Sunday, 6 April 2003

We see too much. We know too much.

That's our best defence

by John Pilger


We now glimpse the forbidden truths of the invasion of Iraq. A man cuddles the body of his in-fant daughter; her blood drenches them. A woman in black pursues a tank, her arms outstretched; all seven in her family are dead. An American Marine murders a woman because she happens to be standing next to a man in a uniform. "I'm sorry,'' he says, "but the chick got in the way.''

Covering this in a shroud of respectability has not been easy for George Bush and Tony Blair. Millions now know too much; the crime is all too evident. Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, a Labour MP for 41 years, says the Prime Minister is a war criminal and should be sent to The Hague. He is serious, because the prima facie case against Blair and Bush is beyond doubt.

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected German arguments of the "necessity'' for pre-emptive attacks against its neighbours. "To initiate a war of aggression,'' said the tribunal's judgment, "is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.''

To this, the Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi adds, "a deep and unconscious racism that imbues every aspect of Western policy towards Iraq." It is this racism, she says, that has cynically elevated Saddam Hussein from "a petty local chieftain, albeit a brutal and ruthless one in the mould of many before him, [to a figure] demonised beyond reason".

To Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, the Iraqis, like all Arabs, were "niggers'', against whom poison gas could be used. They were un-people; and they still are. The killing of some 80 villagers near Baghdad last Thursday, of children in markets, of the "chicks who get in the way'' would be in industrial quantities now were it not for the voices of the millions who filled London and other capitals, and the young people who walked out of their schools; they have saved countless lives.

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