Mahathir assails US war on terror
Gulf Daily News
Friday, January 24, 2003
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told the US yesterday that
"out-terrorising the terrorists will not work" and forecast a long period
of war driven by hatred, revenge and greed.
His warning jolted the opening session of the annual World Economic Forum
of business and political leaders in Davos, at which Switzerland's
president urged Washington not to launch a war against Iraq without UN
The mood at this year's gathering of the global economic and political
elite was subdued by the triple shadow of economic uncertainty, corporate
scandals and fear of a looming war.
Mahathir, a veteran Asian leader, accused the West of seeking to impose
its brand of capitalist democracy by force and starving or bombing those
who did not accept that model.
"It is blasphemy to say anything against democracy. If you do, if you
resist, then you'll be considered a heretic and starved to death or
bombed out of existence," he said.
He suggested that suicide bombers and hijackers such as those who
attacked the US on September 11, 2001, were driven by poverty and
"Out-terrorising the terrorists will not work, but removing the causes
for terrorism will," he said.
"The worm finally turned. The weak have now hit back in the only way they
can. Groping for the enemy, the strong hits out blindly in every
direction, in every part of the world. No one is free. Fear rules the
"Sanity has deserted both sides. Just as, in the stone age, the man with
the biggest club ruled, in our modern and sophisticated global village
the country with the biggest killing power rules," Mahathir said.
President George W Bush's campaign against an "axis of evil" grouping
Iraq, Iran and North Korea, was doomed to fail because it had the wrong
target, he added.
Swiss President Pascal Couchepin spelled out the majority view in much of
Western Europe when he said war in Iraq was not inevitable and would have
dangerous, destabilising consequences for the Middle East, notably the
US Secretary of State Colin Powell is due to address the forum on Sunday.