When Chile and Argentina were ruled by brutal generals, I would gladly have had their regimes toppled. But our (U.S.A) executive branch had chosen instead to lay down with dictators and—not surprisingly—it rose up with a contorted sense of the legitimacy of its actions. Then in the 80’s it was an Iraqi general whose cruel madness had been certified by his swift execution of 22 members at a meeting of Ba’ath party leaders on July 22, 1979. What followed was a remake of the Latin film: our executive branch wide-eyed, yet clueless.
By March of 2003, the world was confronted with this brutality, soon to become far better oiled than had been its Chilean or Argentine counterparts. The first Gulf War had removed any expectations of Saddam Hussein’s being other than himself. His regime knew where to find and what to do with the ingredients of say chemical agents. Limited to what might be gotten away with, he would willingly get and store those ingredients; manufacture and store the weaponry; and bring their misery to whoever had crossed him. With Iraq’s repulse from Kuwait, that included us the citizens of the U.S.A., this limited only by what Hussein might have gotten away with.
So why would George W. Bush launch an attack upon an Iraq that might supply Islamic terrorists from its arsenal of chemical agents, and not upon one that might supply them from its files of recipes and logistics for the same? Perhaps it was the recognition that threatening an attack based on the latter may well have precipitated the sending of a courier with those very the grounds for the attack. I don’t know; but a better question would be “Why are we mesmerized before this distinction which oil and butchery’s approach of critical mass had narrowed?”
At its birth out of the ashes of the Second World War, would the United Nations have imagined its Security Council members failing to realize their duty in dealing with the butchers of Kigali (Rwanda), Khartoum (Sudan) and Baghdad or of anywhere? I don’t believe that the founders had a clue that they were designing into that one-veto council corruptibility and a treading in the waters of lost resolve.
Being snared in a Security Council web of cross commitments, George Bush (and all of us) may have been better off had he placed our boot across Iraq’s border merely to get to the other side; or simply picked up the earlier Gulf War from which there had been no treaty of peace.
Poised opposite the Coalition is an international peace movement. Their legitimacy ought to stem from an awareness of that loss that is death, not from an urge to wrench personal mortality out of war’s in-the-face grip. Nor is legitimacy about halting the killing for now, but rather in containing its revulsion long enough to grasp the total picture towards an enduring halt. It does not greet insurgent killings with “damn Bush” but with “damn insurgents, damn Bush.”
At the end of the Gulf War, I was amazed that Iraq hadn’t been trisected into temporary zones of occupation: Kurdish, Sunni and Shi’a. Instead a hasty conclusion set up the slaughter of the marshland Shiites, and when we finally did go in, the fly that was once Al Qaeda had become a swarm; the arid land, a quagmire.
The nations of the Arabian Peninsular have purchased a large chunk of American industry and real estate. Had our efforts in Iraq been fruitful, not continuously aberrating into elements of truth in all the lies about them, that country may itself have come upon a slice of the American pie, and savored it more broadly than in the peninsula’s neo-caliphates. Many “pacifists” discredit themselves by claiming that we went in there for the oil. Our leadership could not possibly have been mistaken in this regard nor could a true pacifist. Operation Iraqi Freedom has been—not exclusively but—centrally about the aforementioned oil-butchery critical mass.
In 1965 the UN further handcuffed itself; the size of the Security Council doubled with no member-veto increase either in number or in decisive number. Unraveling this paralysis begins with a definitive commitment in law to all national boundaries. I then recommend that the Security Council move from rare veto power to economically driven, catholic veto power. Suppose that the strength of each member’s vote were dependent upon national wealth, such as the smaller of these two previous-year figures:
- A portion (uniform for all members) of the geometric mean of national GDP and GNP.
- The size of its contribution to the U.N.
The 12-month term dependent upon an earlier year’s figures would start on a date that allowed for their having been accumulated. Also with so much joint power, the passage of substantive resolutions should need a two-thirds majority.
Recently the world witnessed a quarter-million Darfurian voices queued up before its Council only to drop silently in place. A single consideration, Islamic rant, had kept cutting ahead in line.