During the past months, US-UK occupation forces have repeatedly oppressed Iraqi citizens by the excessive use of military force against anti-occupation protest demonstrations.
Deliberations in the Diet on the "Special Measures Bill to Assist Iraq Reconstruction" are to start on June 24. It looks more like a bill to rationalize the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops for a major military role of occupation than a bill for kind-hearted helper of the reconstruction work in Iraq. The bill violates international law as well as the Constitution of Japan in that it will eventually authorize the SDF to kill Iraqi citizens in the name of security.
"Whole Country is in the State of War"
On June 18, in front of the US-UK Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) headquarters of Baghdad, US forces opened fire on demonstrators of former Iraqi soldiers who were demanding for the payment of wages as well as restoration to old jobs. Two of them were shot to death. On June 13, US forces slaughtered 17 civilians in northern Baghdad. They later insisted that the incident was a result of their counter action to the attack from the civilians. On June 6, US soldiers fired at the residents intermittently for 30 minutes in response to an attack on a US armored car, killing two citizens. US forces also have over 50 American soldiers killed since May 1, when President George Bush declared that the war ended.
US-UK occupation forces are responsible for these insecurities in Iraq.
Aerial bombings and ground battles killed more than 7,000 Iraqi civilians. The occupation forces opened fire at civilians walking through a checkpoint, at peaceful demonstrators, or even at a wedding procession indiscriminately. Anger of the Iraqi public festered to such an extent that protests demanding the withdrawal of the occupation forces have never ceased to end.
A former Iraqi soldier who participated in the demonstration of June 18 gave a warning to Japan, saying "If we cannot get satisfactory reply from the US forces about our salary and job, we will start a military operation against them. If Japanese join the American forces, they would have to suffer the same damages." Another former military man also declared, "Whether they are Indians or Japanese, we would treat them as Americans as long as they are under the command of US forces." Moreover, Mainichi Shimbun daily dated June 22 reported that there is a new group which appeals to the public to start a "holy war" against the occupation forces.
Iraq is a country where, as a commander of the US forces admitted, "the entire land is in the state of war." And this is the place where the Japanese government is going to send 1,000 or more of SDF armed personnel. The current Diet session will be extended to pass the bill in a hurry.
The government says officially that one of the purposes of the proposed law is to support the security maintenance activities in Iraq. But as we can see from what US-UK occupation forces have been doing, use of brutal military force is expected to crush the resistant Iraqi general public in order to secure the safety of the occupation forces themselves while regarding the resistance as pro-Hussein rumps'.
Giving SDF License to Kill
At a press conference of June 16, Defense Agency Director General ISHIBA Shigeru insisted that as there is no systematic and intentional use of military force by a state or a quasi-state, there is no area which should be called the battle ground in Iraq.
However, as a matter of fact, SDF troops are preparing for ground operations in Iraq. On June 15, the Defense Agency announced that it would formulate the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for use of arms in case "the emergency should happen, such as an attack of an armed group."
The ROE specifies the procedure for the use of arms in the order of (1) verbal warning, (2) drawing a gun, (3) making a warning-shot and (4) shooting. Also the legitimate self-defense should be only reason to kill and wound people. This is practically the same standard as the one US forces have adopted. That is to say, it is the "standard" by which the US forces have murdered civilians in Iraq. Now it is given to SDF troops as "a standard which will protect them from the prosecution for the charges of murdering civilians."
The weaponry currently under consideration for land engagement are armored cars, machine guns and recoilless guns. Some of the armored cars are equipped with heavy duty machine guns which can automatically fire 350 shots per minute while others with anti-surface or anti-aircraft machine guns having the firing range of 2 km. A recoilless gun is a portable anti-personnel and anti-tank canon which can be carried on the shoulder of a soldier.
KYUUMA Akio, a Liberal Democratic Party leader and former Director General of the Defense Agency), said, "Sometimes they may have to destroy a dashing truck loaded with bombs. Therefore, they need to carry small but powerful weapons, such as a recoilless gun which they can carry individually." (Mainichi Shimbun dated June 18) What he is saying is, "Blow away the whole car if somebody inside does not follow your instructions."
No car would be running around with a sticker "This Car Is Loaded With Bombs." Just as the Maritime Safety Agency sank a "doubtful ship" in December, 2001 under an excuse of shooting for self-defense, SDF troops would be in a position to kill Iraqi civilians on the legitimate excuse of self-defense.
Obviously the SDF is going to participate in the US-UK occupation forces, namely, not for reconstruction of Iraq but for putting down by brute force the Iraqi people who would not hesitate to act to have the occupation forces removed from Iraq.
From Self-Defense Forces to Aggressive Offense Forces
The bill defines the aggression of Iraq by the US-UK coalition as "use of armed force by UN member states against Iraq based on the UN Security Council resolution." It also praises theft of petroleum resources and slaughter of civilians as "the efforts of international community to support and promote the independent efforts of the Iraqi people to establish a government organization through democratic means." However, whatever it may say, undoubtedly the attack on Iraq and military occupation violate international law, which prohibits an pre-emptive attack, and the international humanitarian law, under which the occupation forces have a duty to protect civilians. And now, the weapons of mass-destruction, the biggest excuse for the war, are yet to be found. The unjustifiable nature of the US-UK occupation is more and more evident.
According to the report of a government investigating commission on Iraq, released on June 15, followings are expected contributions from Japan's SDF forces; supply of fuel and water to the US forces, medical care in close cooperation with airlift services, transportation of arms and ammunition by C130 aircraft. Repair work of roads and bridges was turned down. Although "humanitarian support activities for reconstruction of Iraq" is emphasized as the major purpose in the bill, SDF's role is limited in the logistic support to the occupation forces for the maintenance of security. And logistic support is a part of battle action. Once again, we should realize that the bill is aimed at having SDF troops participate in the occupation and combat actions.
The ultimate goal of the Iraq bill is making of the Self-Defense Forces into an aggressive expeditionary force which would be able to engage in combat action overseas. Japan has shown its flag to be a member of global capitalism with the intention of waging a genocidal war as long as it needs to protect its business interest abroad.
It is reported that the government is contemplating to extend the term of the special anti-terrorism law for another two years, that is, to 2005. Through experiences of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Japan's Self Defense Forces are going to be a fully grown army of aggression. (June 23)