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(en) Workers Solidarity #74 - War: who is it good for?

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 21 Feb 2003 10:07:56 +0100 (CET)


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As war looms in the Gulf again we can be sure
that, whatever the outcome, hundreds of
thousands of lives will be destroyed by the
conflict. A UN report leaked in December
estimated that the war will cost the lives of half
a million Iraqi civilians and create a million
refugees as a result of both direct deaths and the
deliberate distruction of infrastructure.
Furthermore the unwilling soldiers of Saddam's
conscript army face whole-scale butchery at the
hands of the powerful US war machine.

Regardless of the outcome of the war, Iraq will emerge
as a devastated country, strewn with rubble, corpses,
depleted uranium and other long-term environmental
toxins. In the unlikely event that the US invasion is
defeated, all they have to look forward to is more of the
same, suffering under the twin evils of a brutal dictator
and an "international community" that makes the
people pay for the existence of this dictator through
sanctions and bombing.

If the US wins, as it surely will, the only difference will
be that the name of the dictator will change and instead
of the economy being ruined by sanctions, it will be
ruined by the burden of repaying the American war
costs. Senior figures in Bush's administration openly
state their intention of installing a friendly dictator,
occupying the oil fields and using export revenues as
"reparations" for the enormous cost of the war.

US soldiers are likely to suffer far fewer casualties on
the battlefield. However, many of them will still return
home with their lives in ruins. 36% of US soldiers who
saw conflict in the first Gulf War have filed
compensation claims for "Gulf War syndrome" and 87%
of claims have been granted. This syndrome has
multiple causes, from psychological ('shell-shock') to
exposure to toxins (depleted uranium...) and
experimental vaccines.

The effects on the 'grunts' underlines just how little the
US leadership cares about the soldiers who do their
bidding. The only people who have anything to gain
from this war are the elite. Saddam may get to hang
onto power, Bush may extend US control over the world
and its oil supplies, but whatever the outcome, it will
come at the expense of millions of ruined lives, lives
which are of no concern in the power games of Bush and
Saddam. Both armies would be much better off turning
their guns around and saving their bullets for their
billionaire rulers and their war-mongering cronies.



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