Monday, March 31, 2003

Roots, Oily Roots.
I read quite a funny letter in Green Anarchist (GA), a newspaper devoted to the (their words) the destruction of civilization. GA are anarcho-primitivists who believe that the only way we can live in a free society and be in harmony with nature is to go back to a pre-civilisation way of living. I’m not proposing debating anarcho-primitivistism right now, I’m not a follower of their ideology, but I’ll listen to them…anyway back to the letter:



Please great leaders, stop the war. Its all your fault, not mine. I don’t want to change the way I live. I want the latest computers, lots of places to go in my car, using lots of oil I can afford. I want to carry on buying lots of things. I don’t want to do anything for myself. I want to go on partying I want to eat lots of food from all over the world and I want it brought to me on lorries. I want to carry on doing this pointless job that produces no food or roof for me, I want work to continue to be done by others for me. I want to continue playing games all the time.
But I hate this guilty feeling I get when I hear about all these uneducated (foreigners) getting killed. So please stop the war. It’s all your fault. Thanks very much for being my scapegoat and please keep the goodies coming, otherwise we will make new leaders who will.

All the best to you and yours,

Love and peace

A complacent liberal.


Food for thought. Any protestors reading this and feeling got at; don’t take it personally. But I do think it makes the point that the roots of this conflict go deeper that the chaff of WMD and ‘Regime Change’ the mainstream media discusses. We all know the war with Iraq is not the end of the war on terror/war for control; as Ann Pettifor of the New Economics Foundation pointed out, "Whereas earlier empires bankrolled their colonies, this empire is bankrolled by, and therefore vulnerable to, its 'colonies'. The US requires the rest of the world to channel $4bn a day into its coffers to enable its people to live beyond their means." The war without end will be paid for with our social fabric. And lots of blood sacrifices. (more on this here on Bristol Indymedia.)

Sunday, March 30, 2003

So Donald Rumsfeld is the latest power-mad civilian to enter the 'bureaucrat-turned-general' hall of fame after his lurch to war despite the misgiving of his own generals, has had his plans fail spectacularly at the cost of millions of dollar$ and far too much blood. The US army, at his planning, waded into a war they thought would be a 'cakewalk'. Here we are, eight days into the war, the advance on Baghdad has stalled and reinforcements being rushed out to prop up and overstretched front. Nice one, Donny. What is scary, is that the whole US plan hinged on two crucial points;

1.That the Iraqi army would capitulate.
2.That the civilian population would rise up against Saddam.

Now, if your big plan hinged on these crucial points, you make sure that you had the intelligence to back it up? Yes? Well, no. Not in Donny-land. Sample of this planning; "During our interview, [with] al-Qurairy [former brigadier-general in Iraq's intelligence service] repeatedly claimed that the CIA men who debriefed him in Ankara appeared uninterested in much of what he had to say." The anti-war movement had pointed all this out; we'd said it's not going to be that easy. We'd said that the people blame the US for their misery as much as Saddam. Did they listen to these or any other of the hundreds of points made about this idiotic adventure? No. Why not? Oil-on-the-brain, I guess.

And as if that wasn't enough, we also find that the US army plans have also encountered problems, because according to Lt-General William Wallace; "The enemy we're fighting against is a bit different from the one we wargamed against." Doh!? Did the US planners really expect that Saddam would roll out his tanks into the desert to be picked off like space-invaders? Seriously, what did they think he'd do? Evey armchair general when assessing what to do against a military force so overwhelming mush have looked at campaigns where they lost (Mogadishu and Vietnam etc.) and thought; Guerrilla War. I mean they even had an exercise in Summer 2002 that pointed out the flaw in their plan when the general assigned to play Saddam, won. He later told the Guardian; "when the real fighting starts, American troops will be sent into battle with a set of half-baked tactics that have not been put to the test." Except this time the blood is all real. I can already see the danger signs; as the US/UK forces get angry and scared by the guerrilla fighting, they begin to lash out at civilians, so recruiting more and more people willing to attack them. It gets messy and before you know it you've got a full on war-of-occupation. They were hoping for Paris 1944, but its looking more like Saigon 1968, and we trust the people who planned this to lead our countries? Shame on us? Time to think for ourselves.
Testing 1, 2, 3? I've decided to blog! So to start with here is a piece I wrote that originally appeared on Bristol Indymedia...

South West Anti-War: State of Panic

The massive police reactions in Fairford, Bristol, across the South West and UK show a system in trouble. For those of us attending the demo at the US airbase of Fairford on Saturday 22nd, and I suspect for those attending any of the hundreds of demos and actions across the UK, we witnessed what can only be called the state in panic. Police presence was overwhelming to the point where you could see the fear of the state manifested in a thick blue line around the gates of USAF Gloucestershire. It made you think of a cornered and wounded beast.

Such was the fear of the people attending that the first use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000 / Section 60 in mainland Britian was at in effect. Its use was not to stop al Qaeda, but to protect a US airbase. As back up for the anti-terror laws there were huge number of police Forward Intelligence Teams, contracted civilian photographers and Evidence Gathering Teams. They had enough cameras to film a Hollywood epic, even if most of their footage was of people making roll-ups. Such was the panic of the authorities that they turned back coaches of protesters under the thin veil of 'legitimacy' as the numbers attending the demo threatened to spiraled out of their control. Police from all over the UK including Thames Valley, Manchester, Devon and Cornwall and Liverpool been drafted into sleepy Gloucestershire with their leave and rest days canceled as they struggle to cope with the popular resistance to war.

If Fairford had been all the days action, then this could have been isolated and labeled as the usual-suspect hairy-hippies. But it wasn't; in Bristol, London, Wolverhampton, Menwith Hill, Glasgow, Galloway, Dundee, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Tyneside and Bath and some. And a few more; the anti-war movement was in full effect. A mainstream reporter on Saturday's TV news tried to bring some analysis to the situation and concluded that because the rally in London 'only' attracted a quarter of a million people and that the Lib Dem leadership wasn't there, that the anti-war movement was loosing ground. Such vacuous interpretation of events can only come from either a pro-state bias of just plain ignorance of the situation: the million strong demo in London just before the war started was the only action in England that day and so concentrated the anti-war movement. There wasn't a million people in London this time because we were all busy in Stroud, in Plymouth, Brimingham, Exeter, Swindon, Belfast and some. And some more. No way are we going away. We're getting stronger. Take Bristol (and we nearly have!) as an example; shut down Thursday Lunchtime by radical school kids. Shut-down Thursday evening by the rest of us. Shut-down Friday and shut-down Saturday lunchtime. Day three of the war and we've nearly re-captured one of the South-West's major cities. Come Saturday evening and the cops guarding the city center were looking tired and miserable. Even Sunday in Bristol, with no organised Stop-The-War movement demo, hundreds gathered anyway to show their anger.

One of the Gloucester Weapons Inspectors, speaking at the gates of the USAF airbase, remarked that the first time they had come here there were only 20 of them. Now there were closer 10,000. It reminded me of an often quoted Gandhi phrase; “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” There weren't many police laughing in Bristol or Fairford. I doubt Tony Blair was having a giggle as the reports filtered back to the War Cabinet at No.10. It looks like we're in for a long struggle and so far we've shown we've got the numbers, the tenacity and the population of the world with us. We even have the analysis - one protesters graffiti beneath one of Bristol's newest yuppie flat summed-up the situation; “War is terrorism with a bigger budget.”