Victory justifies nothing. No victory justifies an evil war. Quite the opposite. It just adds to the evil.
With the entry of American forces into Baghdad, opposition to the war in the US and Britain is dwindling. In other countries, too, doubts are starting to nibble away at the anti-war camp.
I find this difficult to understand.
Let's pose the question in the most provocative manner: what would have happened if Adolf Hitler had triumphed in World War II? Would this have turned his war into a just one?
Let's assume that Hitler would have indicted his enemies at the Nuremberg war crimes court: Churchill for the terrible air raid on Dresden, Truman for dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Stalin for murdering millions in the Gulag camps. Would the historians have regarded this as a just war?
A war that ends with the victory of the aggressor is worse than a war that ends with their defeat. It is more destructive, both physically and morally.
On the eve of the Iraq war, world public opinion found its voice as never before. This world reaction was an immensely valuable moral victory. On it the future must be built. The flame must not be allowed to die down. It must flare up into a blaze again.
It can't be stopped. Let me repeat the Israeli joke: "It is difficult to prophesy, especially about the future."
But this time, the prophesies have come true so quickly, that even the "prophets" themselves are stunned.
After the American onslaught on Afghanistan, we said in these columns: You can't stop a military machine that has achieved such a quick and complete victory with so few losses. It will push for action again and again.
We said: the band of zealots which is in control of Washington cannot stop now, just as Napoleon and Hitler could not stop. Their inner logic will push them to attack again and again.
On the eve of the attack on Iraq we said: after this, the next targets will be Syria and Iran.
And here it comes. The shooting in Baghdad had not yet ended, while the first steps towards the attack on Syria were already being taken.
Again the same outcry: "They have chemical weapons!" (And so have the Unites States, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Britain, France and many others. Every military machine develops these weapons, even for defensive purposes.) "There is a brutal dictator out there!" "He supports terrorism!"
In a few days, we shall hear: "He butchered his own people as Saddam did with his Kurds!" (His father sure did. Assad Sr. shelled the town of Hama while bloodily putting down an Islamist rebellion.) "We must liberate the poor Syrian people from the tyrant!" And from there: "Regime change!"
It will begin with slogans, "warnings", speeches in the UN and sanctions. The most expert professionals will prepare public opinion. The American and world media (with the Israelis to the fore) will eagerly cooperate. And then the war will become "inevitable".
It already has a name: "Operation Syrian Freedom.
Americans for the Golan. There is one important difference between "Iraqi Freedom" and "Syrian Freedom".
The American attack on Iraq had many objectives: control of the oil, creation of a permanent American base in the heart of the Arab world, revenge for the failure of the father. Furthering Sharon's interests was only one objective, and as long as Sharon kept quiet, it wasn't too obvious.
The coming American attack on Syria is quite different. It does not serve any major American interest, but it does serve (and how!) the interests of Sharon.
For those who have forgotten the developments, here is a brief reminder:
In 1967, after Syrian-Egyptian threats, the Israeli army attacked Syria (after Egypt and Jordan) and conquered the Golan Heights, which until that time were known in Israel as "the Syrian Heights". Their 160 thousand inhabitants fled (they vegetate to this day as refugees in Syria.) Their land was taken over by Israeli settlers. The Likud government has officially annexed the Heights (but not the West Bank and Gaza Strip) to Israel.
From that time, the liberation of the Golan has become a central aim for Syria. According to international law, this is occupied Syrian territory. Two Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhaq Rabin and Ehud Barak, as much as admitted this when they agreed to return all the Golan to Syria. The negotiations broke down in each case because of an argument about a few hundred meters. Neither Rabin nor Barak was ready to allow the Assads to "wet their feet in the sea of Tiberias".
The two lions (In Arabic, Assad means lion) acted very cautiously. After the father's failed to dislodge the Israeli army in the October 1973 war, they did not use their own military again. They found a way to fight by proxy: the Lebanese Hizbullah militia has harassed the Israeli army with pinpricks. Both Assads hoped that this would help them to get the Golan back in the end. Also, some of the Palestinian pro-Syrian (i.e. anti-Arafat) organizations are based in Damascus.
Now along comes the Bush administration, under the influence of Wolfowitz, Perle & Co., and issues an ultimatum to the Syrians: give up your chemical weapons, eliminate Hizbullah, get rid of the "terrorists".
For the Syrians this means, in effect, to give up any hope of ever getting the Golan Heights back. It also means American recognition of their annexation by Israel, in contravention of all the UN resolutions and the position of every US president up to now.
