The Bush-Blair Aggression

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Evidently,
Prime Minister Tony Blair failed to "properly inform"
the House of Commons about the "legality" of the Bush-Blair
use of force against Iraq. Indeed, Blair may have deliberately misinformed
them.

Commons
passed on March 19, 2003, the British Government’s Motion on Iraq,
which

Notes that
in the 130 days since Resolution 1441 was adopted Iraq has not
co-operated actively, unconditionally and immediately with the
weapons inspectors, and has rejected the final opportunity to
comply and is in further material breach of its obligations under
successive mandatory U.N. Security Council Resolutions;

Notes the
opinion of the attorney general that, Iraq having failed to comply
and Iraq being – at the time of Resolution 1441 and continuing
to be – in material breach, the authority to use force under
Resolution 678 has revived and so continues today.

Blair
based his request to Parliament for authorization to invade Iraq
on what Blair characterized as the "opinion of the attorney
general."

However,
the several opinions of Lord Goldsmith have now been made public,
and it is obvious that Blair mischaracterized those opinions to
the House of Commons and to his own Cabinet.

When
Iraq invaded and "annexed" part of Kuwait in August 1990,
the Security Council demanded – in Resolution 660 – that
Iraq immediately withdraw all its armed forces and henceforth respect
the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kuwait.

In
November, when Saddam hadn’t yet withdrawn from Kuwait, Resolution
678 authorized member states to "use all necessary means"
to enforce Resolution 660 and supplementary resolutions.

Resolution
686 is the Gulf War "cease-fire" resolution. It requires
Saddam Hussein to accept and abide by all previous Security Council
resolutions – including Resolution 678 – "which remain
in force."

Resolution
678 is the only resolution that has authorized the use of
"all necessary means" by member states against Iraq. It
is important to know under what conditions and in what circumstances
that authorization to use force applies.

Clearly,
if Saddam had done something deemed to be a "material breach"
of Resolution 686 – such as invading Kuwait again – then
member states would be authorized by Resolution 678 to use "all
necessary means" to eject him.

But
what if Saddam were ever found to be in "material breach"
of some Security Council resolution other than Resolution 686?

Immediately
following the cease-fire, U.N. observers entered Iraq and discovered
that Saddam Hussein was in substantial noncompliance with several
U.N. arms limitation conventions, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons. Their discoveries led to Resolution 687.

Resolution
687 imposed economic sanctions that were not to be lifted until
Iraq was once again in substantial compliance with all U.N. arms
conventions, including the NPT. All chem-bio weapons and the facilities
capable of making nukes and chem-bio weapons were to be destroyed
– under the supervision of the U.N. Special Commission –
and never rebuilt.

By
mid-1998, on the basis of reports submitted to them by the Commission,
most members of the Security Council were of the opinion that Iraq
was in substantial compliance with Resolution 687 and wanted
to lift the economic sanctions. President Clinton "vetoed"
that, however, making it clear he would never allow the sanctions
to be lifted so long as Saddam Hussein was in power.

Compliance
with Resolution 687 should have meant the lifting of sanctions.
Non-compliance with Resolution 687 merely meant the continuation
of sanctions. There is no suggestion whatsoever that non-compliance
with Resolution 687 would have automatically meant "the authority
to use force under Resolution 678 has revived."

More
importantly, the recently released "opinion" of Lord Goldsmith
reveal he realized that for the majority of the Security Council
members, non-compliance with Resolution 1441 would also not
have resulted in an automatic authorization to use "all necessary
means." A second resolution, specifically authorizing that
use, would have been necessary. Goldsmith’s opinion closes with
this warning:

Finally,
I must stress that the lawfulness of military action depends not
only on the existence of a legal basis, but also on the question
of proportionality.

Any force
used pursuant to the authorization in resolution 678 (whether
or not there is a second resolution):

"must
have as its objective the enforcement the terms of the cease-fire
contained in resolution 687 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions;

"be
limited to what is necessary to achieve that objective; and

"must
be a proportionate response to that objective, i.e., securing
compliance with Iraq’s disarmament obligations."

So, what do
you think? Did the Bush-Blair use of force in Iraq satisfy those
requirements?

May
2, 2005

Physicist
James Gordon Prather [send
him mail
] has served as a policy-implementing official for national
security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency,
the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department
of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for
national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. –
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the
Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather
had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory
in New Mexico.

Gordon
Prather Archives

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