Tuesday, November 11, 2003

No 16.

With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about.

Song: Us and Them
Album: Dark Side Of The Moon

Exactly 85 years ago the armistice was signed ending at the end of the Great War, the bloodiest conflict in history. So it seems apt to use a couple of Pink Floyd lyrics to talk about war today.

War is seldom about noble causes. Rather, it has more to do with possessions, usually land. The Greeks went to war with Troy because they had kidnapped Helen. The Second World War was started because Hitler wanted more Lebensraum (living space) for the Germans. The Gulf War was over Saddam Hussein’s sudden possession of the Kuwaiti oilfields.

All of this is human nature. We more readily fight for something we own than over a high-minded ideal.

Which is why the reasons given for going to war with Iraq this year rang so false. The assertions that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was ready to launch them at any time is more laughable now than ever and it seems inconceivable that the US went to war solely to remove Hussein from power and free the Iraqi people from oppressive tyranny. That may well yet be one of the outcomes of the conflict but if turns out that America (and its allies) has not benefited commercially from it then I’ll eat my hat.

Assuming Bush wins the election in 12 months time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of agreement with Iraq to supply the US with oil at a cut-down price, something they desperately need to fuel the American obsession with the car. Add to that all of the money to be made by American companies now getting a foothold in the Middle East in the wake of the war and you get a pretty large and compelling reason for having fought in the first place.

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