Without Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, the threat of "the Eastern front" that has been haunting the Israeli military for decades will disappear. Egypt and Jordan have already signed peace treaties. Sharon will be able to concentrate all his might against the Palestinians, who will remain alone.
Moral insanity. Sometimes, the entire character of a person is encapsulated in one single word of theirs. This happened last week to Donald Rumsfeld.
The world saw the terrible pictures of what's happening in Baghdad under the eyes of the occupation forces. Baghdad was ransacked as in the days of the Mongols. The mob did not plunder only the government buildings, without which no modern society can function, but also hospitals and museums. The wounded and the sick were left without life-saving equipment and medicines. Priceless cultural treasures from the cradle of human civilization were destroyed or plundered - one of the worst cultural disasters in the history of mankind.
The absolute responsibility for this outrage, which has been going on for more than a week, day after day, falls on the occupier. That is what international law says, in agreement with common sense. It shows the total indifference of the planners of the war for the population they were about to "liberate". No provisions had been made to protect them from the anarchy that is to be expected when any regime collapses, no preparations for safeguarding vital public buildings and cultural treasures. A city of many millions was turned over to the mob.
When Rumsfeld was asked about it, the man who is responsible for this catastrophe dismissively: "When a regime falls, there is always some untidiness." Untidiness! One word that speaks volumes. About the man himself.
Pity the settlers. Years ago, my wife and I were traveling in the west of Czechoslovakia. It was a dark, bitterly cold winter night. Suddenly, Rachel's eyes were caught by a small house, at some distance from the road, where a red light picked out a small area of snow, surrounded by utter darkness. She asked me to stop the car and struggled through the deep snow to take some pictures.
While she was busy taking photos, the door of the house burst open and a disheveled woman in dressing gown and slippers came running out. "What do you want? What are you doing here?" she demanded in a panic.
Rachel explained that she was a tourist and that the beautiful sight had captured her imagination. Gradually, the woman relaxed.
"I was afraid you were Germans who wanted to reclaim the house," she apologized.
She was a Czech from another part of the country, who as a child had moved with her family in this house after the German population had been thrown out at the end of World War II. Fifty years later, she was still living in constant fear.
I was reminded of this when I read about the Iraqi-Arab settlers, who had been brought by Saddam to Kirkuk and settled there in order to Arabize the Kurdish town. Many of the Kurdish inhabitants had been driven out. A foreign journalist happened to come across some of these Arabs in the middle of nowhere. They had fled their homes in sheer panic, in fear of Kurdish revenge. They asked the foreigner to bring the American soldiers to protect them.
Food for thought for our settlers.
Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist, peace activist and a former member of the Knesset
They are not only bad for the rest of the world but in the long term also for the US itself. The US has turned more and more people around the world against itself and has also spread a lot of anger. All this can turn very dangerous if the US continues to fuel this anger by waging more wars.
Joe, do u have proof Saddam funding any terrorist activities ? And are u sure AMerica not funding any? How about Israel ? What should we call them ? "defending their state" ??
Well, this arquement going no where. But i suggest people of America should read more regarding other people history, religion,politic and culture in order to have better understanding towards others. I believe, Joe only know what he wanted to know. And he doesnt read like most of moslem do, iqra ..
some people they just dont wanna know about history and they cant except the fact and thruth. Sack saddam out of iraq, out of his presidential seat by war a very uncivilized. Yes, may be saddam is rude, cruel, monster but remember saddam is IRAQI MONSTER.. so let it be. If America really promoting peace and democracy why dont u people help moslem in palestine ? Why let them suffer for many years ? Because Palestine doesnt have oil ? And because Israel is American "bed friend". And now, if American launch war against Syria, its obviously tell the world, Israel controlling America foreign policy. S, why dont W step down and giving the presidential seat to Sharon ?
As Salaamu Alaikum.
Personally I have come to the opinion that the ARAB leaders are Dumb, Stupid and Puppets. Syria maybe the next country on a list of many, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Pakistan are also on the list.
There are various reasons for all three but the underlying result will eventually be the same. If there is a anti-US government in place, there will come a pretext of either WMD or terriorism to gain so called regime change to gain a Pro-US government in place.
Interesting to see that there was at least a million shia muslims participating on the 40th day of Ma-huram at Karbala, yesturday. At the same time protesting against US Occupation, none of which was in the news channels. It is early days but I strongely believe that the Sunni's and Shia majority will unite in thier strugle to eject US pressence from thier country.
Some of the comments do not do justice to this man's views. I fear that many people write from ignorance and prejudice. You really have to read a lot, experience a lot and put yourselves in the shoes of those who have grieved and experienced the trauma for so may years.
