Legal view of war in Iraq, 2003


The first thing I want to make clear here is that this is not an anti-American rant. There has been a lot of good to come out of that country and without Evanescence, I’d be a lesser person. Seriously though, without the American military, I would not be writing this website right now. I am frequently accused of lumping all Americans together but anyone who knows anything about American society will know that it is a diverse country with an infinite viewpoint and to do so is a falsification. I also want to say that I am not that happy with what my country is up to either in the international relations arena. I am on the side of the victims, the innocent and the defenceless. I do not support specific countries – just their good actions.

Written in early 2003….

Troops had been deployed in Kuwait waiting for the start of the assault and this suggested that America wanted a war regardless of any UN Resolution. The official reasons for the war in Iraq is to remove the repressive government of Saddam Hussein and remove his government’s weapons of mass destruction.
According to Mohammed Aldouri, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, Iraq has cooperated with the weapons inspectors and demonstrated that it did not have weapons of mass destruction. Aldouri said to the Security Council that,
“An empty hand has nothing to give. You cannot give what you don’t have. If we do not possess such weapons, how can we disarm ourselves of such weapons? Indeed, how can they be disarmed when they don’t exist?”
“Despite over 300 unfettered UN inspections to date, there has been no evidence reported of a reconstituted Iraqi WMD program and despite Bush’s rhetoric, the CIA has not found any links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida”. Because of this, it makes the war on Iraq is illegal under international law. Is illegal because the US engaged in an unprovoked invasion of another sovereign state with the express purpose of a “regime change.” America has done this before to other governments and leaders covertly, but this time it is being made public of this intention.
This war has broken many articles of the UN Charter. The article 2 (3-4) of the UN Charter state that “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. [and] refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The US has violated this by using force to settle their disputes with Iraq and they have ignored the UN Security Council for a peaceful solution to this issue.
Articles 39 – 50 of the UN Charter have also been broken. In these articles, its states that no member state is allowed to use military force against another country without the UN Security Council resolving whether particular criteria has been met. For this to be met, there needs proof of a breach of the resolution. For war to take place, all non-military and non-violent directions must be followed and fully exhausted. If the required conditions for military action have been confirmed to, only the UN Security Council can approve a war. In the case of Iraq, there was no approval from the UN Security Council. The US did not do seek authorisation as they knew a resolution would not pass.
There has also been a violation of article 51 of the UN Charter. This article allows a nation to use military force to defend itself only in cases of an ongoing or imminent attack. The military attack is to last a short while until the Security Council can find a way of responding peacefully. This article is not supposed to be used to justify war but rather to prevent wars happening when conflicts escalate. The coalition forces invaded Iraq and justified it by referring to it a pre-emptive defence strike. This idea is not a recognised legal term and the US has been unable to demonstrate that Iraq does cause an impending threat. However, the US has claimed that Iraq had WMDs and they were to be used against America. America failed to show any evidence to these claims at the current time. The UN weapons inspectors have also failed to find any evidence to support this. America tried to link Iraq with terrorist groups by say that they provide these organisations with these weapons, but again, the US have failed to provide such evidence. The Security Council must explicitly authorise the use of force unless it is in immediate self-defence. The US is not under attack from Iraq, so it cannot claim self-defence under the UN Charter. There is no direct threat to either the UK or the US from Iraq and especially since there has not been any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. This is a war that can be called “a war of aggression”, as defined in the Nazi war crimes trials at Nuremberg. Even the CIA has confirmed that there is:
“no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the US in nearly a decade … Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al-Qaida or related terrorist groups.” [New York Times, 2-2-02]

As well as the UN Charter, the US broke the Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928. In article 51, which the US ratified in 1929, it requires all disputes to be settled peacefully and also disallows war as an instrument of foreign policy. The secretary of state, Henry L. Stimson, in 1932 stated,
“War between nations was renounced by the signatories (including the US and Britain) of that Treaty. This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world … an illegal thing. Hereafter when nations engage in armed conflict… we denounce them as law breakers.” [Cited – 13/11/2001 –]
This pact has been violated as the US is using force to settle its dispute with Iraq and is ignoring the UN Security Council to tackle this peacefully. The United States and the coalition forces have maintained that their invasion is allowed because of Iraq’s failure to comply with resolution 687. Resolution 687 declared a ceasefire at the end of the Gulf War on the condition that Iraq followed the terms of the resolution. If Iraq failed to follow it, then use of force could be reused. Although if Iraq has failed to follow the resolution, force could be used, it is only for the Security Council to authorise this. It is not the place for one member or the Council to decide to go to war. The UN Security Council Resolution 1154 asserts that if Iraq refuses to follow the resolution of 687, it will result in the “severest consequence” but said it is for the UN to authorise this.
The US has tried to justify the war by referring to the UN Security Council Resolution 1441.The resolution states “that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council” which will “convene immediately … in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security.” However, it is the UN Security Council’s responsibility to authorise action against Iraq and not the coalition forces. [Illegal war documentation – 22/04/2002 –]

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