Appealing to the U.N. against Iraq? was: "Detainees Executed"

Workers World / Chicago wwchi at
Fri Aug 6 23:51:20 MDT 1999

C. J. Atkins, who often posts articles from the press of the Communist Party
of the U.S.A., has now forwarded to this list an appeal which I personally
find very troubling.  It calls upon the U.N. Security Council to 'compel'
the government of Iraq to respect the political rights of Communists in that
country.  As legal justification for this, it cites Security Council
Resolution 688, one of several resolutions formalizing the imperialist
victory in the Gulf War of 1991:

>The UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, and the
>Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Commission, Mary Robinson, are called
>upon to intervene to save the lives of hundreds more political prisoners
>who are threatened with physical liquidation in Saddam’s jails and
>detention centers. The UN Security Council must act in accordance with
>its own resolution, UNCSR 688, to compel Saddam and its henchmen to stop
>massacre and the barbaric violations of human rights. Turning a blind
>eye to this ruthless campaign of annihilation can only encourage the
>perpetrators to commit further such horrific crimes with impunity

This is a disturbing thing to see circulated by Marxists.  We know the form
that U.N. "compulsion" of Iraq, justified by resolution 688 and its
companion documents, has taken over the last 8.5 years.  It has taken the
form of war, genocidal economic strangulation, starvation and disease,
subversion, and continual air attacks.  We know the role that UN officials,
including "rights" commisioner Robinson, played in the imperialist war on
Yugoslavia.  We know how similar rhetoric about how the imperialist powers
must not "turn a blind eye" to human rights violation has been used to
justify war and mass murder against Yugoslavia, Iraq, and other countries.

Considered in context, this letter is nothing more or less than an appeal to
the imperialist powers to threaten or make war on Iraq, to maintain and
intensify its deadly sanctions, to continue to deny Iraq its own
sovereignty.  Of course if the material presented in the appeal is correct,
the members and supporters of the Iraqi Communist Party are in desperate
straits.  But how can an appeal to the U.N. Security Council possibly help
matters?  Under what circumstances is Madeline Allbright going to make new
threats against the Iraqi government to "compel" it to spare the lives of
Communists and/or other leftist prisoners?????  If the nationalist
government of Iraq is in fact suppressing genuine leftists, of course the
imperialist diplomats will only laugh about it as they guzzle fine
champagne.  Furthermore, isn't circulating an appeal like this likely to
tend to discredit Communists and Communism in Iraq, and to give ammunition
to every anti-communist there?

I would not presume to give practical advice to communists in Iraq, since I
know little of their actual situation or their assessment of the balance of
forces.  But speaking as one of the Marxists in the west who is being asked
to appeal to the Security Council to "compel" the government of Iraq, I
respond that I won't do it.  It doesn't make sense.  It's as if someone who
was alarmed that people were unjustly oppressed during the purges in the
USSR in 1938 were to have circulated an appeal calling on Hitler to compel
Stalin to respect human rights.  We have been demanding "U.S. hands off
Iraq" for years, and how can any Marxist or sincere anti-imperialist
circulate an appeal whose meaning is just the opposite?

Louis Paulsen
member, Workers World Party, Chicago

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