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They see no blood; they see only a chessboard

And so we have a war.

If you listen to George W. Bush, this is a noble war indeed. It is about freeing Iraqis from the shackles of a cruel dictator. It is about creating a model for democracy in the Middle East. It is about eliminating terrorism from its roots.

Don’t listen to this stuff too early in the morning; you may lose your breakfast.

If you believe America is merely reacting to the horrific, unprovoked terrorism emanating from Arab nations, here’s something interesting to consider. The author George Monbiot recently chronicled the activities of the Project for the New American Century, a pressure group established by, among others, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and Paul Wolfowitz. These gentlemen are now high-profile members of the US government, and have been instrumental in orchestrating the lead-up to the war.

More than five years ago, these men urged the “removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power”. They stated, even then, that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN security council.”

In 2000, their inner plan was seeing light. A confidential report said: “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” The wider strategic aim was “maintaining global US pre-eminence”.

These people are in power now, and their elevation made this war truly inevitable. Saddam is merely a pawn whose previous atrocities made him an easy target. September 11 provided the excuse and the means to rally Americans behind this madness. Iraq is merely step one. The ultimate goal is ‘full-spectrum dominance’ by the US.

America will feel the backlash to this leadership for generations to come.

Britain is another country that has been championing the war. Listen to Tony Blair: “These tyrannical states do not care for the sanctity of human life”. And: “(We shall) put the money from Iraqi oil in a UN trust fund so that it benefits Iraq and no-one else”.

I believe him; don’t you?

Consider the activities of an earlier British government in Iraq. The Guardian newspaper revealed recently that a chemical plant that the US says is a key component in Iraq’s chemical warfare arsenal was secretly built by Britain in 1985. Documents show that ministers in Mrs. Thatcher’s government knew that the Falluja 2 chlorine plant was likely to be used for mustard and nerve gas production. Yet, the ministers secretly gave insurance guarantees to the British company involved. Why? Because, said Paul Channon, then Trade minister: “A ban would do our other trade prospects with Iraq no good”.

And so Saddam went on to develop lethal gases and use them on Kurds and Iranians. And the British ministers sat back and commended themselves on protecting British trade prospects. So when their leaders speak to us of “the sanctity of human life”, we know to which humans they refer: as the war broke out last week, the Queen of England excelled herself in saying that she would be praying for the British troops involved.

You’ll forgive me, then, for taking the words of these oh-so-righteous moralisers with truckloads of salt. How they wax lyrical in their moral crusade now, when the same demon Saddam was their favourite Arab in the 1980s! How gallantly they come dashing in on their white chargers to rid the world of evil! The same evil they were busy installing and supporting not so long ago.

Let’s state facts. This war is about flexing US muscles. It is merely a warm-up exercise in a bigger game. It is the pre-cursor to total domination of the Middle East and its oil reserves. Iraq is a pitifully easy target on which to practice.

As for Messrs Bush and Blair’s concern for the Iraqi people: please. They do not give a flying damn about those unfortunate Arabs. We were told the same thing about the even more unfortunate Afghans: that they had to be bombed to smithereens in order to liberate them from an evil regime. That the US’s main concern was the well being of the ordinary people. But having effected the regime change, does the US care about the poor old Afghans?

World Bank president James Wolfensohn recently bemoaned the lack of aid money flowing in to help rebuild Afghanistan. Such is the lack of US concern for that blighted and barren land that the drug lords are taking over again. The Taliban at least banned the cultivation of opium; today, Wolfensohn estimates that three-quarters of all European heroin comes from Afghanistan. Poor Afghanistan: it has no oil, you see. The Americans flattened it and moved on.

The sad thing is that the people who orchestrate these wars feel no personal repercussions. The likes of Bush and Blair have never seen combat, have never lain under a bed wondering if the sound of the screaming missile overhead is the last thing they will hear. But they happily despatch their troops to do these monstrous things on their behalf. To the families of those who meet a grisly end, they offer the meaningless comfort that their sons died in a noble cause. To the bombed-out Afghans and Iraqis, they offer food and medicine. It’s that easy to wipe out the stain.

When you and I stare at the TV screen and see the carnage, we feel something. We see that blood-soaked child in the arms of its screaming mother, and we want to cry with her. We see that father staring at the ruin that was his house, in which his family perished, and we want to put our arms around him. Those who devise these wars, it seems, feel nothing. They talk to us of successful raids, of collateral damage, of neutralisations and decapitations. They see no blood and hear no screams. They see only a chessboard, on which they play their games of domination.

Who will protect us from these people?

We must protect ourselves. This war has the lowest level of international support since Vietnam. It is co-ordinated by a motley crew of reprobates: some unhinged by the smell of power, others just dangerously stupid. We must stand up and be counted in our opposition to them. Booker-Prize winning writer Arundhati Roy put it well: “Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.”

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