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(en) From the desk of...: IRAQ

From "Shawn Ewald" <shawn@wilshire.net>
Date Tue, 10 Feb 1998 11:21:44 -0700
Comments Authenticated sender is <shawn@mail.wilshire.net>
Priority normal



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------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Fred Chase" <iww@provide.net>

  Hey Fellow Workers,

  I write this column on 2/9/98.  The Industrial Worker won't be on
  the streets for another two weeks.  I fear that by then Gulf War II
  may be in progress, maybe even over.  But I've got to hope that the
  fools in power will be forced to delay at least that long so that
  maybe my words can be some small help to stave off some of the
  madness by urging an overwhelming
 reaction  from the working class.  Meanwhile maybe I can reach some
 of you over the
  internet to encourage you to act now and act forcefully...not that
  most Wobs
 will  need any encouragement.  But maybe some other readers will.

   I'm feeling more than a bit distressed by the
   possibility/probability of
  another round of bombing in Iraq.  What's another 100,000+ lives to
  add to the 100,000+ who died the last time and the 500,000 who have
  died since due
 to  the sanctions?  When I hear people saying we should bomb the
 madman who's
  threatening world peace back to the stone age, I have to wonder if
  they mean Saddam or Clinton and his clone Tony Blair.

   I went to hear Bishop Gumbleton of the Detroit Archdioces talk
   Saturday. I don't usually care much for religious leaders, but this
   one is pretty
  unique.  He has a gay brother and has spoken out on the rights of
  gays in the church and society as a whole.  He's been there at every
  major
 demonstration for the Detroit Newspaper workers.  He's been on a fast
 for a couple weeks now in protest over the sanctions in Iraq.  Last
 year he visited Iraq.  He told some things I didn't know, some things
 I'd forgotten as it's been a while
  since Iraq was last on the front burner.

 Is Saddam an asshole?  No doubt.  Seems to go along with being a
  government leader.  But do you wonder why Saddam isn't enthusiastic
  about UN (read U.S. and its flunkies) "humanitarian" aid in exchange
  for the sale of oil?  According to Gumbleton Iraq is allowed to sell
  $4 billion worth of oil every year.  There are estimates that it
  would take $12 billion every year for 10 years to repair the damage
  caused in Iraq by the Gulf War bombings and the concessions of the
  intervening years.  When they sell that $4 billion in oil, the first
  30% goes to Kuwait for reparations, a country with one of, if
 not  the highest per capita net worths in the world.  The next 18%
 goes to the
  U.N. to administer the inspections and concessions.  The remaining
  52% goes
 into  an account administered by the U.N.  All contracts for this
 money have to be
  approved by U.N. administrators.  The U.S. has veto power over any
  contract and has exercised it hundreds of times whenever it
  suspected the product being purchased might have a dual purpose. 
  Never know what might be used for chemical or biological warfare. 
  One of the contracts vetoed by the U.S. was for powdered milk!

   Wonder why some of the inspections might have been refused by
   Saddam?
  Gumbleton said that one inspection was of a convent!  Never know
  what those nuns might be up to.  After the inspectors had rummaged
  around in dresser drawers and closets for a while, they were ordered
  out by the Catholic Bishop.  Gumbleton said this was counted as a
  refusal.

   Why would Iraq object to U.S. and British inspectors?  Maybe
   because
  they are representatives of the governments which have caused such
 devastation over the last decade.  They are the enemy.  It's the
 height of arrogance to suggest that no inspectors from other nations
 with comparable skills could
  be found.  It's the depths of subservience for the other nations of
  the U.N.
 to  allow the U.S. and Britain to insist on this sort of garbage.  It
 seems
  pretty certain that the insults to Iraqi soveriegnity are geared to
  encourage defiance which can then be twisted for propaganda
  purposes.

   Let's not forget that Gulf war I  began when the Kuwaitis were
   stealing
  Iraqi oil through diagonal drilling techniques using  U.S.
  technology. Saddam, a buddy of the U.S. when he was killing Iranians
  who were being supplied with F-14 fighter planes to kill Iraqis at
  the same time, asked the U.S. what their reaction would be if he
  invaded Kuwait.  He was told that it would be considered a regional
  matter, the implication being that the U.S. would not intervene. 
  Bush needed a war to raise his popularity in the polls.  Boom!  over
  100,000 dead Iraqis, mainly teenagers killed as they
 retreated  from the front, the regular army having been devastated
 during the war with
  Iran, many of the wounded buried alive in trenches bulldozed by
  oncoming U.S. forces. Pow! Smart bombs with a 50% accuracy rate
  (wish I had been considered smart in school when I got 50% on a
  test.)  proving their
 effectiveness in  one instance by massacring hundreds of women and
 children when it drilled into  an underground shelter.  If that bomb
 knew what it was doing then it was mass murder by the person giving
 the order.  "They used it for military purposes
  during the day.  We didn't know it was a shelter at night" whined
  U.S. apologists.  Not so smart eh?, you murderers!

  And here we go again, potentially to the brink of WW III in Gulf War
  II.
   You liked the original?  You'll love the sequel.  What's the
   motivation:
  Hiding a sex scandal?  I would put nothing beyond our fearless
  leaders.  But it's more likely that was just a convenient
  coincidence and it's really just a continuation of the same old
  theme:  international capital will tolerate nothing short of total
  subservience.  The message to the oil producing nations is clear. 
  You'll produce what international capital tells you and
 sell it  for prices they set.  Or else they will engage in a war, not
 against you, the
  decision makers, but against your populations.  Now war against
  civilian populations violates a U.N. resolution, but we're kind of
  selective about which violations will lead to carpet bombing.  Last
  time around, according to Gumbleton, the U.S. and its flunkies
  engaged in over 200,000 sorties, dropping a bomb every 3 seconds for
  42 days if GW I, more bombs than were
 dropped by  the  U.S. in all of its little escapades in prior
 history!  Wonder what they
  have up their sleeves to top that.  As usual it will be the working
  class who suffer from the war.  Saddam is likely to survive. 
  Clinton seems
 unlikely  to be phased even by his scandals, let alone by bombs.  He
 won't hold a dead
  Chelsea in his arms and cry as thousands of Iraqis are likely to
  have to do with their children.  The same old shit.

   We get used to capitalist atrocities.  It's hard to keep track of
   them,
  let alone respond to them all.  But once in a while one with a
  potential to be so horrendous comes along,  that it's time for
  people of good will to lay down their tools, step away from their
  desks, and say "you've gone too far." This feels like one of those
  times to me.  It will take hundreds of
 thousands,  maybe millions in the streets to get Washington's
 attention.  I'm not
  confident that can happen soon enough.  But I'll be there, wherever
  any protest and direct action I can reach is going on, and I hope
  you will too. I'm hoping for actions which will block traffic, shut
  down federal buildings, shut down business as usual until it becomes
  clear to Clinton and the capitalists he serves that we aren't going
  to be complicit in their war crimes. Do what you can, Fellow
  Workers.

   See you on the picket line.  See you at the sit-in, See you in
   jail.  I
  think that's where most people with any sense of justice are likely
  to be found in the coming days.   And Butcher Clinton, Butcher
  Blair,  if there should prove to be a just god, I'll expect to see
  you in Hell!

  Fred Chase
  IWW General Secretary/Treasurer

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