On the UN bombing and a capitulation to imperialist public opinion
Jose G. Perez
jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Fri Aug 22 12:50:02 MDT 2003
"It seems to me absolutely imperative for civilized and tactically
sensitive Marxists in countries like Australia, Britain and the US, in
particular, to take an absolutely unequivocal stance against such
primitive, medieval methods as the September 11 bombing, the Bali
bombing, and this particular atrocity in Iraq, all directed primarily
against civilian targets." --Bob Gould
Despite not being insensitive to the tragedy the attack in Baghdad
represents for families of the casualties, and the fact that among the
casualties there may have been well meaning, idealistic people, I do not
believe an equal signs can be placed between September 11, which was a
monstrous crime by CIA-spawned reactionaries, and which was repudiated
and condemned by the entire world, and the attack on the U.N.
headquarters in Baghdad, which was a military action against a target
that forms part of the occupation forces in what is a totally legitimate
people's war against foreign invaders.
Bob Gould's position is disgraceful. It represents a capitulation to the
pressure of bourgeois imperialist public opinion. Despite the harshness
of this characterization, it is politically necessary to say it, to
recognize it for what it really is, because it is quite likely that LOTS
of imperialist agents under all sorts of covers --diplomatic, NGO,
religious, etc.-- are going to get themselves killed in Iraq in the
coming period by joining the occupation administration in one capacity
or another. So let it be said and understood clearly, beginning on this
list: the occupation administration and its personnel are not
"civilians." They are part of the invasion forces, legitimate military
targets, subject to the rules of war. The only difference their not
wearing uniforms makes is that they can be summarily shot as spies if
captured, not treated as POW's under the Geneva conventions.
And I cannot avoid noting the foul stench that surrounds Bob Gould's
appeal to "civilized ... Marxists" in Australia, Britain and the United
States to condemn those fighting against the U.S., British and
Australian imperialist invaders in Iraq. I will leave it at that,
because if I were to respond to this statement further, I inevitably
would create more work for Louis as moderator of a list with certain
standards about how participants address each other.
There is no case to be made that the Iraq war is over. There can be no
pretense that this is anything other than a military occupation
authority in a time of war.
The United Nations cannot make any legitimate claim to diplomatic or
international civil servant immunity for those it sent as occupation
operatives to Iraq, not even formally. The internationally recognized
sovereign government of Iraq has been disrupted by an invasion and
occupation. There is no functioning sovereign authority in Iraq which
can grant the necessary approvals for UN diplomats and International
Civil Servants to function in those capacities in that country. Needless
to say, accreditation as diplomats or international civil servants by
"coalition authorities" for people acting as its agents has absolutely
no legitimacy, validity, or legal force.
More substantively, the United Nations --the security council and the
political/diplomatic apparatus that answers to it-- has allowed itself
to be used as an instrument of the United States in more than a decade
of aggressions against Iraq. There can be no pretense of "above the
battle" neutrality in this case.
The U.N. provided political cover and authorization for the first Gulf
War against Iraq, a war that was conducted with tremendous savagery
which caused untold Iraqi civilian losses by the UN-sponsored coalition.
It imposed harsh economic sanctions against the people of that country,
causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands. It sat by approvingly while
the U.S. and Britain conducted constant air raids for more than a
decade, and carved out a CIA enclave from Iraqi territory, citing UN
resolutions as their authorization. It refused to lift the sanctions or
put a stop to military aggressions even as it became clearer and clearer
that Baghdad had in fact complied with the demands imposed on it that it
divest itself of chemical and biological weapons. It provided cover as
part of inspection teams for CIA agents acting as military ground
spotters for the Anglo-American bombardment. It provided political cover
for the preparations for the Anglo-American invasion by pretending last
fall there was still an issue about Iraqi chemical and biological
weapons, when in fact, as we now know, there was none.
And although its inspectors failed to find even a trace of evidence of
any Iraqi violation of the onerous terms imposed by imperialism, and
exposed U.S. "evidence" and "intelligence" to the contrary as the
crudest sorts of fabrications easily unmasked by something so simple as
a Google search, it did not lift even one finger to stop the aggressors,
nor to condemn the invasion once it took place, nor to demand an end to
the current occupation.
On the contrary, the U.N. has passed resolutions legalizing the seizure
of Iraq's resources by the Anglo-American invaders; legitimized the
occupation by recognizing its authority; rubber-stamped the puppet
council set up by the imperialists; and integrated itself into the
occupation administration, opening a Baghdad office under the command of
no less a figure than its High Commissioner for Human Rights.
By a long train of actions the United Nations has shown itself to be an
instrument of the imperialist aggressions against Iraq, and its office
was a branch office of the occupiers. It was therefore as much a
legitimate target for those fighting to free Iraq as a U.S. brigade
headquarters or Paul Bremer's lair itself.
I'm sorry if there were well-meaning people who allowed themselves to be
sucked into acting as a part of the foreign occupation, imagining they
were engaged in humanitarian efforts, and they have become casualties.
But the facts are the facts. By acting in this way, the United Nations
has placed the personnel of humanitarian agencies acting under its
umbrella in Iraq outside the protection and deference such efforts
normally receive, and placed such people throughout the world in greater
danger, no matter what country they are in. That is unfortunate but also
As for the UN itself --the political/diplomatic apparatus acting under
the authority and at the instructions of the security council-- and in
particular its top officers and responsible officials who have followed
a policy of appeasement towards and collaboration with this 13-year
imperialist rampage, pretending all the while they were "impartial" and
imagining their diplomatic cover would exempt them from the retribution
which any agent of an imperialist occupying power exposes themselves to
in a country that is resisting the foreign invader, all I can say is
that they should have expected this.
It is the United States and the United Nations that bear the complete
responsibility for these deaths, as well as all the others occasioned by
the imperialist attacks, invasion and occupation of Iraq.
And it should serve as a clear warning to the churches, NGO's,
international relief agencies, other imperialist powers and sell-out
neocolonial regimes throughout the world that participating in any way,
shape or form in the Anglo-American occupation is an act of war against
the people of Iraq and will be responded to as such.
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