OPINION

The price of war

Being the heirs of their countries’ fallen empires, prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Jose-Maria Aznar of Spain should have warned current hegemon George W. Bush that no scepter is eternal, no throne is safe from time. Despite US invocations to God’s blessing, no hubris has ever escaped unpunished. On the contrary, the leaders of the two shadow empires, Bush’s two sidekicks, chose to humbly bow to the American missionary of war, Blair on his left and Aznar on his right. Together, they announced their ultimatum – which is officially against Saddam Hussein but in essence is against the United Nations (hence also the millions of people it represents), against the «old» Europe (whose Greek presidency remains a wavering observer of global developments), against Russia, China and the innumerable anti-war protesters across the world. Millions of frozen spectators throughout the world are told that Iraqi soldiers are digging ditches around their cities (even around the cities in the north and the south of the country which have been devastated after many years of bombing campaigns) to confront the enemy who will come upon them from the skies, in safety. Is a ditch any good against Stealth fighters, against remote-controlled death? No, by no means. A ditch will only help to symbolize the gulf which separates pacifists and democrats from Saddam-type despots and relentless leaders such as Bush or Blair who portray the lethal promotion of their vulgar interests as a fight for justice and humanism. If the war does take place, the world will suffer a heavy toll in lives, reason and civilized values. Bush will, in all likelihood, repeat what former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied when she was told that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of the Iraqi economic embargo: «We think the price was worth it.»