Solution For Iraq: A Bad War Tribunal Or A Good Guerilla Attack?
By Agustin Velloso
20 March, 2007
March 2003, the acute suffering of the Iraqi people, due to the sanctions
imposed by the international community in 1991, was made worse by the
US led coalition invading armies. The inhuman character of those responsible
for the comprehensive blockade was made clear in the words of the then
US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright in 1996. Journalist Leslie
Stahl asked Albright on 60 Minutes: "We have heard that half a
million [Iraqi] children have died. I mean, that's more children than
died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"Secretary
of State Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice,
but the price - we think the price is worth it."
The blockade, the aggression
and the occupation of Iraq are the pillars of a policy designed and
carried out in a coordinated way by several Western countries led by
the US. We are talking about untold and endless injustice. On the other
hand, the rape of Iraq is not the only one to be condemned: Afghanistan,
Palestine and Lebanon have also been attacked and Iran is in the list.
Some facts clearly reflect
the extreme cruelty of the treatment accorded to Muslim countries by
Western powers. Amongst the first ones, members of the US Congress -and
the Spanish Parliament also- applauding as Bush and Aznar respectively
announced the invasion of Iraq. The sadism sported by people who perfectly
understood the meaning of a campaign of "shock and awe" and
knew the destructive power of Western armies cannot be found even in
Shortly after the aggression
was launched, a picture in the newspapers gave an accurate warning of
events to come: it showed an Iraqi man holding in his arms a little
girl, whose left leg was a blood soaked stump. Then, more gruesome pictures
arrived: tortured prisoners, corpses under the rubble, destruction everywhere,
small children with strange cancers caused by depleted uranium weapons.
One question was inescapable:
why these children who know nothing, who have done no harm to the US,
are made over into monsters and condemned - if they survive - to a terrible
life? Dante did not picture a hell like this for sinners.
Later on, elections were
held in the US -and in Israel. Voters supported their governments' policies
when they re-elected the very same people who ordered the crime. One
can understand that the masters of the world are heartless, that is
why they got the power and the benefits, but what makes an average citizen,
with family and normal empathy for others, support policies contrary
Of course there has been
a lot of criticism by people opposed to the blockade and the occupation.
Some voices have been raised to demand a tribunal to judge those Western
leaders and a new Nuremberg Tribunal is mentioned.
Nowadays, discussions about
Iraq revolve around the new strategies made public by the same leaders
who originated the disaster. Together with think-tank experts, they
announce several ways to leave Iraq's quagmire, such as untimely and
absurd plans like staying the course, increasing security in Bahgdad,
talking to neighbouring countries and so on. These plans are the new
version of the weapons of mass destruction, the al-Qaeda connection
and the like: poor, uninteresting tricks of latterday sorcerer's apprentices.
On the other hand: Do proposals
about war tribunals have any interest? Not much really, because two
basic conditions can not be guaranteed. Firstly: all leaders involved
should be judged without delay. Secondly: all victims should be compensated
and all harm made up, no matter the cost.
An arrest warrant impeded
by legal or political reasons, would be simply a new injustice. Besides,
history shows that neither the US nor Israel pay reparations for their
aggressions. The mere proposal of taking US or Israel leaders to a war
crimes tribunal are nothing but empty threats and do not comfort their
victims. If there is no punishment, no reparations, and no
measures to prevent new aggressions, the crime remains unpunished and
It is unreasonable to think
Commanders-in-Chief will ever sit in the dock at a war crimes tribunal.
This proposal amounts to nothing, unless a massive international popular
campaign is carried out. What we are seeing is that fewer and fewer
people are really concerned - beyond mere words - about Iraq's fate.
Nobody but the victims themselves
will try and redress the situation. However, living under occupation
and with no means to establish such a tribunal, they will not get justice
without violence. The way forward is to make the invaders pay a high
price for the damage they cause. Vietnam and Lebanon are handy precursors
in this respect.
It is more than somewhat
ironic that all the laws enacted since the United Nations were established
and the huge resources of the international community have been unable
to achieve what small rocket-propelled grenades, human-bombs and improvised
explosive devices are working hard to achieve: put an end to the Occupation
and get justice for the victims
The reaction to the crimes
that are perpetrated in Iraq and in the Middle East should change from
asking for war tribunals if there is not enough power to establish them,
to support the Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese resistance against the
aggressors and the occupiers. It is not certain that the resistance
will achieve justice, but it is certain that the aggressors will not
bring justice. Any effective support given to the resistance is far
better than words without action.
Every helicopter brought
down, every tank destroyed, every element of the occupation attacked,
is an act in favour of the victims. Hence, the satisfaction, the comfort
and the hope felt by these and their supporters when the resistance
reaches its targets.
At the same time, each attack
on the invading armies is a step towards the "re-humanization"
of the aggressors. Only by making them share the pain, will they be
able to understand other people's pain and recover their humanity. There
is no evidence of signs of regret by the aggressors or concern for their
victims. Hence the urgency of forcing them to do so.
English version reviewed
by toni solo.
Agustín Velloso es
profesor de la Universidad Nacional de Educación a
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