By Anwar IqbalWASHINGTON: As life returns to normal after
this weekend's snowstorm, there is a growing consensus in the US capital that
the Bush administration is ready to weather another storm as well - the massive
display of international resentment against the war in Iraq(Getty Images)...
Peace marches unlikely to sway US administration
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: As life returns to normal after this weekend's snowstorm, there is a
growing consensus in the US capital that the Bush administration is ready to
weather another storm as well - the massive display of international resentment
against the war in Iraq.
Those who believe that America is going to war were further strengthened by a
statement from President Bush who said on Tuesday that he "respectfully
disagreed" with those who attended anti-war protests over the weekend.
Allowing the size of demonstrations to decide policies, he said, would amount to
governing by pressure groups.
The White House is indicating that, while diplomatic and military support from
outside its immediate circle of allies is welcome, it is willing to press ahead
without widespread backing, including that of the UN Security Council.
And even more significant is a brief news item from Baghdad saying that US
military personnel recently entered Baghdad and carried out a series of
exercises aimed at testing the readiness of President Saddam Hussein's troops.
Published on Tuesday by the London-based Arabic newspaper Assharq al Awasat, the
report said, during the exercise US special forces also conducted a series of
explosions that caused panic in the Iraqi capital.
The Iraqi authorities, the paper said, have arrested dozens of security
officials for allowing the Americans to enter Baghdad.
Commenting on these reports, a senior Arab diplomat told Dawn in Washington that
it is apparent the peace demonstrations are not having a major impact on the
"The indications we are getting from the Bush administration are clear,
they want Saddam out and they are ready to go to war for this," said an
There seems to be a general consensus among Arab and Muslim diplomats in
Washington that war is inevitable. But there are disagreements about the
time-frame when Washington would launch the offensive.
Some say in the first week of March, while others go for the second week. But as
a senior diplomat pointed out, "military considerations and not diplomacy
or public pressure would determine the schedule of the US offensive."
Another reason why the weekend's enormous demonstrations look unlikely to
seriously affect the deliberations of administration policymakers is that even
though there were significant rallies across the United States and an especially
large one around the United Nations in New York City, these events were not even
remotely comparable in size with the vast gatherings in London, Rome, Berlin,
Barcelona and elsewhere in Western Europe.
"Therefore, far from being awed by the turnouts on either side of the
Atlantic, Bush administration hawks and their cheering chorus among the US media
punditry will be able to indulge their favorite pastime of negatively
stereotyping the motivations and significance of those who marched on the side
of restraint," says one analyst.
How can we manifest peace on
earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both
sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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