« Arar #2 | Main | Class-blogging »

January 12, 2004

Comments

I'm surprised to see you still signing up to the concept "the coalition of the willing". As should be evident by now, it was never more than a paper construct invented to cover the (illegal) US/UK invasion of Iraq.

Other than that, it's fairly evident by now that Bush and Blair lied in order to get the invasion that PNAC wanted: and whether or not this will turn out better for the Iraqi people in the long run has yet to be proved. (For example: new dictator for Iraq, guaranteed US-friendly, therefore kept in power by US military. I don't see that that would be an improvement, and I consider it to be an all-too-likely possibility.)

Ahhh, the ultimate luxury: debating the morality of an invasion from the safe side of having already done it.

How about a little credit to those who marched against the war before it happened...to those willing to stand up and say we have not yet exhuasted the potential effectivness of the inspections...we have not yet reach the point where killing Iraqi soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians is an unavoidable consequence of an action we must carry out.

Edward and Jesurgislac:

I don't know if "credit" is due those who marched against the war. The vast majority of war protestors -- including both of you -- have my respect, however, despite differences of opinion.*

von

*Sometimes very strong differences of opinion.

I was under the impression that Von supported the removal of Saddam for humanitarian reasons. Inspections,and embargos werent improving (nor would they have imporved) the living condition of the Iraqi populace. and they were equally unsuccessful in persuading Saddams regime to improve the treatment of their countrymen.

of course a puppet will be placed in charge of new Iraq - and of course the puppet will be supported by the US military and funded by US taxpayers.

It is also possible that a puppet with the indirect support of the US will find settling and rebuilding Iraq less challenging than what we are currently experiencing. I dont support this course of action. but given that its an election year and pressure is mounting to decrease our exposure I feel bush will ultimately seek withdraw prematurely to increase his chances of winning in november.

I was under the impression that Von supported the removal of Saddam for humanitarian reasons. Inspections,and embargos werent improving (nor would they have imporved) the living condition of the Iraqi populace. and they were equally unsuccessful in persuading Saddams regime to improve the treatment of their countrymen.

That's pretty much right, Toby, although the assumed presence of WMDs did play a pretty big role, as did the thought that Saddam was eventually going to get out of his box to the detriment of the US and its allies. IOW, I'm not a pre-emptively intervene for solely humanitarian reasons kind of guy.

For the 1.5% of the readership who may be interested where I started off on Iraq, my pre-war thinking is pretty much summed up here; note that humanitarian concerns don't appear until the comments (indeed, I did a lot of my thinking out loud in the comments). This will momentary remove my "quasi-anonymity" -- as well as give fans of WWI flying aces and/or frozen pizza companies a clue to why I got the nickname "von" -- but, heck, that's the benefit of being quasi-anonymous. You can sometimes just be "quasi."

Von, I remember reading some time ago (and the trouble is, I can't remember just where or when) that back in the mid-1990s, the suggestion was made that as well as weapons inspectors in Iraq, there ought to be "humanitarian inspectors" in Iraq: UN-authorised teams of people to investigate and prevent or remedy breaches of humanitarian law. The suggestion was quashed, apparently, because if such teams were successful in Iraq, the question would arise - why not elsewhere? In Saudi Arabia, for example, right next door to Iraq, with a very nasty human rights record.

One reason why there is no internationally-agreed-to system for enforcing the international laws that so many countries have agreed to follow, is that so many countries find it so very useful that there isn't. To link between blogstreams, the US found it very useful to be able to send Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured: a team of humanitarian inspectors with power to investigate Syrian prisons and remove any prisoners who were being tortured would have been most unwelcome to the US. (And I very much doubt that Maher Arar was the only one so sent.)

I've heard it said by pro-war people that even though the Bush team are very much the same people who were enthusiastically supporting Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, when the mass graves were being filled, "at least they recognized their mistake". No, I really don't think they have: the mistake was not specifically in supporting Saddam Hussein, the mistake was in supporting a murderous and aggressive dictator simply because he knew how to tell the US government that he was "pro-American". And, as we see, the US government is still making that mistake. Look at Uzbekistan. Pakistan. Saudi Arabia. That same mistake is still being made, over and over and over again.

