The case for a war on Iraq is one precariously based on hidden agendas and fallacies. It seems now that war is inevitable, that anything that is done will not affect the course of action George W. Bush is determined to take; to lead a “coalition of the willing” into war against Iraq. The United States of America has attempted to pass two resolutions in the UN which would legitimise a War on Iraq. The first of these has failed to be passed, and we will soon find out the results of the second resolution.
It is most likely it will fail; the USSR, China, France and Germany are all strongly opposed to war and as permanent members of the UN Security Council have right of veto. However, the outcome of this resolution is irrelevant, the USA and Britain have both overtly stated that they will fight a unilateral war; a war without UN backing. The reason that the United Nations will reject proposals for war is two-fold. The scope of the UN is that action is only possible in the case of a state harbouring or stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
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Various charters have been signed by all members of the UN agreeing to this. Iraq also agreed to these charters in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War. The theoretical course of action over a country found to be building up weapons of mass destruction would be to pursue the use of diplomatic and political pressures on that country. The country would possibly be coerced into disarmament or probably simply stopping weapons development. However, these charters are almost meaningless, almost every nation in the world possesses weapons of mass destruction of one kind or another.
It has neither been proven that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction breaking UN charters, nor has sufficient non-aggressive action been taken. In Hans Blix’s report to the UN security council on 28/2/03, he underlined the fact that very little evidence of illegal weapons had been discovered. It is important to remember that the onus is on the USA to prove that Iraq has these weapons, not for Saddam Hussein to prove that he doesn’t. Colin Powell had an opportunity to convince the UN of his case. The highlight the report was that Iraq possessed ‘al-Samoud 2’ missiles. These missiles, Mr.
Powell claimed, could be projected at a range greater than that permitted to Iraq by the UN. This range is an arbitrary figure, the projection of a missile depends on many factors, including wind speed and an element of chance. These missiles are of a close range to this limit. While the USA used this discovery as propaganda, Saddam Hussein was already agreeing to destroy these missiles. In the past five days, nineteen of the estimated hundred missiles have been destroyed. The USA also admitted that this report contained ten pages directly plagiarised from a 1989 student’s thesis. Hardly reliable evidence to go to war on.
Surely if these weapons exist, then the inspectors will find them. Hans Blix recommended more time for more thorough inspections. The inspectors only arrived in December 2002 and did not receive their first helicopter until late January 2003. They are still a long way from completing inspections. Out of 700 listed sites, they have so far inspected 350 and been given immediate and full access to these sites. The truth of the matter is that Saddam Hussein has co-operated as fully as possible. No more could have been expected of him. We cannot expect Iraq to suddenly disarm in 60 days.
The second basis for war is that any attack on Iraq would be a pre-emptive strike. A country is permitted to launch such a strike if and only if its territory is under the threat of an imminent attack. George Bush claims that they face “a day of horror like none we have ever known” from Iraq. This statement is ridiculously unsubstantiated. The idea of the Iraqi state attacking America is not so much unproven as implausible. The USA and UK have stretched this notion of a pre-emptive strike to qualify any strike that they claim will be for the benefit of world peace in the long-term.
A war on this basis is inexplicable, and this is also why the UN resolution will fail. The fact is that Saddam Hussein is inside an iron cage. He is surrounded by 200,000 troops, under the microscope of the world and being coerced into compliance with the UN. Iraq is simply not a rogue state. It’s current position means it is less of a threat to any form of peace than it has ever been before. The weapons inspectors are able to work unrestricted for the first time in over a decade. During the period of 1991-1998 the weapons inspectors had an impossible task, hindered and hassled at every step.
During these eight years of non-compliance, war was not considered. The question begs why we should go to war now. “It is hard to understand why a number of the measures, which are now being taken, could not have been initiated earlier. If they had been taken earlier, they might have borne fruit by now. ” Hans Blix Why after eight years of direct contempt and then three years of no inspections whatsoever are we suddenly set on war after under two months of full inspections which have revealed no cause for war. Not only is war illegitimate by International Law, but also by US Law.
