The War
By Eduardo Galeano

Just think. In the middle of last year, when this war was still
only gestating, George W. Bush stated that 'we have to be ready
to attack in any obscure corner of the world'; ergo, Iraq is an
obscure corner of the world. Does Bush believe that civilization
began in Texas and his fellow Texans invented writing? Has he
really never heard of the library of Niniveh, the tower of Babel
or the hanging gardens of Babylon? Has he really never heard
even one of the tales in the thousand and one nights of Baghdad?

* * *

Who elected him president of this planet anyway? I was never
asked to vote in any such elections. Were you?

Would we elect a president who was deaf to the population? Would
we elect a man incapable of hearing any but the echoes of his
own voice? A man deaf to the ceaseless thunder of millions of
voices in the streets declaring peace on war?

He has not even heeded a word of friendly advice from the German
writer Günter Grass. Realising that Bush felt driven to
demonstrate something very important to his daddy, Grass
suggested that he see a psychoanalyst rather than bombing Iraq.

* * *

In 1898, president William McKinley declared that God had
commanded him to seize the Philippines in order to civilize and
christianize their inhabitants. McKinley said that he had spoken
with God at midnight as he roamed the corridors of the White
House. Over a century later, president Bush assures us that God
is on his side in the conquest of Iraq. What time was it and
where was he, we wonder, when he got the divine message? We
might also ask why the messages to Bush and to the Pope at Rome
were so contradictory.

* * *

War has been declared in the name of the international
community, which is sick of wars. And as per usual, war has been
declared in the name of peace. It's not about oil, they say. And
yet, if Iraq produced radishes rather than oil, would anyone
seriously suggest invading?

Have Bush, Dick Cheney and sweet Condoleeza Rice really all
given up their top jobs in the oil industry? Why is Tony Blair
so obsessed with the Iraqi dictator? Could it be because 30
years ago Saddam Hussein nationalized the British Iraq Petroleum
Company? And how many oil wells is José María Aznar expecting to
get when the spoils are divvied up?

The oil-drunk consumer society is deathly afraid of withdrawal
symptoms. And Iraq is where the black elixir is cheapest, and
possibly most plentiful.

In a peace demonstration in New York, one placard read: "Why is
our oil beneath their sands?".

* * *

The United States says it expects a lengthy military occupation
following its victory. US generals will be in charge of setting
up democracy in Iraq.

Will this be a democracy like in Haiti, the Dominican Republic
or Nicaragua? They occupied Haiti for 19 years and set up a
military power base that eventually became the dictatorship of
Francois Duvalier. They occupied the Dominican Republic for nine
years and laid the foundations for the dictatorship of Rafael
Leonidas Trujillo. They occupied Nicaragua for 21 years and
founded the dictatorship of the Somoza family.

* * *


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