War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq
written by Milan Rai
Reviewed by Katia Hanke
Socialist View, Spring 2003, No. 10
"GIVE PEACE a
chance and buy this book. It explains why Bush's proposed war against Iraq has
little to do with Saddam's tyranny and everything to do with Washington's
infinite greed for oil and power" - Mike Davis.
That is what the cover
announces about the content of the book. Does it live up to the expectation?
This book is not a worked out analysis of the background to Bush's drive for
war, rather it is a handbook for opponents to war full of useful facts and
The main part of the book,
"Phase II - Iraq" is by far the best and most convincing section.
Before very efficiently exposing the ten most used pretexts for war, Rai goes
over US and British policies towards Iraq since 1991.
He starts with the US
administration's attitude to the UN weapons inspection agencies and reports
accurately how it did its best to destroy them. They were infiltrated by US
spies and used to gain intelligence on Iraq's leadership and facilitate a
high-level coup attempt. UNSCOM was manipulated to create an atmosphere of
confrontation and then instructed to withdraw in December 1998, days before
heavy bombardments of Baghdad started. The US administration's attitude to
UNMOVIC, the second UN weapons inspection agency, has not been any different.
Next Rai deals with the
detail of exactly how Bush Senior and Co. not only stood by, but actively
supported Saddam Hussein in crushing the uprisings inside Iraq immediately after
the Gulf War. He correctly concludes from that experience that the US does not
want regime change in Iraq, even opposes it with all means possible. What the
US wants is "leadership change", i.e. a more reliable local stooge
than Saddam, and he documents it well.
"Ten reasons against
war on Iraq", the core chapter of the book, deals in a matter-of-fact and
sharp way with the flimsy pretext for this war and the potential consequences
of it. Some of the points very sharply expose US (and British) foreign policy:
the humanitarian disaster this war is certain to trigger; the destabilisation
it will cause in Iraq and in the entire region; the fact this war is not about
regime change but about merely "cloning Saddam"; the lack of any
proof of a build up of Weapons of Mass Destruction; why there is no link with
Al Qaeda; the massive worldwide opposition to this war.
In addition, the less
relevant point, much discussed in the media, about the illegality of this war
is discussed along with the more important issues of the military complications
and the potentially disastrous consequences for the world economy. The last
chapter in the book deals with the media bias in reporting on the war
preparations and the anti-war movement.
On top of that, there is a
chapter written by Noam Chomsky, not really relevant to what the book has set
out to do, but obviously meant as a sales pusher, more facts and figures and
quite emotional appeals from "11 September relatives" opposing war on
So, does the book do what
Mike Davis promised us on the cover? Not really, as Rai doesn't really set out
to discuss the real reasons for a war on Iraq - control over the vast oil
reserves and US prestige and power in the region and across the world. He also
doesn't endeavour to look at the underlying reasons for war - the unrelenting
drive for profit at any cost which drives the capitalist system.
But what this book does do
is very effectively rebut the media propaganda regarding this war. It will
convince anyone in their right mind that this war is wrong and will have grave
consequences. All in all a useful instrument to strengthen and transform
anti-war sentiments into active opposition to an unjust war.
War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know
by Scott Ritter and William Rivers Pitt
by Alan Lee
Socialist View, Spring 2003, No. 10
former UN weapons inspector, worked with UNSCOM, the United Nations Special
Commission, between 1991 and 1998 when he resigned due to the manner in which
the Commission was being controlled by the US as an intelligence gathering
operation. In an interview format, Ritter describes how he and UNSCOM tracked
down, detected and destroyed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
He clearly outlines that "since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed:
90-95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability has been verifiably
eliminated. This includes all of the factories used to produce chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles".
Combined with the UN sanctions that have been in place since the last Gulf War,
Ritter claims that Iraq hasn't has the ability to obtain the necessary
equipment etc. to produce new weapons.
He also describes how even if chemical or biological material was hidden from
UNSCOM by the Iraqis, due the fact that they destroyed the infrastructure
necessary to produce them and such material has a shelf life of three to five years
"what they're now storing is nothing more than useless, harmless goo"
Ritter has now been branded a traitor in the US by the government and the
media. He has been vilified as an agent of Israel and Iraq as well! Due to the
fact that the truth of this war has not been exposed to the majority of the US
population, someone of Ritter's prestige speaking the truth is a thorn in their
What makes this book even more interesting is that Ritter, far from being a
liberal or to the left, is a member of the Republican Party and voted for Bush
in the 2000 US presidential elections. He sees Bush's war on Iraq as a
catastrophic event that will destabilise the entire Middle East and could even
lead to a nuclear exchange with devastating effects. On this point, he is not
wrong. However, Ritter does not draw any conclusions from this. He sees WMD as
the key reason Bush and Co. are going to war and dismisses oil as any motive
for the war, claiming that "Oil is everywhere in that part of the world.
We can get all the oil we want from Iraq." Ritter therefore misses the
very essence of this war - the control of the oil reserves by the US.