And it's way too soon to claim that Iraq is a humanitarian success; all that really can be claimed is that it is still fractionally possible that it may be - that the US will not simply install a pro-American government by any means possible and hope for a second Saddam Hussein to arise and be, once more, "our man in Iraq".

And it's way too soon to claim that Iraq is a humanitarian success; all that really can be claimed is that it is still fractionally possible that it may be - that the US will not simply install a pro-American government by any means possible and hope for a second Saddam Hussein to arise and be, once more, "our man in Iraq".

I agree regarding this, Jesu. As for the rest, well, as I'm sure you'll be quick to point out as well, not all is black and white.

You're really hung up on that word "illegal," Jes. Is that some kind of deal-breaker for you? Is everything that is illegal also wrong?

Von: This will momentary remove my "quasi-anonymity" -- as well as give fans of WWI flying aces and/or frozen pizza companies a clue to why I got the nickname "von" -- but, heck, that's the benefit of being quasi-anonymous. You can sometimes just be "quasi."

I gave up quasi-anonymity a long time ago. I've written shareware, game plugins, and fanfic; I used to run a fairly popular site in the anime community; my anonymity ended right around the time I registered a domain. The information's there for anyone who bothers to dig.

Jesurgislac: No, I really don't think they have: the mistake was not specifically in supporting Saddam Hussein, the mistake was in supporting a murderous and aggressive dictator simply because he knew how to tell the US government that he was "pro-American". And, as we see, the US government is still making that mistake.

Pin-pon. You win the prize. This, ladies and gentlemen, is another reason why it's so difficult to take the "everything changed after 9/11" argument for why Bush suddenly had to take a stand against Hussein seriously.

Phil: You're really hung up on that word "illegal," Jes. Is that some kind of deal-breaker for you? Is everything that is illegal also wrong?

It is taken as an article of faith among much of the pro-war crowd that the war was sheltered under the umbrella of enforcing UN resolutions. This is not the case. It is necessary to drive home the point that it is not, because accepting that the war was a violation of the UN Charter brings up, by extension, some very uncomfortable realizations having to do with Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America. It also rather makes a mockery of one of Bush's favorite casus belli--in order to enforce a UN Resolution, we violate Chapter VII of the UN Charter?

The information's there for anyone who bothers to dig.

Having used the power of the internic whois to root out the occasional cybersquatter (or attempt the ICANN arbitration proceedings), I can attest to that. Mostly, though, the moniker is to avoid turning up in google searches by opponents.

Von, you will have heard the unconfirmed reports from before the war that Saddam has terminal lymphoma, and probably the new one (see e.g. TalkLeft for links) giving him two years to live. Say they're accurate, and Saddam goes to his just reward without our help in '06, a year into Clark's first term. Would that affect your opinion of the invasion? (Of course Q&U weren't much better than their father but would likely have been less of concern to us. I hesitate to weigh the chaos that might have ensued in this scenario against the negative effects of the invasion and the chaos that may ensue...)
[Incidentally, at Slate Tom F. says he didn't believe pre-war that Saddam had WMDs coming out the wazoo, i.e. worth considering.]

Von, you will have heard the unconfirmed reports from before the war that Saddam has terminal lymphoma

I didn't hear those reports pre-war; indeed, even now, reports of Saddam having cancer are at the "rumor" rather than "fact" level. To answer your question, however, if there was good intelligence that Saddam was likely expire in the next few years, yes, that may have caused me to change my mind -- but only if there was equally good intelligence that Saddam's likely replacement was going to be an improvement. A mass-murdering rapist such as Uday, for example, doesn't cut it.

Saddam goes to his just reward without our help in '06, a year into Clark's first term. Would that affect your opinion of the invasion?

No. I don't apply the standards of hindsight in that manner.

You're really hung up on that word "illegal," Jes. Is that some kind of deal-breaker for you? Is everything that is illegal also wrong?

No, not necessarily. However, as a long-time peace protestor, I do have two unbreakable rules about breaking the law.

