June 5, 2013

The World 2

George W Bush

Colin Powell (1937):
[The sanctions against Iraq exist] for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. …
[They] have worked.
He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.
(Cairo, February 2001)

George W Bush (1946):
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
(48 hour ultimatum speech, 17 March 2003)

Kevin Power [Iraq War Veteran]:
The thing that is … most troubling to me [is that, the invasion of Iraq] doesn't seem to have been necessary. …
If I had to go through all that.
The people I was with, had to experience, what they experienced.
All the lives that were lost.
All the damage that was done
  • to the country [and]
  • to the local people
I wish that it had been necessary.
And I just can't find a way to accept the fact that it was.
I just don't think it was necessary.
It doesn't seem like we needed to be there.
(The Yellow Birds, Big Ideas, ABC Radio National, 6 June 2013)


Pax Americana

George Walker Bush (1946)

43rd President of the United States (2001-2009).

  • The President of Good and Evil: The Ethics of George W Bush, Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, 2004.
    ISBN 0-525-94813-9.
    Peter Singer: Ira W DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University; Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

    War: Iraq

    Two arguments [for going to war]

    Argument 1

    The ceasefire that ended the first Gulf War, in April 1991, required Iraq to give up weapons of mass destruction, and to accept UN inspectors who would inspect and monitor the destruction and removal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
    [Despite accepting these terms] Saddam Hussein … deceived the world [and continued] to develop weapons of mass destruction.
    (p 182)

    [Given that] he was in breach of the cease-fire [conditions,] the coalition that had fought Iraq in 1991 was free to resume hostilities.

    Argument 2

    A change of regime in Iraq would liberate that country from a tyrant who [was] responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people …

    1.  Weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations resolutions

    Bush's primary case for war with Iraq rested on the claim that the Security Council had required Saddam Hussein to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, but he had not done so.
    It now seems very probable that Saddam Hussein had largely, and perhaps entirely, rid himself of weapons of mass destruction. …
    [Nevertheless,] if the facts were as Bush said they were, would the US-led attack on Iraq have been justified by the Iraqi dictator's failure to comply with Resolution 1441?
    (p 163)

    … Resolution 1441 [directed] the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to report if Iraq is not co-operating with the inspectors, or has not fulfilled its obligations to disarm, and reminds Iraq that it has repeatedly warned that it will face 'serious consequences' if it continues to violate its obligations. …

    [Unlike] Resolution 678, adopted in August 1990 after the Iraqi army had invaded Kuwait [— which] authorised member nations to 'use all necessary means' to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait [—] Resolution 1441 … did not contain any 'automaticity' about the use of force. …
    (p 184)

    Under Resolution 1441, the Security Council had retained the right to make that decision for itself, and to decide also on the nature of the consequences that would follow if Iraq was found to be in violation of its obligations.
    That is why the Bush administration tried so hard to obtain a second resolution declaring that Iraq had not disarmed and authorising the use of force against Iraq.
    When it became apparent that France, and perhaps Russia and China too, would use their veto to prevent the passage of such a resolution, the administration began to suggest that if a majority voted for the resolution, that would provide some sort of moral authority for action in accordance with it, even if a veto prevented its formal acceptance by the Council.
    This is a proposition which the United States would surely have vigorously resisted had it been invoked by any other nation on the seventy-six occasions on which it has itself used the veto.
    (Only the former Soviet Union has used the veto more frequently.)
    And when, despite great efforts from both Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, it became apparent that there would not even be a majority for a resolution authorising force, Bush acted as if a second resolution was not necessary anyway.
    (p 188)

    Indeed, while Bush was going to the UN, the military forces under his command were already softening up Iraq for the war to come.
    From June 2002 into early 2003, the US air force was striking at Iraq's command centres, radar, and fibre-optic networks, dropping over 600 bombs on about 350 selected targets.
    (p 190)

