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Iraq wmd war (2003)


Iraq attack, March 10-20 2003:

Ultimatum—The Bush/Blair lie: France’s veto “under any circumstances”


by Charles Judson Harwood Jr.


“ We were then all deceived about the French position and told the French had said they would veto any second resolution — which wasn’t true, we now know. Chirac had said we veto now, because Blix needs his time, but if Blix failed, then of course we would vote with others to authorise military action.”

Clare Short (then U.K. International Development Secretary, resigned May 12 2003 {copy}), interviewed by John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4, Today (February 26 2004, 8:10-8:22 a.m.) {transcript, transcript, audio}


Iraq wmd war timeline: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008
Congress debates, votes
Iran uranium timeline
Israel/Palestine timeline:
Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
The Israel Lobby
Reprisals

“ On 10 March, Number 10’s worst fears were confirmed. President Chirac had dramatically announced that France would veto a second resolution if it was put to the vote. President Chirac, 10th March 2003, TF1, 20:30 French time:

Jacques Chirac: {1:30, at 1:10, source}: “My position is that, regardless of the circumstances, France will vote “no.”

Because, she considers — this evening — that there are no grounds to wage a war, to achieve the goal we have set ourselves.

I.e. to disarm Iraq.”

In his interview, the French President mentioned “this evening” no fewer than four times, to stress he didn’t think war was justified — as of that moment.

But Mr Blair seized on only the first half of President Chirac’s statement. Prime Minister, Presser at Downing Street, 11th March 2003:

“If France or any other country is simply going to say, ‘We will veto no matter what,’ that is obviously a very difficult position.’

In fact, President Chirac had not said “no matter what” — as if forever. He stressed that if the Iraqis ceased to co-operate with the weapons inspectors, “war would become inevitable.” It just wasn’t today.

But in Number 10’s briefing to the press, neither they — nor Mr Blair — mentioned this important qualification.

Watching these extraordinary events, from close quarters in Number 10, was Sir Stephen Wall, the Prime Minister’s European Affairs Adviser. Sir Stephen Wall, Prime Minister’s European Affairs Adviser (2000-2004):

Question: ... do you think Downing Street wilfully misconstrued what the French President had said?

Answer: I think that they—

I wouldn’t say “wilfully misconstrued,” in this sense: That I think that Tony Blair and other members of the government were convinced that there was no circumstance in which France was prepared to support action.

Question: Ever?

Answer: Ever.

If you mean, did they take Chirac’s words, and take them out of the, out of the total context in which they were made, undoubtedly. ...

The French embassy complained to the Foreign Office that No.10 had deployed “Soviet style disinformation.””

John Ware (reporter), “Iraq, Tony, and the truth” (BBC News, Panorama, March 20 2005) {transcript}CJHjr


A leaked draft? March 12 2003

I found a paper today, it fluttered from a group of MPs, hurrying towards Parliament, in London. I don’t suppose it’s authentic, but here’s what it says:


UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Secret March 12 2003

Draft statement in Parliament by
The Honourable Jack Straw,
Secretary of State

Today, the UK Ambassador to the United Nations tabled a draft resolution in the Security Council.

While this does not itself authorize war against Iraq, we hope it will clear the way for that decision by addressing concerns many UN members expressed to us during our negotiations over the past several days.

Our resolution does two things:

(1)  Establishes a committee of the Security Council to govern Iraq following conquest. This, instead of a military dictatorship by the United States, which the law of war otherwise authorizes.

(2)  Requires the United States, as a condition to war, to ratify the 1977 Protocol-1 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and also to consent to be sued for claims arising from the war and post-war occupation.

The first provision implements US/UK assurances that this is not a war about oil and that the interests of the Iraqi people is our sole post-war concern. The nations opposing war-now believe that actions speak louder than words and desire the United States to surrender its unilateral control over Iraq’s immense wealth and its power to govern Iraq to serve US interests.

The second provision requires the United States to join 161 {now 163} other nations and ratify the 1977 Protocol-1 which details the targeting laws of war. Together with Haiti, the US is the only country in the Western Hemisphere which has not ratified this important humanitarian law; every country in Europe has ratified it (except Andorra); every member of the former Soviet Union (except Azerbaijan); the entire Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Yemen); Syria, Jordan, China, Australia, Diego Garcia (included in the UK ratification), and many others.

Protocol-1 (targeting+) {copy, copy} (Geneva, June 8 1977, December 7 1978) {parties: 65kb.pdf}, 1125 U.N.T.S. 3 (151 pages) {U.N. Doc.: ST/LEG(05)/U5, ISSN: 0379-8267, LCCN: 48022417, OCLC: 1768015, WorldCat}.

We found this Protocol to be a major barrier to consensus over war against Iraq. The US Military freely admits that it targets in violation of the Protocol; that it has killed many thousands of innocent civilians as a consequence; and that it has no obligation to obey a law which its government has not adopted. The US Military negotiated this Protocol over a three-year period, and agreed to it; and the US signed it but never ratified it.

Many nations assure us that much of the hatred of the United States among their populations can be traced to these unlawful killings (as the Protocol defines them) and to the resulting rage against United States contempt for the lives of non-Americans and their property.

We too are concerned. Indeed, we have now decided we are unwilling to require our soldiers and pilots to obey US orders which violate a humanitarian law which we ourselves have ratified into UK law. We have therefore informed the United States that we will not place UK forces under US command until the US ratifies the Protocol.

The other nations also point out that the United States will not permit itself to be sued over claims its forces violate the laws of war, and the US will not obey the treaties it has already ratified which require it to pay damages (eg: 1907 Hague-4, article 3).

We, together with the United States, have insisted that this confrontation with Iraq is about the rule of law. We agree the rule of law entitles victims to a remedy for wrongs done to them, and to their loved-ones. We agree the US has violated the rule of law for decades by refusing to be sued by those who claim to be victims of its foreign actions which they allege to be unlawful. We believe the US refusal to litigate intensifies hatred and threatens world peace. We agree the time has now come to insist that the United States submit itself to the rule of law, defend its actions in a court of law, and account for its wrongdoings as courts may order.

The other nations have assured us that if the Security Council adopts this resolution, and the US complies with it, they will, in that event, then be in a position to believe that the US desire to initiate war-now will not be motivated by a hunger for Iraq’s riches and desire to impose a post-war government to serve its own interests. And, they feel the prospect of accountability will induce the US to moderate its conduct of the war, including its targeting decisions, to conform to the laws of war, and that innocent victims, and their surviving family members, will be treated justly afterwards.

We have urged the United States to join with us in sponsoring this draft resolution.

if only

______________________


Regime change March 17 2003

1.  S/Res/1441 is about disarmament, not regime-change.

2.  A majority of the Security Council believes inspections are working so far (including the chemical/biological weapons), and most impartial observers agree. Indeed, they’re working so well, Bush apparently fears, if he doesn’t start his war now, they would soon demonstrate that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction and Bush would lose his pretext for war.

3.  The Council ‘remains seized’ of this issue and is the judge of it, not the US/UK acting separately.

4.  S/Res/1441 plainly, therefore, does not authorize war-now.

5.  Bush’s true war-aim (regime-change) is lawful, in my opinion, if the Council agrees to it. This, because of conflict-of-laws rules: One law says no regime-change by force; another law says don’t be an international criminal. The latter is a more important law and dominates the conflict. No regime has legal authority, eg, to murder its citizens.

6.  However, Bush didn’t assert this case at the UN and this topic is not developed. It depends on a judgment of how many people Saddam is likely to murder and torture in the future versus how many people the US is likely to kill in the war (including Iraqi soldiers).

7.  During the course of public debate and political discourse (which Bush precludes), this war-aim could have been analyzed and explained to the Arab public and Iraqi military, and their cooperation could have been cultivated, and methods for them to cooperate, to the point that war-victims could be minimized. Ditto, the war-plan:– maybe to surround Iraqi forces and facilitate their surrender without first attacking them. Starting with a slow advance into the country without aerial bombardment.

8.  The whole world would agree to such a plan, as it might have unfolded in discussions at the UN and people got accustomed to the idea. And, the Arab public and Iraqi military (those not complicit in past crimes) would have agreed to it and understood it and cooperated with it, especially if the UN Security Council had endorsed it.

9.  An important larger objective is to abate hatred of the United States, not inflame it. Waging war in opposition to the will of the international community is certain to intensify hatred, not earn respect.

10.  This could have been handled differently. The Security Council might not have agreed to it. But, war following a lengthly explanation and public debate, with an honest war-aim and a surrender of occupation rights, would likely have garnered more support than a dishonest war-aim, based on unsubstantiated claims about Saddam’s supposed ‘material breach’.

