Iraq: The important issue

It is never difficult to find people who will rejoice when the rule of law breaks down: they can run riot and go unpunished. It would not be surprising to find substantial numbers of people in certain areas of Iraq who will take the opportunity to join the side of the victors.

However, not all Iraqis will be sorry if the regime of Saddam Hussein falls, which at present seems likely, if not a certainty. What will happen in a post-Saddam Iraq is an important question, one which the Iraqi people themselves need to decide, not the Americans. Given that Iraq has never had a parliamentary democracy, there is no precedent for this system yet any government post Ba’ath must be as broad-based as possible to accommodate the tens of dissidents who will flock back into Iraq expecting a piece of the spoils. The country is rich enough.

The responsibility for constructing the country lies not with the USA and UK but with the international community, so that the rule of international law can again be seen to work, after it was flouted. Here is the crux of the matter and here is the most important issue of all.

As Bush and Rumsfeld celebrate their “great day” it must not be forgotten that although the Ba’ath regime may have been overthrown and although there are celebrations on some streets, albeit by reduced numbers of people, there were other, legal, ways to bring about this change. The United Nations Organization is the highest international forum of law. That the majority of the members of the Security Council did not wish to vote for this war should have been taken as a sign, were the rules of freedom and democracy to have been respected, that war was not the option to follow.

Although Rumsfeld and Hoon can claim that their “Defence” (?) forces did a splendid job, what could they expect, with 100% air supremacy from hour one? Given the overwhelming superiority of the weaponry against them, the Iraqi army fought bravely, for three weeks and there is still a huge part of the country under their control. As the Pentagon admits, the war is not over yet.

What is at issue is that this war is illegal and whatever the outcome, it cannot be forgotten that Bush and Blair should go down in history as the duo which flouted the norms of international law, setting in action a process in which civilians were murdered by their armed forces. This has not been a heroic military campaign, it has been a massacre, the school bully picking on the weakest boy and setting upon him with a savagery which shocks the on-looker, as horrific as the savaging of a poodle puppy by a pack of famished and enraged Rottweilers.

The thousands of civilians murdered by these “heroic” forces bear witness to everything that was wrong about this campaign. The children lying in hospital without limbs will surely say “Thank you” to Bush and Blair, Rumsfeld and Cheney and Hoon, for the rest of their lives. While these men gloat, it should never be forgotten that all of this was wholly avoidable because the weapons inspection teams had been given a mandate to follow through.

Speaking of which, where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?


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Author`s name: Editorial Team