Unfortunately, war looks likely for the near future. All anti-war sentiment aside, there is just one small problem with the push for war: it will violate international law.
It’s funny because the main reason given by the Bush administration for war is that Saddam Hussein has violated international law, specifically U.N. Resolution 1441.
There are several problems surrounding the international law debate. First, Resolution 1441, passed last November by the U.N. General Assembly, is a reminder to Iraq that failure to disarm would be a serious matter.
Bush has interpreted this document to suit his own purposes. The resolution makes no references to use of force as a consequence. In fact, the U.N. General Assembly has no power to authorize force. Only the U.N. Security Council can sanction military aggression.
France has made it clear that under no circumstances will it allow the use of force against Iraq. French leader Jacques Chirac has even said that he will personally come to New York to cast the veto.
A tide of sophomoric American ire has been set loose on the French, as they are ensuring war with Iraq will not be legal in the eyes of the international community.
We’ve all heard the proposals in the U.S. House, such as changing the word “French” in certain cafeteria items to “Freedom,” and even the morbid proposal to exhume bodies from the World Wars buried in France and bring them back to American soil.
I have seen my seven-year-old cousin act with more maturity when he fails to get his way. The juvenile whining of politicians does not stop with silly attacks against the French. The implications get much more serious.
Conservative pundits and letters to the editor have begun to attack the United Nations itself in the wake of its stalling on war with Iraq.
Its usefulness and its authority has been questioned. These attacks are to pave the way for an attack on Iraq without U.N. Security Council authorization, which will be the Bush administration’s last resort.
An attack on Iraq without U.N. approval will be insanely dangerous and prove America’s arrogance, once again.
All countries in the United Nations are expected to abide by its laws, which constitute international law. Such treaties negotiated by the President and ratified by Congress are supposed to be held to the highest respect, equal to the respect held by the U.S. Constitution.
It is debatable whether or not Iraq violated international law, with respect to Resolution 1441. At any rate, 1441 does not authorize military action. An attack on Iraq will make the U.S. guilty of violating international law.
Some conservatives have been stating what is becoming obvious to many: “so what if we violate international law, there is no official U.N. enforcement!”
Unfortunately, this is true. They also use this fact to bolster their case on the uselessness of the United Nations.
The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the U.S. made sure that there would be nobody to enforce international law. This happened when the U.S. exercised its veto power, much like France is threatening to do now, in reference to the International Criminal Court, or the ICC.
The ICC was proposed to be a place to bring justice against those who have violated international laws. These include war criminals such as Saddam.
However, the United States recognized the threat that such a court would pose, including the potential to bring to trial every single living former President, not to mention top officials who orchestrated certain attacks or events.
Therefore, the ICC was voted down due to U.S. veto. When people take potshots at the effectiveness of the U.N., it must be recognized that some of its perceived official powerlessness is the fault of the U.S. and its killing of the ICC.
Although there may be no official international retribution from the U.N. for an unauthorized attack on Iraq, the United States will be vilified throughout the world. If Bush violates international law, it will simply be proof of American arrogance and hypocrisy.
Proceeding with military action will be horrendous. However, with all of the big talking on the part of the Bush administration, I unfortunately don’t see them getting out of this mess without bombing something.