______________________


War now? War later? March 18 2003

KIDJ11 wrote (453.3, Mar-18 7:14 am):

“Plain, straight-forward American-English is the President’s forte. I was so proud last night to hear him tell it like it is. Your paper and many others have criticized him for his lack of diplomatic finesse. Simple, ordinary language is always the best. And he connects with the American people every time.

I wonder sometimes where you guys come from. Certainly not the mid-west. Lace pants talk won’t cut it any more.”

Bush, 2003-03-17, 8:01pm-8:35pm EST {asterisk-emphasis added}:

“Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto *any* resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”

France—from the first day to the last day, and many times in between—has stated that it would vote for war as a last resort, if inspections reached an impasse. France’s opinion is that inspections are producing valuable results on the topic of S/Res/1441 (disarmament). And, its opinion is shared by a large majority of the 190 member-nations of the United Nations, not least a majority of the 15 members of Security Council and 113 nations who are also members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Not to mention public-opinion worldwide.

If Bush had made his statement in testimony to Congress, in a Courtroom, or to an FBI agent or the IRS, he would face 5 years in prison for his criminal lie:

Sec. 1001. Statements or entries generally

(a)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully –

(1)  falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2)  makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

(3)  makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) {highlighting added}.

Bush might escape justice by claiming that France’s position was widely known and that his listeners would recognize that his intent was not to deceive the American public, merely to emphasize by way of exaggeration his difference of opinion with France.

But I imagine there are millions of people listening to his speech who do not know France’s position and believe the choice the US faces is stark, exactly as Bush described it—that force must be used as a last resort and that France would veto it.

This is not a rhetorical exaggeration, it’s a blatant lie. And, he told this lie because he knows the truth is a mortal blow to his desire to initiate war-now. Perhaps he fears the inspectors will demonstrate that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction.

Such lies are harmless in ordinary private discourse among the public. But they are not harmless when they switch-on a massive killing machine.

I believe you do your fellow mid-westerners a disservice by associating plain-speaking with lying. And, plain-speaking is not the exclusive province of the mid-west. I’m from Nashville. I don’t wear lace-pants, but I imagine those who do are just as capable of plain-speaking as anyone else.

{No reply from KIDJ11}

MIDDLEMAN69 (453.222, Mar-18 1:23 pm, in reply to 453.213):

“Now I’m going to take 1800 gallon jugs, representing the 1800 gallons of unaccounted for anthrax in Iraq, and hide them wherever I want, I can move them, mislabel them, bury them, make them mobile, whatever I want. Now you get to scour New York city and all the surrounding area by yourself and find them. Good luck.

The French are fools. They lie about the role of the inspectors, and lie when they say they are working. They never have worked and never will under conditions where the party being searched controls the game.”

I agree that an accounting for the anthrax is desirable and I’m willing to be persuaded it’s even necessary, though anthrax is simple to obtain (in the soil all over the world) and grow.

But the accounting is, as yet, an unresolved issue on which great progress was being made. Saddam submitted last week an accounting, together with a list of another 135 people who worked on the program. And now it’s for the inspectors to verify the accounting and sample the supposed site of destruction and interview the 135 people and such.

Ditto chemical weapons: Saddam submitted an accounting a few days previous to that and the inspectors were in the process of investigating and verifying their destruction.

We’ve yet to hear from Mr Blix, his opinion on these latest developments. And now we won’t because Bush has preempted him.

So you raise an issue of opinion: Have we reached an impasse or do these developments hold the promise of a verifiable accounting? It’s the opinion of France and others that this question should be answered by Mr. Blix, who has no need to search for your concealed jugs if this accounting can be verified and the leads from the additional 135 workers investigated.

The Security Council unanimously (in S/Res/1441) decided that it was the judge of this issue, not any member(s) acting unilaterally. And this collective judgment is an important safeguard in the case of offensive elective warfare. Most rational impartial adults do not believe that this inspection process has reached an impasse, and particularly so these last two accountings which the massed force on his borders has produced. Thus, any veto and any majority vote against initiating war-now is not ‘unreasonable’.

It may be that Saddam could start again from scratch and create new anthrax supplies. But so can anybody else anywhere in the world who wants to.

It may be that Saddam should be removed because he’s likely to kill many more people in the future (regime-change). But how many will we kill to stop him?

I believe this is a do-able proposition. But this is not the war-aim of S/Res/1441; Bush has not advanced this war-aim at the UN; it has not been examined and debated; public opinion has not been prepared for this rationale; the war-plan has not been tailored (as far as we know) to cultivate cooperation within the Iraqi military (to enable them to surrender without attacking them); and US motives are widely mistrusted because the US won’t surrender its occupation powers to the UN, including Bush’s authority to direct oil contracts in secret to his friends and to craft a form of post-war government to serve US interests.

Bush and his circle have further given the worldwide public additional reasons to distrust the US by a sequence of untruths which the inspectors have disproved.

In short, as yet, the last resort of war is not yet justified in the general opinion of the world, there being no imminent threat to innocent lives (apart from Bush’s war-plan) which prevents us from pursuing the methodical inspection process to its conclusion, be that full accounting or impasse.

And if Bush wishes regime-change, let him propose that together with his plan for how to do that by killing fewer people than Saddam is likely to in the future.

MIDDLEMAN69 (453.352, Mar-18 1:23 pm, in reply to 453.269):

“inspections are the enemy’s game.

However, if France and Germany believe, along with others in the UN, (and you, I think) that inspections will work and are verifiable, then why did they unanimously support an immediate disarmament in 1441?”

I believe (along with others, as I suppose) that inspections will either work or won’t work (impasse), and as yet we don’t know the answer.

This, I don’t take to be a game, as we (the Security Council), not Saddam, are the judge of whether an impasse has been reached.

You raise the issue of materiality: That Iraq didn’t ‘immediately’ disarm, shortly after S/Res/1441 passed, as that resolution demanded.

Iraq claims it has no weapons of mass destruction and, as to nuclear weapons, the inspectors have verified this claim and are on the verge of confirming there are no remnants remaining of the previous program and no efforts to reconstitute it, notwithstanding unequivocal assertions to the contrary by US officials.

Yet, it’s true Iraq didn’t promptly produce an accounting for its chemical and biological weapons and their components. Is this delay justifiable and ‘material’?

My impression, and that of Mr. Blix, is that it may not be not easy to devise an accounting method for this {Blix: “If you pour 10 liters of milk into the ground today and come back 10 years from now, can you really prove it was 10 liters you poured into the ground?”}. But let’s stipulate that Iraq made no good-faith effort until months later (until the past two weeks, {Blix: “the end of January”}). Are we going to war on the basis of this delay? In the face of an accounting we have now obtained (with leads via the 135 workers)?

A refusal to endeavor to account would indeed imply a ‘material’ breach:—a willful refusal to disarm, as US officials assert. But what of an endeavor to account? Is that a willful refusal to disarm? And what of a refusal to audit the accounting and pursue the leads? Is that a willful refusal to comply with S/Res/1441 which the US undertook to obey?

You raise an issue of US law:

MIDDLEMAN69: “As for regime change, Bush is fulfilling the official legal position of the US government as written and bound into law under the Clinton administration. It is the law of this country that the United states replace the regime in Iraq, under the Iraqi Liberation Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in October of 1998. It does not authorize the use of the US military, that was done by Congress post-9/11. So this talk of Bush’s regime change policy like it was invented yesterday, is inaccurate, to be kind.”

The President did not choose to justify his war as you have done. He choose to justify it on the basis of S/Res/1441 which does not contemplate or authorize regime-change. It deals with disarmament. I grant you that regime-change could be the only way to achieve that war-aim if inspections reach an impasse. But we haven’t got to that point yet. And it’s my belief that Bush and his circle fear that inspections would be successful and that regime-change would be unnecessary to achieve disarmament.

If Congress and the President decided the US was threatened by population hordes on our southern border and decided to create a 200-mile buffer zone inside Mexico, by exterminating Mexicans living there, that would appear to be US law, I grant you. But, I don’t suppose you would consider that justification for the project. And I imagine you would conclude that the President, if he obeyed his oath to enforce US law, would be committing a criminal act.

Everything Adolph Hitler did was legal under Nazi law. Yet, we hung 10 of his surviving henchmen (Oct.16 1946), following a trial which concluded that international law is superior to domestic law, when it comes to international crimes. That no nation has legal authority or legal capacity to legalize international crimes.

US law includes international law, but Congress can violate it if it chooses to, provided it acknowledges what it’s doing (that it’s intentionally violating international law). Whether Congress did that in its 9/11 resolution you cite, I haven’t examined. As the US will not submit to be sued in any court for its violations of international law, Congress and the President are not in the habit of troubling themselves about this issue.

