Tuesday, February 18, 2003

War with Iraq

Whilst I didn't go on the Anti-War demo I am very much against the stance that the British Govt is taking. Despite my own failing to get my arse across to Glasgow I am pleased to see that many others are not as lazy as I am and much respect to those of you who did march.

One of the things that, in my mind, stands out in the govt rhetoric is their insistance that this is part of the "War against terrorism". Now I will grant that Saddam Hussein is a nasty piece of work, but apart from his own people I haven't seen any evidence that he is doing anything in the way of openly terrorizing his neighbours and I think the way he was forcibly evicted from Kuwait put paid to any plans of expansion that he may have once had. (I could be wrong there because I am neither an expert in Middle East politics nor psychology).

However, reading the BMJ (1) I noticed a news article highlighting the release of a report (2) relating to the mental health of Iraqi children. This report is based on the the work of a humanitarian fact finding mission, that interviewed families in Iraq at the beginning of the year. The team included two child psychologists who report that:

"..the children have "a great fear" of a war that they perceive to be "hanging over their heads." Children as young as four described ideas about the horrors of war. They were fearful, anxious, and depressed about the prospects of armed conflict... Many have nightmares, and 40% do not think that life is worth living"

To me these children are being terrorized, and yes I do mean terrorized

The Oxford English Dictionary (3) give the meaning of terrorist as:

1. As a political term: a. Applied to the Jacobins and their agents and partisans in the French Revolution, esp. to those connected with the Revolutionary tribunals during the ‘Reign of Terror’. b. Any one who attempts to further his views by a system of coercive intimidation. In early use also applied spec. to members of one of the extreme revolutionary societies in Russia. The term now usually refers to a member of a clandestine or expatriate organization aiming to coerce an established government by acts of violence against it or its subjects.
2. Dyslogistically: One who entertains, professes, or tries to awaken or spread a feeling of terror or alarm; an alarmist, a scaremonger.

Now correct me if I'm wrong (and I really don't think I am) but looking at the definition at 1b, isn't this what Bush and Blair are doing to the children and people of Iraq? Further isn't the stepping up security at airports and reporting more and more about the perceived threat what Blair is trying to do to us here?

So who are the real terrorists?

1. Clark. BMJ 2003;326: 356 Link to BMJ News 15th February 2003
2. Our Common Responsibility: The Impact of a New War on Iraqi Children Link to Reports at War Child Canada
3. Oxford English Dictionary On-line. Link to definition

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