The warmongering in Washington flows from an arrogance of power mixed with unlimited stupidity and ignorance. Nobody has any doubt that the US are capable of bulldozing Iraq with their gigantic military machinery, of killing hundreds of thousands and of taking control of the oilfields. However, they will not be able to quench the rising hatred and the wrath of the survivors. And this hatred and wrath will spread like a bushfire in the whole region and beyond. Nothing could provide a better basis for the fundamentalists and terrorist organisations.
A war against Iraq will jeopardise the partly artificially-drawn borders between states in the region. What if Iraq splits into several parts, if the Kurds found a new state, if the Shiites in Southern Iraq forge an alliance with their brothers in Kuwait, perhaps even in Iran, if the Wahhabite fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia chase away the king and the five hundred corrupt princes? Will the USA take the war to these countries as well? How many casualties do Bush and Rumsfeld find acceptable: a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, more than a million? And what happens if Saddam Hussein, just as in Kuwait, sets the oilfields in Iraq alight?
According to international law no country has the right to use military force to cause regime change in another country. It cannot be denied that Saddam Hussein is a criminal, that he has total control over his people, that he is not only dangerous for his own country, but also for the neighbouring states. Nevertheless how would Americans react if Saddam Hussein decided to direct his weapons at the USA, to kill hundreds of thousands, to topple the government in Washington? Would the world allow him to do that if he had the power? After all the US possesses nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. If weapons of mass destruction justified a military attack, is it not Iraq who has the right to attack the United States, if only because it has not yet been proven to possess these weapons?
Should the USA in breach of international law and any humanitarian principle and in disregard of majority opinion at home and in the world really invade Iraq, they will begin a new era of global history, an era which encourages only the law of the fist. Is this the new global order, which President Bush and Mr Rumsfeld, Minister of Defense, want to confer upon us?
Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.