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Monday, March 17, 2003
So it's war, then...

The second resolution has been withdrawn so there's nothing left now. If there were some state beyond war for the settling of diplomatic disputes, the situation would not be quite so desperate. But war is the last ditch; it is such an extreme "solution" that one should be 100% certain that one is right and that there is no other way, before resorting to it. Some may be certain that there's nothing left; I am not. But let's look at some of the "justification".

Firstly, the legal argument. It would appear that the legal position is unclear; one inclines towards saying that there is no legal justification, despite what the Attorney General has said. This article would seem to indicate that those in favour of the war would have a hard time justifying their positions in a properly constituted legal arena.

Were some future judgement to go against the US and Britain, when Iraq claims "self-defence" as its justification for resisting strongly (e.g. by waging "total war"), things might become tricky. Leaving aside the rather strange idea of Iraq taking legal action against the USA, there's always the possibility that the Americans could simply cite "precedent" (Nicaragua) and ignore any judgement that went against them. What could Iraq or anyone else do?

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this war is wanted for some reason we are not being given. Without spending time trying to find out what the real reasons are, let us look at the current justification. I have blogged frequently about one obvious lie being told - and I heard Iain Duncan Smith repeat it yesterday - that the UNSCOM inspectors had previously been expelled from Iraq. And this despite Hans Blix's explicit statement that the inspectors had been withdrawn

This sort of nonsense sends out warning signals. It makes one wonder: "What other things do not stand up to close scrutiny in the pro-war case?" While accepting that there are difficulties in finding out exactly what is going on in Iraq, it is still necessary to examine all "evidence" scrupulously before offering it as justification for considering opening hostilities. If the people in Colin Powell's and Jack Straw's departments were doing their jobs properly, the evidence presented to the United Nations would not have included several suspect items. For example,
The chief nuclear inspector for Iraq, Mohammed El Baradei, yesterday flatly contradicted Downing Street's and British intelligence's claims of attempted uranium smuggling by Iraq and said that the documents used to substantiate the British claim were "not authentic". (Guardian, March 8th 2003)
I remember hearing El-Baradei make this statement to the UN. A major plank of the "intelligence" dossier was therefore called into question.

One example of faked "evidence" provides a very strong indication - not of what the fakers are trying to prove - but of virtually the direct contrary. This forgery reveals that, in this respect at least, the evidence is insubstantial. It is so thin that it has either been necessary to manufacture it or, more likely, that it has not been examined properly. This example alone should raise enough suspicions to undermine the whole pro-war position. Taken with the Heath Robinson drone that excited so much comment but which turned out to be a joke lash-up, there is no sensible alternative but to insist on more inspections.

So I return to some serious points for the pro-war lobby: if that's the best you can do for evidence, your case must be shaky. Why are you so gung-ho? Do you have a secret agenda or do you just like war? And don't reiterate that Saddam Hussein is a foul fiend; that's probably the one thing we can agree on.

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