THE Pope’s call for peace (CL 19/1/03) surely ignites a ray of hope in the hearts of most people, a hope that the spectre of war can be dispelled, and a painless resolution produced for the terrifying situation that exists in the threat to Iraq.
We have to concur with the Pope: ‘War … is always a death for humanity’ – that is, a failure in what we essentially are as humans. Patently humans should be mutually supporting and caring, not as some decorative virtue, but for trueness to self, and for the massive gain involved.
However, while it takes two to have a war, it only takes one to start it. The language of the Pope recognises this, but requires that the response of war be the very last thing. This is something, however, you can only usefully address to people who have a chance of making a civilised response – in the best meaning of that term.
The United States is increasingly isolated as it builds up its army to threaten Iraq. This isolation rests in the main on the lack of evidence to confirm that Iraq does indeed have the weaponry of mass destruction that the Americans accuse them of having.
While the recent discovery of unlawful rocket warheads indicates the presence of the proscribed activities, the evidence, so far, is not adequate. Relevant people will have to decide ultimately when the search has gone far enough – that will not be easy.
Now, given that Hussein would recognise that the US would be aroused if there were any overt activity in terms of the proscribed weaponry, we must expect that he would be very covert. This would probably involve underground operations.
To operate chemical and biological factories underground would be relatively easy. To manufacture nuclear weapons in this way would be possible, but much more difficult. However that does not make the world any safer for people as the former two can be very deadly and much easier to deliver.
A light aircraft or a motor vehicle running through a city could deliver deadly doses of disease and poison.
Some time would elapse before a disease or a chemical took effect – the perpetrators could be anywhere. The US never did find the individual who posted the anthrax letters and it’s improbable that they ever will.
If the US were to start hostilities with Iraq then Hussein, who is bold and defiant in the face of the American threat, could already have in place systems for delivering death on a grand scale. On the other hand, if he is not ready at this stage, allowing him more time could be just what he wants.
In debating in Congress, Bush said of his critics: ‘They argue that because he has not got the bomb there is no need for action. If we don’t take action and he develops the bomb, they will then argue that we should not take action because he has the bomb’.
The issue here is that, given his boldness in the situation, he may already have a bomb equivalent, a network of stations in US cities and other enemy countries that can release death on a massive scale in a short time. Such stations would appear innocuous and be easy to hide.
This assumes that for the obvious neglect of his people since the Gulf War, there has been a concomitant, feverish drive to re-establish his power base.
If he is in that position, perhaps the pacifists’ response, to let him call the tune, is the only one we have. This would mean that a moderate power like Iraq, with low socio/political development, could take over the world.
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