Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIW
This article appears in the March 7, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The Human Race Says No,
At the Brink of Iraq War

by Michele Steinberg and William Jones

Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche, who has catalyzed international resistance to a new Mideast war, was a guest of honor at the Kuwait National Day Celebration in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26. Arriving at the Willard Hotel for the reception, LaRouche was met and escorted by a welcoming committee of Kuwaiti military and diplomatic representatives. Attendees were soon buzzing over the news from London just hours earlier, that Tony Blair's pro-Iraq war policy had suffered the worst parliamentary rebuke within a Prime Minister's governing party in the history of the House of Commons.

Already, by the time LaRouche arrived at the reception room, there was a long line of people waiting to shake hands with the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Washington and his wife. The American statesman was taken past the waiting line directly to the Ambassador. With cameras rolling and flashing, the Ambassador and his wife immediately turned to LaRouche to tell him how honored they were by his attendance. He was then escorted into the reception hall, leaving many of the guests in line—victims of years of blackout and slander of LaRouche in the American media—wondering exactly who it was, being given this VIP treatment.

The next VIP guest of the evening to be met by the delegation was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who appeared to much press fanfare and gawking, but did not remain more than a few minutes before leaving. There was another flurry of activity when District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams came to read a proclamation from the city on Kuwait.

The irony of having LaRouche, America's best-known champion of peace, as a guest of honor at the same event as Rumsfeld, the advocate of pre-emptive war on Iraq—including nuclear strikes against non-nuclear countries—was not lost on the attendees. Rumsfeld is one of those in the Administration who believes that the United States can—and should—wage a unilateral war outside the UN. The reality reflected at the Kuwait National Day event was precisely what LaRouche had specified to 750 people at the Presidents' Day conference of the Schiller Institute: The entire human race has spoken out against an imperial war on Iraq since the Feb. 14 UN Security Council (UNSC) session in New York. In Washington, LaRouche was told privately by diplomats that his fight inside the United States and inside the Presidency to stop the imperial war was like "a ray of light into the darkness," appreciated throughout the world.

Dangerous Hours

LaRouche insists that the only way to be optimistic about the chance to stop an Iraq war is to fight unceasingly to stop it—and he is optimistic. He cautions that it is an extremely dangerous situation because of the fanaticism of the neo-conservative imperial group in the Bush Administration, but, the war can still be stopped. Indeed, an escalated pace of diplomacy, in the last 72 hours preceding the March 1 report on Iraq by UN chief weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix, shows that the commitment to a peaceful outcome is gaining ground. Tens of millions of demonstrators turned out in cities around the world on Feb. 15; and nations representing billions of citizens in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America have come out against the Iraq war.

From Pope John Paul II, who has called for an international day of fasting for peace on March 5, Ash Wednesday; to the 114 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in Kuala Lumpur; to Africa's 52 nations joining in a French-Africa declaration for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis; to the 15-nation European Union; to the joint declaration of the African Union, representing all the countries of Africa; to the individual statements to the UN Security Council of beleaguered nations seeking peace; to the unprecedented opposition to the war from British Prime Minister Tony Blair's own Labour party; to the joint statements by Russia's President and Germany's Chancellor, and by Russia and China's foreign ministers, the message is the same: "War is not inevitable."

That worldwide opposition is reported here and in accompanying articles filed from EIR's international offices and correspondents. This EIR report is a vital service, especially for the citizens of the United States who hear George W. Bush and his administration's war-mongers dismiss the global opposition to the war as "just another opinion," and claim that the United States can go to war unilaterally.

At the UN at the end of February, a German-French-Russian proposal for an aggressive timetable of UN inspections was gaining far more support than the U.S.-U.K. war resolution. Russia, China, and France have the ultimate weapon, a UN Security Council veto, but whether they will avail themselves of this last resort is an open question. If they abstain from using their veto powers, but there is no nine-vote (required) majority, then, the Washington Post mooted, this would be bad news for Washington. The paper cited a senior U.S. official saying, under those circumstances, "the administration will make a 'tactical decision' as to whether it is better to proceed to war with no vote at all." The resolution might even be withdrawn; but while Washington claims that option, Tony Blair does not.

Members of the anti-war coalition have redoubled their diplomatic efforts, to ensure that there be no majority at the UN for the war resolution. On Feb. 26, in Moscow, where German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had gone on short notice to meet President Vladimir Putin, the two issued a joint statement saying that it is unacceptable that a resolution be passed that would automatically give the right to start a war. Also on Feb. 26, Russia and China opposed war: In a joint communiqué, the two countries' Foreign Ministers, Igor Ivanov and Tang Jiaxuan, said they "reiterate their determination ... to promote a political solution to the Iraq issue and believe war can and should be avoided." They demanded that "all the UN member states should respect and safeguard the authority of the UN Security Council." In France, a Feb. 26 debate in the National Assembly resulted in majority support for continuing inspections, not war.

