The supreme international crime
Larry Beinhart, author of "Wag the Dog," investigates the (il)legalities of the Iraq war. Excerpt:
In the aftermath of the war, Iraq devolved into chaos. It is a particularly violent chaos, in which private armies, murder, car bombings, suicide bombings, assault, kidnapping, rape, looting and robbery are all more normal than normality.
If the invasion of Iraq was a preemptive war or a preventive war, it achieved its objectives the day the inspectors began to inspect “without conditions.”
If “self defense” was effected, then what is an action beyond that?
Is it a “war of aggression?”
If civilians are killed in the course of a legitimate military operation, it is regrettable, but an unfortunate necessity. But if it is not a war of self-defense, if it is a war of aggression, then those deaths are among the multitude of evils that make aggressive war “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”