Iraq: Saddam's WMD
Istvan Simon writes: I partially agree with Jon Kofas that the Bush administration was all too eager to invade Iraq. There are various signs of this, and so I believe that it has elements of truth in it that future Historians are likely to elucidate and bring into sharper focus. But to jump from that to the incredible assertion that "all acts of violence by the U.S. and allies are war crimes", is just astonishing. The Bush administration was wrong in the original justification given for the invasion of Iraq. It was based on false intelligence, and it was therefore a wrong decision. It may have been seized by the administration as a pretext for the desire that President Bush had to deal with Saddam.
While Saddam had no nuclear program to speak of, he did have programs of weapons of mass destruction, specifically chemical and biological weapons. Chemical weapons in particular are avery old technology, they were widely used in World War I, 90 years ago. We do know that Saddam had such weapons because he used them in Halabja against his own people, and in the war against Iran. Saddam claimed that these weapons had been all destroyed. But such claims are not believable,even though not a single shell or chemical weapon has been found since the American invasion. The question then is to understand what happened to those weapons. It is just not believable that they were destroyed as Saddam claims, because such a destruction would have been in Saddam's interest to be documented and supervised by U.N and International observers. Since that never happened, it is a reasonable assumption that the claimed destruction itself of these weapons never happened. So what happened to them? We don't know, but perhaps they are in Syria, where indeed the billion dollars which Saddam stole from the Iraqi people also ended up.
Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a major sponsor of terrorism. Ansar Al Islam operated in Iraqi territory, without ever being molested in any way by Saddam, and notorious terrorist Abu Nidal was safely living in Baghdad protected by Saddam. It is also well known that Saddam was a major sponsor of terrorists, and that he gave large amounts of money to the families of every so called "suicide bomber". He was thus directly responsible for thousands of deaths of innocents. Thus this part of the Bush administration's justification for the American invasion is absolutely correct.
On the issue of illegal war. Kofi Annan indeed made statements that the war was illegal. But who is Kofi Annan? He is a respected diplomat and Secretary General of the U.N. His opinions are therefore of some interest and deserve due deference. But Mr. Annan is no international jurist, and no ultimate authority on international law. His opinion is one amongst many. Contrary to Mr. Kofas's statement, it absolutely does not follow from Mr. Annan's statements that the war in Iraq is illegal, much less that all American actions are war crimes.
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Ronald Hilton 2004
December 5, 2004