Iraq: A long, twisty and boring rant.

Robin Cook and Clare Short today continue their seemingly endless pissed off whining about the war in Iraq on the same day that the MI5 chief tells us it is only a matter of time before al Qa'ida launch a dirty bomb attack on a western city. While I don't doubt that the former Foreign Secretary and the former Secretary for International Development are sincere in their argument, I have grave reservations about whether either accept or understand a changing security situation.

As I see it:

  • Iraq invade Kuwait

  • Iraq is expelled from Kuwait

  • Iraq fails to fully comply with international conditions for ceasefire

  • Offensive operations resume to deliver compliance.

The onus was on Iraq to prove non posession of WMD, a process which it obstructed wilfully, there was no onus on belligerent nations to prove existence. While this situation was tolerated for a number of years this tolerance expired when it became credible that there were links to terrorist organisations. Contrary to the whining there does not have to be an open and shut case that both conditions for war (posession of WMD and links to terrorist organisations) are met.

Main options were

  • Ensure compliance using all means necessary. Sanctions could end.

  • To continue inspections which were not working as they had not worked continuously since 1991, meanwhile sanctions continue hurting innocent Iraqi's.

  • Drop inspection program, continue sanctions.

  • Drop inspection program, drop sanctions thus rewarding the perseverance of the Iraqi regime, sending out the signal that obstructing the inspectors worked.

So it came to pass. War, killing, destruction. Casulaties in conflict are tragic, the more so when they are civilian. In an ideal world there would be no war, nations would co-exist peacefully. We do not live in an ideal world - Palestine & Israel, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Liberia, Afghanistan, Chechnya are but examples of that. In Iraq casualties were minimised by targetted bombing but there were deaths, each one tragic.

"Why Now? Why Iraq?" they chanted, thousands of me-too demonstrators caught up in affairs past their comprehension. "Why Now?" is a dumb question synonymous with "Why Ever?" Why Now? Because it is a situation which is untolerable. There was a possibility that WMD & Terrorists might come together, forces were in situ, the threat of force looked hollow and Iraq continued obstruction. Why Iraq? Because a strung out process of diplomacy had failed to achieve results, forces were in situ as part of that diplomacy and the only acceptable answer from Iraq was "Yes". They said "No". Force is a diplomatic tool, a diplomatic tool which once threatened cannot be withdrawn.

So, what is the situation now? Iraq is slowly getting back on it's feet. Iraqi people are under benign temporary occupation rather than malignant domination. Facilitating an entire nation to rebuild is not going to be an easy job and will take time. Deal with it.

Thankfully it is not fashionable to go to war. Nobody likes it. Sometimes though it is necessary. In this case it was necessary on both security and humanitarian grounds. The legal base was security and that's good enough for me. France acted unbelievably irresponsibly and the day Chirac is no longer a name worth knowing is not a day too soon. Bush has got a load of crap for this. Blair has too, less so globally but huge amounts here. People still buy Michael Moore's rants and America hating books and dinner party conversations now stretch to gun ownership and guantanamo bay. So the U.S. ain't perfect, jeez there's a revelation. It's pretty good though, your security is the U.S.'s security and that's reassuring. If you don't like the US then take a stand: stop using your PC and Microsoft software, burn your Levis, stop going on holiday to Florida, don't listen to Eminem. It would be as much a waste of your energy as it has been for others to boycott french wine and rename french fries.

We don't live in a world anymore where we're going to be invaded by armies and navies, our security lies in global peace and prosperity. That peace and prosperity will come through global democracy. That global democracy will come through appropriate intervention and responsible nations will promote it. That democracy has to have a model worth emulating, the U.S. is good, the U.K. is (naturally!) better, both need work. Vast swathes of International Law including such sacrosanct treaties as the U.N. Charter are out of date and inappropriate to new realities; so people argue of the legality of intervention. Keep arguing, it will highlight what needs to be changed.

Grow up, accept reality, be nice when you can and be powerful when you have to be. The use of Iraq as a campaigning issue is ill-fated, it will backfire big style on those who seek to criticise Bush or Blair on those grounds. It concerns me that the possibility of a more liberal government in the U.S. may be scuppered by this issue. And if you are Robin Cook or Clare Short then go get some high and worthy job without any power or influence, we'll all be safer that way.

Posted by Paul at June 18, 2003 03:29 AM |
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