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United Nations: the Iraq War is Illegal

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated for the record that the US military attack of Iraq was illegal and a violation of the UN Charter.

Annan also said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council and not made by the US and Britain alone. 

The US has been keen on involving the UN in sanctions against other countries, but when the Security Council does not go along with the US desires, the US has been known to side step the UN entirely.  Clearly a matter of convenience for the US – use the UN when it needs it and then goes against the UN when it wants.

At the crux of the matter are statements made by Annan that were perceived to be a go ahead on the Iraq invasion – one of the problems of diplomatic speak is that it can be so gently phrased that nobody is sure of what is being said. Had the US or Britain had any question about the matter, they should have asked for further clarification rather than hearing only what they wanted to hear.

The Bush side reacted very quickly and denounced Annan’s comments as a way to try and sway the American elections being held this year.  "I think it is outrageous for the Secretary-General, who ultimately works for the member states, to try and supplant his judgement for the judgement of the member states," Randy Scheunemann, a former advisor to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

Scheunermann added: "To do this 51 days before an American election reeks of political interference."

The Australian Prime Minister also expressed outrage at Annan’s comments. He too believes that the US and Britain had been given the go ahead to attack Iraq.  In contrast, Susannah Price of the BBC at UN headquarters in New York says Mr Annan has made similar comments before. “He has said from the beginning the invasion did not conform to the UN charter - phrasing that was seen as a diplomatic way of saying the war was illegal”.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also said that viable elections cannot be held in Iraq if the present security problems continue in Iraq. 

If the reader will remember, Bush said we must invade Iraq because Bush stated Iraq held WMDs.  When no WDMs were found, Bush said the invasion was stop terrorism because Bush wanted to believe there was a link to Iraq and Bin Laden, and when no evidence was found linking the two, Bush then changed his stance and justified the war so as to overthrow a dictatorship. 

The Bush administration has said we can expect to be in Iraq for another 10 years and the rules of engagement contain no clauses for disengagement in Iraq.  With such an open ended military conflict, America might be entering into another Viet Nam type scenario. 

Out of the entire membership of the United Nations, only the United States, Britain and Australia have expressed anger at Anna’s comments.  All three are major players in the continuing military hostilities in Iraq.  However, the Australian Prime Minister has stated that Australia must reconsider its position in Iraq due to the mounting death toll.

Britain is now saying that they must start focusing on problems in their home front and Blair is under increasing pressure from Parliament to either justify Britain’s involvement or get out. Blair is being seen by political analysts as putting distance between himself and Bush, and Blair has refused to come to the US to accept a medal that Bush was to have presented to him and a covert support for Bush’s reelection.

Regardless, the outrage expressed might be construed as a deflection against actions that might be taken by the UN for the invasion that was not condoned nor authorized by the UN.  The US had stated that if the UN did not approve military actions, the US would ‘go it alone’, and the comments made about Anna’s comment being politically motivated are an attempt to distract the world, and the US, from Bush’s previous decision of prosecuting a war regardless of world opinion.

The United Nations is the matured version of the League of Nations which was a US initiative under President Wilson just after World War One.

Michael Berglin

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