The Socialist 20 September 2002 |
Join the Socialist
Stop The War Machine
Demonstrate on 28 September
Assemble 12.30pm, Embankment.
March to Hyde Park
PARLIAMENT IS being recalled on 24 September to debate plans for military action against Iraq.
Cllr Dave Nellist, Leader of the Socialist Group on Coventry City Council, was a key organiser in Parliament against the Gulf War in 1990/91:
"The pendulum swinging between war and 'peace' over Iraq has yet to come to rest. The speech by President Bush to the United Nations (UN) accelerated the momentum to war.
But before the UN could announce an agreed resolution giving Iraq a choice between unfettered access for weapons inspectors or a UN authorised/US led bombardment or even invasion, a spanner was thrown into the works - Saddam Hussein agreed to weapons inspectors returning to Iraq for the first time since 1998.
This might delay war but it doesn't mean that it won't take place. Bush is determined to overthrow Saddam. But his and Blair's arguments for war are full of holes.
It's not that Saddam Hussein treats his "own" people badly, though he obviously does. How about a little humility from those Western governments who financed and trained Iraq's army in the 1980s!
I was in the House of Commons when reports came through in March 1988 that 5,000 people had been killed by Saddam's chemical weapons in the town of Halabja. Weeks later the then Tory government extended a further £340 million of trade credits to Iraq!
It's not about Iraq having a history of invading another country and being capable of doing so again. The US has bombed or invaded 23 other countries since 1945!
It's not about Iraq being prepared to use weapons of mass destruction.
In March it was revealed that the Bush administration is in the advanced stages of planning the first-strike use of nuclear weapons against Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, Russia and China.
It's not about Iraq having ignored United Nations resolutions. Tony Blair accuses Saddam of having ignored 23 UN resolutions. Israel has ignored 66 up to 1990. Since 1991 America has personally vetoed a further 29!
It's not about any of these things - but the profits and prestige of the most powerful country in the world backed up by military muscle.
NO DOUBT when Parliament meets on 24 September, some Labour MPs, like certain trade union leaders at the TUC conference, will still call for military action only to be taken with the 'moral legitimacy' of the United Nations.
Leaving aside the fact that this will be the same United Nations whose sanctions over the last 12 years have killed a million people in Iraq, half of them children, this shows a naivety about the role of the United Nations.
The UN is not an impartial "court" operating to a moral or ethical code before taking balanced decisions. It is a den of deals. The 13 Security Council members (the US and Britain already being wedded to an invasion plan) are being bought, threatened, cajoled, bribed (choose your own word) until the US can win the vote.
War (UN sponsored or not) will cost thousands of lives, create instability in the countries immediately in the area and, if the price of oil rises as in 1973 and 1990/91, risk deepening the world recession.
But Bush is prepared to risk all that in an attempt to restore and extend US prestige and profits, and working class people in the Middle East and throughout the world will be told to pay the price.
The softening up has started, with dozens and dozens of US and British planes involved in bombing raids. Opposition is mounting around the world. Let's make 28 September a huge demonstration against US and British war plans.
It's not US imposed 'regime change' that's needed, but whole system change. Join the Socialist Party and the CWI to fight for international socialism."
Demonstrate on 28 September
National demonstration: assemble 12.30pm,
Embankment. March to Hyde Park