I’m not claiming, in this discussion, that war-now would be an international crime against peace. The war-now issue is predominately a moral and political issue, and an issue of self-interest. Do we wish to defy the will of the international community, violate a Security Council resolution we agreed to obey, and initiate an offensive elective war which the majority of world opinion believes is not yet justified, though it may be justified down the road?

We could bring the rest of the world with us in this war, if we showed the patience which would negate skepticism about our motives.

You raise the issue of proportionality:

MIDDLEMAN69: “Your proposition that somehow Bush has to justify the war by body count comparisons to Hussein is nonsense, has no basis in law, and no Constitutional standing. The 2 things that he is doing that do have basis in law and the Constitution are: 1) defending this nation against foreign enemies; and 2) prosecuting regime change in Iraq.”

A legal justification of regime-change requires proportionality. If the regime is committing international crimes then it is certainly a candidate for regime-change by war. But not if we have to kill more people than the regime is likely to kill, including enemy soldiers who do nothing more than our own soldiers do: obey orders of their commander and wage armed conflict.

This can never be a finely balanced judgment, as it in part predicts the future, and I don’t dwell on it. It’s an undeveloped topic of public debate and political discourse as it applies to Iraq, because Bush has chosen to not base his war on regime-change and tailor his war-plan (as far as we know) to serve the rule of proportionality and to cultivate Iraqi and world support for this idea.

MIDDLEMAN69 (453.497, Mar-18 6:05 pm, in reply to 453.451):

“It doesn’t matter if the president chose to justify his actions one way or another. The fact is, he is within US law under the Iraqi resolution—which is unambiguous:Here is the language in Section 3:

“Sec. 3. Sense of the Congress Regarding United States Policy Toward Iraq.

It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

* * * If you believe it is a violation of the Constitution or US law, I’m interested in your arguments.”

I was responding to what I took to be your argument that US law authorizes this war, and my examples illustrated that, while this may be true, that’s not the end of the inquiry.

However, in this discussion, let’s agree this is not a legal issue, but rather a political issue and (as I assert) an issue of our self-interest.

MIDDLEMAN69: “1441 does not explicitly authorize regime change—and the UN will never do that and set such a precedent as they are beholden to too many divergent interests—another weakness.”

Here, I disagree. Every member of the Security Council has stated or indicated it is willing to vote for war if the inspections reach an impasse.

MIDDLEMAN69: “Please point out the allowance under German law that permits genocide and the taking of foreign lands. This is an empty argument.”

Nazi-German law was identical to US law: Hitler removed jurisdiction from German Courts to entertain trials raising issues which touched on his activities (any foreign actions, military actions, internal security actions, suits for damages about these things, and such). US Courts have no jurisdiction to entertain suits for damages against the United States for most foreign activities of the US, including the US military.

Hitler also went further than US law and imposed a dictatorship, ie: government by chain-of-command, legalizing his own orders.

MIDDLEMAN69: “There is also no such thing as international law in accordance with the US Constitution.”

US law is roughly as I described it: It includes international law unless Congress decides otherwise. Additionally, the President can violate both US and international law within his sphere of authority, which includes the conduct of foreign affairs. This doesn’t make it legal, it only means US Courts will decline jurisdiction to entertain suits questioning what he does (as in the case of Nazi Germany).

This again I raised only in response to your assertion that the war is legal under US law (because, as a general proposition, it’s not as plain as your argument implied). But I don’t quibble with your assertion in this case, as I wish to discuss this as a political issue, not a legal one.

MIDDLEMAN69: “I did not raise the issue of proportionality, I responded to your claim about it. There is nothing that compels this nations leaders to base security issues on the proportionality of deaths due to our actions or inactions. Contrary to your assertion that it is required, there is no such standard that the US is bound by. I have no idea where you came up with that requirement.”

Here we’re discussing a live legal issue, though I don’t believe it will prove relevant, because I don’t expect many casualties in the impending war, certainly not as many as the 1991 war (40,000 soldiers?, 3,000 civilians?), and because it’s not a finely-judged issue (such is the rough-justice of war).

This issue relates to my examples about Mexico and Nazi-Germany. Despite US law, the President could commit an international crime. This is harmless to him, because no US Court has jurisdiction to try him even were the Attorney-General to prosecute him (as in the case of Nazi-Germany). He could only be tried in a court with jurisdiction over that crime, and none exists, though one could be created after the fact to try him (as we did with the Nazis), because the crime exists even if there be no court at the time of the crime with jurisdiction to try it.

In a short time, I can’t make a coherent justification of my assertion about proportionality. But, my reply would draw on these elements (with regime-change, we’re dealing with an offensive elective war, not self-defense in the heat of passion):

The law of international countermeasures, for example, has been litigated and is settled:— it’s an eye for an eye, not a 100-for-1 (as Hitler ordered in Yugoslavia), or even 5-for-1 as at least one US commander ordered during the Civil War. The domestic law of every country recognizes proportionality. The US Supreme Court, for example, has held it’s unlawful for a police officer to shoot a fleeing burglar (because the officer is too fat and out of shape to outrun him), because the penalty for burglary is not death. If a hostage-taker has 100 hostages, are we justified in killing the hostages ourselves in order to apprehend/kill the offender.

I have no doubt my assertion about proportionality is settled law, but if I’m mistaken then it soon would become settled (based on such precedents) if it ever got into a court with jurisdiction to decide the issue.

Meanwhile, it’s certainly a settled *political* issue.

MIDDLEMAN69: “Simply saying you disagree, and you oppose the politics of the president, is sufficient.”

I disagree with war-now, though not with war-later.

MIDDLEMAN69 (453.561, Mar-18 8:15 pm, in reply to 453.540):

“I must admit I have a hard time understanding your closing statement [“I disagree with war-now, though not with war-later”], and I’ve heard it from more than just you.

Many ask me “what is magic about doing this now? Why not wait”. And my counter is, “what is magical about waiting?” — the violations are clear and uncontested by every country in the world except Iraq.

I guess I can not understand the thought process that leads one to believe that this murdering nutjob is going to somehow have an epiphany and change the singular course of his entire adult life.

You’ll have to explain that one to me because it defies reason and appears to be more for your appeasement than for the actual prosecution and ending of the problem we are discussing.”

On the contrary, the great majority of the world opinion I refer to has an open mind on the question whether Iraq has any weapons of mass destruction. And, they believe that the accountings Saddam has provided to Mr Blix about his chemical/ bio weapons deserve to be audited by Mr Blix and the leads followed.

The ‘murdering nutjob’ is not crazy and can appreciate his impending fate if he doesn’t account as Mr Blix desires; this can ‘change the singular course of his entire adult life’.

The world opinion is happy that the US has crowded his borders with forces, which is what it took to dislodge these accountings, and Saddam’s other concessions. And, they are happy to unloose these forces if inspections reach an impasse. But not otherwise.

The ‘why wait’ is to bring the rest of the world onboard with the war, should it prove necessary. And this includes the Arab multitudes in the streets who are now shouting hatred at the US. A scant few of these multitudes have any regard for Saddam and are happy to see the back of him, provided there is worldwide consensus to do it, particularly among their own Arab leaders, as there would be if inspections reach an impasse.

I hazard to speculate that the barrier to your understanding might be: (1) a confusion of war-aims and (2) discounting the value of the larger aim (bringing the Arabs onboard).

(1)  What I’m speaking about is disarmament (S/Res/1441), and inspections hold the promise that aim can be achieved leaving Saddam in place. This is a very undesirable result, though I believe pursuing inspections to conclusion would so undermine Saddam’s authority that great segments of his military would, in the process, peel-away and escape the country, leading eventually to the possibility of his removal or exile without war.

Be that as it may, if you want both disarmament and regime-change (as most do), then we have to sell that to world opinion and this, Bush has chosen not to do. He bases his decision on disarmament. And it’s a *very* unconvincing case (in light of Mr Blix’s progress and disproval of previous US assertions).

(2)  I think regime-change an easy sell, and even if some on the Security Council didn’t buy it, a great many nations would, together with their public opinion, leaving us much better situated in our abate-hate objective (the larger aim).

But, this new world opinion would likely also want disarmament via the authoritative inspection program now underway (ie: war-later) and might feel, as I do, that the process would further weaken Saddam, making for a much smaller war. In any event they would want a lot of attention paid to the war-plan—how to isolate Saddam and his circle from his military and so minimize war-casualties.

Bush has elected not to do this and, because he is defying the will of the international community, he has isolated the US and inflamed hatred against us. A pity, unnecessary, and we’re likely to pay for it. {No reply}

MIDDLEMAN69 to TABOUT (453.527, Mar-18 6:36 pm):

“I asked if there have ever been any war actions averted by diplomacy alone. I think the answer is no and someone suggested the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The question is then, was war averted by diplomacy alone in that instance.

