Iraq Crisis: Final Countdown to War

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
March 17th, 2003 • 5:03 pm

Since we’re on the eve of war in Iraq, it’s time to take stock and get a last picture of where this whole crisis has led us.

The most important thing is that the US administration has utterly failed to convince anyone beyond a handful of national leaders (Tony Blair, Asnar, and a few others) that removing Saddam Hussein from his position is a more pressing requirement than, say, dealing with the leaders of North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and twenty or thirty other dictatorships currently in place around the world.

Is there an immediate threat to the US coming from Iraq? Bush has failed to provide any convincing evidence of this. As for future/potential threats, there are all kinds of them all around the world. If we’re going to start getting rid of them, we need to do so as an international community, based on debate or consensus.

I see no evidence in what the UN and other countries have said recently about Iraq that indicates that they do not want to get rid of Saddam Hussein — eventually. They are just as aware of the fact that he’s a cruel dictator as anyone in the US and UK administrations. But they don’t agree that he needs to be removed “preemptively” without international consensus before other dictators are dealt with.

These other countries (including France, Germany, China, Russia, and many others) have adopted a position that sounds reasonable to me. If we want to start getting rid of dictatorships around the world, then let’s do so in a consistent, consensual fashion. Even though the US is the predominant military force in the world these days, it should not be allowed to decide unilaterally where the world’s priorities lie. Otherwise, it becomes an international dictatorship itself.

Again, if the US has clear evidence that Saddam is a more immediate threat than other dictators, then let’s see it. The only evidence I’ve seen so far indicates that he’s being a typical dictator, abusing human rights, ignoring international law, developing illegal weapons, etc. But this does not prove that he needs to be removed sooner than other dictators around the world. If the US and UK administrations have damning evidence that they cannot share with the general public for security reasons, then they should at the very least share it with other international leaders. If it’s damning, then these other leaders will be convinced. So far, they are not.

The US and UK administrations have also seriously undermined their own credibility by constantly changing their positions. One day they want to “disarm” Saddam Hussein; the next day they want “regime change”. One day they want a new UN SC resolution to go to war with Iraq; the next day they say that Resolution 1441 is enough. One day they want UN support; the next day they don’t need anyone’s permission. One day they say “the game is over”; the next day they are still negotiating. One day a member of the US administration is insulting their international partners; the next day another member of the US administration is said to be “furious” about these insults.

Meanwhile, the US is further ridiculing itself in the eyes of the international community by letting some of its electoral representatives entertaining such ridiculous ideas as the one about taking the remains of WWII American soldiers buried in France back to the US. American people are vandalizing the home of a French citizen established in the US, for the only reason that she is French. And let’s not even mention the silliness about “Freedom fries“.

This is beyond embarrassing. The whole situation is embarrassing for the US and UK administrations. And this is precisely why they can no longer back down, even if they wanted to. Bush is not going to go to war for any good, legitimate reasons. He’s going to go to war because politically he cannot afford not to. It would be a huge humiliation. The vicious circle is now complete. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are going to die, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. Bush wants to play with his political and military toys. And when Bush wants to play, everyone has to play along.

Have fun, Mr. Bush.

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