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For this message, we have a bit of sarcasm and humor to peel away the mystifications...and a bit of sobriety for the same aim. The essays are from two of ZNet's Sustainer commentators Eduardo Galeano and Sudhanva Deshpande. Please check out the Sustainer Program when you have a chance at http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm -- and please also check out our dramatically redesigned and restructured Iraq coverage at http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Iraq/IraqCrisis.htm -- as well as the steady flow of new material, of course. ------------- 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. * * * The Somoza dynasty, set on the throne by the Marines, lasted half a century before being swept away by popular fury in 1979. Then, president Ronald Reagan got on his horse and set out to rescue the country from the threat of the Sandinista revolution. Among the poorest of the poor, Nicaragua was a country with all of five elevators, and one escalator that didn't work. Nevertheless, Reagan proclaimed that Nicaragua was a menace; and as he spoke, TV screens showed a map of the United States with a red stain spreading from the south to illustrate the course of the imminent invasion. Can president Bush be copying the panic-rousing speeches of his predecessor? Can Bush be saying Iraq where Reagan said Nicaragua? * * * Newspaper headlines in the run-up to war: "The United States is prepared to resist attack". Record sales of insulating tape, gas masks, radiation pills ... Why is the executioner more afraid than the victim? Is it only this climate of collective hysteria? Or does it tremble at the foreseeable consequences of its actions? And what if Iraqi oil sets fire to the world? Will this war not be just the vitamin shot that international terrorism was looking for? * * * We are told that Saddam Hussein succours the fanatics of Al Qaeda. What is this - his very own viper's nest? Islamic fundamentalists loathe him. Can we say that a country is satanic where people watch Hollywood movies, many schools teach English, the Muslim majority do nothing to prevent Christians walking about sporting crucifixes and it is not uncommon to see women wearing trousers and daring blouses? There were no Iraqis among the terrorists who demolished the twin towers of New York. Almost all of them were from Saudi Arabia, the US's number one client in the world. Another Saudi is Bin Laden, the villain that the satellites track as he flees on horseback across the desert and the first to step forward whenever Bush requires his services as professional ogre. * * * Did you know that in 1953 president Dwight D. Eisenhower said that "preventive war" was invented by Adolf Hitler? He said: "...frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing". * * * The United States makes and sells more arms than any other country in the world. It is also the only nation to have dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. And traditionally it has always been at war with somebody. Who is it that threatens world peace? Iraq? * * * So Iraq does not heed United Nations (UN) resolutions? And what about Bush, who has just dealt the most resounding blow ever to international legality? And what about Israel, the leading specialist in ignoring UN resolutions? Iraq has ignored 17 UN resolutions, Israel 64. Will Bush bomb his most loyal ally? * * * Iraq was devastated by the war waged by Bush senior in 1991and has been starved by the blockade following it. What weapons of mass destruction can so thoroughly ruined a country possess? Israel, which has been usurping Palestinian land since 1967, has an arsenal of nuclear weapons that guarantees its impunity. And then Pakistan, another faithful ally and furthermore a notorious hotbed of terrorists, flaunts its own nuclear warheads. But the enemy is Iraq, because Iraq "could possess" such weapons. If it did indeed possess them, as North Korea claims to do, would they be so keen to attack? And what about chemical and biological weapons? Who sold Saddam Hussein the chemicals he needed to make the poison gases that asphyxiated Kurds, and the helicopters they were launched from? Why won't Bush let us see the receipts? In those years of war against Iran and war against the Kurds, was Saddam any less of a dictator than he is now? Donald Rumsfeld himself visited him on a mission of friendship. Why are we so concerned about the Kurds of Iraq and not about the much greater number of Kurds murdered in Turkey? * * * Defence Secretary Rumsfeld has announced that his country will use "non-lethal gases" against Iraq. Will these be the kind of non-lethal gases that Vladimir Putin used last year in a Moscow theatre, killing over a hundred hostages? * * * There were a few days there when the United Nations covered up Picasso's Guernica with a curtain so that Colin Powell would not be put off his bugle calls by such nasty scenes. What size of curtain will they use to cover up the butchery in Iraq, in the form of blanket censorship imposed on war correspondents by the Pentagon? * * * Where will the souls of the Iraqi victims go? According to reverend Billy Graham, president Bush's spiritual adviser and celestial surveyor, paradise is none too roomy - no more than fifteen hundred square miles. The chosen will be few. Now guess which country has bought up all the entrance tickets? * * * And one last question, borrowed from John Le Carré: - Will they kill many people, daddy? - No-one you know, dear. Just foreigners. [translated by Alistair Ross] --- George Bush in New Delhi Sudhanva Deshpande A large demonstration was held today, on 22 March 2003, at the American Embassy in New Delhi. The demonstration was going on expected lines as speaker after speaker condemned the American action in Iraq, till a most unexpected event occurred. A spokesman of the British High Commission arrived and wanted to address the protestors. The organizers graciously extended permission to him to do so. The protestors, however, were very angry at this and determined not to let the man have his say. Chaos reigned for several minutes as the protestors shouted the man down. For a while it even seemed that the whole thing would turn ugly and violent. Wiser counsels prevailed, however, and the man was allowed to speak. I report below, verbatim, his statement: "Ladies and gentlemen, the American embassy is very concerned about your protest gathering. President George W. Bush himself has been following these protest gatherings across the world. We are all very concerned. I am a spokesman of the British High Commission. I have been sent here in order to explain the American position to you. "Actually, Mr Blair wanted to come here himself. But there are too many protests across the whole world, and there is no way that he can be present at every one of them to explain Mr Bush's stand. So he sent me instead. You see, Mr Blair is very loyal. More loyal than the king. He has even proposed to amend our national anthem to 'God Save the