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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Our Soliders Went to Iraq and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt

"Had we had a few months more, we would have been able to tell both the CIA and others that there were no weapons of mass destruction [at] all the sites that they had given to us."
-- Former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, Washington Post, Oct. 6

The inspectors had to leave Iraq before their work was done because President Bush had decided to invade. It was no longer safe for the inspectors to stay. Bush invaded. More than a year later the country is in chaos and largely out of control. Violence is rampant and attacks on US soldiers are increasing. It gets worse daily, and the prospects of peace are dim.

Every official investigation into the WMD and connection to al Queda claims about Iraq have concluded that:
  • Saddam Hussein did not have and was not making WMDs, because the inspections and sanctions were preventing him from doing so.
  • Hussein was not helping al Qeada.
  • There was no threat to the US.
We've killed more than 13,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, at the most conservative count. Many of those are children -- little kids just like our own. We've maimed and made homeless tens of thousands of others.

For what? Liberation? How many Iraqis do we have to kill before they're free?


Blogger Tim Hill said...

Yet the Post's editorial page today seems to say: Oh, well, you can't expect to get unambiguous intelligence out of a secretive regime, so we can empathize with the president for erring on the side of caution.

"The larger question is how, or even whether, decisions about preemptive war can be made in the absence of unambiguous intelligence. This is not hypothetical: Whoever wins November's election may face a similar dilemma. Extremist anti-American governments or terrorists may acquire weapons of mass destruction, and neither al Qaeda nor the rulers of Iran and North Korea are inclined to transparency. The case of Iraq has shown that it is possible that the intelligence on which a war decision may be based may later prove to be mostly wrong. Does that mean the president cannot act in such cases? That's a question Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry would do well to discuss."

They pose it as a question of discussing realpolitik, but Iraq would serve well as a cautionary tale: We can take the gamble an unfriendly regime may be amassing weapons against us, go to pre-emptive war, but we will certainly send the country into civil war, as we will always, without fail, encounter insurrections. Realpolitik should look at the history of colonialism. It ain't worth it, pal.

10:29 AM

Blogger Colin Whitworth said...


International law is quite clear on pre-emptive strikes -- a nation is allowed to defend itself when an attack is imminent. The Iraq War was not a pre-emptive strike but rather a preventative strike, meaning that Saddam was supposedly amassing WMDs and supposedly had the intent to either attack or give those weapons to al Qeada, which would then attack.

We know now that the US would never threatened and that the US government could only make the case for war based on the flimsiest of evidence. Even that evidence has since been discredited.

Preventative war is not allowed by international law, and when I refer to international law I am referring to the United Nations charter, which is one of the pillars of post-World War II order that our relations with other countries is founded on.

That means the US violated international law, and that every death we cause in Iraq is a war crime.

Will the US be prosecuted for this crime? Doubtful. Because the US has veto power over Security Council resolutions, we will never allow it. And if the International Court of Justice takes up the case and rules against us (as happened with our illegal attacks on Nicaragua in the 1980s), the US will ignore it.

11:50 AM

Blogger Tim Hill said...

I agree--the war was indeed preventative, even though the administration told us it was pre-emptive. Everything I've read about pre-war intelligence suggests it was flimsy, from the suspect Niger memo to Chalabi's scurrilous "intelligence" network. The administration built a pre-emption case, even though there were a lot of folks with lingering doubts. They were shunted aside.

What I'm positing, is that the Post seems to be buying into the Administration's case: when a state or non-state group is secretive, the government has to act on the best intelligence it has, and gamble whether or not an attack is imminent. Pre-emption therefore can be based on the best guess, because evidence is hard to come by. So what then is the difference between prevention and pre-emption? Not much, they seem to say.

Which is BS, of course. The administration cherry-picked their intelligence to support their claims. It was a war of choice, and they used bluster to and half-baked intelligence to justify it.

I don't know what else to add about violating international law, except the administration's lawyers seem to view it as quaint and anachronistic.

1:11 PM


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