    When, to the surprise of Bush and his advisers, Saddam accepted the inspectors, who then proved unable to find proof of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush became concerned that if the inspections continued in that manner, he would no longer have any grounds for attacking Saddam. So he switched to a different justification for an attack. …

    [It is clear that] Bush's real justification for invading Iraq [did] not lie in his commitment to upholding international law.
    In going to the UN, he was not in good faith.
    Like someone who accepts arbitration in a dispute because he hopes the decision will go his way, but has no intention of complying if it does not, Bush took his case to the UN but had already decided to act no matter what the UN decided.
    [Acting] in bad faith on so serious an issue … is a grave ethical failing. …

    … Bush's claims about Saddam's 'vast arsenal of deadly, biological and chemical weapons' have turned out to be false.
    [It is likely that] at least some senior figures in the Bush administration knew all along that these claims were not well grounded.
    (p 191)
    National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq:
    [The] claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in [the assessment of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research] highly dubious.
    (October 2002)
    CIA Director George J Tenet [phoned deputy national security adviser, Stephen J Hadley] before the president was to make a speech in Cincinnati, on 7 October, asking that the allegation be removed.
    [Yet, in his] January 2003 … the State of the Union address, [Bush cited an attempt by Iraq] to purchase uranium from Africa as [evidence] that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear weapons. …

    [A few days later] Colin Powell reviewed the information about Iraq's alleged attempt to purchase uranium in Africa, and decided that it was not sufficiently reliable to use in the speech he gave to the United Nations a week after Bush's State of the Union address.
    (p 193)

    Meanwhile, the [claim was being repeated] by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. …

    [Then there] was the claim that Iraq was trying to buy aluminium tubes [to use for uranium enrichment [— despite, the] Department of Energy [having previously advised] that the tubes were the wrong specification to be used in a centrifuge, and an opinion from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research that the tubes were most probably intended for use in a multiple-rocket-launching system, which Iraq was not prohibited from possessing.

    Another claim later shown to be false was that
    Iraq could launch a biological or chemical attack forty-five minutes after the order is given.
    This claim, originally made by the British government, was repeated twice by Bush, without … CIA clearance …
    (p 194)

    … Bush repeatedly linked Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda, but provided no real evidence of such a connection. …

    The overall impression [is that] the Bush administration decided what action it wanted to take, and then selected and massaged the intelligence to … support that action.
    (p 195)

    After the war [it became known that] the Bush administration was [approached by] a Lebanese-American businessman [who said he] had been told by the Iraqi chief of intelligence that
    • Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, and was willing to allow American troops to [verify this;]
    • [they were] offering to hand over to the Americans a man wanted as a suspect in a 1993 attempt to blow up the World Trade Center [and that]
    • they were [willing] to hold elections.
    (p 196)

    [The] Bush administration … rebuffed the Iraqi overture. …
    [Whether or not the Iraqi offer was genuine, the response of the Bush administration demonstrates that it was] not interested in negotiations for the same reason it was not interested in evidence casting doubt on the existence of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
    It had already decided on war. …
    (p 197)

    2.  Liberating the Iraqi people

    Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
    That fact offers a straightforward ethical argument for overthrowing him, as long as the cost of doing so [does not outweigh] the suffering that he would continue to inflict on his own people.

    [But an] ethical argument is not a legal justification for the attack on Iraq.
    (p 197)
    UN Charter, Article 2(7):
    Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorise the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII [Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression]. …
    (p 198)
    George W Bush (1946):
    {I thought [it was] the right decision not to send US troops into Rwanda [in 1994].}

    Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990.
    He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel.
    [In 1988, he] ordered the killing of every person between the ages of fifteen and seventy in certain Kurdish villages in northern Iraq.
    He has gassed many Iranians and forty Iraqi villages. …
    [In] 1991, Saddam put down an uprising by Shia in the south with great brutality, and in the mid-1990s, he attacked Arabs living in the remote marshes near the Iranian border.
    [However, over] the years immediately before Bush's decision to attack Iraq … there was nothing on the scale of the earlier atrocities. …
    [It was also] difficult to [argue] that the Iraqi government was committing [any] greater crimes against its people than were other repressive regimes like those of Burma, North Korea and Turkmenistan. …
    (p 199)