King'. "We are very concerned. We are concerned that you are denying America's democratic rights. The real test of any democracy is the rights accorded to minorities. President Bush is always very concerned about the rights of minorities. He is therefore delighted that even though Mr Blair has won the vote in the House of Commons, he is clearly in the minority in the Labour Party as well as in Britain at large. "Indeed, President Bush himself is also very much in the minority. Because while the anti-war protestors across the globe number millions, he numbers only one. Some claim that if judged by intellectual ability, he numbers zero. But this is a disputed claim, and we have no intention of sending UN inspectors to find the truth, since you will appreciate that it is highly embarrassing to discover an empty warhead right inside the White House. "As I was saying, President Bush is very much in the minority - in the world, in the Security Council, and indeed in America itself. In fact, he even won his election by minority. As the head - empty or otherwise - of the tiniest minority in the whole world, you will appreciate that it is President Bush's democratic right to bomb Iraq. I am sure I don't have to tell you the reason - you can read between the pipelines. "President Bush is very concerned about this protest. Indeed, it is my great privilege to inform you that he has decided to come all the way to India to explain his stand to you. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President George W. Bush." The large crowd of protestors was shocked and awed. A hush descended on the scene. Someone started singing a song to welcome the great man. George Bush, We Salute You! Welcome President, we salute you We salute Your Excellency Your essential decency Your inadvertent coherency Oh living necromancy We salute you! We salute your democratic vision Your total hate of reason Your vivid confusion Oh logical delusion We salute you! We salute your actions inept Your capacity for imagining fact Your illogical concept Oh weapon of mass decept We salute you! We salute your daddy's commandment A dutiful son in government Iraq's democratic bombardment Your alibi of disarmament We salute you! We salute you without comment Oh empty head intelligent We salute you without hesitant God save our great President We salute you! As the song ended, President Bush took the microphone. He had a gun in his hand. Reproduced below is his speech, word for word. "Hi. I don't have a written speech. I asked my Vice President to write one for me. He refused. He's a real dick. He said, 'Mr President, you don't need words. So long as you have a gun.' "Now, you may wonder why I have come here with a gun. You see, before coming here, I phoned my daddy. I said to my daddy: 'Daddy, I am going to India.' My daddy said to me: 'Be careful son. You are from the wild west. Beware of the injuns.' I said to my daddy: 'Don't worry daddy. I never misunderestimate my adversity.' "Sorry. I got that wrong. I mean I never misunderestimate my adversary. . . Sorry. I mean I always misunderstand my diversity. . . Sorry. I mean I never misstate my synchronicity. . . Sorry. I mean I never underestimate my idioticity. . . Sorry. I mean . . . you know what I mean. "But don't be scared of this gun. It is not a weapon of mass destruction. Those are for Saddam. I bring here only weapons of mass deception. "I am very concerned about your protest. You believe that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction because those inspectors could not find any. They are stupid. They are blind. They kept looking in factories and military establishments, when the weapon of mass destruction was right there, all along, in front of them. Saddam. "I know that world opinion is against this war. So I called my advisors and I said to them: 'The rest of the world thinks we are wrong.' Dick didn't know what 'think' is. Colin didn't know what 'wrong' is. And Donald didn't know what 'rest of the world' is. "This war is not against a country. This war is not against a religion. This war is to destroy weapons of mass destruction. This war did not start with Iraq. And it will not end with Iraq. We are committed to fight this war across all continents, in each and every country on this planet. Because, you see, there are weapons of mass destruction in all countries of the world. "Now you may wonder at that. But let me tell you, we have deep and broad evidence. The CIA has compiled a big fat dossier on a new weapon of mass destruction that is being assembled in a million different locations across the globe. Just this morning I was talking to Tony, and he told me how this weapon has terrorized his party. He says some terrorized ministers have resigned from his cabinet. Apparently even his best cook has resigned. "Now, that got me thinking. I said, what's cooking? And as I sat there thinking - it hurts, I admit, but I do it every once in a while - that Spanish fella called me. What's his name - Aznaro, I think. Or is it Pizzaro? I know it's not Picasso. That's the singer. Anyway, he said many members of his parliament have been terrorized by this weapon. Then that Danish chap - forget his name - called to say that his face was reddened in a terrorist attack. And that Aussie - you know who I mean - called to say he can't use his front door any more for he fears a terrorist attack using this weapon of mass destruction. "And even back home in the US of A, I find this weapon of mass destruction rearing its ugly head in more than two hundred cities across the country. "A weapon of greater power cannot be imagined. It is a weapon that has shaken empires, ground them to dust. Come to think of it, as I look at you, I find that weapon right here. And I am determined to crush it. Come what may. From Bom-bay to the USA." And, to underline his resolve, President Bush broke into rap. Georgie rap The fact is with subliminal tactics We establish hegemony across the atlas Blow those who oppose us to dust and ashes Oil - big business and cash is what the clash is I follow my science and diabolical thesis Blow you up and leave you with the pieces I talk about freedom and good and evil in my speeches The make believe increases On a daily basis My white TV faces Disgrace the coloured races And erases the traces Like hushed up rape cases I never knew shame I'm way ahead in the game The money and the fame I can make you feel pain Worse than a million migraine I sold my soul Now I reign supreme Your worst nightmare is my American dream I make the world burn like gasoline It used to be God save the queen But now it is God save America >From the KKK to the USA God save America >From the CIA to the USA God save America >From Baghdad to Bombay God save America. Sudhanva Deshpande is a playwright, actor and director with the New Delhi based street theatre group, Jana Natya Manch. He wishes to state that the above is an eyewitness account, as objective as it is verifiable. He can be reached at [EMAIL PROTECTED] ===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.