These days, Europeans who oppose the US strategy of war against Iraq are supposed to be politically and intellectually feeble – as well as anti-American. I consider myself to be not only a European but a cosmopolitan citizen with a free mind able to conduct independent political analysis.
Disagreeing with the current US call for war means disagreeing with a policy, whatever its national origin. In earlier decades, US policy actively supported the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia against the Vietnamese communist regime, Saddam Hussein against fundamentalist Iran, the fundamentalist Taliban against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. These policy choices inflicted great costs on the peoples of Cambodia, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. In all these countries, the US mobilised huge power (military, scientific and technological) to create political, social, economical and spiritual dislocation. As a result, it turned its protégés/pawns into dangerously unstable regimes – which the US then treated as enemies.
One war thus led to another, with consequences the US could not control. It is all too likely that the pattern is about to be repeated, with the US’s current “alliances” with Saudi Arabia or Turkey requiring sacrifice of the Kurds’ national rights (for the third time in thirty years) – not to mention the Palestinians’. In the name of “democracy”, endless errors, faults and crimes are perpetrated. The people behind such consistently short-sighted, narrow-minded policies simply cannot be trusted.
The rationale of previous US wars could draw on the semblance of a universal cause. Not in this case. A war against Iraq – and I have no doubt France would eventually join in – would underwrite the failure of current democratic systems.
© Delanoe 2003
Originally published as part of a debate on 6th February 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II