"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

My Photo
Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Monday, August 15, 2005

UN Nuclear Watchdog Rebuts Claims that Iran Is Trying to Make A-Bomb

The UN nuclear watchdog is preparing to publish evidence that Iran is not engaged in a nuclear weapons programme, undermining a warning of possible military action from President George Bush.

The US President told Israeli television that "all options are on the table" if Iran fails to comply with international calls to halt its nuclear programme. Both the US and Israel - the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power - were "united in our objective to make sure Iran does not have a weapon", he said.

However, Iran is about to receive a major boost from the results of a scientific analysis that will prove that the country's authorities were telling the truth when they said they were not developing a nuclear weapon. The discovery of traces of weapons-grade uranium in Iran by UN inspectors in August 2003 set off alarm bells in Western capitals where it was feared that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon under cover of a civil programme. The inspectors took the samples from Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, which had been concealed from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 18 years.

But Iran maintained that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, and that the traces must have been contamination from the Pakistani-based black market network of scientist AQ Khan. He is the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

The analysis of components from Pakistan, obtained last May by the IAEA, is now almost complete and is set to conclude that the traces of weapons-grade uranium match those found in Iran. "The investigation is likely to show that they came from Pakistan," a Vienna-based diplomat told The Independent on Sunday.

The new information, which strengthens Iran's case after last week's contentious IAEA board meeting in Vienna, will be a central part of the next report to the board by Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA chief. "The biggest single issue of the past two years has now fallen in their [the Iranians'] favour," the diplomat said. The meeting of the 35-nation board, which ended last Thursday, urged Iran to suspend the uranium-related activity at its Isfahan plant, which many fear will be the first step towards building a nuclear weapon.

The resumption of uranium conversion at the plant last week caused an international crisis and prompted Britain, France and Germany, which have been attempting to find a negotiated solution to the dispute, to call the emergency IAEA meeting. In its resolution concluding the meeting, the board also asked Dr ElBaradei to report back by 3 September. Hardliners on the board - including Britain, the United States and Canada - had hoped that Dr ElBaradei's next report would be sufficiently damning to increase the pressure on Iran.

However those hopes will be dashed by the revelation about the IAEA analysis of the particles from Pakistan, which will remove any chance of Iran being referred to the UN Security Council. But the IAEA is not closing the book on its investigation of Iran's possible weapons programme. A team of IAEA experts arrived in Iran on Friday to pursue other outstanding issues, but they are unlikely to be resolved by the time Dr ElBaradei reports to the board.

The three European countries are fast running out of options, as there is no appetite among non-nuclear states on the IAEA board to report Iran to the Security Council for punitive sanctions, when there is no legal basis to do so. Iran, which agreed to suspend its uranium conversion during the talks with Britain, France and Germany, insists on its right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian authorities restarted Isfahan after rejecting a package of security and economic incentives submitted to Iran 10 days ago by the three countries which sought a binding commitment that Iran would not pursue fuel cycle activities. "It's difficult to see things moving ahead if Europeans think that every country can have enrichment facilities except Iran," one Western diplomat said.

Dr Ian Davis, the director of the British-American Security Information Council (Basic), an independent nuclear thinktank, said that if the Europeans were prepared to compromise on the fuel cycle issue, "the negotiations may yet prevent a crisis".

However, a Foreign Office spokesman insisted that a new round of negotiations scheduled with Iran for 31 August would go ahead only if Tehran again suspended uranium conversion. "There are no talks with no suspension," the spokesman said.

Iran, sensing that it is gaining international support for its stand and with a new hardline President in power, also looks as if it is in no mood to compromise at this point.

Anne Penketh
The Independent UK
Sunday 14 August 2005

No-Win War

I heard a lecture by an Army psychologist who contended that after 90 days of combat, the casualty rate was 98 percent. Those not wounded physically were wounded psychologically. The other 2 percent were psychopaths.

His passing remark about the psychopaths was interesting. A psychopath is a defective human being, almost a bionic robot. Psychopaths can be intelligent and manipulative, but they lack totally the capability of feeling any emotion for or attachment to other human beings. They are without conscience, without remorse, without regret, without compassion. They can feel rage when frustrated. They commit a lot of the crime and in prisons usually run the inmates.

A close friend who led a Ranger platoon in heavy fighting during World War II said the only member of his outfit who didn't get a scratch was a psychopath, a convicted murderer paroled into the Army. This man loved to kill and often exposed himself to enemy fire just to hurl insults at the Germans. He and a Choctaw Indian would have long arguments over whether the knife or the hatchet was the best tool for killing a sentry. The psychopath favored the hatchet, using it to deliver a blow to the back of neck and sever the spinal cord.

War is both brutal and brutalizing, and so it is good to see that more and more Americans are beginning to realize the war in Iraq was a mistake. Wars are nearly always a mistake, because even if you win them, you lose so much. A man who ought to know, William Sherman, told some cadets that war is hell. Another combat veteran described it as being eye-deep in hell.

What we need to come to grips with is that war, as old as the human race, has become too dangerous to practice. Today we have people – not very different from people 5,000 years ago – who command weapons that can literally destroy life on Earth. History tells us that war corrupts even good people. It didn't take long in World War II before the strategic-bombing advocates were saying cities needed to be carpet-bombed without regard for civilian casualties. That culminated in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Those bombs were spitballs compared with the thermonuclear weapons in the arsenals today of the United States, Russia and China, as well as Great Britain, France, Israel and presumably Pakistan and India. In one real sense, these weapons prevented war, as neither the U.S. nor the Soviet Union could figure out how to have a nuclear war and survive. Even so, there were some close calls.

Yet, so decisive is the weapon that those countries that have them are reluctant to give them up, and other countries that don't have them want them. I'm not concerned about small countries, even such as North Korea. A few bombs will not threaten mankind. It is the large arsenals that can bring about extinction.

Wars, of course, are effects, not causes. Usually they are the effects of conflicts over land and resources and sometimes ideology or religion. Surely the destructiveness of war, in terms of both economic resources and human lives, should tell people that there must be a better way to settle conflicts. I fear, though, that it is like asking a cave man to negotiate with his neighbor rather than brain him with his stone ax. Technology has advanced tremendously; the human race is stuck with the same old human nature it has always had.

One can be cynical and say that since all humans must die, there is no point in worrying about the manner or timing of their deaths. I might agree if the human race consisted entirely of adults, but children deserve a chance to sample the joys of living, and modern warfare kills children as if they were nothing more than ants. We said, for public-relations purposes, that Hiroshima was a military target, but in fact there were only 43,000 soldiers there. The 300,000 civilians were nearly all women, children and old men.

I applauded the dropping of the bombs at the time, and if I had been Harry Truman, I probably would have made the same decision. That's what I mean by war corrupting even good people. It forces them to make decisions they wouldn't make in peacetime.

The real crime against humanity is war itself. Rather than charge soldiers with war crimes, the political leaders who start the wars should be put in the dock. Their decisions to go to war are the mother of all the crimes and cruelty that follow.

Charley Reese