with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, is a concise argument against a US-led war on Iraq.
The booklet demolishes George Bush's administration's justifications for "regime change" in Iraq. It rubbishes the suggested link between Saddam Hussein and the al Qa'ida terrorist network, pointing out the obvious fact that the secular Ba'athist regime is loathed by Osama bin Laden as much as Western governments.
Ritter says the vast majority of Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction' were destroyed by UNSCOM's weapons inspectors before they were pulled out of Iraq in 1998. (He condemns the use of these inspectors to spy on the Iraqi regime for the US) And subsequent monitoring via satellites and other means has made it extremely difficult for Saddam to procure the necessary technology to produce such weapons.
Both the author and Ritter attack the idea of 'regime change' arguing that instead of achieving "democracy" it would mean replacing Saddam with another Sunni-based dictator.
Instead, Ritter and Pitt argue that military containment of Saddam through the readmission of weapons inspectors and the lifting of UN sanctions is the long-term solution.
"This will guarantee that Hussein cannot develop any technology that threatens the region or America. As the standard of living improves for Iraqi civilians, as a viable middle class is created, the cultural and economic schisms that have defined Iraq will begin to disappear. The power of Saddam Hussein will wane."
This argument is the main shortcoming. The idea of creating a liberal-capitalist unified society through increased trade and 'wealth creation' is a mirage.
Has Saudi Arabia's oil wealth transformed it from an autocratic state into a liberal democracy? Have relatively developed capitalist societies such as Northern Ireland, Canada, Belgium solved the question of nationalities, let alone less developed capitalist regions such as Israel/Palestine, Indonesia, Philippines, ex-Yugoslavia, etc?
On the contrary, the existence of class society based on the capitalist profit system is the basis for cultural, ethnic and civil strife. That's why we argue not only for 'regime change' but a 'system change'. Only through building mass workers' organisations linked to a socialist transformation of society would it be possible to unite all sections of the working class and democratise countries such as Iraq.