Ian Dickson on Wed, 9 Apr 2003 04:59:10 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Iraq, Israel, Terrorism and Warfighting

1) I am a Brit who supported the war from day one. Saddam had a history 
of lying, using WMD, etc, as well as being a tyrant. Since he fought the 
inspectors the first time it was incredible to think that once they had 
gone he had then destroyed what he sought so hard to keep, and , er, 
lost the records as well. Maybe his dog ate them.

Background - My wife grew up in a country occupied under arms by a 
tyranny, (she is Lithuanian, which was occupied by the Russians for 50 
years), and my parents spent five years in very dysfunctional State 
where bribery of officials was the norm, indeed the only way to get most 
of them to do their jobs, (India mid to late 80's).

I find that people who have only lived under a fairly just rule of law 
cannot understand what it like to live under an unjust system. They have 
never felt powerless, and can't imagine it.

The US was right to take up arms, as were we. With luck it might even 
make other potential Dictators think twice about things.

But I do have a problem though with calling Iraqis terrorists if they 
fight the invaders (which we are) using whatever means they have. I am 
most concerned that the US, and to an extent us, seem to think that the 
presence or otherwise of a uniform determines whether a gunman is a 
soldier or a terrorist.

A terrorist is defined by his actions, not his dress. Forcing women, at 
gunpoint, to drive car bombs at Americans is terrorism. Volunteering 
freely to do so is not, not until the war is over and Government 

IMO all Iraqis should be treated as simple POWs unless there are clear 
reasons otherwise. Of course any captured Iraqis who is found to have 
been a pillar of the regime might face prosecution for such crimes as 
they committed. The Cuban option MUST NOT be used. (Indeed it shouldn't 
be being used now).

The period to look at is WW2. If the Iraqis,  in defence of Iraq, do 
things that the French Resistance did, then in the current war that is 
not terrorism. The fact that your opponent terrifies you does not make 
him a terrorist.

Roll on a Democratic Iraq.

2) There is however a grave danger of winning the war but losing the 

The issue is Israel.

Most Arabs can live with a 1967 Israel. Most Palestinians can too.

If there is to be peace, and the recruiting card for terrorism to be 
torn up, Israel must become peaceful and stop its occupation.

Hamas, (et al), as an organisation fighting invaders of Palestinian 
territory, can legitimately do anything it likes. When fighting a modern 
war, if you are the weaker side, everything is a target, especially if 
the actual soldiers are too heavily protected to be hit effectively.

Hamas, as an organisation trying to continue a war with an Israel 
seeking peace, and behind 1967 boundaries, with settlements dismantled, 
would very soon lose the support that it requires, and fold.

The only country that can exert any effective pressure on Israel is the 
USA. It must start to use actions as well as words - cutting off funds 
and support for Sharon unless he takes concrete action. Highlighting 
that they would like to put him on trial for the camp massacres of the 
1982 invasion might concentrate his mind.

(Consider that the US shot General Yamishita on the grounds that either 
he knew and approved of the murders carried out by the occupying 
Japanese army that he was in charge of, (direct guilt) or he didn't, in 
which case he was guilty of their deaths through incompetent command. 
With this useful precedent they should be able to convince S that they 
are serious, let alone any comparisons with Milosovich).

ian dickson                                  www.commkit.com
phone +44 (0) 1452 862637                    fax +44 (0) 1452 862670
PO Box 240, Gloucester, GL3 4YE, England

           "for building communities that work"

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