The importance of the antiwar movement

Mathias Bismo mathiasb at
Sun Sep 7 17:39:47 MDT 2003

I do believe that the anti-war grassroots movement has played a crucial
role in the countries originally opposing the war not to send troops to
Iraq. Norway is the only European country which, at least officially (the
government had a more than dubious view on it), opposed the battle of Iraq
which has joined up with the US-led forces since.

But I do not believe that is the entire story. As explained for instance in
"Behind the Invasion of Iraq" by RUPE India (,
the objective interests of USA/UK on the one hand and (part of) continental
Europe on the other, are different. This has not least to do with the
introduction of the Euro. One of Saddam's worst "offenses" was probably his
desire to switch the frozen accounts abroad into Euro and to begin trading
oil in that currency. Similar signals have come from Teheram, Riyad and
Caracas. Such a switch would definitely be in the interest of continental
Europe, and in particular the large German and French economies.

Another factor is of course EUs desire to become a new super power. But in
order to become that, current style US aggression must be stopped in order
to open new areas for the EU. The EU did not get its part, neither in
Yugoslavia nor in Afghanistan. So why, then, should one, in the aftermath
of the battle of Iraq suddenly legitimise it? The fact that the battle of
Iraq took place almost simultaneously with Germany, France and Belgium
agreeing to form an EU-army, in addition to the national armies of the EU-
countries, is rather striking.

But of course the movement mattered - and matters. Had not 115.000 people
(from a population of 4,5 millions) taken to the streets against the war
February 15th in Norway, there is a fair chance Norway would have joined
forces with the USA, UK, Poland, Denmark etc. But the government did not
dare. However, I believe this is not mainly the case with Germany and
France. Yes, they did allow US aircrafts to use their air space, but I
doubt very much that they would have supported the war had they not even
had strong anti-war movements at home. And neither been willing to send
troops now, for that sake.


History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
       Winston Churchill, 1910

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