Dateline: May 8, 2003

This is the weekly electronic information service of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: 
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CONTENTS of WNII No. 14/2003


Russia: Socio-Ecological Union: "The SEU TIMES" No 12 (46), May 7, 2003

Issue No 12 (46) of "The SEU Times" has the following contents:


Support the UN! International Peace Bureau statement on Iraq situation

Geneva, 6 May 2003. The IPB calls on the world community - states, international agencies and civil society -- to rally in support of the United Nations. Peace and security are under threat and the UN itself is in danger of being marginalized. The experience and impartiality of the UN are crucial to the successful rebuilding of the Iraqi nation, and it must assume the principal role. The UN's centrality in the reconstruction process, and its firm rejection of Washington's 'pre-emptive strikes' policy are essential for the stability of the region and for prospects for peace and justice all over the world in the years to come.

David Krieger: Ten Lessons of the Iraq War

There are always lessons to be learned after a war. Often governments and pundits focus only on lessons having to do with military strategies and tactics, such as troop deployments, engagement in battles, bombing targets and the effectiveness of different weapons systems. There are, of course, far bigger lessons to be learned, and here are some of the principal ones from the Iraq War.

1. In the eyes of the Bush administration, the relevance of international organizations such as the United Nations depends primarily upon their willingness to rubberstamp US policy, legal or illegal, moral or immoral.

2. The Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War may be employed against threats that have no basis in fact.

3. The American people appear to take little notice of the “bait and switch” tactic of initiating a war to prevent use of weapons of mass destruction and then celebrating regime change when no such weapons are found.

4. A country that spends $400 billion a year on its military, providing them with the latest in high-tech weaponry, can achieve clear military victory over a country that spends 1/400th of that amount and possesses virtually no high-tech weaponry.

5. Embedding journalists with troops leads to reporters providing only perspectives sanctioned by the military in their reports to the public. It is analogous to the imprinting of ducklings.

6. The American people can be easily manipulated, with the help of both embedded and non-embedded media, to support an illegal war.

7. An imperial presidency does not require Congress to exercise its Constitutional authority to declare war; it requires only a compliant Congress to provide increasingly large sums of money for foreign wars.

8. It is far easier to destroy a dictatorial regime by military might than it is to rebuild a country as a functioning democracy.

9. If other countries wish to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein and Iraq, they better develop strong arsenals of weapons of mass destruction for protection against potential US aggression.

10. In all wars it is the innocent who suffer most. Thus, Saddam Hussein remains unaccounted for and George Bush stages a jet flight to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, while Ali Ismaeel Abbas lies in a hospital bed without his parents and brother, who were killed in a US attack, and without his arms.

The most important lessons of the Iraq War may be as yet unrevealed, but there is a sense that American unilateralism is likely to continue to alienate important allies, while the triumphalism of the Bush administration is likely to taunt terrorists, making them more numerous and tenacious in their commitment to violent retaliation.

"Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction": Pre-emptive action is justified if a nation has simply "the ability to develop unconventional weapons" (Source: Sunday Herald, 4 May 03)

The Bush administration has admitted that Saddam Hussein probably had no weapons of mass destruction. Senior officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be 'amazed' if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq. According to administration sources, Saddam shut down and destroyed large parts of his WMD programmes before the invasion of Iraq.

Ironically, the claims came as US President George Bush, on 3 May, repeatedly justified the war as necessary to remove Iraq's chemical and biological arms which posed a direct threat to America. Bush claimed: 'Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We will find them.'

The senior US official added that America never expected to find a huge arsenal, arguing that the administration was more concerned about the ability of Saddam's scientists -- which he labeled the 'nuclear mujahidin' -- to develop WMDs when the crisis passed. This represents a clearly dramatic shift in the definition of the Bush doctrine's central tenet -- the pre-emptive strike. Previously, according to Washington, a pre-emptive war could be waged against a hostile country with WMDs in order to protect American security.

Now, however, according to the US official, pre-emptive action is justified against a nation which simply has the ability to develop unconventional weapons.

How many civilians were killed by cluster bombs? (Source: Iraq Body Count, Press Release 4, 7 May 03)

An independent research organisation has published detailed evidence of at least 200 civilians killed by coalition cluster bombs since the start of the Iraq War (full details at: http://www.iraqbodycount.net/editorial.htm ).

The Pentagon has admitted only one recorded case of a civilian death from cluster munitions in Iraq this year. This extraordinarily low number has been greeted with widespread incredulity. Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth has condemned it as a "whitewash". Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation to be held into coalition use of cluster munitions. So far, however, such critics have not been able to draw on a firm counter-estimate of the numbers so far recorded killed.

To begin to fill this informational vacuum an international research team yesterday published the world's first comprehensive numerical analysis of cluster-related deaths on May 6.

Since the start of hostilities Iraq Body Count has been building up a meticulous and exhaustive compilation of every reported civilian death in Iraq caused by coalition military action. It has based its work on corroborated reports in key media sources published worldwide. The research team has updated its estimates on a daily basis by adding to a constantly growing on-line data-base ( www.iraqbodycount.net/bodycount.htm  ) which now reports over 100 separate incidents involving up to 2700 civilian deaths in total.

