Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The next excuse
It WAS about the oil. September 11 never flew as a reason for invading Iraq. WMD's don't fly anymore, if they ever did. Even the Bushies will probably start admitting that it was about the oil, now that Human Rights Watch has shot holes in the "humanitarian intervention" argument:

Now that the war?s proponents are relying so significantly on a humanitarian rationale for the war, the need to assess this claim has grown in importance. We conclude that, despite the horrors of Saddam Hussein?s rule, the invasion of Iraq cannot be justified as a humanitarian intervention.
The invasion of Iraq failed to meet the test for a humanitarian intervention. Most important, the killing in Iraq at the time was not of the exceptional nature that would justify such intervention. In addition, intervention was not the last reasonable option to stop Iraqi atrocities. Intervention was not motivated primarily by humanitarian concerns. It was not conducted in a way that maximized compliance with international humanitarian law. It was not approved by the Security Council. And while at the time it was launched it was reasonable to believe that the Iraqi people would be better off, it was not designed or carried out with the needs of Iraqis foremost in mind.
-- via Billmon.

I haven't finished reading the HRW article, but from what I have read I see that they fairly clearly and rather authoritatively state criteria for humanitarian intervention, and show how the latest Iraq war fails to meet those criteria. Their analysis can be considered both authoritative and fairly unbiased; HRW was a major critic of Saddam's abuses back when Rummy, Powell and Bush Sr. were selling him WMD's. HRW makes no attempt to deny that Saddam was a brutal dictator; just that his crimes of a genocidal nature were well in the past and that no large-scale killing was going on in Iraq before the war started in March. HRW argues that, given the brutal and dangerous nature of war, it can only be considered as a "humanitarian" effort when genocide is ongoing or at least imminent. That wasn't the case in February 2003 in Iraq.

Billmon has lots of interesting things to say about this, as usual. I may have more to say tomorrow when I'm better rested and have time to read the whole HRW article.