March 01, 2003

On Peace - Why I Support The Intervention in Iraq

"Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order--in short, of government." -Albert Einstein

"Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace is a dynamic process of collaboration between all states and peoples. This collaboration must be based on a respect for liberty, independence, national sovereignty, equality, respect for the law, human rights, as well as a just and equitable
distribution of resources to meet the needs of peoples."

In my opinion the two statements above clearly shows that the current situation in Iraq, with the harshest regime on the face of the planet does not even come close to being a country in peace. Amnesty states in its report on Iraq: (Note the usage of the word 'scores'.)

"Scores of people, including possible prisoners of conscience and armed forces officers suspected of planning to overthrow the government, were executed. Scores of suspected anti-government opponents, including people suspected of having contacts with opposition groups in exile, were arrested. The fate and whereabouts of most of those arrested, including those detained in previous years, remained unknown. Several people were given lengthy prison terms after grossly unfair trials before special courts. Torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and detainees were systematic. The two Kurdish political parties controlling Iraqi Kurdistan detained prisoners of conscience, and armed political groups were reportedly responsible for abductions and killings."

So the current discussion on the (short-term) situation in Iraq is not really a discussion on war or peace. Iraq is not in a state of peace, and it is unthinkable that such a state will emerge as long as Saddam Hussein is at power.

The situation, and the decision that the world faces, is often referred to as a devil's alternative. There is no perfect solution to the problem. But there is one that will provide the people of Iraq with a future. A future to grow, a future to prosper. A future without Saddam Hussein.

Sadly that solution involves the use of massive force to remove Saddam Hussein from his presidency. People will die. Civilians will die. They will die live on CNN. You will see mothers cry over the loss of their sons and daughters. Soldiers from the 'coalition of the willing' will die too. A war will be painful - but the day Saddam Hussein is gone there will be hope. It will not be a guarantee of peace - but it will be the hope that the people of Iraq hasn't had for the last 20 years - the hope of a future that will be better than today.

The other option is to just leave Saddam Hussein be. Let him continue to slaughter his own people whenever he deems necessary. There will still be killing. Mothers will cry over the loss of their sons and daughters. But the killing won't be shown on CNN. The mothers will cry in secrecy. The people of the world will once more be able to go to bed at night without the feeling of misery. The day the TV cameras leave Iraq the demonstrators will leave the streets, crawl back into their cafés and drink their fancy coffee. No one ever demonstrated against the 150000 people who have been killed under the rule of Saddam Hussein - or the 1 million casualties of war directly caused by his actions. Why not? Because we cannot see? Because it is Saddam that does the killing and not we? Does that make it ok - is killing ok as long as someone else does it - and as long as we don't see it?

For me this has nothing to do about American desire for oil, the French having interests in the same oil as a contractor to Saddam Hussein, the Russians selling weapons to him or German firms happily being contractors to the regime. Look aside from the big-politics of who should be friendly with whom, and which points of view that are the more opportunistic.

So shall we rank the world's dictators, hunting them down and removing them from power, one by one? The whole lot? My answer; Yes. How can we not? How can we, the ones that have money, the ones that have all what we ever can desire, just sit here and say; "no, it is your dictator, sorry, but we will not help"? It is called double standards - at best.

Yesterday, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiezel visited the White House, and had talks with Dr. Rice, the National Security Advisor. Afterwards they talked to the press with the following statement from Mr. Wiezel (as I received this quote from a Norwegian newspaper I have translated it back to English):

"- I am, as you might believe, no man of war. I have experienced war, and I know that war is a curse. I know what war does to its victims, and the victims are most often children, innocent children. So I oppose war, and thus I support an intervention in Iraq."

This posting was originally submitted to a newsgroup - but was

Posted by ludvig at March 1, 2003 11:41 PM | TrackBack
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