Among these incidents are included reliable reports of at least 200 civilian deaths due to cluster bombs, with up to a further 172 deaths which were probably caused by cluster bombs. Of these 372 deaths, 147 have been caused by detonation of unexploded or "dud" munitions, with around half this number being children.

Many of the press reports from which the data have been extracted contain graphic eyewitness details of injuries and mutilations confirmed by doctors as being typical of cluster bombs, including dismemberment and decapitation, and the riddling of the body with deep shrapnel wounds.

Authors John Sloboda and Hamit Dardagan said "Public concern about the possible misuse of these savagely indiscriminate weapons is rapidly mounting. Our research reveals the shocking disparity between what the world 's press has already reported and what the Pentagon is prepared to admit. Those who are genuinely concerned with civilian casualties, and interested in minimizing them, can no longer plead ignorance".


Abolition 2000 homepage: http://www.abolition2000.org  Grassroots News: http://www.napf.org/abolition2000/news/ 

NPT PrepCom: Interim reports by Rebecca Johnson

As in previous years, Rebecca Johnson, Director of The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, is publishing interim reports on the NPT PrepCom currently underway at Geneva.

Rebecca Johnson's reports are available as part of the Institute's coverage of the NPT PrepCom at:  http://www.acronym.org.uk/npt/index 

IEER president Dr Makhijani on the Manhattan Project 60 years ago (Source: IEER press release, forwarded as of 3 May 03)

In the May-June issue of "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists", Dr Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), one of the US-based INES member organisations, has published an article which sheds some light on the long-term politico-strategic impact of the Manhattan Project: While at the time, Manhattan Project scientists were still pursuing the bomb with the single-minded desire to beat Hitler to the punch, a meeting of the Project's Military Policy Committee on May 5, 1943 produced the first official signals that the government was beginning to take a much broader view of the project: Such a weapon could be used not only to deter the Nazis, but to craft and maintain a U.S.-dictated post-war new world order, the article says, among other things.

As the project went into 1944, and it was certain that Germany had no effective bomb program, the U.S. program became its own justification, according to the article. The bomb had to be used because it was built. The immense expenditure had to be justified by something more than the fact that a project of deterrence had been undertaken as a precaution. The proof of the scientific and engineering work had to be carried through to a nuclear test. The technical questions about the destructive power of nuclear bombs had to be answered by their use on cities. The power of the bomb had to be demonstrated to the world, especially to the Soviet Union.

The idea of using the monopoly of the bomb to dominate the world, the very thing U.S. bomb scientists were afraid Hitler might do, was explicitly discussed with the incoming President Truman by then-Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson on April 25, 1945. Stimson said that "If the problem of the proper use of this weapon can be solved, we will have the opportunity to bring the world into a pattern in which the peace of the world and our civilization can be saved."

"Hiroshima and Nagasaki were really the first experiments on what Stimson called the 'proper use' of the bomb," said Dr. Makhijani. "The unspeakable terror of a single bomb dropped from a lone plane that could destroy a whole city in a flash was to replace the armadas of bombers dropping thousands of bombs that were incinerating Japanese and German cities in early 1945. It was to be the most fearsome kind of 'shock and awe.'"

The article catalogs the host of problems that have arisen as nuclear establishments around the world have become entrenched. They have subverted the rule of law and democracy, where they existed, in the name of national security. They have covered up hazards of radiation and lied to their people. For instance, while the U.S. military was reassuring the public that nuclear tests posed no radiation danger, it was contemplating radioactive terror for potential enemies.

"Scientific brilliance is not enough," Dr. Makhijani writes in the article. "Bereft of moral and political vision or consideration for future generations, it can lead to chaos, violence, and, in the case of nuclear weapons, annihilation."

The article is available in a PDF version at: http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/2003/mj03/mj03makhijani.pdf 

Greenpeace's Zoom to Doom virtual map

On 30 April, Greenpeace launched a unique web site, Zoom on Doom, mapping the geographical location of all known nuclear weapons facilities and storage sites around the world. Meanwhile citizen inspectors from Greenpeace conducted further surprise inspections of nuclear weapons states’ missions in Geneva, urging them to immediately disarm.

Greenpeace conducted “inspections” at the US, French, Russian and Israeli missions. On 30 April, the inspectors, together with ‘mock missiles’ visited the UK and China missions in Geneva - both official nuclear weapon states. They also visited the missions of India, Pakistan and North Korea, demanding these countries renounce their nuclear weapons programmes and join the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non- nuclear weapons states. The ‘missiles’ requested they be eliminated as a step towards nuclear disarmament, the central goal of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Since the US and the UK are having such difficulty finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we thought we'd lend a hand by providing this easy guide to the nuclear weapons we know about with their coordinates. We hope it will assist with compliance to the NPT: the treaty belongs to all of us as an instrument to bring about a nuclear weapon free world. IAEA inspectors and citizen weapons inspectors are welcome to use our map to check up on just where those elusive bombs have been hiding, ” explained William Peden, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International.

The Zoom to Doom virtual map can be found at:  http://www.greenpeace.org/wmdmap 


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