Simons, 'Morning Star', September 03
Milan Rai is a matchless
campaigner against war and for justice. He founded
the British branch of Voices in the Wilderness and
co-founded ARROW, a London-based direct action and
anti-war information group.
In 1993, he was awarded the
Frank Cousins Peace Award for Research by the Transport
and General Workers' Union.
His new book, inevitably overlapping
with his earlier 'War Plan Iraq', is a detailed account
of the US-led aggression against Iraq in the run-up
to the war and the character of the military occupation
of the country and the relevance of previous US occupations.
He details, in unanswerable
terms, how the US was bitterly opposed to the UN inspectors,
not wanting them to succeed in their UN-mandated tasks,
how the Bush administration lied about the scope of
key resolution 1441 and how Washington was concerned
to preserve an authoritarian regime irrespective of
the wishes of thousands of Iraqi people.
Rai has contributed an immensely
valuable text of great use to activists and anyone
else who wants to understand the full extent of the
lies perpetrated by the Bush and Blair regimes in
the effort to justify an aggressive war.
Rai should be applauded
for marshalling so much information in so short a
time. In all justice, it is work of this sort that
that should be influential in hastening the demise
of the Bush and Blair Administrations
Cottey, 'Scientists for Global Responsibility', November
[Regime Unchanged] is a near instant book which
I think is nevertheless, in the few months since publication,
well on its way to being vindicated by history.
The book's radical scepticism
about every aspect of the US-UK war propaganda continually
becomes more orthodox. The case is set out in detail
with more than a 1000 references and notes.
[Media] distortion in the
case of the 2003 war on Iraq is, in my opinion, much
less likely to succeed and indeed is already being
exposed widely, partly due to Milan Rai's own writings.
[I]n his introduction,
Milan does express qualified optimism about the global
anti-war movement, pointing out, for example, that
it "helped to lay the basis for a stronger movement
better able to prevent the next war." I consider
this book to be part of that basis and I hope that
many people will use it. I am going to register my
copy with www.BookCrossing.com and give it to a friend.
I hope to find, a few years hence, that it has become
a well-travelled peace activist.
Red, 'Peace News',
Milan Rai's new book takes up from where his previous
best-seller 'War Plan Iraq' (Verso 2002) left off.
Like that work it is, in part, the product of the
author's long-term experience campaigning with the
anti-sanctions group, Voices in the Wilderness UK.
'Regime Unchanged' splits roughly in two: the first
half dealing with the long run-up to the war, recounting
in meticulous detail how the US and British governments
ran roughshod over the UN and destroyed the weapons
inspectors while lying to their domestic populations
on an epic scale that has since come back to haunt
them; the second with the early stages of the occupation
and likely future developments.
Rai contends (and provides
plenty of evidence to support his claim) that the
US approached the war "set on triggering a military
coup in Baghdad," anticipating that having won
a military victory it would be able to utilise the
existing police force and army to control the country
- the apparent explanation for the book's title.
Woven into the second half
of the book is a fascinating account of how the US
and Britain re-installed fascists, their collaborators
and other reactionaries in Germany, Japan and elsewhere
after WWII. Rai documents how - following these precedents
- many former Ba'athists were reinstalled in positions
of power in the early days of the occupation and poses
some serious questions regarding the reality of occupation
authority's subsequent May 16th "de-Ba'athification"
Rai's fears on this latter
score appear to have been prescient: almost five months
after "de-Ba'athification" the Guardian
reported that the US had shown "little compunction
in rehabilitating the real instruments of [Saddam's]
brutal control", having "come around to
the view that [they] cannot rule effectively without
the [regime's] security and intelligence services".
Densely packed and scrupulously
referenced 'Regime Unchanged' is essential reading
for all those who opposed the war. This is very much
a book geared to action: for people who need accurate,
well-sourced information to lobby politicians, argue
with their work-mates or speak to the media. read
it and take action!
Tom Wall, 'Red
Pepper', December 2003
...Now the US administration
insists that it will rebuild Iraq just like the Truman
administration 'rebuilt' Japan and Germany.
In his follow-up to the widely
praised 'War Plan Iraq', Milan Rai argues that just
as the victorious Allies relied upon large parts of
the old fascist political apparatus to maintain order
in Germany, so the US-controlled Coalition Provisional
Authority has reinstalled Ba'athist-era police officers,
judges, civil servants and mayors across Iraq. Of
course, public pressure has forced the US to remove
some of the more infamous Ba'athists and pay lip service
to de-Ba'athification, but as the resistance to the
occupation intensifies the reliance on Saddam's lieutenants
can only grow.
Rai suggests that the coalition
is heading for a major confrontation with much of
the Iraqi population over the pace of de-Ba'athification
and democratisation. Shiite hatred for the Ba'athists
is only matched by their suspicion of the occupying
powers. Demonstrations routinely condemn Saddam and
Bush. Calls for Iraqi self-rule fall on deaf ears,
however. The White House says it will not tolerate
an 'Islamic dictatorship'.
There is more than a passing
resemblance to the crushing of popular anti-fascist
forces at the end of WWII. Just as the aspirations
of the Greeks, French and Italians were dashed in
the in the cause of anti-communism, so too will the
hopes of Iraq's Shiite Muslims be sacrificed to preserve
the existing balance of regional power.
All this amounts, Rai
believes, to 'Saddamism' without Saddam. To salvage
any credibility Washington must support democratic
initiatives until the UN organises elections and then
the US can withdraw.
to the 'Regime Unchanged' page ]