Under Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution, the decision of war is the decision of congress, not the president. George Bush has not given congress the right of decision on this issue. He fears he would publicly be unsupported and even run the risk of being declared unconstitutional by the senate. He has instead relied on manipulating two other authorities. The first is the backing of congress given over a decade ago for the Gulf War. It is incomprehensible to think that George Bush could use this legislation to provide authority for another war on Iraq.
The second piece of authority is the anti-Terrorism legislation passed in the aftermath of 9/11. This gives the government right to deal with terrorism by any means necessary. For this to be grounds for a war, the US also had to prove that Iraq was involved in terrorism. “Terrorism – the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments” Jefferson’s dictionary The only sensible justification for a pre-emptive strike is the threat from terrorism on USA. Colin Powell delivered a completely unsubstantiated possible link between Al-Quaeda and Iraq.
It is essential that we bear in mind that even if it is possible that there are individual terrorists inside Iraq, that unless they are receiving aid from the state, that nothing can be done. The USA can only apply for extradition of individual terrorists. There are terrorists in every country, including the USA and Britain; this cannot be ground for war. There is no more likelihood of Al-Quaeda cells operating in Iraq than there is in any Arabic country in the Middle-East. In fact, there is virtually no possibility of Saddam Hussain having any links to Al-Quaeda.
The Islam faith is secular, it consists of differing factions. Saddam Hussain is ‘baathist’ a type of ‘Sunni’, a small culture based in his hometown. Essentially it is unthinkable to link Al-Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden’s ‘Shiite’ movements with Saddam Hussain’s regime. The FBI and CIA have also strenuously played down these links. It is clear that the USA is abusing the paranoia over terrorism since 9/11 as propaganda to win support from its population for this war on Iraq. The war on Iraq will soothe American wounds over 9/11 after their ineptitude to find Osama Bin Laden.
It is alarmingly true that the USA as a state fits the above definition of terrorism much more so than Iraq does. Incredibly, a war would be of immense benefit to Saddam Hussain. Because of America’s mobilisation of troops and it’s reiteration of threats to use weapons of mass destruction, including perhaps nuclear weapons against Iraq, and the lack of a UN resolution, Saddam Hussein is more than within his rights to launch a pre-emptive strike on the USA. Once the war begins, he gains even greater capacity.
War will inevitably lead to the withdrawal of weapons inspectors, note that in 1998 inspectors were not expelled, but withdrawn by Bill Clinton before his bombing campaign. Being waged war against, Saddam will have some justification for restarting the development of weapons of mass destruction under the pretext of national defence. As it stands at the moment, the threat of war is enough to keep Saddam in line. If war begins, then Saddam will have no reason not to use any weapons he has to their full capability. A war will only serve to further the cause of terrorists.
It will only ignite Arabic extremism in Iraq and all the surrounding countries. It will only increase the hatred for America and Britain. It will provide excellent propaganda and a basis for terrorist groups to build on. In a situation where America is so wary and paranoid about terrorism, it is crazy to think that it will go to war and almost certainly give rise to new waves of terrorism. Brent Scowcroft, former NSA said war on Iraq “could turn the whole region into a cauldron and, thus, destroy the war on terrorism.
” It is impossible to see how a war on Iraq will weaken terrorism. It will certainly cause great numbers of Arabs to dislike America, in key ally states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. The real motive for war is that America wants a ‘regime change’ in Iraq. It wants Saddam Hussein removed at leader. This is all that America wants and is it’s primary aim in war. If it can remove Saddam Hussein, it would not think twice about angering Arabic masses or leaving weapons for a new regime. However, the idea of a ‘regime change’ is not something that the USA has any right to carry out.
“Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions. ” Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, This precedent reflects UN status and clearly states that the USA has no grounds for a war on Iraq, especially under the pretext of a ‘regime change’. It is true that Iraq and its people may be better off without Saddam Hussein, but it is neither the responsibility nor the place of the USA to do that.