The answer is no. It was averted by defensive military action by the physical blocking of Soviet ships. Diplomacy alone did not do it—it required action. That’s the point being made.”

I disagree with your definition of diplomacy.

I include the threat of force in my definition, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis (Oct. 1962) and now in Iraq. For me, diplomacy ends when the fighting starts, not when the threat is deployed.

By my definition, diplomacy ended the Cuban missile crisis, when Kennedy agreed: (1) not to invade Cuba and (2) to remove US missiles from the USSR borders, in Turkey. (Kennedy’s agreement was kept secret at the time in order that the US could claim the USSR backed-down).

The missile crisis started because Kennedy and his brother, in violation of US law [18 U.S.C. § 956(b)], waged a secret war against Cuban property (following the Bay of Pigs), giving Castro good reason to fear an impending invasion which the USSR sought to deter with the missiles.

Kennedy and his brother (Attorney-General) later violated their agreement with the USSR and resumed their secret unlawful war against Cuban property, which you can read all about in original documents in FRUS (Foreign Relations of the United States, on the State Department website). [Eg: Document No.376, Nov.12 1963 (65kb.html) FRUS, 1961-1963, Vol. XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath].

In the same way, diplomacy could end the present Iraq crisis:—inspections backed-up with the threat of force. It was working fine, until Bush abruptly ended it, in defiance of the will of the international community. {No reply}

____________

Source:  http://forums.washingtonpost.com/wpforums/ messages?msg=453.1 (Forum: ‘Confronting Iraq Discussion 3.18.2003’, Mar.18 6:18am–Mar.19 6:18am, 655 messages, The Washington Post Company, Washington DC).

war now?

______________________


The Powell declaration March 22 2003

Oppenhiemer to TABOUT (463.889, Mar-22 3:14 am):

“I conclude with this quote by the Secretary of State, as he’s a tad bit more eloquent than I am:

* * * And they did not want to face up to the reality that it is now time to consider whether or not the diplomatic track has run its course and it’s time to use military force.”

Secretary Colin L. Powell, March 16, 2003.”

Well finally, I understand this issue: S/Res/1441 stated that first, we’ll try inspections and then, we’ll have war, when Colin Powell declares the inspections have reached impasse.

It’s no wonder the US refused to submit the matter to a second vote: It wasn’t required to: Under 1441, Mr Powell’s declaration was sufficient.

I wonder why Mr Bush didn’t simply just quote 1441 in his 48-hours speech, instead of resorting to this lie:

“Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto *any* resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”

George W. Bush (US President), Address to the Nation, US network television, March 17 2003, 8:01pm-8:35pm EST: http:// www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2003/03/print/20030317-7.html {asterisk-emphasis added}

____________

Examples of France’s agreement to war, if inspections reach impasse {asterisk-emphasis added}:

“In unanimously adopting resolution 1441, we collectively expressed our agreement with the two-stage approach proposed by France: the choice of disarmament through inspections and, should this strategy fail, consideration by the Security Council of all the options, *including the recourse to force*. It was clearly in the event the inspections failed and only in that scenario that a second resolution could be justified.”

Dominique de Villepin (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), statement at the UN Security Council, Feb. 14 2003: http://www.un.int/france/documents_anglais/ 030214_cs_france_iraq.htm

“If it is needed, as a last resort, force is necessary.”

Dominique de Villepin (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), interview on Breakfast with Frost, BBC TV, March 2 2003: http://special.diplomatie.gouv.fr/ article_gb76.html

“The inspectors have to tell us: “we can continue and, at the end of a period which we think should be of a few months” — I’m saying a few months because that’s what they have said — “we shall have completed our work and Iraq will be disarmed.

Or they will come and tell the Security Council: “we are sorry but Iraq isn’t cooperating, the progress isn’t sufficient, we aren’t in a position to achieve our goal, we won’t be able to guarantee Iraq’s disarmament”.

In that case it will be for the Security Council and it alone to decide the right thing to do. But in that case, of course, regrettably, the *war would become inevitable*. It isn’t today.”

Jacques Chirac (President of France), interview on TF1 and France2 television, March 10 2003: http://special. diplomatie.gouv.fr/article_gb91.html and http://www. info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2003/chirac_irak 031003.asp and http://www.elysee.fr/ang/actus/iraq/ march10.htm

“At the end of the schedule — that has been the spirit and letter of Resolution 1441 — at the end, if there is no compliance, if we are at deadlock, if the inspectors report to the Security Council that they cannot work any more, then we will have, at the end of the schedule, a meeting of the Security Council, and then we’ll examine all the options, including the use of force. And *we would support the use of force* if it is the last resort.”

Dominique de Villepin (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), interview on NewsNight, BBC TV, March 14 2003: http://special.diplomatie.gouv.fr/ article_gb141.html

Addendum:

“They have to go on with their work, to find these weapons *if there are any* and then destroy them. And the inspectors are telling us: “This is a job we can do”.

So when for one reason or another, it appears that they can’t or can no longer do it, then of course, it will be the time to resort to other methods, *including war*.”

Jacques Chirac (President of France), interview, CBS News 60 Minutes and CNN television, March 16 2003: http://special.diplomatie.gouv.fr/article_gb91.html  Addendum end

EUMEMBER wrote (463.900, Mar-22 4:39 am, in reply to 463.896):

“Thank you for your post which clears up the french position — can I quote you in my future postings?”

Certainly, Charles Judson Harwood Jr:

Oppenhiemer (463.910, Mar-22 5:23 am, in reply to 463.896):

(Quoting Dominique de Villepin):

“If Saddam Hussein doesn’t comply, doesn’t fulfill his obligations, the recourse to force will be triggered.”

Dominique de Villepin right after the passage of 1441.

“We think, [feel, in the light of experience,] that he might use the chemical-biological weapons — and I want to repeat here that we also suspect there’s an embryonic nuclear element [— he may possess]. We can’t run that risk.” {Oppenhiemer omitted the text [in brackets].}

Dominique de Villepin in November.

“Those are all very good links you posted, but they don’t resolve the basic fact that the two quotes above implicitly state.

1. The French Foreign Minister not only knew full well what ‘further material breach’, and ‘serious consequences’ referred to in 1441 meant, but;

2. He knew full well that Iraq possessed WMD.”

I don’t dispute that Mr Villepin believed force was required by S/Res/1441 if Saddam didn’t comply, merely that *whether* Saddam failed to comply was a Council decision (based on the inspectors’ reports), not a unilateral decision by the US. However, for the record, here is the full statement you paraphrased, which Mr Villepin made in an inteview:

The Minister – (...) What counts is the decision Saddam Hussein has to take before the end of the week. One thing is sure: he knows perfectly well what will happen if he doesn’t obey the resolution. (...) If he doesn’t comply, doesn’t fulfill his obligations, the recourse to force will be triggered.”

Dominique de Villepin (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), interview, France Inter radio, Nov. 12 2002 {elipsis (...) in original}: http://www.un.int/france/ documents_anglais/021112_mae_villepin_irak.htm

In that same interview, here’s the full text of the second quote, you paraphrased {asterisk-emphasis added}:

“There’s a particular situation in Iraq, given Saddam Hussein’s attitude over the past few years, which makes us think, feel, in the light of experience, that he *might* use the chemical, biological weapons — and I want to repeat here that we also *suspect* there’s an embryonic nuclear element — he *may* possess. We can’t run that risk.”

It may be that English is not your native language, so allow me to clarify your misunderstanding: The words *might* and *suspect* and *may* indicate uncertainty (“weapons ... he *may* possess”). These words do not mean “He *knew full well* that Iraq possessed WMd (weapons of mass destruction).

Hence, the inspection regime, which the Security Council agreed *unanimously* to pursue to its conclusion — be that a full accounting by Saddam, or an impasse.

The Council members knew that Saddam had WMD in the past, but many or most did not accept the US assertions that he still has them. They agreed, however, that uncertainty was no longer tolerable. And, they also believed that — as an alternative to war — Saddam should be given one last chance to disarm *if* the inspectors proved the US assertions to be true or discovered other WMD during the inspections.

Oppenhiemer: “3. On the issue of president Bush’s statement above [below], being a lie, you can see for yourself that it wasn’t.

France’s public statement that it would ‘veto any resolution calling for the use of force’, directly lead to the ending of diplomacy, and the use of force after all diplomatic options, including a call for Saddam to leave Iraq, were exhausted.”