One: Do no harm. If I break into a military base in order to flour-bomb B-52s (and I'm not admitting that I ever have) I am not, in fact, doing harm to anyone. (In fact, you could argue that I am performing a public service by demonstrating the security weaknesses in a military base....) Any form of illegal demonstration that carries with it the possibility of harm to others, should be avoided at all costs. The invasion of Iraq was an illegal demonstration that has killed innocent people by the thousands, and will kill more: it was wrong.

Two: What does it accomplish? It is possible that an illegal act which carries with it the possibility of harm to others may accomplish something useful. But (see point One) if you're operating on the system of "the end justifies the means" you had better have a damn good idea of what the end result is you want, and how the means you have chosen will get you there. In order to justify breaking the law by a positive outcome, you had damn well better have a positive outcome - especially when people are dying for it.

The Bush administration's illegal invasion of Iraq failed under both point one and point two.

Illegal? It boggles the mind, then, that the DNC isn't scraping together a little cash to bring a court case together. It'd be the politically advantageous thing to do.

That, or it wasn't, as you assert, illegal. I'm going with the latter. Especially in the absence of anything resembling evidence. Unevidenced assertions are looked on with great disdain by the Editors.

Slarti, given that the US has given up on finding WMD (did you miss the news that the 400-strong team assigned to search for them has been withdrawn from Iraq?) the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

As should be evident to anyone who's been following the news for the past 12 months, Bush & Co lied about the threat that Iraq supposedly presented to the US to make the invasion look legal: to claim it as self-defense.

When the President of the US lies to the people of the US to justify committing an illegal act, the result should be that the President is impeached.

That, however, will have to wait until after the current gang of crooks is kicked out of the White House. Roll on November.

Put up or shut up, Jesurgislac. If you have enough evidence to legitimately claim that Bush has done something illegal, let's put him on trial.

Otherwise, you're just another liar.

Slarti, given that the US has given up on finding WMD (did you miss the news that the 400-strong team assigned to search for them has been withdrawn from Iraq?) the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

Which is untrue of course. The burden of proof was never on either the UN inspectors or the Coalition forces to find any WMDs but rather on the former Iraqi regime to prove that it had cooperated fully in living up to the terms of the case-fire agreement they signed after Desert Storm.

Anyone care to take the position that Saddam Hussein lived up to the terms of the case-fire agreement?


Thorley, that's absurd:

The burden of proof was never on either the UN inspectors or the Coalition forces to find any WMDs ...

Actually, the burden of proof was on the US: it was required by the Security Council to prove that Iraq was a threat to the US, justifying invasion. If the US could have proved that Iraq had the WMD that Bush & Co claimed it did have, and proved that there was good reason to believe that Saddam Hussein intended to use them against the US, that would have made the invasion legal. The US failed to prove this, and as we now know, the reason they couldn't prove even the WMD claim was because it wasn't true.

The invasion was illegal, Thorley. Go read the UN Charter.

Still waiting for the putting-up end of that claim of illegality, Jesurgislac.

If it's illegal, get it prosecuted. I'll help, even, if you make your case with any degree of skill.

Put up or shut up, Jesurgislac. If you have enough evidence to legitimately claim that Bush has done something illegal, let's put him on trial.

Otherwise, you're just another liar.

Weren't you the one taking Jes to task for getting hung up on the word "illegal", Slart? You're sounding pretty hung up on the allegation yourself, and you're drifting pretty close to ad homs and nastiness here.

I posted about this a few months ago and I've linked it before here and at Tac's--but since you're asking for the charge of illegality to be substantiated, I'll oblige you. Why the Iraq War was illegal.

If I were to go back and rewrite this now, there's probably a few things I'd change to make it more effective, but the substance of the argument is sound.

If you can't bring Bush to justice for having done something allegedly illegal, then the word is meaningless in that context.

Sure it's nasty. So is the casual assertion of illegality, without the intention of ever doing anything about it.

If you can't bring Bush to justice for having done something allegedly illegal, then the word is meaningless in that context.

Are you seriously claiming, Slarti, that if a criminal can't be prosecuted for committing a crime, then it's meaningless to point out that what s/he did was a crime? Really?

