Dear Friend, We have attached to this letter a resolution, condemning this illegal and immoral war that has been launched against Iraq and its people by the US-UK-Australia combine and their Arab cohorts. We request you to read the same, suggest changes if any and sign the resolution as a token of your support. Yours truly, (AMAR BHATTACHARYA) for Nayaishtahar

An Illegal and Immoral War Against Iraq

We, a cross section of the citizens of India, condemn the illegal and immoral war that the US-UK-Australian coalition has launched on Iraq and its people. We find particularly pernicious the attempt of the Anglo-Saxon group of nations and their Arab cohort regimes to take the high moral ground. They have sought to do that by alleging Iraqi regime’s possession of proscribed weapons of mass destruction and the lack of freedom and the sense of despair of the people of Iraq. Their attempt at portraying the military action as a so called “just war” is merely to obfuscate the real nature of their intentions, which can at best be called imperial and at worst, a global version of an autocratic world order. Iraqi blood is being spilled on the desert sand so that the country’s bountiful oil resources can be usurped as cheap energy source for the industrialised West.
War as we know does not just need to conform to jus ad bellum but indeed jus in bello. These two principles of St Augustine define the ethics of war to the extent that jus ad bellum or justness through war cannot be the sole criterion for use of force but the warring sections need to take into account jus in bello or justness in war i.e. proportionality in terms of use of force and a measure of recognition of the rights of the aggressed.
This second attack on Iraq’s sovereign interests is an assault on the tenets of the UN charter and other international conventions guiding national behaviour. The charter clearly establishes the basic principle: that UN members shall settle their disputes by peaceful means, presumably thus prohibiting use of force by a member-state against another. We are aware that there are two exceptions to this rule. According to them, a state or states can use lethal force (a) in case of self-defence against armed attack, and; (b) with the Security Council’s authorisation because such use of force becomes necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
We feel that post 9/11, the USA has arrogated to itself the right to be the sole judge, jury and executioner of international law, with nominal references to the UN. We understand that the root of this really lies in the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 passed on 28th September, 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the twin towers in Manhattan. While the resolution had provisions that made use of terror tactics by a state actor non-viable, it also had reflected the collective paranoia of nations who feared the privatisation of war as embodied in al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
But when the USA and the UK invaded Afghanistan in October, 2001, they went beyond the mandate of 1373 and established an agenda all of their own. A silent international community had acquiesced to this act to the extent that the UN Secretary General, the redoubtable Mr Kofi Annan was quoted as saying that the states who launched the attack against Afghanistan and it’s the then government led by the so called Taliban “have acted in the context of (1373 and 1368).” This legitimisation of a unilateral use of force against another country had only provided the USA the rationale for what eventually got enshrined as its new national security strategy – pre-emptive strikes against those who the USA thought to be inimical to its so called “national interests.” As Mr George W Bush had the temerity to express in his commending words of the strategy, “…as a matter of common sense and self-defense. America will act against such threats before they are fully formed.”
Iraq is supposed to be the first test for this template. And another UN Security Council Resolution was initially sought to be made the ploy for such action, the UN Security Council Resolution 1441. A survey of the shifting strands of justification for the US-UK call for action need to be studied first to understand how they had sought to mislead world opinion into believing that their acts were just. In the initial days of the Hans Blix inspection, the attempt was to convince the world that Iraq was in “material breach” of the UN resolutions. The words “material breach” in legal terms requires Iraq to actually possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that are undeclared to the UN – vide various Security Council resolutions beginning with 678 – and thus not destroyed following UN directives.
We find it ironic that Dr Hans Blix, the UN’s point-man for proving this, went to the apex Security Council with his first report and had stated categorically that while his inspections are not anywhere near completion and nor were the Iraqis particularly forthcoming with information about their supposed WMD programmes, it appeared that the charge Iraq was in “material breach” by having WMDs was atleast farfetched. In fact, Dr Mohammad Al Baradei, handling the nuclear element of the inspection was more categorical in stating that Iraq did not seem to possess any nuclear weapon.
Almost immediately, the argument began that the US-UK had evidence of Iraq possessing some of these proscribed weapons. These claims, emanating from Washington and London, reached such a crescendo that Dr Blix had to publicly state that those evidences should rightfully be handed over to them. That led to the drama of the US Secretary of State, Gen Colin Powell, the ‘hero’ of the earlier Iraq war of 1991, presenting his so called “smoking gun” to the international public opinion in the Security Council. One does not know how much Gen Powell was convinced himself of the evidence he had presented, many of the US-UK’s key allies, like France, Russia and Germany were clearly unimpressed by the body of “evidence.” The goal of jus ad bellum remained supremely unsatisfied. And we believe that the campaign of calumny and circumstantial evidence even actually violated the principle it sought to satisfy.
Thus began the ludicrous search for the “moral” cause, led by the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair and the Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw. That inlcuded the litany about the four million Iraqi exiles who supposedly have fled a country almost the size of France for the fear of political persecution which supposedly visited them every day. References were even made to the inglorious days of the early 1930s when the world community had continued to be a mute witness to the depredations of Nazi Germany. In our minds we are clear that this effort was another example of purgatory diplomacy sought to be purveyed by the media organisations under the control of these regimes.
The fact that these laboured arguments – the rationalisations of after-thoughts – have failed to cut ice with the massive anti-war sentiment was best evidenced in the in streets of London and Washington, besides other capitals. Even the former British Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons, Mr Robin Cook, has expressed doubts about Iraq possessing WMDs while acknowledging that the technology for the same was provided to Baghdad earlier by the countries of the West.
While we acknowledge the emerging trends of multi-polarity in international discourse, we feel that they are, for the time being, ensnared in conflicting commercial interests. The post-war control over Iraqi oil wealth was a determinant of pre-war diplomacy. In that scenario had been added, the reality of the growing resentment amongst Muslim masses across the globe to this continuous psychological and physical harm that they are being subjected.
And we in unequivocal terms wish to bring to the attention of the world community these factors that are seeking to dominate world politics to the detriment of the interest of majority of peace-loving people. We thus demand that the UN takes notice of these acts of the Anglo-Saxon coalition and takes measures to curb their ability to inflict more damage. To that end, we expect the beginning should be made by the complete and unconditional secession of hostilities in Iraq and withdrawal of the invading forces. We hope that we will have our support for our appeal.