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Lines in the Sand

By Paul A. Wright


As we go to press several hundred thousand American soldiers are waiting in the desert of Saudi Arabia. I expect that before too long they will be attacking Iraq or Iraqi troops in Kuwait.

It cannot be said that U.S. troops are there to defend "democracy," after all, these are some of the most reactionary, feudal monarchies in the world where women can't drive, no one votes and there is on free press and the wealth is controlled by a family of monarchs put in power by British imperial forces over 70 years ago.

After World Ware I ended Britain and France carved up the Middle East and drew arbitrary borders and installed puppet regimes favorable to their commercial interests. Iraq decided that it would invade Kuwait to reassert what it considers to be its historic right to Kuwait. The same imperial powers who drew the lines in the sand 70 years ago are back to ensure they are not meddled with.

All of a sudden George Bush decides that Saddam Hussein isn't such a nice guy after all. Only days before the invasion of Kuwait the Bush administration had lobbied against trade sanctions against Iraq for its dismal human rights record. Where was Bush when Iraq attacked Iran? Only 4 years ago the U.S. intervened in the Iran-Iraq war to help Iraq stave off an Iranian victory. No one said anything when Iraq gassed thousands of Kurds fighting for independence. Now all of a sudden Mr. Bush is filled with concern about the Kuwaiti monarchies "right" to rule.

Where is Mr. Bush's outrage about the fact that Israel is occupying land belonging to 4 of its neighbors? In 1982 we saw the Israeli invasion of Lebanon with the holocaust of Beirut. All done with U.S. weapons no less. Mr. Bush was also silent when South Africa invaded Angola and its attacks on neighboring countries. Less than a week after the invasion of Kuwait Indonesian forces launched a massive offensive in East Timor which they have illegally occupied since 1975 with U.S. and Australian military support.

Much is made of the Arab forces that are operating in cahoots with the U.S. in Saudi Arabia: Morocco, with its 15-year war and occupation of the Polisario still going on; Syria (until 2 months ago a "terrorist state") with its 40,000 troops occupying Lebanon; and Egypt looking for a forgiveness of its 7 billion dollar military debt.

Much is said about Iraq's Western hostages yet tens of thousands of poor Asian workers are in miserable conditions in Jordan with little assistance from the West. Little reported is the fact that Israel has its own hostages, in the event of war with Iraq it will only issue gas masks to the Jewish population and not to the Palestinians in Israel or the occupied territories.

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galleano wrote that places blessed by nature are damned by history. That's the case with events in the gulf now. It has nothing to do with "freedom" or "democracy" but everything to do with what the U.S. sees as its right to cheap oil, ignoring the fact that its not "our" oil. The U.S. is in no position to preach to Iraq, not after its recent invasion of Panama and Grenada, the terror bombing of Libya, etc. The vas majority of troops now stationed in Saudi Arabia are members of the working class, the class that bleeds the most and gains the least in these wars of conquest. We don't see George Bush's sons ready to fight for cheap oil, and we know where our illustrious vice-president spent the Vietnam War.

I haven't written this as a defense of Iraq's invasion; which I don't support, but because I'm tired of this war mania where those who cheer the loudest for war are those who aren't sending their sons and daughters to bleed in the desert for gas at a dollar a gallon.

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