In any case, yes, Bush can be brought to justice: we do have a procedure for impeaching a sitting President. More properly, I should have said that with the Republicans in control of both Houses and the administration, it is highly improbable that Bush will be brought to justice - because, for party political reasons, he's untouchable until November this year. After which, let's hope President Dean or President Clark will have him impeached.

*shrug* Al Capone was supposed to be beyond the reach of justice. Doesn't mean that calling his activities illegal was meaningless. Saddam Hussein appeared to be beyond the reach of justice: doesn't mean that calling his criminal actions illegal was meaningless. The 19 hijackers on 9/11 are eternally beyond the reach of justice: doesn't mean that calling their actions illegal is meaningless.

So is the casual assertion of illegality, without the intention of ever doing anything about it.

What makes you think I have no intention of doing anything about it? At the moment, I think the most sensible thing to do is wait for Bush & Co to be ousted in November. If by whatever means (see Greg Palast, passim, on those means) Bush manages to hang on to the Presidency, obviously we then need to move to have Bush impeached: it shouldn't wait till 2008.

Are you seriously claiming, Slarti, that if a criminal can't be prosecuted for committing a crime, then it's meaningless to point out that what s/he did was a crime?

No. Are you claiming that Bush can't be prosecuted for this alleged crime?

At the moment, I think the most sensible thing to do is wait for Bush & Co to be ousted in November.

How convenient.

The 19 hijackers on 9/11 are eternally beyond the reach of justice: doesn't mean that calling their actions illegal is meaningless.

Oh, please. Couldn't you have just leapt to Hitler and be done with it?

It is interesting, though, to postulate what would have happened if the Republicans had attempted to impeach Clinton for his illegal cruise-missiling of an aspirin factory in Sudan.

No. Are you claiming that Bush can't be prosecuted for this alleged crime?

He can certainly be impeached. (I think we're beyond "alleged", btw: there are way too many eyewitnesses.)

Oh, please. Couldn't you have just leapt to Hitler and be done with it?

*raises eyebrow* Because whoever mentions Hitler first, loses. *bzzt!* You lost!

It is interesting, though, to postulate what would have happened if the Republicans had attempted to impeach Clinton for his illegal cruise-missiling of an aspirin factory in Sudan.

Sure. Would have been interesting if the Republicans could have got their minds out of the gutter and stopped focussing on Clinton's sex life.


"If by whatever means . . . Bush manages to hang on to the Presidency, obviously we then need to move to have Bush impeached"

And doubtless MoveOn, an organization originally created to oppose the impeachment of one President, will be calling for the impeachment of another. It's kind of like an ouroboros :-)

And Catsy, you've tossed around Chapter VII, Article 51 a few times here (and in your post), and there's one major problem: while your implications are correct in that Article 51 allows for defense in cases of direct attack and doesn't textually allow for preemption -- perhaps such an allowance will enter into jus cogens as an emanation from a penumbra of Article 51 ;-) -- it also doesn't spell out a rationale against preemption or specify what states who choose to "preempt" are guilty of.

Since the primary military confrontations UNSC is tasked with dealing with under Article 39 are "threats to peace" (armies massing on borders and the like), "breaches of peace" (incursions, shots fired across the border), and "aggression" (war/invasion), I'm going to assume that your reading of the Chapter VII would hold that America under Bush was committing an "act of agression." This, too, raises a problem.

To assert illegality in this case, you have to cope with the fact that a definition of "aggression" has never been accepted by the UNSC (there was a General Assembly defition, Resolution 3313 [XXIX], but the UNSC has chosen not to work from it). In fact, the Permanent Five have been very Potter Stewartish about the whole concept of aggression, essentially saying that they know aggression when they see it. (The ICJ has also taken cues from the P5 in this matter -- see Yugoslavia vs. NATO over the Kosovo bombing.)

As such, it is/was at the Security Council's discretion to decide whether or not this war was "illegal." Not yours. It was a nicely written post, however.

* defition=definition (what's a defition?)

* defition=definition (what's a defition?)

Defition reaction is what creates radioactivity? :>

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad