“Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.”
More to come soon.
UPDATE: I watched President Bush’s speech, and thought it was quite good. I particularly liked the line, “We are a peaceful people — yet we’re not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers.”
Becky, meanwhile, fell asleep during the speech. Hehe.
I fundamentally agree with Bush that war is justified, and that its European opponents have operated in bad faith throughout the U.N. proceedings. However, I do have one major difference with the president. I don’t consider this a “pre-emptive” war, and I would not use it to create a precedent of pre-emption, which he clearly intends to do. I am very nervous about a general policy of pre-emption. But I do not believe such a policy is necessary to justify this war.
This is neither a pre-emptive war nor a “first strike” by America, because this is not a new war. This is the continuation of the Gulf War, which was started by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. That was the “first strike.” That war was allowed to end — with Saddam still in power — only on the condition that Saddam’s Iraqi government do several things, including most notably, eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and prove to the international community that he has done so. Twelve years later, Saddam still has not done this. That means the Gulf War is not over.
The Gulf War never really ended, because in order for a war to truly and finally end, the losing nation or government must abide by the terms of its surrender. If it fails to do so, the victor is justified in resuming military action to force the loser’s compliance — including removing the leader of the losing nation, if this is necessary to ensure compliance with the terms of the surrender.
Take, for example, Germany after World War I. One of the tenets of the Treaty of Versailles was that Germany’s Rhineland was supposed to remain demilitarized. When Hitler violated this rule in the early 1930s, France and England would have been justified in attacking him to force his compliance. This would have been, in effect, a resumption of World War I, not a new war. It certainly would not have been a “first strike,” but rather, enforcement of a treaty that resulting from a previous “first strike” and indeed a previous war. See the difference?
I wish Bush would stick to this argument. It is more clearly correct than his fuzzy doctrine of pre-emption, and it’s also less dangerous. No one can argue with the precedent that a war’s loser should not be able to flout the terms of his own surrender. The precedent set by pre-emption is much trickier.