    In Baghdad from mid-April 2003 [—] when American forces had taken over the city [— to] the end of August, the city morgue recorded 2846 violent deaths.
    [Based on the] pre-war rate of violent death … there were at least 1519 additional violent deaths [over] four and a half months.
    Gunshot wounds, which used to account for 10% of violent deaths, were responsible for 60% of these deaths.
    US Forces caused some of the violent deaths, but the majority are the result of Iraqis attacking other Iraqis.
    They [were a consequence of] the occupying forces [failing] to maintain order …
    (p 206)
    Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018) [Secretary General, UN]:
    [The] greatest threat to the future of international order is the use of force in the absence of a Security Council mandate …
    (September, 1999)
    (p 207)

    At the end of February 2003, Human Rights Watch, the world's leading non-government human rights organisation, warned the UN that the war in the Congo had sparked
    [A] humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions …
    But with Bush's efforts to persuade the Security Council to authorise the use of force in Iraq grabbing all the headlines, nothing was done. …

    At the end of May, after the Iraq war was over, the UN Security Council did turn its attention to the Congo, and authorised a French-led multinational peacekeeping force to … try to prevent further massacres.
    The Bush administration did not offer to send troops or any other form of support.
    (p 208)

    Pax Americana

    The Bush Doctrine

    George W Bush (1946):
    Deterrence … means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend.
    Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies. …

    We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systemically break them.
    If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. …

    [The] war on terror will not be won on the defensive.
    We must take the battle to the enemy … and confront the worst threats before they emerge.
    [The] only path to safety is the path of action.
    And this nation will act.
    (United States Military Academy, West Point, 1 June 2002)
    (p 211)

    [This new doctrine] points to a fundamentally new era in international relations. …
    The National Security Strategy:
    [The] United States will, if necessary, act pre-emptively. …
    (September 2002)
    In international law … the standard view is that a pre-emptive strike is legitimate only against an attack that is clearly imminent …
    [However, the] hijackers who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not … acting as the agents of any state that might fear retaliation.
    (p 212)

    It was the US Secretary of State Daniel Webster who, in response to an 1837 incident in which British troops attacked and sank an American ship carrying supplies to Canadian rebels, spelled out the conditions for justified 'anticipatory self-defense'.
    [Such action could only be justified:]
    [When the need for action is] instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation. …
    Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter … states that nothing in the charter impairs the inherent right of a nation to defend itself 'if an armed attack occurs' — thereby suggesting that the provisions of the charter do 'impair' any possible 'right of self-defense' when no armed attack has occurred. …
    George W Bush (1946):
    [As] a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
    [The first] problem with this view lies in the risk of a government manufacturing a case for a preemptive war when it actually has other motives for going to war.
    [The second] is that a government may overestimate the danger that another nation poses due to flawed intelligence or exaggerated fears, suspicions or biases.
    The Bush administration's war with Iraq illustrates both these problems …
    (p 213)

    If a US administration can massage evidence to strengthen its case for war, [doubtless] other governments will be no less adept in doing the same. …

    Moral rights do not adhere to particular nations.
    The United States does not, simply because it is the United States, have a special right to use force preemptively that other nations do not have.
    [Nevertheless,] a right to use force pre-emptively might adhere to nations with particular characteristics …
    [If, indeed,] that is what Bush is claiming, we need to know what those characteristics are. …

    In January 2002 Bush named North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, as part of the 'axis of evil'.
    In April 2003 Bush said
    [The successful war with Iraq] made it clear that people who harbour weapons of mass destruction will be dealt with.
    [The] president went on to say that 'hopefully' most of this task can be accomplished by diplomatic means.
    (p 214)

