View Full Version : MI6 chief told PM: Americans ‘fixed’ case for war
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 7:54am
Well, not that much a surprise, but still remarkable enough to link to the respective article from yesterday's London Times: MI6 chief told PM: Americans ‘fixed’ case for war (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1533385,00.html). Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, briefed Blair and a select group of ministers on America’s determination to press ahead with the war nine months before hostilities began.
After attending a briefing in Washington, he told the meeting that war was “inevitable”. Dearlove said “the facts and intelligence” were being “fixed round the policy” by George W Bush’s administration. What suggests to me that it was completely irrelevant what the U.N. said, what allieds said, what the inspectors found out or wether the 'threat' was imminent or imaginary.
It never was about noncompliance, or disarmament - right from the start it was about regime change.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 8:10am
Call me a utopian, but the worst thing about it is the lying. Without the obnoxious lying, there wouldn't be the whole matter.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 8:53am
Doh. When you can't trust the arguments, how are you supposed to trust the motives, too?
And it sais that the war hardly was a necessity, speaking from a realist point of view. Can an unnecessary war ever be a 'just war'?
Another chief proponent of the war in Iraq really brought it to the point when he said: "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1089158,00.html)". That's a rare admission from Bush's in-crowd.
One simply cannot argue on the mere ground of Hussein’s survival that coercion and deterrence have failed with Iraq and must be replaced by preemptive war.
It pretty much boils down to the Bush administration's claim of a right to overthrow regimes it considers hostile is extraordinary – and one the world has already found intolerable.
A more dangerous, illegitimate norm and example can hardly be imagined. As could easily be shown by history, it completely subverts previous standards for judging the legitimacy of resorts to war, justifying any number of wars hitherto considered unjust and aggressive.
But alas, there we are.
America’s power and position are strong enough and its margin of error wide enough that it can get away with a good deal of what one administration spokesman described as “internationalism à la carte,” calling for support where it wants it, going its own way when it wishes, and insisting on having its way as the leader.
Looking at U.S. standing in the world today the Bush administration had to pay a price.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 9:08am
Can an unnecessary war ever be a 'just war'?Yes. I'm thinking of the American Civil War here ;)
A more dangerous, illegitimate norm and example can hardly be imaginedFond of hyperbole, are we? :p
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 9:56am
Can an unnecessary war ever be a 'just war'?
Yes. I'm thinking of the American Civil War here
"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."
So trying to abolish slavery is unnecessary?
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 3:49pm
AMaster A more dangerous, illegitimate norm and example can hardly be imaginedThe US invasion of Iraq undermines the very core of international law, starting with that simple rule that sais that war is only allowed self-defense with a UN mandateExcept for these two exceptions law is in generally outlawed. And as I seemingly have to preach again and again - obviously the U.S. were not attacked by Iraq, and there was no U.N. mandate empowering the U.S. to attack - nor was the U.S. invasion legalised later.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1441 was no sanction that allowed for war. And UN Security Council Resolution 1483 (on 22 May 2003), which ebentually endorsed the occupation of Iraq, merely reflected the present international power structure that is characterized by an unprecedented degree of asymmetry in hard power (military strength) between the US and the rest of the world; it's about damage control.
The UN Security Council is structurally weak - it can't stop the veto-wielding fox from ravaging in the henhouse. Khofi Annan was quite correct when he stated Bush invaded Iraq in violation of international law. Worse than a crime, it weas a blunder, too.
Bush's claimed right to overthrow regimes he considers hostile completely subverts previous standards for judging the legitimacy of resorts to war.
The Bush standard could justifying any number of wars hitherto considered unjust and aggressive. The unhealthy and destabilising effect of such a policy is blatantly obvious.
It is frustrating to see the U.S. trampeling down the achievements of three centuries, recognised as necessary after the unspeakable carnage and tens and tens of million dead in Europe since the 30-year war of the 17th century - just because the Bush administration claims their alleged moral clarity gives them some higher right that renders obsolete every law except the will of the U.S. president :rolleyes:
Hyperbole? If anything, I'm understating.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 4:29pm
Actually, the American Civil War wasn't about slavery. Slavery was not an issue until 1863, which is two years into the war. It also seems that gathering the black recruit was at least one of the most important goals of that move. The war was more or less confederation versus federacy. Republicans versus democrats, speaking in somewhat unfitting today's terms. Actually, sometimes it's even raised that slaves received treatment no worse than factory workers of the North. Plus, Abraham Lincoln had to go against the vote of his own council to pass the act, anyway.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 4:53pm
It never was about noncompliance, or disarmament - right from the start it was about regime change.Err, what? Those are not even close to being mutually exclusive; in fact what you have laid out there is cause and effect: Noncompliance for 10 years on disarmament leads to the need for regime change.
