Three legal scholars oppose the Administration’s justifications for war on Iraq. This pamphlet contains the core facts and analysis needed to understand the issues and become an effective advocate against hawkish U.S. policy.
Where is the evenhandedness that is fundamental to deliberations of this magnitude?
Should not the specifics, both pro and con, be presented? Of course they should, but the book neglects this miserably.
I was also looking for a synoptic background of Saddam Hussein and his rise to power. Devoid of crucial background information, the reader is ill-equipped to make any deductions about what potential action(s) should or should not be taken. Remember the old saying: Those who do not know history are apt to repeat it. Regrettably the author believes that there is no relevance in the history of Iraq.
I was enthusiastic that the book would delineate how Saddam Hussein has changed and why he can be trusted in the future? In other words, what should be done about Saddam's reign of terror and mass genocide he has performed on people both before and after the Gulf war? It is of somber concern to me that the Dove's do not exhibit compassion for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been tortured, raped and executed by Saddam's regime!
Everyone is aware that the most liberal/anti-war organizations have written some of the most damning reports on this regime, for example Max Van der Stoel's who was the UN's special rapportuer for human rights in Iraq, reported to the United Nations that the brutality of the Iraqi regime was "of exceptionally grave character - so grave that it has few parallels in the years that have passed since the Second World War."
While the book has many weaknesses one of the worst sections (considering whom it was written by) is the assertion that a country does not have authority to bomb another country. The authors strangely back this up by using UNSCR 1411 and then seconded that with Article 51. While this is an interesting and novel way to say this war is illegal it would be easier to quote UN Charter Article 2 (paragraph 3 and 4) for this certainly has more weight than the authors argument. But even if you combine those two arguments together there appears to be some legally convincing reasons for war such as:
1925 and 1949 Geneva Convections (Treatment of prisoners, use of WMD, purposeful targeting of civilians)
Violation of the Vienna Conventions of diplomatic and consular relations
Violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty of 1993
Violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention
Violation of UNSCR 687
The above are 6 WELL KNOWN arguments for a LEGAL war; the book should have given at minimum a cursory attempt to discredit one of them!
To be fair the book did tackle one known argument for a legal war it is what is known as the legal principle of "anticipatory self-defense". It stated however that this has never been endorsed.
OH REALLY, I guess the authors hope that you have had you head in the sand for the last 41 years. Just a few examples:
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
1981 Strike on Iraq's Osiraq Nuclear reactor
1982 Exclusion zone around Falkland Islands
1982 Sweden's use of force declaration against submarines found within 12 miles of its shores.
1998 strike on Afghanistan
1998 strike on Sudan
1999 Action in Kosovo
The most farcical part of the book is the claim that Saddam does not have the ability to build a nuclear weapon. The authors simply disregard 98% of the Untied Nations reports. They also overlook all of the illegal shipments of banned weapons, weapon parts, and logistical components that have been seized going into Iraq since 1991. The proof is extant; and well documented. In 1990 Saddam had a nuclear weapon sans the fizzle material. The vast preponderance of authorities agrees that Saddam will have nuclear capability in 3 - 5 years. But I guess these geniuses know more than anybody else.
The facts are clear that Saddam made more than $2 billion in 2001 smuggling oil out of the country. (Please refer to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly for more statistics) If you add up all the money he has made smuggling over the last 10 years, you know where he gets the money to build his WMD. Plus what little is left over he can add to his collection of billion dollar palatial estates. (Just imagine if he took this money and helped his citizens with it. Well, that would be the RIGHT thing to do wouldn't it)
I still feel uneasy about this war, but the more Anti-war books that I read with their simplistic argumentation, radical leftist interpretations of the facts, and general deception about the substance, I fell that I am becoming more hawkish every day.
For those yearning for an evenhanded treatment of facts about this multifaceted and difficult issue this is NOT your book. This book is a one-sided polemic that will only gratify those whom are dogmatically Anti-War.
Why two stars then? Not for content, but rather sympathy; for trying what might be impossible.
They note that the U.S. has obtained security council votes in an extremely compromsing way. E.G. cutting off aid to Yemen after it voted against a U.S. draft resolution back in 1990. They note that congressman Henry Gonzales drafted a bill of impeachment against Bush Sr. for the many "bribes and threats" used to get UN approval. In current times, it seems some backroom deals have been made with the French and the Russians to secure their existing oil contracts with Saddam post-war which is what the latter are really concerned about. American oil companies will probably have first pick of the oil resources. The Americans will install a pro-American government that will do America's bidding in the oil rivalries with OPEC, they write.
And indeed the authors point out that Iraq is not an imminent threat, that U.S. intelligence deny this. They note that Richard Butler reported to the security council in January 1999 that the inspection process had made Saddam "substantially disarm." They quote the conservative anaylst Anthony Cordesman that it is likely that stocks of biological and chemical weapons retained by Iraq after the gulf war have lost their viability. They quote Scott Ritter that the 800 or so mustard gas shells that Iraq is reportedly to have, does not represent any sort of option for them on the battlefield. Nor do the dozen or so blastic missles. And they do not have the technology to produce any significant amount of VX nerve gas, and the equipment they did have was found and destroyed by the inspectors in 96' and found never to have been used. They note that the International Atomic energy agency certified in October 1997 that Iraq was in "full, final and complete" compliance with its nuclear weapons program. They note in an endnote that the evidence about Iraq trying to gain enriched uranium from Africa is very tenuous, it simply does not have the infrastructure (this book was published before it came out from the IAEA that U.S. documents purporting to show Iraq's aquisition of uranuim from Niger were forgeries).
They point out, of course, Saddam's regime is unbelievabably bestial but that did not bother United States and its British lietenant when he was "gassing his own people" back in the 80's. They gave him substantial support to build up his arsenal of WMD. The link to Bin Laden is unlikely for the supposed meeting in the Czech republic seemed not to have taken place and Saddam would not want to give weapons to independent-minded fundamentalists who have a goal of overthrowing his secular dictatorship.
Most importantly they note that people seem not to care much about the humanitarian impact on Iraqis. U.S. bombing has and will continue to destroy much of Iraq's vital civilian infrastructure. Estimates vary about total casualties: from like 48,000 to 200,000. If Saddam does have any substantial WMD and is backed into a corner, there is no doubt he will use them. Various nations with bad human rights records like Russia, China, India, Israel have a green light to conduct terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism. Wahabi terrorism increased in late 2002 and will surely do so as a result of what happens in Iraq.
They note in an endnote that the dim-witted disciple of Jesus currently in the white house was not telling the truth when he said that Iraq was diverting oil for food money for weapons. Such money is placed in an escrow account in New York with purchases made by it directed by the United nations. They note that it is rather unlikely the president's claim that Iraq has possessions of drones that are capable of flying undetected accross other countries and U.S. military bases to bomb the United States.