Editorial: PRAVDA.Ru's Take - We didn't want this war, nor should we fight it now
PRAVDA.Ru takes strong exception to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's statement that elements of Russia's military forces might join an international peacekeeping force to occupy and police Iraq
The fact that minister's statement claimed this could happen only after United Nations Security Council resolution sanctioning such a move does not influence our position.
The United States and its minor ally, the United Kingdom, recklessly defied international opinion gearing up for war. Then what is called the "coalition of the willing" did not fight a war - it only destroyed the infrastructure of a poor country that been terrorized for decades. Now coalition forces have found themselves trapped in a quagmire. Losing troops everyday due to the chaos they have brought upon the people of Iraq, they now want our young men in uniform to fall victim do to their own hubris. Russian forces should not be part of this growing tragedy.
One has to question the Foreign Minister's motives for making such a statement. Russia's consistent record opposing the war Iraq will be tarnished if our troops are deployed. President Putin repeatedly demanded for evidence that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Convincing evidence was never produced. US Secretary of State Colin Powell's first-grade "show and tell" performance of the best evidence Iraq had WMDs convinced no one among the doubters, including Russia.
Weeks after the Iraq war was officially ended by US President George Bush, WMDs still have not been found. Furthermore there is a growing torrent of revelations that the United States and the United Kingdom made exaggerated claims about Iraq's arsenal. They are many in the West who are now under the impression that Bush and Blair have simply lied to their people and to the world. Is this the kind of coalition that Russia should join? PRAVDA.Ru believes that this war is not of Russia's making and involving this now country in this conflict that should not have happened is a grave mistake - a mistake that does not serve Russia's national and international interests.
If Ivanov's statement of enlisting Russian military help under the flag and blue helmets of the United Nations was intended to help promote Russian business interests in post-Saddam Iraq, he is gravely mistaken. Iraq's infrastructure has been sacked and looted. While there are a number of American companies - reportedly in close association with Vice President Dick Cheney - are hoping to reap profits off the back of American taxpayers, it is delusional to think Iraq will be an environment to start reconstruction for a long time to come. Those in Iraq against American and coalition occupation have the advantage on the ground. It takes only a few Iraqis who are well organized and poorly armed - not with WMDs - to completely foil the pacification of Iraq. We see this every day and now the Western media has started to report a daily "body count" not unlike during America's lost conflict in Vietnam.
If Ivanov's statement was to engender good favor for Russia in the eyes of the Bush Administration, he is again mistaken. The United States long ago decided that it cannot afford to ignore Russia and its interests in the Middle East and Central Asia. Oil politics and the fact Russia knows far more about the enemy America is fighting secures Russia's place in Bush's "Brave New World". Additionally, Ivanov's suggestion that Russians would help the US and its coalition in Iraq is to seriously ignore Russian public opinion. Russians didn't need the media-hype that smacked of Americanism during the war - the Russian people are genuinely against this war.
Using the United Nations as a last resort to sanction one country's mistake is a grave error and undermines this institution's importance in our quickly changing world. Russia needs to use the UN more to its advantage and against those who support a doctrine of pre-emptive war.
Lastly, remembering the loss of Mr David Kelly, the British analyst who took his own life because, according to his widow, he did not "want to live in this kind of world" as he challenged Blair and his government for going to war too quickly and for the wrong reasons, PRAVDA.Ru sends its heartfelt condolences. We too do not want to see more innocent life lost due arrogance and incompetence.
Mr Foreign Minister, please reconsider your position. To you Mr Bush thanks, but no thanks. This is your war and you should pay for it in every way, lock, stock and barrel