Sitting in the comfort of your homes and commenting so harshly on such matters that you know very little about makes mockery of justice. Reading your own US media news and believing what you read is a very dangerous issue in today's world views.
Still. you are entiltled to your opinions but, please read, read and read, including alternative news. With knowledge perhaps one day we may begin to understand each other.
God bless all and may HE open our hearts to receive HIS truth. And thank you Uri. You are a good man who has experienced hardship and understands it well so as not to wish it upon your adversary, and through that you are a better person.
Well Larry, since you are here, here's my answer. As an individual, not much. I do however see smiling faces of young Americans bursting with potential while the future awaits them. These are the TRUE leaders of not just the USA but also the world.
Arab comes with tribes and to see them agreeing in one thing is quite difficult but hey,that is democracy.And if they stick together, you called the terrorist.
to go to war with syria is even more pointless!!
and to go to war with Iran is even more pointless and dangerous at that!!! so if I were president of this country I would seriously not get too far over my head before alot of lives end up being over because of a so called american dream. this isnt even a free country. i cant even walk down the street without having something be said to me about my nationality or my religion. i am a muslim and i am lebanese as well. i am also proud and i will stand for what i believe in no matter what!!!!!
American hearts ache for the tragedies suffered by the Iraqi people --- before and after our arrival. Moreover, we pray for their healing and seek to be instruments of that healing.
Perhaps the greater misunderstanding is why Arab countries cannot live together in any sort of compromise --- there always seem to be winners or losers. In the U.S., I drive by the newly Islamic mosque every day, employ Moslems in my business and do what I can to learn about the culture and religion that has become my neighbor and my friend. And I ask myself every day, "Do the Moslems see the same world I see?"
As i read this article everything starated fitting in. all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit in. What i reead in this article is probably an prediction of the furure. it was an easy prediction seeing as you heard the phrase "history repeats itself". The American goevernment is already going to war "operation Syrian freedom". What I dont understand is HOW THE ARAB LEADERS DONT SEE IT COMING!! Maybe it is because it is too simple, its like anticipating the move of a child, it just too easy. If only the Muslims could open their eyes.
Thank you Uri Avnery for speaking what seems to have been tugging on the back of my mind.
So long as the oil keeps flowing, they could expect to receive all of the "close air support" they could ever conceivably require. I also wonder how much (if any) of that hardware is coming home with the troops. There's certainly not much of the competitors' merchandise remaining on hand.
Afterwards, once a thousand weapons inspectors have finished destroying all the WMD they were unable to find, the United States certainly wouldn't have a reason to return, I would think - so long as the oil keeps flowing, so to speak.
As Salaamu Alaikum.
I am sick of ignorance and injustice.
It is also my hope that the best be made of a bad situation - Iraq. Before anyone damns the outcome of the recent events by predicting the intentions or future actions of anyone involved - give Iraq a chance! It has been stated that Iraq and it's resources will be returned to it's people, that the infrastructure will be re-built and aid is being delivered. This all seems to me to be a better alternative for the people of Iraq and the world than the cruel regime and harsh reality that existed only weeks ago. Why not see if the leadership of the US will hold true to their promises before undermining the effort in the heated arena of public opinion? Why not offer assistance and constructive criticism to make sure the job gets done to the advantage of the Iraqi peopl/e
I dream/meditate/pray/desire for a day where everyone everywhere can live out the life of their choice without fear that someone somewhere wishes to threaten their existence over a difference of opinion or belief. I don't believe we will ever see that day unless people make an effort to educate themselves and enlighten others. I may never understand every persons culture but I am willing to try and to accept and live peacefully. Can someone help to enlighten me about their culture and begin a positive effort to wage acceptance and hope?
Thank You and Peace,
On the other hand, the article also seems to be saying that America is not qualified to excuse itself for its invasions of other peoples' countries. That would happen to be something with which I completely agree.
I am grateful to Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'Ala) for IslamiCity.com, Iviews.com, this article and the article's author. As Salaamu Alaikum.
american public is starved for it
This "good guy" "bad guy" policy has to stop. Lets not forget that America is the only nation that has ever used WMD. Is the true fear that Americans have is that if other countries were to get WMD that they will finally have to play fair. No longer could they take sides with Israel.
Hamas or Hezbullah are not terroist organizations. They are org that are fighting off invaders. Invaders who only have one thing in mind and that is to conquer their home land.
Finally I just would like to say is always remember that one day we ALL will stand before Allah (GOD) and have to answer for our sins.