US & UK Bombing raids on Iraq in summer 2002 were illegal
Michael Smith of the London Sunday Times continues his reporting on leaked British memos from 2002 that shed light on the decision-making process that led to the Iraq war. Today he explores the implication of the US/UK bombing campaigns against Iraq, which Gen. Tommy Franks called “spikes of activity.” The US and British governments intended the bombing of Iraq to produce two desirable outcomes. First, they hoped that Saddam would retaliate, a retaliation that the Western Powers would be able easily to paint as an act of naked agression against the US and the UK, thus providing a pretext for war against Iraq.
The British government had legal advice that the bombing raids were illegal under the United Nations Charter. (The Charter forbids aggressive war, which is how the bombing was interpreted by the lawyers).
Arguments over the meaning of the UN Charter in the UK come as a surprise to an American, since our government– the Bush Administration– not only disgregards the UN charter as “quaint” but also is actively seeking to destroy the international organization.
Smith points out that Bush’s bombing of Iraq in summer of 2002 was also unconstitutional if it aimed at provoking war (which it did, as the memos demonstrate). The US Constitution invests the power to declare War in the Congress.
In the US, however, political and legal discourse is so debased that George W. Bush can get away with declaring that we went to war in Iraq “because we were attacked” on September 11. Bush has never produced any documentary evidence to support his allegation of a Saddam- al-Qaeda link, which most professional intelligence analysts and Middle East experts consider impossible.