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Justifying the War on Iraq
Publication date: 2003-02-04

As the Invasion of Iraq by the American Forces is Approaching Politicians Seek to Justify This War ...

As the full‐scale invasion of Iraq by the American forces is approaching, and the opposition to that war in Europe and the United States is growing, politicians, headed by Tony Blair, seek to justify this war — without much success. One such attempt is an article (2003–02–04) by David Owen (a British politician) in the Guardian, entitled: “Wage war in Iraq for the sake of peace in the Middle East”.

The idea that the present Middle East conflict is somehow caused by Iraq and other Arab states, and can be resolved by “regime changes” in these countries, comes from books and speeches of Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli politician, whose avowed aim is establishment of Greater Israel.

The root cause of the so‐called Middle East Conflict is the expulsion of about a million Arabs from the cities and villages in coastal Palestine in 1947–1948, at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel.

The UN Resolution 194 (11 December 1948), which called for return of the Arab refugees to their houses in coastal Palestine (present day Israel), has never been implemented, and the displaced Arabs found refuge in refugee camps in the neighbouring Arab states.

It is from the struggle of these Arab refugees for their right to return to their houses in coastal Palestine, that the various Palestinian para‐military organisations came into being. And it is this struggle of the Palestinians for their rights, that became known as the Middle East Conflict.

In America and Europe this Palestinian struggle became known as “terrorism”, while the fact of the expulsion of the Palestinians from their land was “swept under the carpet”. Thus, without knowing what the cause of the conflict was, it came to be seen in Europe and America that Palestinians are just blood‐thirsty terrorists conspiring against the peaceful, legitimate, democratic and totally innocent State of Israel. The victims of injustice came to be seen as the criminals, and the criminals as the victims.

As the conflict continued, Benjamin Netanyahu, started developing a theory, “how terrorism can be defeated”. In his books and speeches, he paints a picture of the world as divided into two camps: the “Democratic West” (headed by the “Democratic Israel”) and the “Arab dictatorships” supporting the “Palestinian terrorists”. To defeat “terrorism” one needs to effect “regime changes” and to “democratize the Arab dictatorships”.

Following the events of the 9/11, he used the American hysteria to make his ideas the basis of the American foreign policy. These ideas found favour with the American military and with the Bush administration, as they placed the United States into a position of world dominance, which became justifiable by “war on terror”.

The attack on Iraq is one of the stages of the “War on Terror” as advocated by Benjamin Netanyahu. Attacks on others will follow.

Once the Israel‐friendly “regime changes” have been implemented in the Middle East, the Palestinian resistance would be crushed, and they will have to accept whatever the Israelis would wish to impose upon them. Possibly total expulsion from the rest of Palestine. This is the Netanyahu plan for peace in the Middle East.

Even if to ignore the inherent injustice and criminality of the Netanyahu “peace plan”, and to look at it from the assumption that the Israeli or American “interests” justify any crime against other nations, the question remains: “Is this plan viable?”.

Given the American military might and their unconditional support for the Israelis, the initial stages of the Netanyahu plan can be implemented by installing puppet regimes in the countries of the Middle East by military force, as it was done in Afghanistan. It is difficult to see, however, how such puppet regimes can provide long term stability. The outcome of this can be nothing but an endless partisan war. Netanyahu seeks to crush the Palestinian resistance — the Intifada, but the result of his plot will be spreading of this Intifada to the rest of the world.

Thus the Iraq war is not a recipe for resolving the Middle East conflict, as David Owen suggests. It is a recipe for turning a local conflict into a global one. The Middle East conflict can be resolved on the basis of justice — and this would bring peace. But politicians hate justice, because justice limits their powers and makes them responsible for the results of their actions.

The article by David Owen is an example of “political” muddle‐headedness which comes partly from the intrinsic dishonesty of politics (seeking to obtain an advantage by use of government or military power), partly from extreme arrogance and self‐centredness which characterizes most politicians.

But the most revealing statement in his article is:

“Issues of peace and war are for each individual nation to debate and decide”.

This statement is equivalent to saying that it is up to each private citizen to decide when, how and why he should kill or maim members of his neighbour's family, destroy his neighbour's house, and take possession of his neighbour's property.

Issues of peace and war are not matters of discussions, debates or decisions — they are issues of fact and law. Issues of fact cannot be “decided”, they can only be discovered by examination of evidence and logical deduction from previously proved facts. Facts exist in nature independently of anybody's wishes, opinions or interests. Law is application of the fundamental principle of justice — equality before the law — to human relationships. Arbitrary rules and regulations imposed by politicians upon the people are not Law — they are instances of crime and oppression.

The only justifications for any act of violence are:

  1. legitimate self‐defence,
  2. enforcement of justice, and
  3. maintenance of law and order.

This is true for relationships between private people or nation states. To say that it is up to each individual nation to decide when, how, and why it should use violence against other nations is a call for might‐is‐right world‐wide anarchy.

Following the events of the 9/11, the US administration has indeed adopted this approach, and the result of this approach is continuing and expanding wanton violence and bloodshed, which only a politician can call a “peace process”. But, of course, all wars ultimately lead to peace, but not in the ways intended by those who wage them or justify them.

More and more people around the world see that the war against Iraq is not a war of self‐defence, nor of enforcement of justice, nor of maintenance of law and order. The issues of “arms inspections” and of “disarming Iraq” are used by the Americans and Tony Blair to legitimize a war motivated by politics. This is an aggressive war, which has no justification. But it can lead to peace.

The popular revulsion against this and the other wars that Bush and Blair are planning to inflict on Mankind will lead to rejection of the thuggery of wars and politics, and to establishment of a world order based on truth, honesty and justice. And this will bring to people security and peace.

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