Indeed so, *if* France had said what you claim. But Bush lied about what France said. And so too the other key players in Bush’s circle — proving that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, as you apparently do. And you’re not the only one. After having practiced his lie on the public for a week, Bush would never have crafted his lie into his solemn 48-hours speech if he hadn’t believed the vast bulk of the US public by then believed his lie:

“Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto *any* resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”

George W. Bush (US President), Address to the Nation, US network television, March 17 2003, 8:01pm-8:35pm EST: http:// www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2003/03/print/20030317-7.html {asterisk-emphasis added}

Jacques Chirac (President of France) was referring — not to what the future may hold, but — merely to the then impending vote on the then pending US/UK resolution (imposing a March 17 deadline), ie: the state of play on the evening Chirac made his statement (March 10).

And, he was referring (below) — not to the “circumstances” of Saddam’s WMD and the inspectors’ activities, but — to the circumstances of the upcoming vote on the day, the topic of the interview immediately preceding the much quoted excerpt from his sentence (he expected a majority of the 15 nations to vote-down the US/UK resolution, meaning that France’s no-vote would not, in that event, constitute a ‘veto’, a technical point he was explaining):

Question – And, *this evening*, this is your position in principle?

The President – My position is that, regardless of the circumstances [of who votes how on the day], France will vote ‘no’ because she considers *this evening* that there are no grounds for waging war in order to achieve the goal we have set ourselves, i.e. to disarm Iraq.”

* * *

The inspectors have to tell us: “we can continue and, at the end of a period which we think should be of a few months” — I’m saying a few months because that’s what they have said — “we shall have completed our work and Iraq will be disarmed.

Or they will come and tell the Security Council: “we are sorry but Iraq isn’t cooperating, the progress isn’t sufficient, we aren’t in a position to achieve our goal, we won’t be able to guarantee Iraq’s disarmament”.

In that case it will be for the Security Council and it alone to decide the right thing to do. But in that case, of course, regrettably, the *war would become inevitable*. It isn’t today.”

Jacques Chirac (President of France), interview on TF1 and France2 television, March 10 2003 {asterisk-emphasis and text [in braces] added}: http://special.diplomatie. gouv.fr/article_gb91.html and http://www.info-france-usa.org/ news/statmnts/2003/ chirac_irak031003.asp and http://www.elysee.fr/ ang/actus/iraq/march10.htm

This and the other links I gave prove the untruth of Bush’s statement. And, the fact that Bush’s speech was solemn — drafted, redrafted, advised on by other officials, practiced, honed, written, and read on nationwide TV, on a solemn occasion, in solemn surroundings, concerning matters of life and death, delivering an ultimatum for war — means Bush’s untruth was “knowing and willful” (ie: a “lie”) [eg: not an inadvertent slip of the tongue]. Of course, merely a prima facie lie, as we haven’t heard any defense he might advance [eg: that Bush was insane or his officials lied to him].

Oppenhiemer: “Do you choose to ignore the facts that are before your eyes, as some seem so content to do, even now?”

To answer your question, what I see before my eyes is a lie by G.W.Bush. And not just any old lie of everyday discourse, but a solemn lie, a material lie, this kind of lie:

Sec. 1001. Statements or entries generally

(a) ... whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive ... branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully –

(1)  falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2)  makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; ...

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

18 U.S.C. § 1001(a).

And, a lie with foreseeable, deadly consequences.

And so now, I put your question to you:

“Do you choose to ignore the facts that are before your eyes, as some seem so content to do, even now?”

Oppenhiemer: (463.1178, Mar-22 3:42 pm, in reply to 463.1081):

HWOODCJ: “It may be that English is not your native language, so allow me to clarify your misunderstanding: The words *might* and *suspect* and *may* indicate uncertainty (“weapons ... he *may* possess”). These words do not mean “He *knew full well* that Iraq possessed WMd (weapons of mass destruction).”

Oppenhiemer: “He new full well, because France has greatly contributed to his possession of them. That’s a fact, and I was not relying on that quote alone to come to my conclusion.”

Ah..., ipse dixit:  It’s a fact because you say it’s a fact [“He new full well”]. This, I take to be your final surrender.

But let me come to your assistance, because I know that facts can be very shocking, especially the fact that the US President launched a violent war, killing thousands of innocent Iraqi soldiers, on the basis of his lie — the lynch-pin of the war being that the UN inspection process was futile because (and get ready now, because here comes Bush’s lie) France had announced it would veto any war no matter what the circumstances, what the inspectors discovered, and even if Saddam was unwilling to destroy what the inspectors discovered and to account for past WMD and their components.

The facts which I patiently provided to you — documenting Bush’s lie — may have disoriented you and this may be the reason you are unable to face these facts: 463.1081 (above)

I hope I can assist you gently to emerge from your cocoon of willful blindness, by confronting you with the import of your ipse dixit:

France *knows* Saddam has WMD (as you claim), despite their repeated assertions to the contrary. This means France concealed and withheld from the UN inspectors information which might have assisted them in discovering the supposed WMD. And this means France desired that Iraq should continue to have these WMD, despite numerous assertions to the contrary, and despite the fact that it was France, itself, which proposed S/Res/1441 in the first place, in order to bring an end to the continued uncertainty by means of a *mandatory*, intrusive inspection process, backed-up with the threat of war. This solution was France’s initiative.

Can you now appreciate the unreality your assertion about what France knows? But what France may or may not know — according to your suppositions, supposings, speculations, imaginings, and wishes (in the teeth of the evidence) — has no bearing on the facts which I documented for you, that our President is a violent liar.

HWOODCJ: “The Council members knew that Saddam had WMD in the past, but many or most did not accept the US assertions that he still has them. They agreed, however, that uncertainty was no longer tolerable. And, they also believed that — as an alternative to war — Saddam should be given one last chance to disarm *if* the inspectors proved the US assertions to be true or discovered other WMD during the inspections.”

Oppenhiemer: “He was given one last chance to fully declare his possession of WMD, which he failed to do in the 12,000+ page declaration. It was not the role of inspectors to “prove” anything, but to facilitate and verify Saddam’s cooperation with 1441. Without that cooperation, no amount of time would have been sufficient to disarm Saddam. 1441 was a verdict of “guilty” supported by all.”

Another ipse dixit, and another surrender: “no amount of time would have been sufficient to disarm Saddam”.

S/Res/1441 provided the method by which this opinion was to be formed, and who was to form it, as a predicate for war. And your name does not appear in that resolution as the dictator of that opinion, nor that of Colin Powell, nor George W. Bush. The resolution created investigators to assist the Council in forming their opinion and these investigators were reporting on-going progress at the time Bush violated his agreement to obey the resolution, defied the will of the international community, and initiated war on the basis of a lie.

HWOODCJ (referring to an explanation by Jacques Chirac): “France’s no-vote would not, in that event, constitute a ‘veto’, a technical point he was explaining).”

Oppenhiemer: “That was a pre-emptive veto any way you care to parse it out, designed to influence other members of the council, much in the way he had told the Eastern Europeans that they would be better to remain quiet, in their support of the US/UK position.”

Indeed so. France made plain their opinion and their intention to veto the US/UK resolution calling for war on a March 17 deadline. This, they were entitled to do by S/Res/1441 because, unlike you, they were numbered among those with the authority to form a binding opinion and the responsibility to exercise their authority wisely on the basis of facts, justice, and principles. In my opinion, no rational impartial informed adult could reasonably authorize war as the US/UK officials demanded in the teeth of the progress reported by their inspectors and the cooperation Saddam was then providing to them.

And if you disagree with my assessment, it matters not, because France’s decision was not unreasonable unless *no* rational impartial informed adult could reasonably form the opinion France asserted. And you only have to switch-on your TV set and radio, and read any newspaper or posting in any forum, to see that hundreds of millions of people around the world agree with France. And so too the large majority of the 190 member nations of the UN. And, of particular note, a majority of those 15 nations entrusted with the authority and responsibility to decide this question.

But don’t forget Bush’s lie: France was by no means prepared to veto war against Iraq down the road, if the inspectors reached an impasse. On the contrary, France promised to vote for war in that event (as did the other members of the Security Council), unless some other event later developed — not in anybody’s present contemplation — which meant war was not necessary, perhaps Saddam’s exile, for example.

HWOODCJ (quoting Jacques Chirac, President of France): “Or they will come and tell the Security Council: “we are sorry but Iraq isn’t cooperating, the progress isn’t sufficient, we aren’t in a position to achieve our goal, we won’t be able to guarantee Iraq’s disarmament”.”

Oppenhiemer: “Not one of the sec. council members would say that Iraq was cooperating “fully and unconditionally”. Hans Blix’s reports and statements declared non-cooperation was indeed the case, and is on record.”

