The war in Iraq
by "Timbuk3" (with a LOT of help from ICAROL)
The War No One Wanted
Prior to our invasion of Iraq, candlelight vigils were held across America, opposition to our aggression was voiced by hundreds of thousands of people around the US, and millions of people around the world in the largest anti-war demonstrations since the Viet Nam war. Protestors were shot with wooden bullets in Oakland for the "crime" of disagreeing with our president on his case for war.
The Case For War
Among the most disturbing aspects of this is that we were lied into this war that most of the world didn't want, and it seemed, only few Americans wanted. The stage was being set long before we knew it. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which is well represented in Bush's cabinet, had written to then-President Clinton in 1998 to urge him to invade Iraq.
The man in charge of ridding the world of chemical weapons for the UN was ousted in a "coup" in April of 2002 by the Bush administration because he stood in the way of war. Any later ties to terrorism, and the attacks of 9-11, were simply for their convenience.
We were told that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction", a misnomer applied to chem and bio weapons that does not approach nuclear, in terms of destructive power. Yet, no "WMDs" were used even in self-defense! This is evidence enough that the "threat posed by Iraq" was overblown hype to justify an invasion for some ulterior motive that we still don't know.
While the CIA repeatedly told the president's staff that the claims of Iraq trying to purchase uranium from Niger were false, we were told that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Niger, and we were threatened with "mushroom clouds over American cities" if we didn't invade Iraq. Now the White House admits this was a falsehood. This is not admission; it is BUSTED. And as for the infamous "aluminum tubes"? They were purchased legitimately and would not be useful for refining uranium. But, bush continued to refer to them at every opportunity.
Joseph Wilson, the ambassador who was sent to Niger to check out the story in February of 2002, reported back that the story couldn't possibly be true. But, the vengeful Bush administration exposed his wife as an agent of the CIA in a treasonous act, just to get even.
We were told that Iraq could launch an attack on the US "within 45 minutes", this too was a lie. The "killer drones" have been shown to be for reconnaissance, only.
We were told that Iraq had ties to terror so many times that polls in March of 2003 showed that more than half of Americans believed that Iraq was involved with the attacks of 9-11, a belief that is entirely false. There are ONLY TWO ties between Iraq and terror that have EVER been shown to be true: 1) that Hussein was paying families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and 2) that there was an Ansar al-Islam terrorist camp in Northeastern Iraq.
Unless, in your view, paying the families of terrorists who are attacking Israel is a direct assault on the United States the first charge is obviously false. The second charge is absurd when you realize that the camp existed in the Northern no-fly zone. Hussein couldn't have done anything about this camp if he wanted to, it was protected by US and British planes. Not to mention the fact that Ansar al-Islam considered the KURDS to be their enemies. They were not a threat to us.
The Brutal Dictator
After the now infamous carrier landing, when president Bush declared major combat operations had ended, it became fashionable to point out that "Hussein was a monster", that he killed and tortured thousands, and that "the Iraqi people will welcome a democracy".
That Hussein was a brutal dictator is not disputed. He was. He was also not the first, and he won't be the last, brutal dictator that was at one time an ally of the United States. That there is a photograph of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Hussein's hand when we were supplying Iraq with weapons to fight Iran (after the Carter era "hostage crisis", which ended in the "October Surprise") should tell us that there is more to this story. In fact, there IS more to this story. Iraq is, in reality, 3 countries. The Kurds in the North, the Shi-ites in the South, and the Sunnis in the middle of the country. These people all hate each other! Iraq will not remain one country without a brutal dictator to maintain order. This isn't an excuse for humanitarian atrocities, but it IS acceptance of reality.
But, have you noticed that the only "torture chambers" that have been mentioned in the media were located in the Southern cities of Basra and An-Nasiriya, in the southern no-fly zone. Again, Hussein wasn't in charge of the facility, and he couldn't have used force to attack it. Both cities were protected by US and British jets.
As for the concept of "democracy in Iraq", one only has to read the news. The first "free election" in Iraq was cancelled, by the United States, because we were not willing to accept the inevitable Shi-ite theocracy that the majority will eventually demand.
Was It Legal?
Not only was our invasion of Iraq opposed by the United Nations Security Council, but our president promised us a "whip count" and then a few days later he refused to honor that promise when it became clear that he didn't have enough votes to get the resolution sanctioning the war that he and PNAC wanted so badly. Our invasion of Iraq was illegal under both national and international law.
