What is JNV & the JNV Network? JUSTICE not VENGEANCE logo
Home page
What is JNV?
JNV's principles
What we do
Anti-war Briefings & Documents
Events Diary
Contacts
Useful links

Mailing lists


Sign the Pledge of Resistance against an attack on Iraq
 
 


3 March 2003


No War
Ten Reasons Against War On Iraq
An update of War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq, by Milan Rai


REASON 1: THE HUMAN COST OF WAR

A leaked UN study drawn up on 7 Jan. 2003 estimates that 'In the event of a crisis, 30 percent of children under 5 would be at risk of death from malnutrition.' In other words, 1.26 million children under the age of five could starve to death because of this war.

The report warns that, the collapse of essential services in Iraq could lead to 'a humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the capacity of UN agencies and other aid organizations.' There could be up to 500,000 direct and indirect casualties. (Casualty figures include the wounded as well as the dead.) (The full report is available from <www.casi.org.uk>.)

To engage in a war, knowing that these are possible consequences, is a crime against humanity of extraordinary proportions.

REASON 2: THE WAR IS ILLEGAL

'The draft resolution [put to the Security Council by the US and UK] would provide no explicit authority to conduct a war. It simply states that the council "decides that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441." (Washington Post, 25 Feb., p. A01) The US and Britain 'have abandoned hopes of a resolution that would explicitly authorise war.' (Guardian, 25 Feb., p. 1) Their draft contains 'no explicit threat of war.' (FT, 25 Feb., p. 8)

The US and UK rely on the 'authorisation' which they say was granted in Resolution 1441 last Nov. But there was no 'authorisation' in Resolution 1441.

Professor Vaughan Lowe, Chichele Professor of Public International Law at Oxford University was asked by the Radio 4 Today programme to consider the legality of war on Iraq last Dec. He said, 'The statement in paragraph 13 of the Resolution [1441] that "the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations" is a simple statement of what the Security Council has done in the past. It cannot in my opinion possibly be interpreted as an express or implied authorization to States unilaterally to take military action against Iraq in the future.'

'My conclusion, therefore, is that under present circumstances it would be contrary to international law for the United Kingdom to engage in military action against Iraq, or assist any other State in taking such action, unless it was expressly authorised to do so by the United Nations Security Council.' [See 'Iraq Hearing' at <www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/>

There is no 'express authorisation' in the draft UN resolution. The US and UK are conspiring to carry out an illegal war of aggression.

3) IRAQ IS NOT A THREAT

British Vice-Admiral Sir James Jungius KBE observed in a letter to The Times (1 Jan., p. 25): 'Even if the weapons do exist, where is the evidence of intent to use them? War is too important and unpleasant a business to be undertaken on the basis of a hunch, however good that hunch may be.'

Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Douglas Hogg: 'The real question is not whether he's got weapons of mass destruction, but rather whether—if he has got those weapons—he is a grave and imminent threat to the rest of us... unless he's a grave and imminent threat there isn't a moral basis for war, because the doctrine of self-defence isn't properly invoked.' (BBC Radio 4, The World This Weekend, 12 Jan.)

At the time of writing, it has not been proved that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction (WMD)—it has certainly not been shown that Iraq intends to use its weapons in an aggressive manner.

4) THERE IS NO LINK TO INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Having tried to convince us that we should attack because Iraq is an clear and immediate threat, the Prime Minister switched to arguing that we should attack because Iraq is a vague and distant threat: 'the threat is real, and if we don't deal with it, then the consequences of our weakness will haunt future generations.' (Newsweek, 27 Jan., p. 21)

But former chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler testified to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 2002: 'I have seen no evidence of Iraq providing [weapons of mass destruction] to non-Iraqi terrorist groups. I suspect that, especially given his psychology and aspirations, Saddam would be reluctant to share with others what he believes to be an indelible source of his own power.' (Financial Times, 1 Aug. 2002, p. 7)

In the bin Laden tape which is supposed to show the 'nexus' between al Qaeda and Baghdad, bin Laden says: Muslims should not fight 'to seek victory for the ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq'; (Times, 13 Feb., p. 16) 'socialists [i.e. Saddam Hussein's Baath Party] are unbelievers'; and it 'doesn't matter if the Communist party of Saddam disappears.' (Times, 12 Feb., p. 1) With friends like this, who needs enemies?

REASON 5: THIS IS NOT ABOUT LIBERATING IRAQIf there is a real desire to change the regime, why in October 2002, did White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer say 'the cost of one bullet' was less than the tens of billions of dollars that a war would cost? (Telegraph, 14 Jan., p. 13)

If there is a real desire to change the regime, why did Donald Rumsfeld say that if 'the senior leadership and their families' went into exile—just them—that would be 'a fair trade to avoid a war'? (Telegraph, 20 Jan., p. 1)

If there is a real desire to change the regime, why did the US announce plans to replace only the top three people in each Iraqi ministry in Iraq (with US soldiers) keeping the government, police, judiciary and military intact?