War Challenged Throughout Third World

The leadership of Germany, France, and Russia has given voice to nations from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Ibero-America. Very important was the Franco-African summit in Paris, during which a clear and unanimous rejection of war was voted up. Then, on Feb. 24-25, the Non-Aligned Movement's (NAM) summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia issued a toughly worded, resounding "no" to any military aggression against Iraq, and a supplementary statement condemning Israel's assault on Palestinian territories, and violations of UNSC resolutions. A meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which took place in Kuala Lumpur at the NAM conclusion, also moved in this direction against war. A full meeting of the OIC is about to convene in Qatar.

The Non-Aligned Movement "welcome the decision by Iraq to facilitate the unconditional return of, and cooperation with" the UN inspectors, while they "welcome and support all other efforts exerted to avert war against Iraq and call for the persistent continuation of such efforts based on multilateral as opposed to unilateral actions." Another achievement by NAM, taken in cooperation with Germany, which held the UN Security Council rotating presidency in February, was to expand the debate on Iraq in the Security Council. After South Africa (which holds the current NAM presidency) requested a wider debate allowing non-Security Council members to present testimony, Germany agreed, giving rise to daily showings of opposition to the war. Of the 50 nations testifying from Feb. 18-20, only a handful supported the insane axioms of the drive for war.

Two countries having a key logistical role in a possible U.S. war—Qatar and Turkey—came out strongly for a peaceful resolution, and giving more time to inspections. Qatar, the command headquarters for the U.S. military in the Gulf, announced on Feb. 19 that it had called for a summit meeting of the OIC in Qatar to discuss "reaching a peaceful solution." Adding a shocker, Qatar's UN envoy said, "we would like to set on the record" that Qatar notes and objects to the double standard set at the UN by the United States regarding Israel. Qatar said, "Resolutions must be implemented by Israel, which possesses an arsenal of nuclear weapons," and the UN should "subject the Israeli nuclear installations" to the inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran, always cited by the warhawks as the proof that "Iraq attacks its neighbors," told the Security Council that "the prospect of another destabilizing war in our immediate vicinity is a nightmare scenario of death and destruction ... a catastrophe ... beyond imagination." Asserting that the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War gave Iran unique authority to speak on the issue, envoy Javan Zaria added, "one outcome is almost certain: Extremism stands to benefit enormously from an uncalculated adventure in Iraq. The prospect of appointing a foreign military commander to run an Islamic and Arab country is all the more destabilizing and only indicative of the prevailing illusions."

Exit Strategy

There is no question that the war may still be prevented. Virtually the entire world's population, and most governments, oppose it. Inside the United States, opposition continues to spread, where more than 120 city councils and county governments have passed strong resolutions opposing the war, including Los Angeles on Feb. 21. In the Senate, Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution to rescind the October 2002 vote by Congress that gave Bush the okay to attack Iraq. In addition, authoritative voices besides LaRouche, notably the Pope, are seeking a "face-saving exit strategy" for President Bush, to stop a war at this late hour. None other that Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the original authors of imperial policy of the Rumsfeld-Cheney crew, came out against unilateral war in the Washington Post on Feb. 19, warning that a forced regime change in Iraq "may be purchased at too high a cost to America's global leadership," and that "Iraq does not represent a global security threat." The United States should give the UN inspectors "several months" to complete the work, Brzezinski said.

In an interview with Time on Feb. 16, French President Jacques Chirac declared that Bush "would have two advantages if he brought his soldiers back. I'm talking about a situation, obviously, where the inspectors say now there's nothing left—and that will take a certain number of weeks.... If Iraq is stripped of its weapons of mass destruction and that's been verified by the inspectors, then Mr. Bush can say two things: first, 'Thanks to my intervention, Iraq has been disarmed'; and second, 'I achieved all that without spilling any blood.' In the life of a statesman, that counts—no blood spilled."

There are other indications of a shift. The Washington website Capitol Hill Blue reported on Feb. 20, that some Bush Administration strategists are urging the President to look for an "exit strategy" from a "no-win" situation where the United States does not have the UN Security Council votes for its resolution. Republican Congressional leaders are also said to be telling Bush privately that he is losing support in Congress for a go-it-alone war. "The President's war plans are in trouble, there's no doubt about that," an adviser to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was quoted. "Some Republican members want a vote on military action and some of those say they would, at this point, vote against."