The Problem is Peace – War is the Solution

t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 27 January 2003

The Problem is Peace – War is the Solution
By John Cory
TO correspondent in Saudi Arabia

Anticipation. It is almost palpable here. Rumors and speculation ride the desert winds and cruise across the horizon like the squall line of a coming sandstorm.

Everyone says they heard this or that. One rumor says the Japanese government has warned its citizens here in the Middle East to evacuate by Wednesday, or the weekend at the latest. My Egyptian co-worker said he heard on Arab radio that the war would start on the 14th of February. Others say they have read that the bombs will fall by mid-March and it will be worse than the first Gulf War. People all over the Gulf are stocking up on bottled water and fuel and extra food. Even the U.S. Embassy issued a “preparedness” email to Wardens telling American citizens to be prepared for hostile acts and terrorism increase and possible emergency evacuations of certain regions and countries.

All of this is in anticipation of Bush’s Tuesday speech. No one expects this speech to be a “normal” State of the Union speech. As my British pal says, “It should be a short speech. After all, how long does it take to say that the state of the union is – bollocks.” Translation = crap.

No, this speech already carries the whiff of war. But huge questions arise from all over the globe, except in the American media. And the dodge-ball games of the Bush cadre only fuel the suspicions and questions.

There is an expectation that Bush will reveal his “smoking gun” evidence against Iraq, and this evidence will be presented on the eve of invasion. All of this taints the evidence and the man with political partisan gamesmanship. Nothing is ever offered from this administration unless there is something to gain in the overall scheme of American politics.

The biggest question is – why now? If this evidence is so damning, why has it not been presented before? Why has the U.S. withheld this evidence from the UN, its allies, and its people? The posited explanations from the White House, as seen on various news programs here, say that to reveal these facts and evidence would endanger “intelligence sources” (spies) in Iraq, and reveal technological capacities that the U.S. would rather keep to itself. So why is it more valuable to protect intelligence sources than it is to risk American lives by withholding this evidence? And why is no American newspaper asking these questions?

As several people point out, if the U.S. has the skill and power to cultivate these spies then surely it has the power and skill to reveal this evidence to the world leaders, from which it demands blind faith. And to the UN inspection team leaders who could guide inspectors to the right places to catch Iraq. The all-powerful U.S. could surely extricate these sources and reveal the evidence to the world – if it truly wanted to avoid war.

For most people in this part of the world, it is strongly believed that any evidence presented by Bush and company now, is the result of fabrication and deception. Many Arabs believe it will be a lie, no matter the presentation packaging.

People here will tell you openly that this is not just about oil. This is about controlling the Middle East and its 100 million Muslims. It is about subjugation. It is about the supremacy of the U.S. over an uncooperative world. It is about making the United Nations irrelevant and useless for future debates. America, seen through the eyes of Arabs here, is presenting itself as the only true and capable leader of the entire world. And Iraq is to be the example of what happens when you fail to adhere to the commands and wishes of the “world’s greatest superpower.”

As someone pointed out last night, Kuwaitis are shooting Americans, Pakistan and India threaten each other with nuclear missiles, North Korea is on the brink of destabilizing Eastern Asia, Israel illegally marches through Palestinian territory, and the Taliban are moving back to Afghanistan – but the evil that is Iraq must be dealt with now. And it must be bombed into submission, no matter how many innocent civilians are killed.

All of these feelings swirl around like little dust devils, spinning and twisting their way in search of the coming cyclone. Each day someone corners me with new versions of the same questions and the same pleas for America to come to its senses. And each night surrenders to the darkness of the coming war. Like an abusive parent, Bush has grabbed the world by its wrist while whipping its legs with a leather belt, all the time saying – “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” If only that were true.

The problem is Iraq. It doesn’t matter that Osama bin Laden is as scarce as say Kenny Boy Lay or Enron or WorldCom. The problem is Iraq. It doesn’t matter that the world seeks peace through diplomacy. It doesn’t matter that the majority of Americans don’t want their sons and daughters put in harms way for the likes of Haliburton and Exxon. It doesn’t matter that UN inspectors need time and support.

The problem is peace – – war is the solution.