The US plan was condemned by Kanan Makiya, a fiercely anti-regime Iraqi exile, who said, 'Its driving force is appeasement of the existing bankrupt Arab order, and ultimately the retention under a different guise of the repressive institutions of the Baath [Party] and the army.' (Observer, 16 Feb.)

This isn't 'regime change'. It's 'regime stabilisation, leadership change.'

REASON 6: THIS WAR WILL DEVASTATE THE KURDS

'Turkey has deployed an estimated 5000 troops to northern Iraq. Post-war, Turkey will almost certainly move in to ensure that any attempt at independence by the Iraqi Kurds is quashed.' (Guardian, 21 Feb., p. 4) This invasion could involve 'up to 80,000 Turkish troops.' (Telegraph, 27 Feb., p. 17)

The US-Turkish plan, which both Iraqi Kurdish parties reject, 'envisages Turkish troops deploying along a nearly 200 mile-long, 20 to 25 mile-deep "buffer zone" on the Iraqi side of the border.' (Guardian, 24 Feb., p. 4) Hoshyar Zebari, foreign relations chief of the Kurdish Democratic Party, says, 'Our people are terrified by the prospect.' (Independent, 24 Feb., p. 2)

Congressman Jim Moran, a senior Democrat who recently met the Kurdish ambassador to Washington: 'If we sell out the Kurds for the third or fourth time, that's wrong.' (FT, 28 Feb. 2003, p. 7) That's the plan.

REASON 7:THIS WAR WILL HURT THE WORLD'S POOR

South Africa, chair of the 53-nation African Union 'has warned that a war in the Middle East would have "serious repercussions" for debt-burdened countries in the region. It argues that rising oil prices in an escalating Middle East crisis would prove disastrous for African recovery and scupper the New Partnership for Africa's Development.' (FT, 4 Feb., p. 8)

REASON 8: THE MILITARY ARE UNCONVINCED

Scores of retired US and British soldiers have spoken out against war. Field Marshal Lord Brammal, former chief of Britain's Defence Staff, has said, '|You don't have a licence to attack someone else's country just because you don't like the leadership.' (Times, 5 Aug. 2002, p. 1)

REASON 9: IRAQ'S NEIGHBOURS OPPOSE THIS WAR

The countries which are most under 'threat' from Iraq, which are within reach of the al-Samoud missiles which UN inspectors are forcing Iraq to destroy, oppose this war. At the end of Feb., Turkey, a close NATO ally, refused to allow US troops access to Turkish bases to conduct the war despite a bribe of over $25 billion! The feelings of the region were summed up by Hassan Yassin, a senior Saudi adviser: 'The world will be a safer place for all of us if war with Iraq can be avoided today, and if tomorrow we can restore the UN's authority over the United States.' (Sunday Times, 12 Jan., News Review, p. 4)

REASON 10: THERE IS NO DEMOCRATIC MANDATE FOR WAR

45 per cent of British people believe George W. Bush 'represents the greatest danger to world peace' (45 per cent believe it is Saddam Hussein). 47 per cent believe the US is 'A bully that wants to dominate the world'. Only 23 per cent believe it is 'A force for good in the world'. (Sunday Times, 23 Feb., p.13)

'The advice proffered by a large majority of Britons to Mr Blair is thus clear. He should not continue "to make active preparations for launching an early military assault on Iraq" (32 per cent of British people). Rather, he should inform the Bush administration "that he lacks the necessary public support for war in the UK, and the US will therefore either have to go it alone or else give the UN weapons inspectors more time to complete their work" (63 per cent).' (Telegraph, 19 Feb., p. 4)

Douglas Hogg, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister, has drawn up an Early Day Motion (716) signed by 133 MPs—'That this House does not believe that British forces should be required to participate in a war against Iraq unless all of the following conditions are met: (a) that there is clear evidence that Iraq poses an imminent threat to peace, (b) that there is a substantive motion of this House authorising military action, (c) that there is an express resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations authorising the use of military force against Iraq and (d) that all other policy options have been exhausted.'

This is an immoral, illegal, counter-productive and undemocratic war.



BOOK


War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldn't Launch Another War Against Iraq
by Milan Rai

'An excellent weapon for all those opposed to Bush's war
'. Tariq Ali
'Excellent'. Alice Mahon MP
'Required reading for anyone concerned about the risk of war'. Professor Paul Rogers, Bradford School of Peace Studies
'Timely and important'. Hilary Wainwright

£10 plus £1.80 p&p.
Please make cheques to ARROW Publications, and send with your address to 29 Gensing Rd, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN38 0HE.


^ back to the top