    The United States, it is scarcely necessary to mention, 'harbours' weapons of mass destruction.
    Hence, if it is a sound moral principle that when a nation in possession of weapons of mass destruction threatens another nation, the threatened nation is justified in making a pre-emptive strike, North Korea would, after these developments, have been justified in making a preemptive strike against the United States.
    Of course [in any real] sense, North Korea cannot pre-emptively strike against the US [because to do so would bring about catastrophic retaliation.]
    But [if, hypothetically,] North Korea did have the capacity to strike the US in a manner that would effectively pre-empt a US attack, would it be justified in doing so?
    [And, if not, why not?]
    (p 215)

    Since Bush frequently portrays other nations as 'evil' … perhaps the position he really has in mind is that good nations are justified in striking pre-emptively against evil ones, but not the other way round. …

    For a decade after Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge government was overthrown and replaced by the vastly better Vietnamese-backed Heng Samrin government, the US continued to recognise the murderous Khmer Rouge as the lawful rulers of Cambodia.
    After Saddam Hussein had abused human rights, used chemical weapons on his own people, aspired to obtain nuclear weapons, harboured terrorists, and started an aggressive war against Iran, the Reagan administration helped him to avoid defeat in that war.
    (As Reagan's envoy, Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad to shake Saddam's hand and assure him of US support.)
    (p 216)

    [If] the US government sometimes finds it difficult to recognise as evil regimes as bad as these ones, it is evident that the principle that good regimes may strike pre-emptively at evil ones lacks the clarity needed for a useful international standard of acceptable conduct.
    (p 217)

    When free elections were held in Algeria in December 1991 the first round of results suggested a decisive victory for the radical Islamic Salvation Front.
    Instead of allowing the second round of elections to proceed, the army intervened, established a regime more to its liking, and put thousands of its opponents in concentration camps in the Sahara Desert.
    The United States did nothing to oppose this suppression of democracy, and today Algeria is still not democratic.
    Yet its current rulers may well be less of a concern to international security than the leaders supported by the majority of voters would have been.
    (p 218)

    [It was the seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes who originally outlined] the problem with accepting the legitimacy of pre-emptive strikes when there are no clear criteria setting out the conditions in which they are to be used.
    Acknowledging a general right of pre-emption creates a situation in which it will be rational for any country that might be the victim of pre-emptive action to make a preemptive strike against a possible foe before the foe takes pre-emptive action against it.
    Accordingly, the problem of establishing when a nation may or may not use pre-emption, or which nations are entitled to use it is insoluble within the framework of a world of fully sovereign, equally independent nations.
    (p 220)

    [The solution, according to Hobbes, was] for everyone to hand over his power to a sovereign, whether an individual or an assembly, and thereby to establish 'that great LEVIATHAN', the state, which has a monopoly on the use of force.
    [But] since there is no global sovereign who rules over independent nations, the usual state of international relations is one of continual war.

    American pre-eminence

    After the end of the Cold War, there were only two plausible candidates for the role of global peacekeeper in international affairs:
    • the United Nations, or …
    • the United States.
    (p 221)

    In 1997 … William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, founded the Project for a New American Century. …

    Statement of Principles

    The history of the 20th century should have taught us …
    • to meet threats before they become dire
    • to shape circumstances before crises emerge [and]
    • to embrace the cause of American leadership …
    [We] need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future …
    [We] need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

    (p 222)

    Letter to President Clinton on Iraq

    [We call on the President] to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US and our friends and allies around the world.
    That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power. …

    [If Saddam acquires] the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard.

