February 22, 2003
By Gregory Davidson
The French minister, Dominique de Villepin, spoke with eloquence
and passion in his response to the Iraq weapons inspector's
report to the United Nations Security Council on Friday, though
his message was clearly aimed at the Bush administration.
"No one can claim today the path of war will be shorter than
the path of inspections," he said. Following de Villepin's
oratory (a reaffirmation of the potency and power of the French
in things diplomatic), rare and spontaneous applause broke
out in the chamber of gathered diplomats and gallery public.
Further, delegate after delegate around the table came to
the conclusion that continuing inspections was the most desirable
course toward settlement of the Iraq question and containment
of Saddam Hussein.
Only two of the other fourteen Security Council ministers
(from Great Britain and from Spain) spoke in agreement with
Secretary Powell and the US position. The AP's assessment
of an exasperated Powell was accurate.
"More inspections - I am sorry - are not the answer," Powell
said in his turn. His remarks were met with silence.
But is the Bush administration absorbing any of this? Could
they realize that much of the divisiveness and anti-American
sentiment fomenting around the world is the direct result
of the administration's headlong pursuit of the bin-Laden-morphed
Saddam Hussein? Are they thinking the path of military action
will bring anything that's worth the destruction of a nation
and a people, the disruption of long-standing political ties
which has created bitter feelings among once-trusted allies,
the high probability of increased terrorist activity, and,
worst of all, the many thousands of lives which would be lost
in such a move? If they do, and continue on this path toward
invasion of Iraq, the consequences will be dire.
No doubt, a world without Saddam Hussein is something to
look forward to. US policy in the past was instrumental in
creating this situation and we have a responsibility to see
that Saddam's ambition is contained. But, the re-emergence
of "UBL" (that's Usama bin-Laden, as he was monikered in a
memo dashed off by Secretary Rumsfeld in the hours after 9/11)
only serves to remind us of the figure toward whom our righteous
ire should be turned.
We know "UBL" is the culprit of 9/11. (We're not sure why
Secretary Rumsfeld might have suspected it so early, though
timeline of the events of 9/11 by Paul Thompson at the
Center for Cooperative Research provides some possible answers).
Saddam Hussein, by any evidence so far presented, was not
a part of the planning or execution of that fateful day.
The Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rumsfeld war machine seems oblivious.
Indeed, Iraq has been in the sights of the holdover hawks
and oil chums of George H. W. Bush since Junior was a mere
blip on the radar.
Greg Palast, author of the book The Best Democracy Money
Can Buy, and noted investigative reporter, (well-known in
Great Britain and probably much of English-speaking Europe,
but not known in the media-veiled US), in an interview with
asks Greg Palast: "What the Heck is Going on With Tony Blair?")
talks of how the first Bush administration told Americans
we would fight the Gulf War to save the democracy of Kuwait
from the despot, Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, we didn't
quite get Saddam and chose to settle only for strict totalitarianism
in Kuwait. Even though, in that war, US bombs exterminated
thousands of Iraqi civilians, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld
must surely have felt incomplete.
In 1992, Palast says, after the American people (in their
infinite wisdom) showed him the White House front door, the
former president Bush called in a chit from the dictators
in Kuwait: a request for an oil concession for Chevron Oil
Company. Chevron, in turn, provided more than half a million
dollars to the Republicans for Dubya's 2000 Presidential campaign.
(It should not escape attention that President Bush's National
Security Advisor, Condi Rice, was then an employee of Chevron).
Is it any wonder that UN members (and much of the American
public) might be skeptical about Bush administration motives
for their proposed war with Iraq? While it is undoubtedly
true that our allies in Europe have their own various motivations
for stopping an invasion by a US-led coalition (aside from
compelling humanitarian reasons), America needs to get her
own house in order.
With the vision of the bin-Laden-sponsored and al-Qaeda-perpetrated
destruction visited directly upon the US on that sparkling
September morning, the admonition of the Homeland Security
Department's Secretary Tom Ridge, to protect ourselves with
plastic and duct tape, is (if it weren't so frightening) laughable.
Rational, thinking Americans (especially Arab-Americans, fearing
discrimination) should not anticipate feeling (or being) safer
from terrorism following a US-led invasion of Iraq. Indeed,
it seems logical to conclude that such an invasion would spark
realities in the world which defy imagining.
The world knows it. Is the Bush administration listening?
Gregory Davidson is a freelance singer living in New York