Elie Wiesel: "War is the only option&quo

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Posted by andreas from dtm2-t9-2.mcbone.net ( on Friday, December 27, 2002 at 4:26AM :

Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel
(was liberated from the concentration camp Buchenwald)

His website at:

"Sometimes we must interfere.
When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

So far - so good.
But that noble idea will be utterly betrayed if it is not going to be shielded from any callous instrumentalization to serve much less noble - only power political - ends.


Sunday December 22, 2002
The Observer (London)

War is the only option

A former winner of the Nobel peace prize says we must
stop Saddam's killing machine

Elie Wiesel

Since the unanimous resolution of the UN Security
Council, the world has lived in anguish, anticipating
an event that would profoundly affect the course of
affairs in the Middle East.
Will a war on Iraq, which Washington and London have
advocated from the beginning, finally take place? And
if it does, will it be justified? If UN arms
inspectors come home with nothing to report, can we
trust that Saddam Hussein has truly granted them the
freedom to do their jobs? Or is Saddam a liar,
concealing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons
capable of devastating entire regions?

These are crucial questions, as troubling as they are
complex. Impossible to resolve, but also impossible to

Saddam almost certainly harbours deadly arsenals.
Ideally, the international inspectors would uncover
and then destroy the weapons that are putting many
other countries in danger, not only Israel. But what
if Iraqi hiding places turn out to be too deep, too
well concealed? The weapons may be buried in hospital
basements and cemeteries, and plants may be operating
in presidential palaces. Do the inspectors have
adequate tools to discover them?

Few intelligence specialists doubt that Saddam would
be ready to use weapons of mass destruction. His
mentality, his temperament and his past are well
known: Killing a great number of human beings would
not concern him. He proved that at the end of the
1980s, when he ordered the slaughter by gas of
thousands of his own citizens.

In truth, that was the time for the leaders of
civilised nations to raise their voices and condemn
Saddam in the name of the world's conscience, plainly
and clearly, for crimes against humanity. But for
purely political reasons, they did not: At the time,
Saddam was the enemy of Iran, which was the enemy of
the United States and its allies. So he was handled
carefully - while his regime grew ever stronger.

Will Saddam hesitate before using the same murderous
tactics he has already proved himself capable of? Will
he fear international reaction? It is possible. But it
is also possible that he will be shrewd enough to
exploit the stand-off between the US and the UN. Then
time will be on his side. And when all is said and
done, he will be the one to decide when, against whom
and where to launch his missiles bearing poison and

This is the worst scenario of all. Because numerous
lives are at stake. The lives of Israelis, Americans
and, of course, Iraqis. Tens of thousands. Therefore
one thing is obvious: we must do everything possible
to prevent Saddam from using his weapons.

Does this mean war? Not necessarily. Since our
intelligence services, which seem to be well informed,
know where the plants in question are located (at
least, I hope so), I am naïve enough to believe that a
kind of James Bond operation would be best.

I imagine American, British and Israeli commandos, the
best trained in the world, would one night parachute
into Iraq. They would destroy all the missile bases
and centres for weapons production and set out again
at dawn, if possible, without killing a single Iraqi.

Am I too romantic? Why wouldn't I be? After all, I am
also a novelist. Only I must admit that the military
professionals to whom I proposed my plan did not find
it very realistic. And the fact that I know nothing
about war strategies did not strengthen my position.

So where are we going? If all the roads to peaceful
resolution are closed and therefore any attempts at
negotiation are doomed to failure, and if Saddam sends
the inspectors back empty-handed, vanquished and
ridiculed, will only war bring the desired solution?

I find war repugnant. All wars. I know war's monstrous
aspects: blood and corpses everywhere, hungry
refugees, devastated cities, orphans in tears and
houses in ruins. I find no beauty in it. But it is
with a heavy heart I ask this: what is to be done? Do
we have the right not to intervene, when we know what
passivity and appeasement will make possible?

Is President Bush's policy of intervention the best
response to an imperative need? Yes, it is said, and I
am reluctant to say anything else. Bush's goal is to
prevent the deadliest biological or nuclear conflict
in modern history.

If the US, supported by the UN Security Council, is
forced to intervene, it will save victims who are
already targeted, already menaced. And it will win.
The US owes it to us, and owes it to future
generations. As the great French writer André Malraux
said, victory belongs to those who make war without
loving it.


-- andreas
-- signature .

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