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imperialism & war

Blair's Wartime Publicity Stunt Flops As Tide Turns Against War

September 26, 2002
Blair's Wartime Publicity Stunt Flops
As Tide Turns Against War
For months, Blair has been promising a dramatic revelation on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, claiming that he would produce conclusive evidence that would prove once and for all that Iraq threatens the world.
But world reaction to the report is that it's bogus. UN representatives have rejected it as a case for an attack on Iraq. Blair's wartime publicity stunt has flopped, revealing mounting opposition to Bush's push for war.
Amidst the world's rejection of Blair's report, Al Gore's statements about Iraq and Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's attack on Bush reflect an election-year perception among Democrats that Bush is isolated in his drive for war.

Gore noted the "great anxiety all around the world not primarily about what the terrorist networks are going to do but about what we are going to do."
The fact that Gore -- no peacenik nor any friend of the world's poor -- felt compelled to make anti-war statements shows a great rumbling of opposition that has prompted him to speak out, as well as a fear in the political establishment that the war is a mistake.

After Rumsfeld canceled his appearance at the D.C. arms bazaar, the target of anti-war demonstrations, and protesters disrupted his statements the next day to the House Armed Services Committee, this week's CBS News Poll showed noted that the Bush Administration's all-out campaign to "clarify" its position on Iraq has failed, and has "not led to an increase in support for military action in Iraq."
Blair first made the promise to reveal a smoking gun on April 1, claiming that he would prove Bush's case on Iraq. This was when Bush originally wanted to begin his "attack Iraq" campaign, but shelved it, because Washington feared that the anger over Israel's treatment of Palestinians, then manifesting throughout the Middle East and the world, would have erupted into mass rebellions.

On April 22, Blair promised again. In August and September, he promised he was on the verge of the announcement.
He waited until now -- while the Bush Administration is arm-twisting Congress and the UN -- to come up with nothing: a report Russia calls "propaganda furor."

In Britain, Blair faces massive opposition to the war. Commentators constantly refer to him derisively as Bush's lapdog, and cartoons portray him as a poodle. Dissenters in the Labour Party released a "counter-dossier," which provided factual and logical relief to the hysteria promoted by the Bush/Blair propaganda axis: "Most of the discussion on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from British and American governmental sources has focused on Iraq's capabilities. However, a more fundamental question is why the Iraqi regime would ever use weapons of mass destruction ... "
The counter-dossier continues: "Iraq would face with massive reprisals if its leadership ever ordered the use of weapons of mass destruction on the US or Europe. It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which the Iraqi regime would use these weapons directly against any western country. The only conceivable exception would be if the Iraqi leaders felt they had nothing left to lose: that is, if they were convinced of their own imminent demise as a result of an invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were not used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, despite having both a much more developed capacity than it holds at present and the routing of its army. The best way to avoid prompting Iraqi leaders to use any non-conventional capacity would be to refrain from invading Iraq or attempting to assassinate or depose its rulers."

The sole value of Blair's dossier is its timing -- coming days before Washington hopes the UN will pass a resolution backing the war Bush and his oil friends want so badly.
Most of the "information" Blair offers in the report has long been in the public domain, and could have been issued on April 1. But Blair is obviously following the advice of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who in August admitted Bush would wait until September to press his case for war, because that made more sense "from a marketing point of view." In other words, timing is everything: wartime propaganda is more effective if done when it will have maximum effect -- in September, when people are mourning the tragedy of September 11. The isolated Bush Administration now also desperately needs support, a week after Washington's true war goals were exposed when Iraq allowed inspectors back in and Bush wouldn't take yes for an answer.

Supposedly damning facts offered in the dossier are just manipulations of the truth. The report states: "Under Saddam Hussein Iraq developed chemical and biological weapons [and] acquired missiles allowing it to attack neighboring countries with these weapons." The only time Iraq attacked its neighbors with chemical weapons was in its war with Iran. Both sides used chemical weapons; and Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 at the public urging of the United States, who feared the Iranian revolution that had overthrown Washington's puppet Shah in 1979. U.S.-backed monarchies in the Gulf gave Iraq the intelligence it needed to invade, starting an eight-year war that would see Donald Rumsfeld serve as Washington's envoy to Iraq. Washington supplied both sides with weapons, to prevent the emergence of a state in the region that could challenge U.S. oil interests (The Fire This Time, Ramsey Clark, pg. 5-8, 2002 edition).
As opposition to the war increases, so does mobilization for the October 26 March on Washington to Stop the War Before It Starts. In New York, 100 buses have been reserved for the demonstration, which, after being announced in early September, has already received over 2,000 endorsements. Oilmen Bush and Cheney want to start a war they won't fight in that will cost billions and take more money from people's needs. Only when there is a massive people's movement will there be a real debate about where that money should really go.

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