Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad receiving the Petition of War Crimes Victims handed by Ali Shalah (right) before the closing of the War Criminal Conference And Exhibition at the Putra World Trade Centre. Pix: Rushdan Abdul Manan
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Bernama) — Terming the voice of the people of the world as the second superpower, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today it is imperative for the people of the world to tell trigger-happy nations that war is not an option to settle disputes.
“We have to use this second superpower and mobilise the people of the world to sow the seeds of new ideas that going to war with any country is illegal and a crime.
“The public opinion is already turning against leaders of countries who go to war at the slightest reason. We can only mobilise the second superpower through networking. We need to link up and sustain the network built.
“We need a strong network, especially in the US and Britain,” he said in his closing remarks at the War Crimes Conference.
The conference, organised by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation headed by Dr Mahathir, also set up a pro tem Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal during its three-day deliberations at the Putra World Trade Centre.
He said the world’s second “superpower” could bring down any government and even change leaders.
The former prime minister said this was proven after the US invaded Vietnam when the superpower had to withdraw due to public pressure not only in the US but also throughout the world.
“When the American public saw US soldiers returning in body bags, things started to change. They held protests…students from universities came out in droves and this forced the US administration at that time to decide that the war in Vietnam was a foregone conclusion and they pulled back,” said the vocal fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
He “congratulated” the resistance put up by the Iraqis as their opposition proved that “it is not so easy to walk into a country and take over”.
“If the US thought it could use Iraq as a base in the Middle East, then the resistance has proven how wrong the US was. The resistance in Iraq should have a plan, they should strategise to ensure the US pays a high price for its adventure in Iraq but to do this, unfortunately US soldiers will have to be killed…this will change the minds of the Americans,” he said. He said it was now clear that the US invasion of Iraq apart from other things was to contain the oil supply to China, which was expected to become a major world power in the next 20 years.
He said the US also wanted to acquire wealth through occupation but this method would not work as it required death of people.
“We are prepared to have wars and legalise them if (US President George W.) Bush is willing to lead his army and stand in the frontline. Having the General sitting some 5,000 miles away from the war zone is not a very good thing,” said Dr Mahathir, in a sarcasm-filled winding-up speech.
He said part of the world now realised that the war against terrorism championed by the US was a mere trick, and that the crash at the New York’s World Trade Centre was an excuse to invade Iraq and increase its presence in the Middle East.
“I saw it on TV…when Bush was informed of the crash, the way he reacted was like he was expecting the news. Within three hours after the disaster, they pointed their fingers at Osama bin Laden. If they knew Osama was such a huge threat, why didn’t they act before the so-called terrorist attack?” added Dr Mahathir.
He said one of the main reasons for the US invasion of Iraq was because it wanted to control China, realising that China could not be broken through military might or even economic sanctions.
“So they have to control the oil supplied to China. Some 60 per cent of oil supplied to China come from the Middle East. Only 2 per cent of oil used by China is from the US.
“Containing China is the American dream,” added Dr Mahathir to a thunderous applause from more than 1,000 people attending the three-day conference.