An open letter to Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush and Tony Blair as well as the world media.

Could Gandhi style acts of passive, non-violence work for the Iraqis in the event of an attack or invasion by UN/UK military forces?

Recent protest marches around The World, including Washington in the US, and London, Glasgow and Manchester, England, have shown that the majority of US/UK civilians do not wish to see their governments declare war on Iraq without a clear body of evidence from the UN showing evidence that Iraq is stockpiling and hiding weapons of mass destruction, with possible intent to use them against Britain, the US and their international allies.

To date no such evidence has been presented. Poor quality audio recording fragments that could be about just about anything, plagiarized extracts from an old student thesis presented as current and up to date intelligence reports and laughably vague claims that Hussain is in some way in cahoots with Osama Bin Laden fail to convince many UK citizens, myself included that the pending war against Iraq is anything more than a cynical opportunity to grab for oil and secure stronger US interests in an already volatile Middle East.

The British Government, seems alll too eager to play along with whatever course of action Bush takes regardless of whether the UN says yay or nay to war and despite clear protests from many UK/US citizens. This is in complete contempt of democracy in our own country.

In the sickeningly possible event that the UK/US forces do declare war or attack Iraq without the go ahead of the UN or their own citizens, and future election voters, I wonder if Saddam Hussein wil give any serious consideration to the unusual defence of offering no violent resistance or defence of his people whatsoever. By this I do not merely mean non-use of the so called Weapons Of Mass Destruction I believe it is unlikely he has many of these at his disposal anyway, but also the complete non-use of guns, tanks, aircraft, knives, bayonets, etc., or even fist fighting. It is my personal recommendation that the Iraqi people, civilian and military alike use a nationally controlled stance of passive non-violent resistance as used so effectively by Gandhi in the closing years of British rule in India. Such a stance will leave the US/UK military forces having to do one of two things;

1/. Attacking unarmed non-aggressive, non-threatening citizens of a country with bombs, guns, tanks and other weapons, when no one in that country is willing to lift a finger to so much as a water pistol trigger in defence. We should remember the famous image of a lone student standing defiant before a tank in Tiannamen Square which eventually backed away leaving him unharmed. Given a similar World Eye view, would the US/UK forces continue an attack on unarmed non-=aggressive individuals?

2/. Return to the UN negotiation table to seek a more practical and positive solution to their grievances with Iraq.

In the event that the US/UK military attack Iraqi citizens offering a non-violent defence, the Iraqis should not fight back even when seeing some of their people wounded and killed. It will be the outrage and anger of the people of the US and UK on seeing their armies used to commit a genicidal act of mass murder of unarmed citizens that would end this war and the continuing office of the governments that started it without adequate cause.

In the event of a more conventional war, where Iraq attempts to defend itself with conventional tanks, planes, infantry, etc., Iraq is likely to lose and many innocent civilians are likely to be among the casualties. I have no doubt that many of our own soldiers will also return home in body bags in such a war, but is it not more likely that a people offering only open arms and smiles and non co-operation with the armies marching in to take their leader hostage or for dead will have a greater chance of success and survival than one attempting to meet force with force?

I hope that Bush and Blair are brought to their senses by world condemnation of their warmongering oil-grabbing aims, and that no invasion of Iraq even takes place. In the event that it does, my recommendation of an Iraqi stance of passive non-violent defence is one of Humanitarianism intent on minimising the casualties on all sides. It should not be taken as support in any form for the current political regime controlling Iraq.

Of course, Iraq has been bombed persistantly by US/UK forces in the years since the first Gulf War without retaliating, so the suggestion of extended pasive resistance, under the watchful eyes of the world via CNN, the BBC and Sky-FOX as well as the Internet will serve as a dramatic extension of such a stance.

Many British citizens are now known to have bravely travelled to Iraq to serve as volunteer human shields in the hope that the Americxan and British armed forces will not open fire on their own citizens. Their passive stance could be quickly adapted by Iraqi citizens too. While Americans are not avserse to commiting wartime attrocities on civilians, (Cambodia and Laos suffering during the Vietnam conflict), the open slaughter of unarmed men, women and children on live television would be too much fortheir countrymen to bear.

Much of Europe also loudly condemns the Bush-Blair axis for its current stance on Iraq. The US criticism of France and Germany as cowards is uterly unforgivable. The US also threatens to withdraw US army bases from Germany and even threatens economic conflict with Turkey who are understandably reluctant to play a stronger role in the pending invasion. Such is the behaviour of a nation intent on bullying not only those it wishes to percieve as terrorists but the rest of the world too. Such is the attitude of a spoilt brat who wishes to leave the football pitch taking his ball with him to ruin the game for everyone else as well. Except of course, this s not a game, but a very real fothcoming tragedy on the grand scale as America nd the UK commit mass murder unless they can be brought to a standstill by the growing world condemnation.

The terrorist atrocity of Sept. 11th shocked us all. It is hoped that the culprits responsible for the tragedy who were not actually among the suicide squad killed in the four plane crashes and buildings targetted are brought to justice before the world in a fair trial. Using the tragedy as grounds to declare war on many other nations claiming without direct hard evidence and merely expecting the finger of accusation to justify a vengeful and useless series of wars will achieve nothing and does an appalling disservice to the many good innocent people who perished that fateful day. The war against Terrorism is a war OF terrorism, and paranoia, in which nations and sectarian groups with strong grievances against US/UK interests are likely to find martyrs to their causes. Such a stance as that taken in Iraq, Afghanistan and pending in North Korea can only make the US and the UK more enemies and increase the danger of further terrorist atrocities in our countries. War is not the answer. Justice is what needs to be sought, and a means to establish trust and friendship between East and West, instead of exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 to grab land, oil and votes in a war rooted more in racism and extreme ideology than in any true sense of need to protect people from harm. The attack on Iraq, if it occurs will achieve nothing but a senseless death toll and waste of human life. Such a war can only be stopped through peace. I hope it will stop before a trigger is pulled by either side. If not, will Iraq consider a passive non-violent defense that could crush the US/UK advance before it gets started as opposed to armed response against forces it cannot possibly hope to defeat? Should so much as a single shot be fired by the US/UK forces in the pending invasion, Bush and Blair will be regarded by many including myself as having committed crimes against humanity to compare with those perpetrated by the Third Reich during WW2.

Copyright. Arthur Chappell