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 5:20pm
How about that: The aim was on regime change right from the start, and regime change was the aim that drove the call for disarmament and sanctions - to humiliate Saddam and to destablise the country in order to drive the Iraqis to oust Saddam from within?
That was standing policy under Clinton. Bush only went a step further.
As the head from MI-6 pointed out, Bush had decided Saddam had to go, disarmed or not. They had to sell a policy already decided on, and tweaked the facts into spin that fit the agenda.
The calls for inspections-, disarmament- and enforcing-sanctions-talk was just for bridging the time until forces were ready to strike.
You don't build up a quarter-million troops just to make a threat. It's too expensive for just a gesture - so when you do that, you're going to use them. Bush had war on his mind when he made Iraq an issue.
It is almost pointless that Saddam hadn't WMD. Under U.S. demands Saddam was in a loose-loose situation, and I'd say, unable to prevent the war with his actions. Saddam was in a Catch-22, and the Bush crew wanted it that way to make sure to get their excuse to invade by formulating their demands accordingly.
As absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence the Bush crew would have attacked anyway, whatever Saddam said.
Seen practically: The only way Saddam would have been able to satisfy the U.S. would have been to produce some remaining WMD, vindicating U.S. accusations.
Then - as a proven liar - how credible would have his "But now that's all of them, I swear!" sounded?
Knowing the oft cited evil character of that man, he was certainly lying anyway, right ... :rolleyes: How convenient.
Chandos the Red
Mon, 21st Mar '05, 6:21pm
Actually, the American Civil War wasn't about slavery. Slavery was not an issue until 1863, which is two years into the war. http://www.sorcerers.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/34/130.html
We have a thread set-up for the issue regarding the American Civil War and the issue of slavery. But the question often asked is this: If slavery was not an issue, would the war have taken place at all?
Tue, 22nd Mar '05, 10:19am
The US invasion of Iraq undermines the very core of international law, starting with that simple rule that sais that war is only allowedBecause as the peace and tranquility humanity has enjoyed since the founding of the UN demonstrates, international law works wonders in preventing wars.
Oh, wait, no it doesn't.
You can't "undermine" something that's virtually irrelevant anyway, and law is only relevant when it's enforced. Who, exactly, is responsible for enforcing international law? Which military/police force? Oh, right, it's enforced by powerful nations, when it's convenient for them to enforce it. Gee, that sure is a status quo I don't want to undermine, yessireebob.
The Bush standard could justifying any number of wars hitherto considered unjust and aggressive.The Bush standard could justify? Since when do aggressors need international justification for aggression? A quick glance at a timeline of recent (past 25 years) wars reveals that, surprise, there've been plenty of them. The idea that Bush's war will somehow generate many more is odd; As of 2003 there were 15 "major wars" (UN term/definition) going on, with an additional 20 "lesser" conflicts underway. ( http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/index.html )
The unhealthy and destabilising effect of such a policy is blatantly obvious.Actually, no it isn't, for the simple reason that international law virtually never restrains nations from undertaking invasions if they are so inclined (see previous link. Also see http://warscholar.com/Year/1950.html and http://warscholar.com/Year/1975.html for more complete listings of recent wars. I'm assuming most of these were "illegal", but if I'm mistaken, please correct me).
Yet, somehow, America invading Iraq is going to...what? Cause many more wars? How, exactly? By dangerous precedent? That's a stretch. A very large stretch. If we've had this many wars without this "Bush standard", how much worse could things get?
So, yes. It is hyperbole.
Tue, 22nd Mar '05, 1:22pm
the precedent is there already: Russia and China and Israel have happily adopted the US idea of 'pre-emptive war - that's not a strech but a fact: The US pre-emptive war was a prescedent.
Now we have three reasons for war instead of two: Self-defense, collective action based on a resolution of the UN Security Council - and pre-emption.
What always wonders me that the those who claim the 'obsolescence' and 'irrelevance' and 'dysfunctionality' are so utterly clueless about the nature of their argument.
So there is international law, the UN is there and the security council and the outlawing of war – and yet there is still war? Oh my god! If that isn't proof of the UN's irrelevance ...
