Monday, October 11, 2004

A preventable tragedy

A preventable tragedy

Alas, poor Kenneth, we hardly knew ye.

One man's life, a tragedy on a national scale, and whatever the rights and wrongs of his presence in Baghdad, we should be rightly sad, not just for him, but for his family who have taken his death at the hands of brutal murderers with a rare dignity.

But his tragedy is just one of thousands. Over a thousand allied servicemen killed, thousands injured. At least 13,000 civilians dead - probably more whose deaths will never be reported.

Bigley's death was entirely preventable - if Kerry's notion of "smart diplomacy" had been used instead of the Bush/Blair sledgehammer, there would have been no war, no endless family tragedies, none of which warranting even a single column inch in our newspapers.

With the case for war against Iraq more or less demolished by recent events, we are now left with the one, final war aim as constantly trotted out by Bush and his lapdog Blair: "We got rid of Saddam Hussein". And with cluster bombs dropped on residential areas in recent weeks, we need to ask - who, exactly, are the criminals?

The Charter of the United Nations is pretty damn clear about this kind of thing:

Chapter I, Article 2.1 The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members

2.3 All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

2.4 All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

2.7 Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

(Chapter VII, Article 39 allows for war if actions within domestic juridiction threaten international peace and security)

In other words, all states and their governments are sovereign. No matter how obnoxious they are (and Saddam was a premier league bad guy), unless he was threatening international security by his actions, it is ILLEGAL to invade a country in order to affect regime change.

Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and had no means to build such weapons. Iraq had no links with international terrorism, specifically Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (although, ironically, go for a walk in post-"liberation" Baghdad, and you'll find terrorists in the turn-ups of your trousers). Any threat Iraq posed to the region has been effectively stifled by post-1991 sanctions, arms embargoes and no-fly zones.

If the US/UK-led invasion was based on faulty intelligence then they are damned for making one of the great blunders of modern history.

If the invasion was based on intelligence they knew to be false, then they are doubly damned for knowingly unleashing the carnage that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

If the sole aim was to remove Saddam, then they are damned by the very laws and freedoms they claim to uphold.

The world is now a more dangerous place than when this so-called "war of freedom" started. The very people America claims to have liberated see nothing but the the results of US hegemony. George Bush claims he is working in to uphold the rule of law for peace-loving states (UN Chapter II, Article 4).

It's just a shame he's broken the very laws to which he pays such moving lip-service. A crime, even.

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