Humanitarian Grounds For Iraq War Re

Humanitarian Grounds for Iraq War?

Re: Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth, “War in Iraq: Not a

Humanitarian Intervention“, 26 January 2004, Keynote essay to Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2004.”

My reply, from a discussion list:

I deeply disagree with the way the Bush administration pursued the war

against Iraq. The hyping of unfounded ‘intelligence,’ the backroom deals

with corrupt or authoritarian expatriates, the spying on the UNSC

ambassadors and then the discarding of them, the disregard for the United

Nations Charter, the undermining of international law and the law of

occupation–all of these steps and policies made our world so much more

shoddy and dangerous and mistrustful.

That said, I simply must disagree with HRW and Mr. Roth that there were no

humanitarian grounds for such a war. I believe that what Saddam was doing

to the Marsh Arabs from the mid-1990s could legitimately qualify as a

genocide. Likewise, the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. Although the

latter was carried out some years ago, the former had been recent and

ongoing. Moreover, there is not in most legal systems any statute of

limitations on murder, so I am not sure why there should be one on

genocide or mass murder.

In short, I believe that the United Nations Security Council was obliged

to remove Saddam Hussein from power on the basis of egregious violations

of the UN Convention on Genocide

The proper way for the Bush administration to have proceeded was to apply

to the UNSC under Article 8 of the convention.

“Article 8

Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United

Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they

consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide

or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3.”

In so saying, I do not mean to give the Bush administration a pass on its

behavior, since vigilanteism is not the same as lawful prosecution. Bush

lynched Saddam, when in fact his regime should have been put on trial and

removed by the Security Council.

I do not believe most Iraqis would agree with HRW on this one, and they

are the ones who had to live with that regime.

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