Ah..., a rational argument. The purpose of S/Res/1441 was to avoid war, if Saddam could be disarmed peaceably. It was the desire of the US (and the UK, eventually) to use S/Res/1441 as a pretext for war (in my opinion); hence, the emphasis by US officials on your argument.

But the other members of the Security Council (or most of them) desired to obey the resolution they had adopted. And so, when they encountered dis-cooperation by Saddam, they huffed and puffed, the forces built-up on Saddam’s borders, and Saddam caved-in and cooperated more and more:— The U2 flights, the lists of WMD workers, the interrogation details, the destruction of missiles. Indeed, in the two weeks prior to Bush’s ultimatum, Saddam supplied accountings for the chemical/bio weapons of previous years and the inspectors were busy unearthing the destroyed munitions and auditing the accountings. A promising development.

And so now we are confronted with issues of wisdom, principles, objectives, and justice. And these are elements of the deliberations which the Security Council reserved unto itself in forming an opinion, whether Saddam could be disarmed without resort to war — the purpose of the resolution.

Certainly, cooperation by Saddam is one factor to be considered. But it’s not the only factor. And it’s certainly not the sole determining factor, as your argument implies. His evolving cooperation is *also* a factor, and so too the tangible results of his evolving cooperation. The principle of the resolution is to wage war *only* if Saddam is not disarmed of WMD. It is not the principle of the resolution to wage war for any other reason — because you don’t like it, for example, when Saddam huffs and puffs. [Ie: It may be possible to disarm Saddam with less than 100% cooperation from him, or his cooperation might grow to 100% over time, as he got used to the reality of his impending doom and accepted the inevitable].

Jacques Chirac kept focus on the objective of S/Res/1441 this way:

Question – Once Saddam Hussein can no longer be trusted, isn’t the quest to disarm through inspections a never-ending one? That’s what the United States is saying.

The President – Firstly, I don’t believe that. I think that the inspectors, who are skilled experts in whom we can have total confidence, consider today that if they are given the necessary time and resources — that’s what Mr Blix said at the last Security Council meeting, he said that he considers today, if Iraq steps up her cooperation, which is, of course, never sufficient but which has improved, the set *objective* could be achieved, i.e. the elimination of the weapons of mass destruction.

Question – But isn’t 100% cooperation a sine qua non?

The President – Certainly.

Question – Yet today it isn’t 100%. (...) The inspectors are saying this.

The President – No, the inspectors say that cooperation has improved and that they are today in a position to pursue their work. And *this* is what is of paramount importance. It’s not for you or me to say whether the inspections are effective, whether Iraq is sufficiently cooperative. In fact, she isn’t, I can tell you that straightaway.

Question – Not sufficiently.

The President – Not sufficiently. But it isn’t for you or for me to decide that, that’s for the inspectors to whom the UN has entrusted the responsibility of disarming Iraq to say. The inspectors have to tell us: “we can continue and, at the end of a period which we think should be of a few months” — I’m saying a few months because that’s what they have said — “we shall have completed our work and Iraq will be disarmed.

Or they will come and tell the Security Council: “we are sorry but Iraq isn’t cooperating, the progress isn’t sufficient, we aren’t in a position to achieve *our goal*, we won’t be able to guarantee Iraq’s disarmament”.

In that case it will be for the Security Council and it alone to decide the right thing to do. But in that case, of course, regrettably, the *war would become inevitable*. It isn’t today.”

Jacques Chirac (President of France), interview on TF1 and France2 television, March 10 2003 {asterisk-emphasis added, ellipsis (...) in the original}: http://special. diplomatie.gouv.fr/article_gb91.html and http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2003/chirac_irak 031003.asp and http://www.elysee.fr/ang/actus/iraq/march10.htm

HWOODCJ (quoting Jacques Chirac, President of France): “In that case it will be for the Security Council and it alone to decide the right thing to do.”

Oppenhiemer: “UN 678 and 687 have already provided all the authorization needed to act in accordance with international law, 1441 reiterated those resolutions. Had France helped apply pressure, instead of dividing the council so publicly, perhaps Saddam would have fully cooperated, but that’s a moot point now.”

Ah..., another rational argument. S/Res/1441 seized control of this issue (disarming Saddam of WMD) and provided a new and final method for dispelling all remaining uncertainty whether Saddam had any remaining WMD, and for destroying any found. And, it promised war, if this objective could not be achieved.

It’s plain, therefore, that S/Res/1441 superseded all prior resolutions, in so far as any might purport to authorize war with the war-aim of disarming Saddam. The United States, by agreeing to the resolution, surrendered any right it might think it had to wage war otherwise than in strict compliance with what the Security Council later decided. It’s as simple as that.

And by so stating I don’t exclude that the US could wage war later, if the Security Council unreasonably refused to authorize war (eg: if *no* reasonable rational informed impartial adult could reasonably deny that Saddam had WMD which he refused to destroy, or refused to cooperate with the inspectors to the point of impasse).

Oppenhiemer: “Bush didn’t lie, people have different viewpoints, just like you and me.”

Bush’s lie is not a topic of any realistic difference of opinion or viewpoint. It’s a simple fact – with the two caveats I mention below. George W. Bush asserted this to be a fact (March 17):

“Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto *any* resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”

George W. Bush (US President), Address to the Nation, US network television, March 17 2003, 8:01pm-8:35pm EST: http:// www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/print/20030317-7.html {asterisk-emphasis added}.

This entire corrupt war is founded, premised, and justified entirely and solely on this one corrupt lie: That war had become the last resort [because France said it would veto *any* future resolution for war].

It’s beyond the possibility of dispute that what G.W.Bush said is untrue, as my patient documentation demonstrates. But, in testing whether this untruth is a “lie”, there are indeed two open questions:

1.  It may be that G.W.Bush, and the dozen or so US officials assisting him, were ‘non compos mentis’ during the week of March 10-17. If they were indeed seized by a week-long group psychotic episode, G.W.Bush’s untruth was not a “lie”, because he did not have the mental capacity of an adult, to act “knowingly and willfully” (one element of a “lie”). Ditto, his many assistants who helped him craft his lie.

Am I rash to suppose that most Americans believe that G.W.Bush was not clinically insane on the evening of March 17, when he delivered his 48-hours ultimatum speech? To these Americans (who believe Bush was not insane) Bush’s untrue statement was a “lie” — with one further caveat:

2.  Did G.W.Bush believe what he said was true? Ie: did the US officials surrounding Bush lie to him and trick him into voicing *their* lie? Was Bush an “innocent agent” of the real liars?:— Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, John Negroponte, and such.

Am I rash to suppose that most Americans would not believe this scenario? Not least because the postulated cabal of Presidential deceivers was so large? To these Americans (who would not believe this ridiculous hypothesis), Bush’s statement was a “lie”. But let’s pursue this fantasy further, and see where it takes us:

In preparing his speech, G.W.Bush was preparing to unleash a giant violent killing machine, guaranteed to kill and maim thousands of innocent patriotic valiant Iraqi soldiers on purpose, and many innocent civilians as well, as the incidental victims of war. Not to mention property damage.

Is it the duty of a commander-in-chief to *verify* the factual predicates of such an impending decision? To ensure that war is now the last resort? Or, is s/he justified in delegating the investigation of such essential facts to subordinates and assistants [the postulated cabal of Presidential deceivers]?

Am I rash to suppose that most Americans would believe that G.W.Bush had a duty to ensure that what he asserted to be *the core essential fact* was indeed a fact? In such a solemn speech, unleashing a death-storm on thousands of innocent people? To these Americans (who would believe Bush had such a duty), Bush’s untrue statement was a “reckless lie”, ie: even though he believed it was true [in this fantasy], he was reckless in failing in his duty to ensure it was true.

I don’t believe the two theoretical caveats warrant any credit in public discourse. [Ie: They can be disregarded as unbelievable, in evaluating whether Bush’s untrue statement was a knowing and willful “lie”. As can a third caveat — a slip of the tongue — because it was a carefully prepared written speech with review and input from others, posted on the White House webpage, repeating what Bush had said during the week of March 10-17 (practicing his lie on the public, which the media neglected to challenge); and so too other spokeswo/men in his circle during that week practicing the same lie on the public.]

Hence, I believe we do not have a difference of opinion or viewpoint between us. I believe we have a case of one person who accepts the facts as they are and another person, wishing the facts were different, who (quoting your previous post, 463.910) “chooses to ignore the facts that are before your eyes, as some seem so content to do, even now”.

ANSIONNACH (465.1039, Mar-24 1:37 pm, in reply to 465.33):

“Great post. Expertly covered the “facts” and (some of) Bush’s lies — to the World on his war against Iraq, outside of a 2nd resolution and UNSC backing.

* * *

Once again — brilliantly written. A thorough knowledge of the subject and I expect Law also.”

