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Nuclear Free Scotland Ocotober 2005

LEFT BEHIND BY CORPORATE AMERICA

George Bush is having a bad summer. Just as the tide was turning against his Project Iraq, Hurricane Katrina struck laying bare his Project America. For perhaps the first time the world could see what it was not supposed to see - the poor, the sick and the desperate underbelly of an American city. It was those with no money, no transport and nowhere to go - overwhelmingly black - who comprised the floating bodies, the survivors confronted by automatic weapons and the inhabitants of the chaotic and ill-named Superdome. Welcome to America, land of the free.

The hurricane exposed more than just the inadequate response of the emergency services. Those left behind to fend for themselves when the Hurricane arrived had already been left behind by corporate America. Under Bush, poverty has increased by 17% and the life expectancy and infant mortality of black Americans is now on a par

with impoverished Third World states. And, as if to rub salt into the wound, Bush has plans for new cuts income tax and welfare benefits will further increase the gap between rich and poor. Bush is waging war on his own fellow citizens just as surely as he is on the people of Iraq. If you are poor and dark skinned it does not matter whether you are Iraqi or American - you don’t count.

Bring the
troops home

Meantime opposition continues to mount to the US/UK occupation of Iraq. Stung by the criticism of ex-president Bill Clinton, growing support for the campaign by Cindy Sheehan, huge demonstrations on both sides of the Atlantic and the increasing casualty toll in Iraq, Bush now looks like a president in trouble. In Britain the Church of England bishops, the Liberal Democrats and a growing number of trade unions now want to bring the troops home. Across Iraq the occupation forces are facing over 100 attacks a day, many of them unreported, as well as growing non-violent resistence from the majority Shia and Sunni populations. In the south the British army has antagonised the local Shias and shown its contempt for the interim administration by using its tanks and infantry to smash down the walls of a

prison in Basra to secure the release of two of its undercover special forces. All of this will humiliate and enrage ordinary Iraqis, further strengthening the resistence movement. There is a growing fear among neighbouring states that Iraq is hurtling towards disintegration and that the October referendum on the constitution and the December general election are unlikely to stop the process. The forces of occupation, as in the past, are part of the problem not the solution. We must demand that the UK government sets a clear and urgent timetable to bring the troops home.

Replacement
or escalation?

In Scotland and south of the border the issue of Trident replacement is rapidly emerging as the hottest issue on the peace agenda. Our 4 Trident submarines could still have another 20 years of life, but a decision on whether or not to replace them is likely to be taken in the life of this parliament. On prison in Basra to secure the release of two of its undercover special forces. All of this will humiliate and enrage ordinary Iraqis, further strengthening the resistence movement. There is a growing fear among neighbouring states that Iraq is hurtling towards disintegration and that the October referendum on the constitution and the December general election are unlikely to stop the process. The forces of occupation, as in the past, are part of the problem not the solution. We must demand that the UK government sets a clear and urgent timetable to bring the troops home.

Replacement
or escalation?
In Scotland and south of the border the issue of Trident replacement is rapidly emerging as the hottest issue on the peace agenda. Our 4 Trident submarines could still have another 20 years of life, but a decision on whether or not to replace them is likely to be taken in the life of this parliament. On

the 12th September John Reid called for a public debate on the issue. We must not disappoint him.

It is actually quite difficult to construct a rational case for ‘Son of Trident’. Even its protagonists admit it has no military role because it is not usable in today’s world. So do we just keep nuclear weapons because, as John Reid would say, we don’t know what threats we may face in the future? And if that is to be the insurance policy we leave our children, what kind of world would they inherit if every other ‘far-sighted’ nation decides to do the same.

Seeing the future

The truth is that none of us can see accurately into the future, but we can open our eyes and see the present. And it is a world where the Non-Proliferation Treaty is hanging by a thread, where a decision by the US and Britain to build a new generation of nuclear weapons would provoke a nuclear free-for-all as all those who feel threatened strive to respond in kind. The arguments of Reid and Blair have to be exposed for what they are. Nuclear weapons were never about security, they were always about projecting power. That’s why they want them to be the exclusive property of the select nuclear club plus a few trusted friends like Israel, Pakistan and India. But anyone else who challenges the nuclear monopoly can expect short shrift. Replacing Trident would be an arrogant, self-centred and short-sighted act that has nothing to do with real security for Britain or the world and everything to do with clinging to the ultimate symbol of imperial power. We don’t need it, we can’t afford it, and we won’t actually control it (its an American weapon). So why have it?

Lets hone the arguments and the slogans. This is a debate we can win!
Alan Mackinnon

 

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