Bianca Jagger says Blair was "deluded&qu

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 2:50PM :

Was war justified?
Bianca Jagger says Blair was "deluded"
BBC news online transcript
May 27, 2003

The war against Iraq has created a very disturbing precedent which means it has justified pre-emptive warfare and from now on we will see which will be the next country that will invoke the potential of a danger from another state to declare a war without a UN Security Council resolution or without an imminent threat to their security as it was the case with the United States and Great Britain vis--vis Iraq.

The United Nations was created to avert the scourge of war - not to promote one state to attack another state because they covet the national resources of that country. No, when I saw the war and I saw the beginning and I saw how the first thing that the United States protected - was what? The Ministry of Oil - the oil fields. Did they protect the people of Iraq? Did they protect the museums which have one of the greatest legacies of our own history? Did they make everything possible so that there wouldn't be a humanitarian catastrophe? Did they do everything in their power so that there was going to be no lawlessness? No - the only thing they were concerned about was the oil ministry and the oil fields.

The only time when a war is justified is when there is a genocide or the threat of genocide. We have to be very careful about what kind of a war, what kind of weapons will be used. When we're talking about indiscriminate bombing of a country, it is very, very dangerous.

You see the question is this - where there any other alternatives to the war? Was there any way that they could have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein? Did we do everything in our power to be able to be certain that there was only one avenue - a war?

We see that the conditions of the people have not really improved. We see that the Iraqis themselves do not regard the United States as the liberator force as they hoped they were going to be regarded but they have been regarded as the invaders.

We know that the majority of the people in Iraq are the Shias. Will the United States and Great Britain be prepared to allow an election where an Islamic government will be ruling Iraq? After all we say that we want them to have a democracy. If that democracy - if elections decide that they want to have an Islamic government - what will we do?

How could I quiver in my convictions when I see the suffering of the Iraqi people? We talk about the concern for the people of Iraq. But what about all the double standards? Do we really think that there was no bloodshed? Are the doctors from the Red Cross who said that they saw truckloads of dismembered women and children - are they lying? But we never saw that on television. We didn't see those images. We saw sanitising images. According to many people they were probably seeing that this war was won without any loss of life of innocent Iraqis. Or is it numbers?

I saw in Afghanistan, for example, that more than 3,000 innocent people were killed - we call them collateral damage. But that was not important because they were Afghans. But less than 3,000 people died in America and that was a bloodbath. So what is the difference between the life of an Iraqi, the life of an Afghan or the life of a Nicaraguan and the life of an American? Is it different? Is it a bloodbath or only when it is in America or when it is in the western world. Do their lives not count?

Prime Minister Blair gave in at every crossroad. He first said that under no circumstances will he go to war without a UN Security Council resolution. Then most recently he talked about the importance of the UN playing a vital role in Iraq. He talked about and he released reports on weapons of mass destruction. He has been deceitful, he has been reckless and he has lied to the people in this country.

I had a hope that perhaps if we lived in a democracy here, that Prime Minister Blair was going to listen to the thousands, millions of people who were opposing the war here. I had a glimmer of hope. The fact is that he made a terrible mistake.

There is a great difference between being anti-American and disagreeing and opposing the views of President Bush. President Bush, in my view, is one of the most dangerous individuals. He is not only dangerous because of his militaristic views because he has turned his back on the UN on international treaties because he is endangering the future of the planet.

I think that my body of work for the last 21 years speaks for itself. And people, not just in this country but when I travel, come to me and tell me,'we support you, we agree with you'. So that gives me incentive to continue doing the work that I do.

I was born in Nicaragua and I grew up under a dictatorship that lasted 43 years. I saw oppression and I saw suffering. I saw injustice and I think that left a deep mark in the way that I perceived the world. I left Nicaragua and I had a scholarship to go and study political science in Paris.

Then there was the revolution in Nicaragua and I was asked by the British Red Cross to do a fund raising for the victims of the war in Nicaragua. And I did. That was in 1979 and I went to Nicaragua and I saw the effects of the war, the effects of the dictatorship and that began my new life as a human rights campaigner.

We have seen in the last few days the attacks that have taken place, the terrorist attacks - whether we are talking about Saudi Arabia or Morocco.

I think that President Bush doesn't really understand what it takes and what he needs to do to be able to be successful in bringing peace to the Middle East. He should look into the experience of his father who I think genuinely tried. I think that President Clinton genuinely tried, I think that President Carter genuinely tried. I think that President Bush doesn't know what he's talking about, as usual.
Bianca Jagger has compiled an impressive list of humanitarian causes over the last 20 years. She has fought for the rights of indigenous Brazilian communities, campaigned for the Aids victims. She has supported Amnesty International in their anti-torture campaigns and acted as an ambassador for the Albert Schweizer Institute that helps the sick and vulnerable in the developing world.
She was born in Nicaragua in 1950. At the age of 16, she won a scholarship to the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Seeing the oppression and suffering through years of dictatorship made her realise the importance of people's rights.

Most recently she campaigned against war on Iraq, believing that the coalition had not exhausted the alternatives to conflict. Her visit to the country was to strengthen her views against military action. She lent her support to the Stop the War coalition speaking at its demonstration in Hyde Park in February.

Amongst other roles, Ms Jagger is a member of the executive directors' leadership council of Amnesty International and an adviser of Human Rights Watch.

-- Sadie
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