Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal, February 21, 1998
This thing is not about arms, it's about oil
by David Orchard
So the nation with more "weapons of mass destruction" than any
other tells us to beware of Iraq.
The country which has done more invading than any in history warns,
"Iraq must be stopped."
Iraq "may" possess and "might" use chemical and biological weapons,
says the U.S. -- which has used them repeatedly, from Vietnam to
Cuba, and now proposes to blow whatever amounts Iraq may have into
the atmosphere, with nuclear weapons if necessary.
Iraq is an "unpredictable rogue state," announces Washington,
which in 1991 fired 900 tons of depleted uranium into Iraq, drenching
it with permanent, radioactive contamination.
Iraq is a threat to world peace, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair declare.
Did Iraq overthrow Guatemala's government, 1954? Attack Cuba and
assassinate Congo's prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, 1961? Invade
the Dominican Republic, 1965? Drop 10,000,000 tons of bombs, chemicals
and napalm on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, 1965-1973? Overthrow and
assassinate Chile's Salvador Allende, 1973? Invade Grenada, 1983
and Panama, 1989? Saddam Hussein is accused of being a modern Hitler.
How has a small, virtually landlocked country, dependent on imported
food and exports of oil -- both cut off by sanctions -- publicly
stripped of its weapons, embargoed and guarded by a phalanx of the
world's most advanced weaponry, inspected 2,186 times over seven
years, incapable of even flying over its own territory, become equal
to Nazi Germany?
War may come, our leaders say. How is war possible when only one
side has weapons? Is the operative word not massacre?
Iraq is a Third World country, smaller than the province of Saskatchewan;
its population is roughly 20 million with an average income today,
according to the New York Times, of $2 per month.
Devastated during the one-sided 1991 Gulf War -- U.S. officials
referred to it as a "turkey shoot"-- Iraq has since been bled white
by seven years of sanctions and embargo. Since 1991, over one million
Iraqis have died a slow starving death, (two-thirds of them children,
making mockery of the U.N. declaration on the Rights of the Child),
and millions more are suffering physical damage and drastically
shortened lives. The majority of the population is reduced to "semi-starvation,"
according to the World Health Organization. Radiation-ravaged and
deformed children are denied any relief from their agony by an embargo
harsher than that imposed on Germany following World War II. The
recent U.S. Bishop's statement to President Clinton reads, "Epidemics
rage, taking away infants and the sick by the thousands..." The
starvation of a population is clearly prohibited by international
law, even during war, yet under this embargo a child is dying in
Iraq every ten minutes.
Now Iraq faces another overwhelming attack by the world's superpower
-- and a few sycophantic spear-carriers, including Canada. This
is not a U.N. action. The Security Council has not authorized it
and the U.N. Charter does not authorize member states to take unilateral
In 1804, Haiti was the first Latin American country to achieve
its independence, through a slave revolt. The U.S., supported by
Britain, imposed a 60-year embargo on the island; it did not want
slave rebellion at home. For almost 40 years, Washington has embargoed
Cuba and attempted to assassinate its leaders. Independence in the
Caribbean continues to be an offence.
For 30 years the U.S. blockaded Vietnam. Vietnam's crime? It defeated
Now the U.S. refuses to lift the embargo against Iraq. Why?
Almost a century ago, Britain seized the Persian Gulf area, and
carved a border between Iraq and Kuwait -- a division never accepted
by Iraq and renounced formally by it in 1961 after it overthrew
the British-imposed monarch and achieved independence. In the 1930s,
Britain conceded the entire oil reserves of the region to U.S. and
In the 1970s, Iraq nationalized (with compensation) its oil industry
and its citizens achieved a very high standard of living. In 1989,
a high power U.S. delegation visited Baghdad and demanded Iraq privatize
its oil industry. Iraq refused. Today Iraq stands in the way of
complete U.S. (and British) control of the oil resources of the
In 1951, the Mossadeq government of Iran nationalized its oil.
Britain and the U.S. imposed draconian sanctions and two years later
the U.S. overthrew Mossadeq, calling him "that madman." In the early
1970s, Libya nationalized its oil reserves and built impressive
health, education and construction projects in that once impoverished
nation. President Nixon publicly reminded Libyan leader Moammar
Gaddaffi of Mossadeq's fate and U.S. officials began referring to
Gaddaffi as a "Hitler," a "terrorist" and a "mad dog." In 1986,
the U.S., supported by Britain, bombed Libya, wounding Gaddaffi's
wife, injuring all seven of his children, and killing his infant
When Pierre Trudeau's government introduced the National Energy
Programme, 1980, with its goal of 50% Canadian ownership of the
industry, Washington, outraged, publicly warned that "relationships
are sliding dangerously towards crisis." U.S. officials, referring
to the 1973 Chilean coup, spelled out a plan to topple Trudeau by
"destabilizing" Quebec and Ontario.
Now Ottawa has volunteered to help Washington unleash the world's
most horrendous weapons in an illegal and profoundly racist holocaust
against the defenceless citizens of the cradle of recorded civilization.
Call it privatization at the point of uranium-tipped missiles.
David Orchard is the author
of The Fight for Canada - Four Centuries of Resistance to American
Expansionism and was runner-up to Joe Clark in the 1998 federal
Progressive Conservative leadership contest. He farms in Borden,
SK and can be reached at tel (306) 664-8443 or by e-mail at email@example.com