The USA waging a war on Iraq would demean and undermine the United Nations. It would create the potential for enormous conflicts and problems in the future. The USA would be overtly defying the body and in doing so set a dangerous precedent for the future. If the USA is able to implement a ‘regime change’ in Iraq now, there will be nothing to stop it abusing its power in the future to change regimes in any countries it wishes. It also creates a precedent for other countries, for real rogue states. What could happen next time there is a skirmish in the Gaza strip or in the border between India and Pakistan?
What could happen if the 38th Parallel is crossed in Korea. These countries would be able to justify aggression under any one of the pretexts that America has used here. The UN as a peacekeeping body would be reminiscent of the League of Nations. It is in fact other countries and not Iraq that America should prioritise if they are determined to solve world issues. Iraq is a futile target as already explained. Pakistan and North Korea are in truth the two most threatening rogue states. North Korea has an unstable political situation that pursues aggressive policies.
North Korea is already developing nuclear material, and has far greater stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons than Iraq. What is also threatening is that we have very little intelligence about North Korea. We have no allies in neighbouring states and neither do we have inspectors or UN legislation against the country. North Korea has publicly said that it would launch a pre-emptive strike on America. North Korea is certainly a more striking threat to the USA. The situation in Pakistan is even more alarming. Pakistan is the likely location for Osama Bin Laden and most of his Al-Quaeda network.
Surely this is legitimate ground for concern. Add to this the fact that Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and has been stockpiling biological and chemical weapons. Pakistan has not signed up to a treaty prohibiting nuclear testing and has acted in defiance of the UN. The leading nuclear scientist in Pakistan had met six times with the former leader of the Taliban and also met with representatives from North Korea and Iran. Pakistan is the one country that has the capability to pose a threat to American lives and is willing to share this technology.
A totally unnecessary war with Iraq would drive a wedge between the USA and Britain and their major allies. As Russia, China, France and Germany all oppose the war, there would be a considerable strain in both the United Nations and NATO. This could cause great problems in the operation of both of these vital bodies. It is also necessary to think about the cost of this war. Economically, it would cost in the region of $60-$100 billion. This is a phenomenal sum to be spending when the Bush administration has done poorly with regards to the nation’s economy and national debt is increasing.
Such a vast sum of money could be spent much more prudently and put to much greater good. It is also inevitable that lives will be lost. The USA and UK will have to shoulder the responsibility of killing many innocent Iraqi civilians, the very people they are trying to liberate. American and British lives will also be lost. The blood cost of this war could be staggering. One must also question the responsibility of the USA to act as a altruistic peacekeeping force in foreign affairs.
The USA allied with Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the 1980s in their war with Iran. It is ironic that Iran filed a lawsuit against the USA for providing intelligence and raw materials for the production of chemical weapons used against them. Much of the problem was created by the USA. It is impossible to forget that Saddam’s most horrific crimes were in 1987 when he used chemical weapons and killed thousands of people. At this time he was still technically a US ally. Following his crimes against humanity in the late 1980s, no action was taken.
It was only when Iraq threatened US oil supplies in Kuwait that we launched a war. And remember that that war was under the UN resolution to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but we went a step further and marched all the way to Baghdad. In the build up to this war, the largest US oil magnates, including relatives of George Bush have already met with government officials to propose what would be done with oil supplies after an invasion. It is simply unjustifiable to go to war when there are workable alternatives on the table which haven’t even been considered.
It has been proposed by many nations that Iraq’s disarmament should be monitored and ensured by giving a set of goals and targets that it must match by specific dates. This would give Saddam no room for manoeuvrability as the threat of force would still be there if he didn’t comply. It has also been suggested that the UN should hold a regulated election in Iraq. The people would be able to decide their government and able to form a democracy. Whereas this would be somewhat difficult to work, it is worth considering and would topple Saddam as America wishes.
In conclusion, there is quite simply no case for war against Iraq. The war would neither be preventative or gainful. There is no new evidence rationalising war now as opposed to over the last decade, and it is clear that war is being rushed wrongly. It is likely to be inflammatory and costly. The choice of target as Iraq shows no logic itself as Iraq is currently at its weakest while other rogue states threaten. This war lacks legitimacy, morality and sense. Never has aggression been justified on such shaky ground with such false pretexts since the 1930s.