Thank you, Charles Judson Harwood Jr:

Oppenhiemer, referring to what France ‘knows’ (465.1161, Mar-25 2:32 am, in reply to 465.33):

“We can see in the above only an uncertainty of his possesion of nuclear weapons, not of chem or bio. As well, his certainty of the meaning of “serious consequences”, if Saddam would not fully comply with 1441. I stand by my words, being unperturbed by your efforts to discredit my previous statements.”

First, the big picture:

If France *knew* that Saddam had WMD (as you claim), does this excuse Bush’s lie (that France said it “will veto *any* resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq”)?

Plainly not, because the purpose of S/Res/1441 was to disarm Saddam of that WMD peaceably, without resort to war, if such was possible. And that was in progress when Bush abruptly violated his agreement to proceed with that process, defied the will of the international community, and initiated war on the basis of his lie about what France said.

And so the topic you raised (about what France *knows*) has no bearing on the issue I raised (which you replied to), namely: that Bush’s lie is the sole justification for this war. A “lie” because France said nothing of the sort and promised to vote for war down the road if inspections reached an impasse due to Saddam’s obstructions. War at this point was not the “last resort” which Bush claimed when he lied to the public that it was the last resort because France said it would veto *any* war resolution.

And so it doesn’t matter what France *knows*. But as you are pressing the point, here’s my response:

In your original post, you *omitted* part of what de Villepin said (the crucial part) and you did not cite what he said; I had to hunt for it.

You may have an innocent explanation for concealing what he said from you readers (perhaps you inadvertently deleted it) and so I didn’t make an issue of it in my reply. I simply quoted what you said he said, and then I followed that with what he *actually* said, having found it on the internet, and I cited it with a link.

What you said he said supports your opinion (that France *knows* Saddam has chem/bio weapons and the only uncertainty is whether he will use them, or pass them to terrorists). Here’s what you said de Villepin said (the Foreign Minister of France):

“We think, that he might use the chemical-biological weapons, and I want to repeat here that we also suspect there’s an embryonic nuclear element. We can’t run that risk.” –Dominique de Villepin in November

As quoted by Oppenhiemer (463.910):

And here’s what de Villepin actually said in that radio interview (including the punctuation in the original):

“There’s a particular situation in Iraq, given Saddam Hussein’s attitude over the past few years, which makes us think, feel, in the light of experience, that he might use the chemical, biological weapons — and I want to repeat here that we also suspect there’s an embryonic nuclear element — he *may* possess. We can’t run that risk.”

As quoted by HWOODCJ in reply, with a link to the full text (463.1081) {asterisk-emphasis added}.

Removing his interjection about nuclear weapons, offset in the original by dashes (—), leaves you with what he said about chem/bio weapons (“weapons...he *may* possess”). In my opinion, this indicates “uncertainty”.

Addendum:

Christiane Amanpour – Do you believe that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction; for instance, chemical or biological weapons?

The President – *I don’t know*. I have no proof of that. What we can say today is that if we believe Mr ElBaradei and his team of experts, there are no longer any weapons, there are no nuclear weapons or programmes capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons. That is something that the inspectors seem to be sure of.

As for chemical, biological weapons of mass destruction, *I don’t know* at all, we have no proof, but that is precisely what the inspector’s task is. They have to go on with their work, to find these weapons *if there are any* and then destroy them. And the inspectors are telling us: “this is a job we can do”.

So when for one reason or another, it appears that they can’t or can no longer do it, then of course, it will be the time to resort to other methods, *including war*.

But this isn’t the case. So I think that going into battle, rushing into war today is totally disproportionate and inadequate given the goal we have set, which is to disarm Iraq. That’s a point on which everybody of course agrees.”

Jacques Chirac (President of France), interview, CBS News 60 Minutes and CNN television, March 16 2003: http://special.diplomatie. gouv.fr/article_gb91.html {asterisk-emphasis added}  Addendum end

France, and the rest of the Security Council, were persuaded by the United States, to go to war against Saddam notwithstanding this uncertainty, on the basis of speculation that Saddam had WMD, because (I presume) they decided it was *probably* true. But they had no evidence to support their inference (that it was probably true), because the United States made its unequivocal assertions from the stronghold of all government liars:— secret intelligence.

And so they agreed to do what the United States wanted to do (go to war), but *only* if Saddam could not be disarmed peaceably (the “one last chance” to cooperate with the inspectors). They wanted evidence, not assertions. And, they did not agree to war just because Saddam was a liar; they wanted simply to destroy what they found, even though he may have lied about it. But, they agreed with the US to wage war if Saddam would not destroy what they found and also if they were unable to dispel their uncertainty due to Saddam not cooperating sufficiently with the inspectors.

I note with interest, in passing, France’s position that no nation can lawfully possess chemical or biological weapons, as de Villepin stated in that interview.

Oppenhiemer: “You have gone to great lengths to rebut my statements, to the point that your post {465.33} was truncated, and even when I hit the “view entire message” button, the post was not readable through its entire length.”

The second part of your post, reaffirming your original assertion that Bush’s lie was not a lie, I dealt with in my lengthy post (465.33) which you were unable to read, because it was truncated. And so I will repost the relevant truncated portion soon after posting this. And, as three sections of my reply are contained in that truncation, I’ll repost each section separately (4 new reposts following this).

{The 4 reposts, quoted above, are here}:

469.1024 (above), 469.1029 (above), 469.1047 (above), 469.1050 (above)

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Source:  http://forums.washingtonpost.com/wpforums/ messages?msg=463.1 (Forum: ‘Confronting Iraq Discussion 3.21 [2003]’, Mar.21 6:55 am–Mar.24 5:53 am, 1820 messages) and http://forums.washingtonpost.com/ wpforums/messages? msg=465.1 (Forum: ‘Confronting Iraq Discussion 3.24.2003’, Mar.24 6:44 am–Mar.25 6:24 am, 1196 messages) (The Washington Post Company, Washington DC).

Powell declaration

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The Emperor’s butler: Tony Blair’s lie
April 20 2003

Blair’s prepared statement (March 18 2003):

“Last Friday, France said they could not accept *any* ultimatum. On Monday, we made final efforts to secure agreement. But they remain utterly opposed to *anything* which lays down an ultimatum authorising action in the event of non-compliance by Saddam.

Just consider the position we are asked to adopt. Those on the Security Council opposed to us say they want Saddam to disarm but will not countenance *any* new Resolution that authorises force in the event of non-compliance.

*That is their position*. No to *any* ultimatum; no to *any* Resolution that stipulates that failure to comply will lead to military action.”

Blair’s delivered statement (March 18 2003, 12:35-1:23 p.m.):

{Column 764} “The Prime Minister:  Last Friday, France said that it could not accept *any* resolution with an ultimatum in it. On Monday, we made final efforts to secure agreement. However, the fact is that France remains utterly opposed to *anything* that lays down an ultimatum authorising action in the event of non-compliance by Saddam.

Hugh Bayley (City of York):  Will my right hon. Friend give way?

The Prime Minister:  Very well.

Hugh Bayley:  I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I took the view that Britain should not engage in military action without a second resolution, but the decision of some members of the Security Council to back away from the commitment that they gave in November to enforce resolution 1441 has made me change my mind. Does my right hon. Friend agree that France’s decision to use the veto against *any* further Security Council resolution has, in effect, disarmed the UN instead of disarming Iraq?

The Prime Minister:  Of course I agree with my hon. Friend. The House should just consider the position that we were asked to adopt. Those on the Security Council opposed to us say that they want Saddam to disarm, but they will not countenance *any* new resolution that authorises force in the event of non-compliance. *That is their position* — no to *any* ultimatum and no to *any* resolution that stipulates that failure to comply will lead to military action. So we must demand that Saddam disarms, but relinquish *any* concept of a threat if he does not.”

{Column 765} “The Prime Minister:  The choice was not action now or postponement of action; the choice was action or no action at all.”

{Column 767} “The Prime Minister:  The French position is that France will vote no, whatever the circumstances. Those are not my words, but those of the French President.”

Tony Blair (UK Prime Minister), prepared statement: http:// www.pm.gov.uk/output/page3295.asp; delivered statement: House of Commons, debate on Iraq, Hansard, Tuesday March 18 2003, Columns 760-911 (12:35-10:29 p.m.), at Columns 764-774 (12:35-1:23 p.m.) {asterisk-emphasis and highlighting added}.

Tony Blair’s lie


It’s generally agreed (among MPs and political journalists) to be a common practice in the UK House of Commons for the Government of the day to script interventions by “backbenchers”, such as Hugh Bayley (a Member of Parliament who does not also hold an executive office in the Government).

