1990s >> 1991 >> no-1037-january-1991
Letters: Don’t die for oil
At this eleventh hour on the eve of a possible war in the Gulf I would like to appeal to our fellow workers in uniform. Whether you are waiting in readiness in the Gulf region, at home training for the eventuality or in civilian employment contemplating joining the reserve forces, you should know that you will die in vain.
I was a Royal Marine for seven years and know how confused you must feel now. I know the discomfort of endless night exercises, the pain of long route marches, the boredom of sentry duties and the natural longing to be at home with your families. That feeling of missing the children growing up, tackling the puzzles of everyday life without their fathers, is the worst feeling of all. However, you are weighing these emotions against the propaganda that you are being fed. Stories about the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein and the atrocities committed by his soldiers. Stories about the mistreatment of British hostages in Iraq and Kuwait. You are told that you can right these wrongs by fighting a war in the desert.
Let me tell you that you cannot right these wrongs by bloodshed and war. Whether the stories are accurate or not, Saddam Hussein’s military regime was supported, armed and trained by the West. Just as Western governments support other murderous regimes around the world if it suits their economic purpose.
It is not for freedom or democracy or the lives of Western hostages that you will fight for and probably die. It is the economics of what lies below the soil on which the battle is fought that is the sole reason for a war. Like all wars it will be fought to secure the rights of ownership of the land and its proximity to trade routes. Nations will send their armies to fight in the Gulf in order, to secure the right of their oil companies to continue trading in the area.
However, the owners of the oil companies will not be fighting alongside you. They will be safe in their ornately-decorated offices in the capitals of the world. They alone shall benefit from a war, rights to the land will be secured, workers will produce the oil, the military will protect them while the oil barons sit back and watch the profits appear on their computer screens.
The armed forces, like the police and fire services, are part of the capitalists’ elaborate insurance policy and they are about to cash in on it with a war to protect their access to Middle Eastern oil.
I urge all workers in uniform or civilian reservists to question the propaganda they are being fed and to discover the real causes of the present situation. To understand is to agree, and once you agree that this system of society is not worth dying for you should consider the only alternative.
The courage of men and women shown on the battlefield would be better spent standing up and putting forward the case for Socialism.
Chichester, West Sussex
In the December issue, Keith Martin refers to my review of the book William Morris and News From Nowhere: A Vision For Our Time and states that the real purposes of this book is to confuse William Morris’s Marxist heritage, thereby reinforcing the ideas of those radical liberals and green reformers who wish to “claim” Morris as their own.
Although, as the Editorial Reply stated, there is an attempt to do this in some quarters. I find it difficult to accept that the book falls into this category. On the contrary, most of the writers show a respect and enthusiasm for Morris’s vision of a socialist society without money, wages and the state that is rarely to be found elsewhere. As the review pointed out, some of the chapters show a greater understanding and commitment to socialism than others, but it would be grossly unfair to suggest that this book is simply an attempt to confuse the issue and provide succour for reformists of every hue. If Keith Martin really thinks this, he could have at least backed up his generalisations with some facts and evidence.