    (PNAC, January, 1998)
    The signatories to this letter included …
    • Donald Rumsfeld [later Secretary of Defense],
    • Paul Wolfowitz [deputy to Donald Rumsfeld]
    • Richard Armitage, subsequently deputy to Colin Powell at the State Department;
    • John Bolton, later Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; and
    • Richard Perle, later chair of the Defense Policy Board. …
    (p 223)

    Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

    [We call for a substantial increase in defence spending, in order to maintain] global US pre-eminence, [preclude] the rise of a great power rival, and [shape] the international security order in line with American principles and interests. …
    The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security.
    While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

    (PNAC, September 2000)

    Iraq: Setting the Record Straight

    With the failure to find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq after the war, critics have insisted that the Bush administration manipulated opinion both inside and outside of government by hyping the threat we faced from Iraq and, therefore, the war was not justifiable. …
    [Nothing] that we have learned since the war’s conclusion has altered the fact that the proximate cause for taking military action was Saddam’s continued refusal to take all the necessary, UN-mandated steps to assure the world that he had totally disarmed.
    [Whatever] the final status of Iraq’s stockpiles, inspections after the war have shown conclusively that Saddam … was preparing to restart his WMD programs as soon as he could.
    That is what [all] those who supported the war believed — [and] they were right.

    (PNAC, April 2005)
    [If not for] the devastating shock that September 11 [the neocons] may not have been able to persuade the president to pursue their policy on Iraq — a policy that simultaneously achieved three of their major goals:
    • removing Saddam Hussein from power,
    • establishing a substantial American force in the Gulf, and
    • asserting American pre-eminence over the United Nations and the rest of the world.
    (p 224)
    Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol:
    America must not only be the world's policeman or its sheriff, it must be its beacon and guide. …
    [The only alternative] is a chaotic, Hobbesian world where there is no authority to thwart aggression, ensure peace and security or enforce international norms. …

    [The United Nations] is nothing more than a collection of states, many of them autocratic and few of them as public-spirited as America — which, in any case, provides the UN with most of its financial, political and military muscle. …

    {[What] is wrong with [American dominance — if it is] in the service of sound principles and high ideals?}
    (The War in Iraq: Saddams's Tyranny and America's Mission, Encounter Books, 2003)
    (p 226-228)
    John Muravchik [Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute]:
    A policeman gets his assignments from higher authority, but there is no authority higher than America. …
    [In fact, the United Nations provides a forum] with decision-procedures to which the states can bring disputes, and through which these disputes can be resolved.
    (p 229)

    [With] respect of foreign aid, global warming, and the International Criminal Court, the United States is [among] the least public-spirited of all the major industrial nations.
    [At most it] contributes 22% [of UN funding] — or would do so, if it paid its contributions on time, which it rarely does. …
    [In terms of financial and personnel contributions to UN and NATO peacekeeping operations, the US ranks] eighteenth out of twenty-one countries.
    (p 231)

    … Bush has undermined the [the United Nations and the International Criminal Court — the] only organisations which could offer [external checks on America's power] and strengthen the rule of international law …
    George W Bush (1946):
    America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge.
    (p 233)

    The claim that America would only use its dominance 'in the service of sound principles and high ideals' is … a contradiction [in terms —] since such principles and ideals are incompatible with the imposed, unelected global dominance of any single nation [based on force of arms.]
    [For] Bush and [the neocons] to proclaim America as the world's policeman is effectively to reject [the rule of law for the rule of the powerful.]
    (p 234)

    [Immanuel] Kant advocated a system in which the states would give up, to a world federation, a monopoly on the use of force.
    The world federation would possess the moral authority of a body that was established by mutual agreement, and reached its decision in an impartial manner.
    In the modern world, that means a reformed United Nations, with adequate force at its command, and impartial procedures to decide when that force should be used.
    (p 235)

    Whether the danger posed by the combination of new weapons technologies with radical religious and political ideas can be controlled at all is something that only time will tell.
    In the long run, however, we are more likely to succeed in meeting this threat by international co-operation than by one nation acting unilaterally and in defiance of international law.
    American pre-eminence may well prove to be, not only unjust, but a tragic mistake with catastrophic consequences.
    (p 238

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