First, House Joint Resolution 114 did not give the president unconditional power to invade at will. It came with specific requirements. These requirements were not met. Specifically:
"In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and (2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
Now we know why they were so desperate to make the case for ties to terrorism. They have failed. Notice the word "and" in the relevant section. This is enough to determine that the requirements of House Joint Resolution 114 haven't been met.
But, was the case made that "reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone...will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq"?
Not according to either the head of inspections, Hans Blix, or according to the IAEA who was responsible for monitoring nuclear materials in Iraq. Those of us who opposed the war never asked anyone to "trust Hussein", much less admire him. We only wanted the inspections to continue. This wasn't acceptable to Bush and his inner circle.
The actions of our president also brand him as an international criminal. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 is very specific in what is, and is not, authorized. So, even if colin powell made the case that Iraq was not complying with 1441, it was not an authorization of the US to invade. That's why Bush needed the "whip count" that he pulled from the table. If he had asked for the vote, and only 4 of the 13 UNSC members voted for invasion, his violation of international law would have been more clear.
As it is, he violated 1441, which superceded all previous resolutions.
"4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;
11. Directs the
Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director General of the IAEA to report
immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities,
as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations,
including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;
12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;"
So, powell made the case that Iraq's compliance with inspections wasn't perfect. The remedy? Report it back to the UNSC. The UNSC would then decide what steps to take. This was NOT a legal justification to invade the country.
And what could they decide to do?
"13. Recalls, in
that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face
serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;
14. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Pretty much anything they wanted to, from harsh sanctions to invasion and "regime change." But, as section 14 makes clear, the decision was theirs, not bush's, to make.
Our credibility with the world has been jeopardized. If we tell the world that we "fear" another nation based on "intelligence" they simply won't believe us.
UN should lead Iraq re-building: US poll
US struggles in "out of control" Iraq, experts say
"Bring 'em on"...the top 40 lies about Iraq.
US troop morale is plummetting.
Thousands of dead and wounded people.
Enormous cost to the American taxpayer.
Advice from around the world...
Thank God for the death of
Its abject failure gave us only anarchy. The world needs order
Friday March 21, 2003
Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions...
(Published on 8/05/03, 2 days before bush addresses the nation to, once again, attempt to link Iraq to terrorism, and to demand that the UN support his war but share no power.)
My parting shot:
The rest of the
world watched election 2000.
The neocons and GOP faithful told us to "get over it", and to a large extent, we have.
But, the leaders of our more powerful former allies know what happened.
Under bush's "leadership", America has become an aggressive, rogue nation. We don't compromise with ANYONE, any more. On ANYTHING. North Korea will stop building nukes if we'll just sign a piece of paper that says that if they DO stop building them, and invade anyway (like what we did in Iraq) we can be held accountable.
That's a very reasonable proposition to anyone who A) wants to stop/slow nuclear proliferation and B) isn't a rogue nation that believes that it's invincible.
The rest of the world also watched the Soviet Union fall, and knows that it wasn't Reagan that did it. Years of overspending on the military ruined their economy. They don't have the economy that we do, and never did. They had to give up their status as "the other military power".
Allowing us to suffer economically WILL force us to reduce our military. Eventually.
All of this is a preface to this thesis:
The rest of the world is waiting to see what happens in 2004.
If we "re"-elect bush, they will consider it as a vote by the American people to continue our path toward bullying world domination.
If we get rid of bush, and have a President who is less hostile toward everyone but his campaign contributors (and Carlyle), we will get the help that we need in Iraq.
I don't believe that the world, or the UN, will ever be willing to help bush, again. He's even going to lose tony the poodle as an ally.
Iraq may suffer, if we "re"-elect bush, but the countries that can rebuild their militaries while our own is taking a beating will see that as a worthwhile option, as compared to continuing to allow bush to bully the world at his whim. They will rebuild their militaries, they will allow our economy to fail, and America will go down just like the Soviet Union.
Election 2004 is the most important election in the (recent) history of our (still young) nation.
Look at how many people opposed our invasion. Be honest with yourself when reading JR114 and UNSC resolution 1441. Notice that we have NO empathy for 9-11, any more.
Elect bush, and it's us against the world.
Elect ANYONE ELSE and we have a chance to show the world that bush was a mistake, an abberation in our political system.
Then we can go back to leading by (good) example, instead of through fear and intimidation.