Bush's War on Iraq

by Christine Smith christinesmith@amigo.net

In rebuttal of Robert Tracinski’s (Ayn Rand Institute) March 18th piece entitled , "Don’t Defy the United Nations--End It," which was published in various papers nationwide, I disagree entirely with his assertion the US should withdraw from the United Nations.

One nation alone cannot address monumental problems as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), terrorism, environmental destruction, disease, starvation, human rights, peacekeeping and displaced peoples.

Bush wanted the UN to legitimatize his war on Iraq. Unable to convince Security Council members it was necessary, he resorted to unilateral attack despite being unable to convince some of our closest allies to join. The UN Security Council didn’t support it because it forbids use of military force unless a country finds itself under armed attack. Now, those as Tracinski , criticize the UN rather than seeing it for what it is--the world’s best hope for international dialogue and when deemed justified, the means for international cooperative military action.

I don’t believe this war results from diplomatic failure, nor is it about terrorism, weapons, Iraqi liberation, or a pre-emtive strike protecting us or our allies. War to halt a threat before an evil regime has opportunity to wreck havoc on the free world is legitimate and just--but requires credible proof the threat exist and no other strategies will solve it. Bush didn’t provide evidence Iraq had the capability or intention to attack. If such evidence existed, why did he not make such evidence public or provide it to UN inspectors? Every independent investigation of Bush’s claim of a connection between the secular Iraqi government and the al-Qaeda network has found no evidence; the assertion remains unsubstantiated. Regarding human rights, the US has supported and continues to support regimes and dictatorships that have murdered and tortured, raising the question to Bush’s inconsistent concern for such aggression.

Tracinski wrote, "The real basis of the UN is global collectivism -- the belief that America’s judgment and interests must be subordinated to the collective opinion of the ‘world community.’" That’s precisely why we need the UN--to keep any nation, including ours, from putting its self-interest above others.

“Iraq’s cooperation may be less than total, but independent reports--even during UNSCOM’s inspection regime between 1991 and 1998--conclude cooperation was close to 90%, and cooperation since inspections resumed last year has been far better. Peaceful efforts at disarming Iraq have eliminated somewhere between 95% and 100% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems as a result of UN Security Council resolution 687 and subsequent resolutions, states Stephen Zunes in Foreign Policy in Focus.

Hussein is dangerous, though I believe N. Korea and Iran pose far more serious threats. Ironically, however, the very threat he claims to protect us from is now more likely: The CIA noted in an October 2002 report "Saddam Hussein would not likely use WMDs as a first strike, but in the case of a US invasion--with nothing to lose and the logic of deterrence no longer in effect--would be far more likely to use whatever WMDs he may possess," (Zunes--Foreign Policy in Focus).

Bush is behaving like a dictator. We’re a great nation because we have opposed tyranny and imperialism, maintained respect for sovereignty of nations, and because we have, until now, for the most part operated in accordance with the UN’s purpose. Now, our nation is behaving like that which we say we abhor. We are becoming quite like the enemy we fight.

As John Brady Kiesling, a member of Bush’s Foreign Service Corps, Political Counselor to the American embassy in Greece and foreign diplomat for twenty years serving four presidents, said in his recent letter of resignation, "The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interest. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq; when our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the US is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?"

Bush’s war is an attempt to establish the United States’ rule of force in international affairs thereby eliminating any role for international law and negotiation. It is imperialistic, and counter to all the free world once respected us for.

And it is a clear example of why we need a powerful United Nations--a UN so united and strong that no rational nation would choose to act independently and so arrogantly in defying world opinion.

Christine Smith is a freelance writer, and an environmental and social justice activist. Her email is christinesmith@amigo.net.