Debate on 2003 Iraq war


In Workers Solidarity, No 76 August 2003, we published an article under the title "Iraq war aftermath: slaughtering democracy" by Chekov Feeney. We received a reply to this from R. Knife, an (Iraqi) Kurd living in Ireland. Unfortunately it is to long too print in full in the printed version of the paper but you can read the full text below. We also print a response from Chekov. [WSM material on the Iraq War]

The full letter from R. Knife

Dear Workers Solidarity

In the last issue of Worker Solidarity, No 76 August 2003, there was an article under the title "Iraq war aftermath slaughtering democracy", by Chekov Feeney. One of the main points Feeney tries to make in the article is that what is going on now in Iraq is a resistance to the United States. He mentions, 'frequent demonstrations, escalating campaign of assassinations and ambushes'.

Although it is true that the people of Iraq are not happy that their country is being occupied, those who are fighting now are not their representatives - they are people who belong to the former regime. They are doing everything they can to stop or delay an improvement in the life for the ordinary Iraqi. They are rapist and professionals in the art of tortures during the former regime's existence. Please don't tell me it is resistance to attack a water pipe or an electricity pole.

Maybe Mr Feeney doesn't know or maybe his ideology won't allow him to see the truth. But I just tell him one thing about what ordinary people went through at the hands of the Saddam's regime. Extra judicial executions were developed into a fine art. The method used included the use of chemical weapons against civilians - Kurds and Shi'ea. There were mass executions by firing squad; burying people alive as in the Anfal campaign where around 200 000 Kurds died; or tying heavy weights to their feet and pushing them into the rivers while alive. Poisoning them through the use of thallium (a substance use in rat poisoning); bleeding prisoners and detainees to death. Assassination by shooting - so called 'accidental death'. All of this has been document by Amnesty International.

Mr Feeney states that Iraq was no threat to the UK or the US. That point was repeated in many of the anti-war slogans. But it is a Western-centric point of view. Saddam threatened 22 million Iraqi people. Are they not a valid reason? The countries that created and supported Saddam were France, German, former Soviet Union, not the US actually. There were 105 German chemical weapon companies in Iraq; the former East Germany also contributing to Saddam's regime by training Ba'thes in how to torture. France sent specialists to treat Udae (Saddam's son) for his injury, and always have been a main arms supplier. In 1989 a Kurdish family that survived the gas attacks made their way to France. The French government kept them away from the public and, later on, deported them to Iran. What German and France did during and before the war were a sign that these countries were concerned about Saddam personally and his regime, not about ordinary people.

Trying to present the situation in a way that fits one's ideology is a betrayal to truth. This is what Mr Feeney does. Removing Saddam was the same act as fighting Nazism. That does not necessarily mean that what the US is up to now and in future is justified. I can draw many parallels between Arab nationalism and Nazism: their dealing with minorities and their totalitarianism policy. One of the other points I'd like to comment on it is about Turkey. Turkey is not democratic and the Turkish decision during the war was not a democratic decision. Turkey is a country run by generals. What Turkey demanded from the US was control of the Kurdish part of Iraq (to do what they did in Cyprus) and big amounts of money. Turkey believed that the US couldn't go to the war without them. Therefore they delayed the decision (to allow the US use their territory) to set up a scenario in their so-called parliament to demand more and more. Turkey is a country where 20 million Kurds have no right to exist as Kurd. (Surely Irish people can relate to this from their own history?) They can't use their own language etc.

Denial of what people in Iraq went through at the hands of Saddam and his regime by ignoring or cover it up with others issues (or choose of being silent about it) is not human and as I said before betrayal to truth.

R. Knife

Chekov replies

This response completely misses the point of the article, which was specifically about the US regime's use of the term democracy to justify their war and what this democracy meant in practice, not about Saddam's dictatorship or anything else.

I fully agree with the correspondent's view of the Iraqi and Turkish regimes, and nothing that I wrote contradicted that.
The assertion about the nature of the people involved in armed actions against the occupation is an example of seeing the world through ideological blinkers, which the respondent accuses me of. There is simply no evidence to back this up. The assertion that the US did not support Saddam's regime runs against all the evidence.

Most importantly, if we are to say that an act of war is justified on the grounds of a brutal regime, we have to be certain that the war will make things better for the victims of the regime. The history of US invasions does not give one any confidence on this point and this is borne out by the current situation in Iraq.

Dec 6th Anti-war blockade of Shannon airport
The 'Irish Anti-War Movement' (IAWM) is planning a mass blockade aimed at disrupting normal business at Shannon airport. Demonstrators will gather at 2pm in the town centre before marching to the airport terminal to participate in the blockade.
According to IAWM spokesperson Dr Fintan Lane: "This will be about people power. It will be about ordinary people taking action for themselves and refusing to accept the integration of an Irish civilian airport into the U.S. war machine."
For more details contact Fintan Lane at 087 1258325

[WSM material on the Iraq War]

This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.

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This edition is No78 published in November 2003