Axe de mal?
Is France trying to get into the Axis of Evil? While the U.S. Army is “cocking the fist” of the 4th Infantry Division, it’s most modern heavy division, and aiming it at Iraq, France has said, in effect, non to guerre. The French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said his country would not support an Security Council resolutions authorizing war right now.
De Villepin said Washington was being impatient in regards to the United Nations weapons inspectors in Baghdad, and added, “We believe that nothing today justifies envisaging military action.” He also said France might veto a war resolution if the United States and Britain didn’t, in effect, sit down and shut up. President George W. Bush, predictably, had a merde fit.
“This business about more time — how much more time do we need to be sure he is not disarming?” he fumed.
What’s ironic about all of this, of course, is that Team Bush keeps moving the goal posts on Saddam. When the game seems to be going against them, with weapons inspectors finding scraps of information, France and others urging that the inspections be given a chance to work and Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei reporting that talks with the Iraqis had been “productive”, the Bush team shifts the goalposts in its quest to attack and occupy Iraq. The New York Times, by way of the International Herald-Tribune reports that the Bush team now says that, “This should not be about smoking guns,” an unnamed White House official was quoted as saying. “We may never find a smoking gun, though it sure would help. Rather than a site-by-site investigation, you need to look at this as an investigation to test certain principles — whether Iraq is truly cooperating or not.” (Emphasis added)
So, the United States is saying that it’s willing to go to war — without a Security Council resolution authorizing war — because Saddam is not complying with … Security Council resolutions. Wouldn’t that mean, if France vetos a war resolution, that the United States would be guilty of violating not a Security Council resolution but Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which states “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”?
Oh, the irony. Saddam is charged with violating UNSCR 1441, and when things don’t go America’s way, Bush maintains the right to violate the charter of the United Nations, making the United States an even bigger international outlaw than Iraq.
Yes, yes, I know. There are those who say Article 51, which supports the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security,” grants the United States the right to attack Iraq. But so far, Iraq has not attacked the United States nor is there available proof that it intends to do so — unless it’s attacked by the United States, of course, and then it could invoke Article 51 of the United Nations charter and defend itself. (And around we go! …)
The Security Council, through the inspection regime, is taking measures to maintain international peace and security. The inspections should be given a chance to work. Bush is piqued because the Security Council is just not doing what he wants it to do — namely OK the occupation of Iraq’s oil fields, encirclement of Iran and the establishment of a forward presence in the region to pressure Saudi Arabia. The impatience of the White House is not borne of the threat of imminent danger from Iraq; it’s borne of the fear that the world will finally say “non” to an American imperium.