Hey, just a hint: Murder and fraud and theft are outlawed, and there is police, a justice department and courts – and yet there are still just these crimes being comitted, worse, criminals get away, and there is corruption. Clearly laws, police and courts are 'dysfunctional' and 'ineffective', thus have no place in the real world and therefor all need to be abolished or sidelined – vigilanteism (after all, a fine American tradition) by the strong and enlighted galore!
Gimme a break.
Just have another look at the 1975-1999 table - and *read it* - check out how many wars have been cold-war proxy conflicts and civil wars, think about de-colonisation and the impact the significantly increased number of countries had (hint: more international actors), or secessions like in ex-yugoslavia - and how many the US incited and how few of them have actually been wars of agression a là "I want Kuwait, too". You'd be amazed.
But all that isn't the reason the Bush administration opposes and demolishes international law. It's highly cynical when the US hint on the UN's ineffectiveness and impotence - after they made an example by willfully trampeling it. Indeed, the security council can't stop a veto wielding power.
They pommel on the UN because they fear it slows them down and in some way restricts their 'freedom of movement' to pursue what they perceive as their national interest, to do whatever they want to do - that has just been written down by Douglas Feist in a new strategy paper for the Pentagon.
The most recent treaty the US have just revoked was their admission if jurisdiction to the international court for the Vienna treaty about consular relations.
All the way while the US are demanding that other countries, goddammit, have to obey to the rules of law and are claiming to enforce rules of law - rules they see *themselves* exempt from.
The same position if taken by Hitler could have be used to defend his invasion of Poland – that it was in Germany's national interest, and that international law is obsolete anyway. Aaaah, then it was all all right I take it? Hardly.
Agressors have always tried to justify. In the middleages they faked family trees to claim that the land they wanted to conquer atm was their rightful heritage. Nowadays it isn't any different:
Saddam claimed Kuwait was in fact an Iraqi province and declared the british definition of borders (with a grain of salt) as arbitrary. When Hitler invaded Poland he claimed to do so to in defense against a polish attack. Clinton's war of agression on Serbia was to prevent a 'humanitarian disaster'. So when Bush made his war of agression on Iraq he claimed to enforce UN sanctions and to disram a dangerous tyrrant. Why all these explanations?
As bogus as all these claims are – they indicate that the search for some 'legitimacy' has always been an important thing for an agressor. Taking away the norms defining what's legitimate or not is only making it easier for the agressor.
By example, Bush leads down the slippery slope of relativism.
Look at kids in school: The standard excuse for beating each other is „But he started it“ i.e. 'I acted in self defense'. Legitimacy is a crucial thing in life, it has a function that stabilises everyday life – and that applies to countries and foreign policy too. He, who is perceived as a bully, acting illegitimate, is shunned and isolated and ultimately resented.
Tell me, seen worldwide, how popular are the US atm?
All that is very much a result of the norms of international law. They aren't there because someone set them up in an arbitrary way. They are there because they are the consensus of the international community. The US will have to care, because the international community is the playing ground of their foreign policy.
Face it: The folks who foam and rant about the UN and trample international law are a minority in the world, a minority that only happens to get away with what they do because they are armed to the teeth and dangerous. That the US can get away with this is just a result of their military strength and their historical position in the UN security council.
Their strength will help them away over some of the trouble they get themselves in, but that cannot work forever.
[ March 22, 2005, 21:09: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Wed, 23rd Mar '05, 12:46am
Now we have three reasons for war instead of two: Self-defense, collective action based on a resolution of the UN Security Council - and pre-emption.Really. So there've never been pre-emptive wars before, eh? Israel's Six Day War comes to mind.
Hey, just a hint: Murder and fraud and theft are outlawed, and there is police, a justice department and courts – and yet there are still just these crimes being comitted, worse, criminals get away, and there is corruption. Clearly laws, police and courts are 'dysfunctional' and 'ineffective', thus have no place in the real world and therefor all need to be abolished or sidelined – vigilanteism (after all, a fine American tradition) by the strong and enlighted galore!Heh. You miss the point; there is no international "police force", ergo international laws don't really matter very much.
Outlaw all you want. Until you actually enforce your laws, it don't matter a damn.
Face it: The folks who foam and rant about the UN and trample international law are a minority in the world, a minority that only happens to get away with what they do because they are armed to the teeth and dangerousProving my point quite handily. Thank you.
Do the police allow someone to get away with murder because they're "armed to the teeth"? Nope.
Does the international community? Yep.