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imperialism & war | media criticism

Code Red, White and Blue

Bush's argument that war is necessary to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction is hollow and hypocritical. The Bush Administration is ready to use US weapons of mass destruction against the Iraqis including "Shock and Awe" and possibly nuclear weapons. Millions of people are responding to Code Red, White and Blue, the real threat to world peace and security that America has become.
By Bette Lee

The Bush Administration wants us to believe that a war on Iraq is necessary to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. To make America and the rest of the world a safer place, the Bush regime has amassed thousands of troops, and the world's largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction near Iraq's borders, ready to strike at any time. The Bush regime is ready and willing to unleash these weapons of mass destruction on Iraqi civilians. One military strategy under consideration is "Shock and Awe", where 800 missiles will strike Iraq in two days, twice the total amount of missiles fired on Iraq during the entire 1991 Gulf War. Harlan Ullman, the military strategist credited with developing this strategy in 1996, describes it: "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes." The intent is to terrify and break the Iraqis "physically, emotionally and psychologically." Can anyone even imagine what the "effect" this "Hiroshima in minutes" will have on the people of Iraq?

The use of real nuclear weapons on Iraq is also an option for the Bush warmongers. According to the Washington Times, Bush recently signed National Security Presidential Directive 17, which authorizes the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for an attack of chemical and biological weapons. Rumsfeld has refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq. Even if these two scenarios from hell are avoided, the US attack on Iraq will most likely have catastrophic consequences for its civilians. The category of weapons of mass destruction is in many ways an artificial one, since the use of conventional weapons, such as daisycutters, cluster bombs, and thermobaric arms and even "acceptable" weapons like tanks and machine guns, can lead to mass death and destruction. Also, the specific targeting of a country's infrastructure can easily cause mass death even after the war is over. The resulting diseases and economic and environmental disasters may take a long time to overcome, as we have seen in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.

During the Gulf War, the US intentionally decimated Iraq's infrastructure. Subsequently, the Iraqis have suffered greatly under the US-led sanctions for over 12 years. The sanctions have killed over 1 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children. The Iraqis, weakened by 12 years of poverty, disease, malnutrition and lack of adequate health care, are even more vulnerable to another attack by the US. Half the population of Iraq are children under the age of 15 (about 12 million), and an American attack will put their lives at great risk. How many more children will die as a result of US weapons of mass destruction? But the Bush gang doesn't want us to think about these issues - it's only "collateral damage" to the men with wmd.

The war on Iraq will not make us any safer from terrorist attacks. Instead, this unjust and pre-emptive war will fuel more hatred and anger against us in the Arab-Muslim world and recruit more members for Al-Qaeda. But Bush wants us to live in constant fear and insecurity, enabling ruling elites to extend their wealth and power in pursuit of "full spectrum dominance" under the pretext of the "war on terrorism." Dick Cheney predicts this will be a "war without end."

And so at this historic moment, when we are at the brink of a war that Bush is hellbent on waging, the Bush Administration is attempting to distract our attention away from the human costs of war by scaring us with the threat of further terrorist attacks. The Office of Homeland Security issued a Code Orange alert and advised us to protect ourselves with duct tape, which the corporate media dutifully reported without question and with a straight face. Duct tape?? Are we really spending billions of our tax dollars to fund this kind of bullshit?

Instead of Code Orange, the rest of the world is responding to Code Red, White & Blue. Millions of people took to the streets on Feb. 15 in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin as well as cities in America and many other countries to protest against the real threat to world peace and security that the US Empire represents. Contrary to the advice from the Bush folks, no amount of duct tape or shopping will make us any safer. Only our resolve to resist the terrorists in the White House and stop their "war without end" will make this world a safer place.

Bette Lee is a longtime activist and photographer of resistance in the struggle for social justice, freedom and peace. She can be reached at  joyofresistance@hotmail.com.