Weapons Inspectors: Saddamned If You Do...

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How's this for a choice: admit you have weapons of mass destruction--and we bomb you. Or deny that you have such weapons--and we bomb you anyway, because you're lying.

These are the options facing Saddam Hussein as UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq. While many around the world might hope that these inspectors will bring peace, the aims of the US and British governments are clear--they mean war sometime very soon.

The US in particular is desperate to find 'tripwires' which can end the inspections and allow it to bomb with impunity. It plans 60 days and nights of bombing Iraq before a land invasion which will result, it believes, in colonial occupation of the wartorn country. Already it is flying its planes low over the 'no fly zones' in the hope that they will be shot at by the Iraqis and so start a war. The US has already claimed that shots fired at its bombers (acting completely outside of any UN resolution) are a breach of the latest UN resolution. That was even too far-fetched for the British government to support.

Have no illusions about Jack Straw and Tony Blair, however. They are conscious that opposition to war in Britain is still very high and so they need to couch their language more cautiously than Bush. But they are 100 percent behind this war. While they are holding back public spending in other areas, there are unlimited funds to kill.

Most Labour MPs went along with a government motion to support the UN resolution in the erroneous assumption that this would bring peace closer. Instead, it strengthens Blair's resolve to go to war and shows his contempt for parliament in refusing to allow the simple question 'for or against war' to be put to the vote.

The costs of this war will be astronomical. A new report from the US Congress estimates that deploying US troops to Iraq would cost between $9 billion and $13 billion dollars. In addition it would cost $6 billion to $9 billion per month. A postwar occupation of Iraq could run to $4 billion a month.

Remember that when they tell you the money's not there.