Rai supplies the facts but fails to conclude:
Review by Ashley Smith | January 3, 2003 | Page 9
BOOKS: Milan Rai, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq. Verso Press, 2002, 240 pages, $15.
THROUGH MORE than a decade of deadly sanctions on Iraq, the U.S. and the United Nations (UN) are guilty of mass murder. And the Bush administration is about to compound that crime with another--a new war on that country's people. That is the verdict of Milan Rai's book War Plan Iraq.
Rai provides a good overview of the motives and history of U.S. policy toward Iraq, from the Gulf War up to today. He shows how the U.S. used Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the threat of weapons of mass destruction and "restoring democracy" as cover for their real ambitions--control of Middle East oil reserves.
Rai demonstrates that the U.S. actually opposes regime change--that is, change in the nature of the government--and instead pursues leadership change in Iraq. At the end of the Gulf War, the U.S. wanted, in the words of New York Times' Thomas Friedman, "an iron-fisted junta without Saddam Hussein."
Therefore, after the 1991 war, the U.S. refused to support the Kurdish and Shia rebellions in Iraq that Bush Sr. had encouraged and instead ordered its military to stand down and observe the slaughter. The U.S. feared that a popular insurrection would threaten regional stability.
Then the U.S. used disarmament as an alibi to maintain sanctions while they plotted coups in the effort to create a friendly "iron-fisted junta" in Iraq. And the U.S. found the UN to be the perfect vehicle for this policy.
Clinton staffed the UN inspection teams with agents who at first orchestrated coup attempts. When these failed, the U.S. forced inspectors to stage provocative inspections to make it seem as if Iraq was not complying with inspections, and thereby justify U.S./UN bombings in 1998.
Rai provides useful arguments for opposing the war, but contradicts them by endorsing UN inspections as an alternative. Much of the power of his book lies in its exposure of U.S. control of the UN and the bankruptcy of the inspections system as a tool of U.S. domination to justify a war for oil.
Already, the U.S. is using the UN inspections to justify its new war. The antiwar movement should oppose U.S. domination of the Middle East in all its guises--troop bases, sanctions, UN inspection teams and war. We should demand the U.S. and its UN fronts get out of Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.