Anti-War Commentary

February 4, 2003

by Bill Foster

Disinformation and War

To incite war, the U.S. government relies on the tactic of disinformation.

From the very beginning, the Bush administration has simply asserted that the Iraqi government is "building weapons of mass destruction," that it has "links to terrorists," etc. And by repeating these assertions, over and over again, even when all the evidence proves them false, Bush hopes that they will be accepted as facts.

Example one. For months Bush asserted that Iraq is building nuclear weapons. But the facts are that the U.N. nuclear inspectors, after checking 106 sites in Iraq, reported that there is no evidence of Iraq reviving its nuclear weapons program. Yet in his State of the Union speech, Bush again said Iraq is building nuclear weapons.

Example two. During the war against Afghanistan and afterwards, top officials in the Bush administration (and most recently the head of the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq) repeatedly admitted that there was no link between Iraq and the bombing the World Trade Center or between Iraq and Al Qaeda. But, again, in his State of the Union speech Bush shamelessly repeated this lie.

Example three. The head of the U.N. weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, admitted that "we have been there [in Iraq] for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns." In 1999, Scott Ritter, former chief weapons inspectors, said, after thousands of inspections: "Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability."Yet Bush keeps up his empty refrain about "weapons of mass destruction."

In fact, the Bush administration has admitted again and again that it doesn't need evidence to convict the Iraqi government and launch a war. Most recently Bush claimed that Colin Powell would present "evidence" to the U.N. Already, the governments admits that Powell will not supply a "smoking gun" but "only circumstantial evidence."

In sum, the "evidence" is: Bush says so! Bush thinks that because he has the guns, he can define reality anyway he wants. The Iraqi government is guilty because Bush says so.

All Bush's baseless assertions and lies cannot change the basic issues.

It is not Iraq which threatens the U.S. It is U.S. and British warplanes which very day fly bombing runs over Iraq. It is the U.S. and other powers who impose brutal economic sanctions on the Iraqi people. It is the U.S. that encircles Iraq with hundreds of thousands of troops and weapons of mass destruction. It is the U.S. which has declared its intention to replace the Iraqi government with a U.S. military dictatorship.

In short, it is U.S. imperialism which is the aggressor and all of the "arguments" presented by Bush, boil down to nothing more than variations on the same tune: U.S. Might Makes Right.

Peace and the Sovereignty of States

Yet more. Bush's propaganda about "weapons of mass destruction" is a double and triple fraud because, all along, the U.S. government has raised these issues not in order to bring about disarmament or promote the rule of international law. It has unabashedly used these slogans as a ploy to prepare for war. But war itself is the biggest violation of international law and the rights of humanity.

Over the last 100 years and more, humankind has faced the horrors of WW I, WW II and hundreds of wars launched by the big, imperialist powers. Again and again the peoples have mobilized themselves against aggressive wars. One reflection of this struggle for peace is that the peoples have forced the big powers to sign treaties and establish a system of international law which is based on the renunciation of the use of force by one state against another. For example, the very charter of the U.N. states "all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

And a U.S.-led war against Iraq will remain aggressive whether it is waged unilaterally by the U.S. or with "multilateral support," which the U.S. is trying to get through its bullying and bribing of other countries. When the U.S. and its big power allies meet behind closed doors, the real subject of discussion is not the veracity of the weapons inspections but how the wealth of Iraq will be divided up. From every angle, U.S. policy towards Iraq, which relies on the threat and reality of war to bring about "regime change," is a plot against the peace and against the peoples.

Similarly when Bush talks of "liberating" Iraq, he is trampling underfoot the sovereignty of peoples. And this principle - recognition of the right of every people to independence and sovereignty - is another of the most important achievements of humanity over the last 100 years. It is a principle which has been fought for especially by the oppressed nations who have risen up to win their right to live free of foreign domination and intervention and to settle their own affairs. It is an elementary principle of democracy that foreign aggression cannot "liberate" a nation.