Sunday, September 19, 2004


U.N. Chief Ignites Firestorm by Calling Iraq War 'Illegal'

Bush, allies defend Iraq war UN's Annan called 'illegal'

The Bush administration has repeatedly invoked the UN Security Council's Resolution 1441 as justification for its war on Iraq, and likes to quote, in particular, the phrase "the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations" from Paragraph 13. However, equally binding is Paragraph 12, stating the Security Council shall "convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security".

The President cannot have it both ways: he cannot logically assert the authority of the Council, as expressed in 1441, to prescribe "serious consequences" for Iraq, while at the same time refuting the authority of the same body to reserve for itself, as it does in the same Resolution, the responsibility to determine what actions merit the serious consequences, as well as of what the serious consequences, even if merited, shall consist.

Apart from special measures for maintaining peace, the only uses of force allowable under the UN Charter are for purposes of responding to an actual attack (Iraq didn't attack) and defending against a threat of imminent attack (the US had no knowledge of an imminent attack). So it would seem the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was and is quite clearly "illegal", whether or not the Secretary General makes use of that specific terminology.


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