The Slippery Slope of Demanding Inspections

Revolutionary Worker #1170, October 13, 2002, posted at

In the Vietnam war, the U.S. government manufactured a phony Gulf of Tonkin incident as a casus belli (a formal justification for war). Before the Spanish American war, they manufactured a phony hysteria over the battleship Maine. Before the Grenada invasion, the White House manufactured a phony threat to U.S. medical students.

Today, as the U.S. government prepares for war, teams of UN weapons inspectors will be unleashed to manufacture a new incident, a new phony casus belli .

It is important to point this out, because there are people who are supporting these inspections, hoping that they will be an "alternative to war." That is a serious mistake.

There is an important historical episode to reexamine: In 1990, as the first Bush president prepared a massive attack on Iraq, there were Democratic politicians who called for a U.S. and UN military embargo on Iraq, suggesting it might be an "alternative to war." And there were, unfortunately, forces within the developing antiwar movement who wanted to echo those proposals.

Supporting the embargo was a slippery slope. The Democratic Party politicians who endorsed the embargo quickly climbed on the war bandwagon. And the world can now see how unjust and brutal an embargo is in its own right. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children are the terrible evidence of that.

It is important to say today, in the complex maneuvers of the coming weeks, that the demand for UN inspections is not an antiwar demand. UN inspections are not an "alternative to war" but they are themselves unjust and imperialist.

The U.S. government intends to use new inspections to corral domestic public opinion and vacillating foreign governments into the machinery of unjust war. It is wrong to help them.

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