By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Of course, the administration‘s earlier threats and its past practice morally and politically weaken the case it makes legally. For example, by threatening to veto any resolution offering condemnation, let alone consequences, for Sharon’s behavior, such as his refusal to admit U.N. inspectors to Jenin, it lost points both morally and politically. Its previous bluster about its intention to go alone to Baghdad also clearly shows that the maintenance of international order was not always its highest priority.
However, the charge sheet is still substantial. A U.N. commission found Iraq to be the aggressor against Iran in one of the bloodiest wars since 1945. No sooner had it finished than Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it, thereby flouting one of the basic provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, which was set up precisely to stop that sort of thing.
After months of sanctions and being asked to leave, Iraq was thrown out of Kuwait by a U.N.-mandated coalition, and, faced with continuing hostilities that would have overthrown his regime, Saddam Hussein cried “Uncle,” and agreed to all the terms imposed by the U.N. Security Council -- including inspections to verify disarmament. Iraq has repeatedly tried to conceal weapons programs that were in direct violation of its own international treaty commitments.
Domestically, since Saddam Hussein shot his way into power, he has killed far more Iraqis than Sharon has killed Palestinians. It is a sad truth that in those days before Kosovo and Rwanda, it was accepted that nobody could do anything about his using chemical and biological warfare against his own citizens, not to mention the more conventional bestiality of deportation, torture and mass murder.
It is also a sad fact that since Iraq was fighting against Iran, most of the West and the Soviets were prepared to overlook his domestic atrocities, and to cover up his use of poison gas against the Iranians -- although that did not stop the president this week from shamelessly citing the behavior of Iraq as erstwhile ally to condemn Iraq the present enemy.
There is an old and worrying saying, “Let justice be done, though the sky fall in.” I‘m far from convinced that George Bush has thought enough about how to stop that from happening. Nor do I see Sharon or Bush as particularly qualified as agents of justice. Even so, if Saddam Hussein says that the U.N. inspectors can come in “over my dead body,” there will be no cause to shed tears if he gets what he asks for.
The United Nations is a deeply flawed institution -- susceptible to misuse and abuse by the great powers. But many governments around the world are grateful that the U.S. is going through due procedure rather than leading a lynch mob to get Saddam Hussein.
It would be good if the war could be avoided. However, those who genuinely want to stop it should at least have been calling for Saddam Hussein to admit the U.N.’s inspectors, immediately and unconditionally. And they should also be asking for him to stand down. Indeed, they should ask for an international tribunal to try him. They could even ask the Security Council to empower the new International Criminal Court, opposed so bitterly by the Bush administration, to try him.