The end does not justify the means

White Rock B.C. - Friday, April 11, 2003 - by: Brian Marlatt


I am absolutely ecstatic that the Ba'ath Party and Saddam Hussein seem to have been driven from power with a minimum loss of life in the allied invasion of Iraq. One brutal dictator and regime removed from the power to oppress will make the world a better place. Of that I have no doubt. I welcome it to that extent. But let's not pretend that ends justify the means. Let's not pretend that the invasion of Iraq is anything other than the unilateral action of a military power to shape the world as it sees fit.


This is the critical issue raised by the invasion of Iraq, and it will shape the next century. Because of it the Bush presidency and "Rummy's War," as the invasion of Iraq urged by US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history, has poisoned the US relationship with the rest of the world. Of that I am also convinced.




The brutality of Saddam Hussein is one thing. The ambition of the Bush presidency is another, barely visible in the sanitized war reports of "embedded journalists." The invasion of Iraq looks too much like pursuit of American interests, regional hegemony, and imposition of an American version of western values by force and without the consent of the people in the region.


No other conclusion appears likely in the face of the open declaration by the United States of America through its spokespersons so frequently since the outbreak of war that the true intention of the invasion of Iraq in the mind of the present US administration is regime change. All else is rhetoric.




Ironically, if the Bush administration had sought support of the world based on the moral outrage against the brutal oppression of the Kurds and Shiite Muslims, it may well have received it and our admiration. Instead, a unilateral decision to overthrow the Iraqi regime seems to have been the taken early on in the Bush presidency.




What is more, it has been argued in recent weeks through untruths such as the claim that France opposed the disarmament of Iraq's dictator and deceit such as the claim that the US had provided clear proof of the existence of weapons of mass destruction and thus demonstrated material breach of UN resolutions. Had such evidence been presented, in fact, the Bush administration would also have received the support of most of the world, including France, as French President Chirac stated . No such evidence was presented.


We must ask why the US has ceased to reference UN Resolution 1441 since the invasion and why they refer to chemical or similar weapons only when it seems they might be asked to justify themselves. The answer likely is that they knew that Weapons of Mass Destruction probably haven't existed in Iraq for years.


What right and under what law does the Bush presidency propose to overthrow governments anywhere in the world and to remake them in their own image or interest?


So the issue becomes not will democracy be seeded by present events and the fate of Iraqi's bettered, but what does this say about a world in which "the world's only superpower" lurches from unilateral decision to unilateral decision. The UN will not find lasting solutions any more than the US, but anything it does attempt to accomplish will not necessarily be seen as an imposition by a First World imperial power.




I see no reason for optimism.




Brian Marlatt
  Editor's note: The images used on this page were obtained from the Arab News in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia. The third last picture is of ophaned children in Baghdad, the last three pictures were taken today and the others earlier in the week.



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