Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Sunday, February 08, 2004
Go to the new DM blog.

I Remember, But Do You, Mr. President?

More Bush words on MTP:

You remember U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 clearly stated show us your arms and destroy them, or your programs and destroy them. And we said, there are serious consequences if you don't. That was a unanimous verdict. In other words, the worlds of the U.N. Security Council said we're unanimous and you're a danger. So, it wasn't just me and the United States. The world thought he was dangerous and needed to be disarmed.

And, of course, he defied the world once again.

Hmm...Far be it for me to suggest he's pulling one of those Washington tricks where you leave half the equation out, but let's review. First, here's what S/RES 1441 said (PDF):

4. [The UNSC decides] that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;
11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;

12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;

13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

In other words, the Security Council would get a report, convene and reserved the right to decide what to do ("remains seized of the matter"). Please also note that UN resolutions use diplomatic language that has extremely specific meanings. 1441's "serious consequences" is a notch lower than "all necessary means", which is the language that authorized force in S/RES 678 (PDF) back in 1990. 1441 allowed for other types of sanctions other than military force, and it was up to the UNSC to determine what those sanctions would be in response to Iraq's transgressions.

Further, we see that Iraq was in fact complying because there were no WMD. Remember, Mr. President, what chief weapons inspector David Kay said?

I don't think [WMD] existed. I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and those were a combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them.

Now you can complain all you want about how hard it is to get good intelligence. It is hard to get it right and easy to get it wrong. It is also easy to invent cause for war, such as the Germans did before invading Poland. This is why Justice Jackson uttered these wise words at Nuremberg:

[W]e must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.

And the UN Charter - which according to our Constitution is the law of the land - says this in Article 2:

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...

All of this is not new. I argued these points before the war, and I think people need to be reminded of just how flagrantly we violated the rules born from the ruin of the most devastating aggressive war the world has ever known.

It is clear that the Bush administration kept screaming about Iraq being an imminent threat (yes trolls, they did use the word "imminent" in addition to every possible synonym and inference) because they wanted to justify their war as "pre-emptive". It is equally clear that this war was "preventive" (i.e., not to pre-empt imminent use of WMD, but to prevent vaporware Weapons of Mass Destruction related program activities from being developed), which is fundamentally an aggressive war and is wholly wrong, even considering the ever-shifting ex post facto justifications.

So Bush left off a few details in his answer. Interestingly enough, a little while later in the interview Bush responded to a question from Tim Russert thusly:

I'm not suggesting you're pulling one of these Washington tricks where you leave half the equation out.

Project much?


[Update: fixed a few minor items that bugged me.] 

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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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