In late September Indian writer Arundhati Roy gave a major address in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the war in Iraq, U.S. foreign policy, Palestine and corporate globalization. Her speech was sponsored by the Lannan Foundation.
“Weapons inspectors have conflicting reports of the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and many have said clearly that its arsenal has been dismantled and that it does not have the capacity to build one.However, there is no confusion over the extent and range of America’s arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons. Would the U.S. government welcome weapons inspectors? Would the U.K.? Or Israel?
“What if Iraq does have a nuclear weapon, does that justify a pre-emptive U.S. strike? The U.S. has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world and it’s the only country in the world to have actually used them on civilian populations. If the U.S. is justified in launching a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, why, then any nuclear power is justified in carrying out a pre- emptive strike on any other. India could attack Pakistan, or the other way around. If the U.S. government develops a distaste for, say, the Indian Prime Minister, can it just "take him out" with a pre-emptive strike?
“Recently the United States played an important part in forcing India and Pakistan back from the brink of war. Is it so hard for it to take its own advice? Who is guilty of feckless moralizing? Of preaching peace while it wages war? The U.S., which George Bush has called "the most peaceful nation on earth", has been at war with one country or another every year for the last fifty.
Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They’re usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there’s the business of war.
Protecting its control of the world’s oil is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. government’s recent military interventions in the Balkans and Central Asia have to do with oil. Hamid Karzai, the puppet President of Afghanistan installed by the U.S., is said to be a former employee of Unocal, the American-based oil company. The U.S. government’s paranoid patrolling of the Middle East is because it has two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Oil keeps America’s engines purring sweetly. Oil keeps the Free Market rolling. Whoever controls the world’s oil, controls the world’s market."
- Arundhati Roy, author of ??The God of Small Things and ??Power Politics. Trained as an architect, she is an outspoken critic of India’s nuclear weapons testing and environmental policies. She has been tried for her political beliefs.