What Mr Bayley said was leadership for the very many Members of Parliament who shared the opinion he expressed about offensive war without the backing of the United Nation’s Security Council. France’s supposed decision never to vote for war under any circumstances (Tony Blair’s lie) changed his mind, Bayley said: We might as well launch the war now.

If what Mr Bayley said was scripted for him to say, then he too was part of the conspiracy to lie to the House of Commons, though possibly an innocent conspirator. If he believed Tony Blair’s lie, he had plenty of company, as the British press and media had created a climate of hatred against France (a traditional hobby of English elites). Not one news-editor or political-editor of any newspaper, radio, or television in Britain (as far as I perceived) challenged during the previous week politicians making this erroneous claim about what France said.

If Mr Bayley was delivering a scripted performance, then what he said documents the opinion of the conspirators that — without this lie — the revolt in the House of Commons among the governing party’s own backbenchers would be even larger than it eventually was (the largest in the history of Parliament). Though Tony Blair was likely confident of winning the vote for war-now (he was officially backed by the opposition conservative Tory party), his future as leader of his own party (Labour) was threatened if a majority of his own party’s 410 MPs revolted. Blair’s control over about 140 of his own frontbenchers (the ‘payroll vote’) is suggested by the roughly doubled-salary they enjoy as executive officers of the Government (appointed by Blair and serving at his pleasure), which they would forfeit if they revolted, and by their hopes for political advancement to higher office during his tenure as Prime Minister.

The vote in favor of the amendment against war-now (“the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established) was 217 to 396 (March 18 2003, 10:00-10:15 p.m.). 139 Labour party members voted against Tony Blair. A further 24 Labour MPs abstained.

If Mr Bayley’s intervention was unscripted, and an honest account of the evolution of his honest opinion, then what he said demonstrates the power of Blair’s lie, and validates the opinion of the conspirators and their decision to lie.

The press and the media (both US and UK) are complicit in the Bush/Blair lie, for failing to confront it and for backing the war-now campaign, in so far as they cited this lie as justification. (One or two British newspapers opposed war-now at the time). Hence, the whole of the British Establishment of elites (including the press and the media), are now resolved (so far) to bury this lie in the detritus of history and thereby conceal their own complicity, negligence, failings, shortcomings and wrongdoings.

Channel-4 Television, for example, has already broadcast two resumes of how war came to be. In both, they broadcast a brief excerpt of Jacques Chirac’s March 10 French TV interview and refabricated the lie with Channel-4’s own lie: A subtitle omitting part of what Chirac said (in French) during that brief excerpt (his “this evening” phrase, ie: he wasn’t predicting the future). And by omitting what he said later in that same interview (that he would vote for war later, if inspections reached impasse); by omitting an explanation of his phrase “regardless of the circumstances”, referring merely to his decision to veto — not to inspections in Iraq, but to the votes on the day in the Security Council, on the impending March 17 deadline vote — if a majority voted ‘no’ then France’s ‘no’ would not constitute ‘veto’, Chirac had just finished explaining); and by omitting what he said in his subsequent CBS/CNN interview (March 16), promising yet again to vote for war if inspections reached impasse.

  William Shawcross, J’Accuse Jacques. “Writer and broadcaster William Shawcross criticizes the French position on Iraq.” (Channel-4 TV, Sunday, April 6 2003, 7:30pm-8:20pm).

  David Alter (director), Elizabeth Clough (producer), Blair’s Gamble. “Documentary charting Tony Blair‘s role in the build-up to war in Iraq, examining his attempt to convince George Bush to commit to a multilateral approach to the situation, a gamble that eventually unravelled. Featuring interviews with politicians and diplomats, including former Ambassador to the USA Christopher Meyer, UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, MP Peter Mandelson, Leader of the House of Commons John Reid, and former Culture Secretary Chris Smith.” (Channel-4 TV, Saturday, April 19 2003, 7:55pm-9:00pm). http://www.channel4.com/culture/ microsites/T/thinktv/comments/ april03_blairsgamble_comments.html (program description).

There’s no transcript of either broadcast on the internet. Program descriptions: Radio Times, April 5-11, April 19-25 2003 (BBC), http://www.radiotimes.com

Under UK law it’s not a crime for a Government Minister to lie to Parliament, even when delivering a prepared written statement asserting factual information in his or her capacity as an executive officer of the Government (as in this case).

What if  Blair had been honest? How would the vote have gone if Blair had said this, instead of lying about what France said?:

The Prime Minister:  France, Germany, Russia and the rest have all agreed to vote with us for war if inspections reach impasse.

But, they believe that point has not yet arrived. They cite the two accountings Saddam supplied in the past two weeks for his chemical and biological weapons programs; subsequent excavations of destroyed weapons, with samples sent to UN laboratories; a new list of 135 WMD workers to be interviewed; destruction of expensive missiles; U2 flights; unhindered access to all sites the inspectors wish to visit; confirmation by Mohamed ElBaradei that no nuclear weapons program exists; and such.

And, they cite the statements by Hans Blix that his team believes (so far) they can accomplish their mission of verifying the destruction of all of Saddam’s WMD within a “few months”.

They say Saddam’s cooperation has dramatically improved, and if this turns out to be a scam and a hoax, then it will be plain for all the world to see. The Arab leaders and the 113 non-aligned nations have all agreed in that event to support the war. And that means no Arab multitudes on the street shouting hatred at Western countries. Instead, they will join with us, providing an Arabic speaking blue-baret police force to follow our forces into Baghdad, to maintain order as we remove the regime.

But we don’t want to wait a few months. The temperature is climbing in the dessert; our soldiers are getting bored; we have to fly them T-bone steaks; and this is getting expensive.

If we vote for war-now, then after the war we can send in 1,000 or 5,000 or 10,000 more inspectors, and they can work for many months, at their leisure, looking for the WMD. And, crucially, the former workers will not feel frightened to tell us the truth. We don’t need Arab support for the war; they will all be glad to see the back of Saddam and grateful to us for launching the war without their consent and thereby relieving them of the responsibility to back it.

We say that further inspections are futile; the inspectors would eventually agree; war has now become the last resort, the only way to achieve disarmament; and any further delay is pointless.”

Now, on this honest statement of disarmament (the war-aim claimed by Bush, Blair, and S/Res/1441), and the state of play on March 18 2003, what would the vote be on the amendment, that “the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established?

Of course, this too is not a completely honest statement. That would require a few more paragraphs:

The Prime Minister (continuing): Finally, we fear if we permit inspections to continue, Mr Blix will confirm that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction, that he has fully disarmed from WMD. In that event, we would be denied the opportunity to remove his regime on the pretext of the existing UN resolutions.

To engage the Security Council on the issue of regime-change would require another year of deliberations, because the legal principle of regime-change by offensive war has never before been established, and we would have to sell it to world opinion. We believe we could do that, on the conflicts-of-law theory that a regime guilty of international crimes is not deserving of the normal immunity from regime-change by war.

But we don’t want to wait another year, which would crowd the US elections, and we don’t want the bother of developing an international plan for post-war government (a draft constitution for Iraq: a secular federal government, protection of women and minorities, non-discrimination, a bill of human rights beyond the reach of government, independent election commission, etc.).

We’d rather just let the Americans screw it up, impose their inevitable puppet-dictatorship, and profit with them as fellow conspirators in the spoils of war under the protection of their iron fist.”

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Damages:

ICRC flag Laws-of-war: http://www. icrc.org/ eng/ihl

Hague-4: Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land {copy} (The Hague, Oct. 18 1907, Jan. 26 1910), U.S. ratified, Nov. 27 1909, 36 Stat. 2277, status (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, depositary, 1907 Hague Peace Conventions):

Art 3.  A belligerent party which violates the provisions of the said Regulations shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation. It shall be responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces.”

Source: http://www.icrc.org/eng/ihl (International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, full-text database of international humanitarian law), added: text {in braces}, highlighting. Also at (University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, Minneapolis Minnesota), and (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford Massachusetts).

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Iraq attack: How to supplement the US budget (pre-war)

Ultimatum: The Bush/Blair lie: France’s veto (March 12-20 2003)

WarTalk-1 (March 20 – April 13 2003: Combat)

WarTalk-2 (April 15-18 2003: Occupation)

The pretexts for war: WMD + France’s veto

National Intelligence Estimate (Oct. 1 2002) (excerpts released July 18 2003) (this page)

Henry Waxman’s letter to Condoleezza Rice (July 29 2003)

David Kay transcript: Annotated, linked, and challenged (Jan. 28 2004, Senate Armed Services Committee)

“Hutton Report: Exemplifying Zealotry”

 


© 2003 Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

This document may be freely copied.

CJHjr

Posted March 12 2003. Updated April 6 2008.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/iraq-2003a.html

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