United against 'Busherie'


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Category: International Date: 23 Mar 03

I watched in disbelief at the giant, American, media propaganda machine at work as this war unfolded; the unbridled arrogance of the US networks calling American soldiers “our people” and Iraqi civilians “casualties”; at the cool manner with which buildings, homes, streets and parks of a city are being bombed and destroyed in the ridiculous ostensible mission to “take out” one evil man. (As absurd as the prospect of terrorists bombing all of New York to “take out” Bush.)


I look at the teenaged, fresh-faced boys facing off with middle-aged, barely armed men. There will be deaths of both, equally mourned.


And Bush’s words, “If you are not for us, you are against us,” have sealed the mouths of poorer, smaller, dependent countries that can’t afford American wrath (never mind the hundreds of thousands against it — this cowboy has the last word.) Now that’s power.


I sent an e-mail asking for people’s response to this war mounted by US President George W Bush. They wrote back from France, the UK, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Canada and the USA with varying opinions, but also with unwavering humanity, which convinces me even more that stupidity in the all-powerful such as men like Bush is a lethal weapon.


We’ve sent around jokes of him holding children’s books upside down and looking seriously through binoculars with the covers on, but he’s shown us in the end the damage he can do. Here are some responses:


I was in Iraq last month, and I met officials spouting propaganda, and simple people who officially said what was expected of them.


But unofficially, they showed the warmth of their hearts, their anger, pride and dismay. They carry so many scars and have learned to live under tyranny; now they are told to die under the strikes of yet another tyrant.


I do not have any sympathy for Saddam. I am scandalised by Bush. Here in France, teenagers demonstrate and say in French, “Stop the ‘busherie’ (butchery)!” On this side of the world, we are supposed to live under the auspices of democracy and the rule of law, yet the people’s voices are completely discarded by obscure economic interests.


Some months ago, I interviewed a young, Muslim extremist who was on a crusade to eliminate anything Western or Israeli. He talked about a war of religions, of civilisations. Bush is giving this kind of person credit.


At this stage, I do not see much difference between him (Bush) and Saddam. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands are dying — of misery, of wars — and that is not considered a worthy cause while billions are spent in military deployment.


How much more will war cost the world?


—Valerie, France.


The callous, official response that the war will be good for T&T displays a dearth of ethical and spiritual values, in the face of the almost certain death of innocent civilians and young people, who will be forced to participate as a result of orders from politicians, who themselves will not be facing the firing lines.


It displays also an equally mind-numbing ignorance of the long-term consequences of the drop in the price of oil that will result from the “freeing-up” of Iraqi oil supplies, and the subsequent intended push by the “Liberators” for Saudi reserves as well.


American economists soberly say the USA needs to have a cheap source of energy, ie oil, at US$14 to $15 per barrel. The US economy is in a worse mess than it has been in since 1929, and the cost of this war is being regarded as an investment in attaining the essential cheap oil prices on which their economy depends for recovery.


—Diana, Trinidad.


Bush is perhaps starting a wildfire that may boomerang on him.


His quest for oil in Iraq, since no weapons of so-called mass destruction could be found there by the UN team, may polarise the world, leading to deadly strikes on soft targets. Innocent people will lose their limbs or lives through no fault of their own.


One man’s lunacy may destroy this world for times to come.


—Vijay, India.


A poor decision, but one Bush had no choice but to take. Once he massed the troops in Kuwait, there was no other action than invasion, with or without UN sanction.


The abject failure of American diplomacy and the resulting fragmentation of many of the world’s institutions (NATO, UN, EU) will be the only tangible result of the USA/UK action.


The USA has already won the battle, but has lost the war. It has become a nation of paranoids who believe that to safeguard their way of life, all who oppose them must be eliminated — no matter what the rest of the world thinks.


The only result of such a policy will be the rise of nuclear proliferation (Korea, Iran), and an increase in terror attacks against targets of opportunity.


—Vik, Canada.


George Bush scares me far more than Saddam Hussein.


Bush is a religious zealot surrounded by right-wing advisors who are on a mission to reshape the world. If they are successful in Iraq, and the odds are that they will be, given their overwhelmingly superior weaponry, who knows to where they will turn next?


The run-up to war has been conducted with a breath-taking cynicism. The USA was always on a timetable to attack now; the negotiations, the inspectors have all been a sham.


Casualties so far include the United Nations, European unity, and the reputation of the USA in the world. And far from defeating terrorism, it is unleashing a new generation that will hate the USA and all that it stands for.


—Patrick, UK.

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur