Tuesday, June 24
Don't sanctify US Empire!
Praful Bidwai,, June 24, 2003

It's a sign of its
deviousness that the National Democratic Alliance government is talking to various political parties in order to evolve a 'consensus' on despatching Indian troops to Iraq without giving an inkling of where it itself stands on this subject.

It's allowing the United States to determine the content and pace of its own deliberations on the issue.
As early as May 6, it permitted US embassy officials to meet Indian military personnel.
It is President Bush, not an Indian leader, who decided that a team of Pentagon officials would visit New Delhi on June 16. [...]

The US desperately wants other countries to put their troops in the firing line.
India is being asked to do this because the US' own close pro-war Western allies (barring Britain) have refused to collectively commit more than 15,000 troops.
The maximum for any country is 3,000 -- Italy.

Their public opinion doesn't countenance high military casualties in support of Iraq's occupation.
With 20,000 troops, India is being asked to demonstrate greater loyalty than the US's own military partners, including even Britain (which sent 15,000 soldiers).

The US will use Indian troops as cheap cannon fodder.
Even if it 'compensates' each of them (eventually and indirectly) at the same rate as United Nations peacekeepers (about $1,000 per month), that'll only cost America five percent of what it spends on every US soldier posted abroad.
The US will make billions of dollars by withdrawing its own soldiers and making Indians die.

India is politically useful too.
It enjoys a fair amount of goodwill in the Arab world because of its past as a Non-Aligned Movement leader and supporter of Arab nationalism.
India's military presence in Iraq as America's junior partner will to an extent help legitimise an occupation loathed by the Iraqi people. [...]
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