When Bush
Comes to Shove

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by Stephen Phillips

Well, well, what’s that I hear? Ah, I know:  it’s the sound of a fat lady singing, and the beating of battle drums played by the Bush administration,  with Tony Blair in attendance on cymbals.

But hold on a minute.   Let's have a closer look at what Colin Powell has in his briefcase of secrets.

The stage was set for the U.S. Secretary of State to appear in front of the United Nations Security Council, PowerPoint presentation in hand, to provide damning evidence against Saddam.

On the whole, it was very nice.  Colin Powell spoke eloquently, as he always does, and I must admit that the little packet of anthrax was a nice touch.  So, too, were the satellite photos supposedly showing us Iraq’s nasty little secrets.    "Not too bad,"  I thought.   "Let’s see what other evidence they have."

From that point on, Mr. Powell was losing ground, and beginning to sound more like a used car salesman trying to hawk a 1971 Ford Pinto than the U.S. Secretary of State trying to convince the world that America had Saddam bang to rights.

The “artist's impressions” of the mobile chemical and biological labs were very quaint,  but they were only artist’s impressions--not photos. (Impressions.   Got it?)

Utilizing Powell's approach, if I were to draw a building and write on the roof in big letters “Here be bombs,” would that be enough to convince anybody?  

I think not.   And I don’t think the foreign ambassadors were convinced, either.

What else is left?  I know:  let's play our trump card, the Al Queda connection.    That’s bound to win hearts and minds amongst this skeptical bunch.   

Well, maybe that’s true for a gullible public that the Bush administration is leading through La La Land, but for the rest of us, it seemed to be just another attempt to win us over.   Sorry, Mr. Powell, but that sounded like a man desperately clutching at straws.

Let us also not forget the “compelling evidence” of the phone taps.  All well and good, but as anyone knows, it’s quite easy to “Hollywood” phone conversations.  In fact, all you need is a good sound editing program, and voila! even I can sound like an Iraqi talking about naughty things that we shouldn’t have.

In essence, the US administration has once again accused Iraq of violating United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. But this is all it is--accusations, not the hard, concrete facts that most people were hoping for.

In their response to Mr. Powell’s evidence, permanent members of the Security Council including China, Russia and France all voiced their concern over Saddam’s lack of coperation, but all agreed that the inspectors required more time.  France was the loudest dissenter of all, saying that military action should be the absolute last option.   France called on the UN to double, even triple the amount of Inspectors, and to have permanent monitoring of Iraq’s weapons program.

It seemed as if the only support for America’s stance on this issue came from Jack Straw, the United Kingdom's foreign secretary. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the British government would support the U.S. no matter what, even though there is a growing chorus of dissent amongst both the British population and some members of Tony Blair’s government.  This does not bode well for Mr. Blair when re-election time rolls round.  Better sit up and pay attention to the people, Tony!    Remember, they are the ones who put you in Number 10 to begin with.

Personally, I’m still far from convinced that America has enough hard-hitting evidence to launch an all-out attack on Iraq.  Before I jump onto this bandwagon, I’m going to need a lot more convincing. 

But it’s all over bare the shouting.  By in effect accusing Iraq of being in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441,  the U.S has moved one step closer to military action.  Not quite ready yet…but almost.

Hands up, all of you who could see that coming.  No big surprise here.  There seem to be a large majority of right-minded people who haven’t been hoodwinked by this administration’s singleminded desire to topple the Iraqi regime,  come hell or high water.

Now, why might that be?  There is a growing suspicion around the world that President Bush is a bully who likes to push his weight around, flying in the face of global public opinion to further his ends, and plunging his nation--and others--into a conflict that will inevitably have a knock-on effect that will be disastrous to many ordinary citizens around the globe.

When's this all going to happen?  Some people say that by the end of February, the cruise missiles will be flying down the High Street in central Baghdad, with only one  “express delivery address”--and we all know whose that’s going to be!

What will be the end result?

Well, as most people see it, conflict is inevitable, no matter what the opinion of others.   There are several different scenarios that could play out here.  Iraq could indeed throw its hands up and say, “Yes, it’s true--we have weapons of mass destruction, and we've lied all along.”  Or they could just hunker down and await their fate, which will without doubt involve a huge loss of life on both sides.  

Either way, it seems that this is just a test of wills and egos between G.W. Bush and Saddam Hussein.  Who will capitulate first? 

And what kind of consequences will there be for the United Nations, if the U.S. decides to basically give them the finger and go its own way?

I dread to think.


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