Tony Blair is taking heat in the UK over the legality of the war in Iraq. This controversy has called back into question our reasons for starting it. The following excerpt is from an online article published by the Village Voice.
Like the Brits, the U.S. case for war refers to the intent and wording of the relevant Security Council resolutions. But the nut of the U.S. case is the president's powers under domestic law—and especially the Iraq resolution that Congress approved in late 2002.
In order to activate those powers, the president had to make a declaration to Congress before launching the invasion. In part, it read:
I determine that: reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
The prez also said that going to war would be "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 terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
Hmmmm. Seeing as how Iraq didnâ€™t pose a threat because it didn't have WMD or significant ties to al Qaeda, Dubya's declaration looks suspect. But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
Yet foresight can be pretty clear too. "I am aware that the USA has been arguing for recognition of a broad doctrine of a right to use force to pre-empt danger in the future," the British attorney general wrote. "If this means more than a right to respond proportionately to an imminent attack (and I understand that the doctrine is intended to carry that connotation) this is not a doctrine which, in my opinion, exists or is recognized in international law."
And that's not all. "They maintain that the fact of whether Iraq is in breach is a matter of objective fact which may therefore be assessed by individual Member States," said Lord Goldsmith. "I am not aware of any other state which supports this view."
Posted by Jarrett Murphy at 11:08 AM, April 29, 2005
I am not so naive to think that every war is fought for nothing less than defending the lives of our citizens and our ability to govern ourselves, but let's at least get something out of it. If you are going to wage war at our expense, at least return some sort of national benefit. If oil prices went down instead of skyrocketing or the entire Mideast became more stable and peaceful that would be one thing. But this is just like flushing tax money and soldiers down the toilet.