…just like “claiming that”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050623-8.html “[President Bush] took advantage of every possibility to try to resolve this without having to use military force” doesn’t make it true – even if you’re the Vice President.
Yes, _ACW_ readers know that the administration was lying. But the administration and its right â€“wing fluffers keep insisting that Bush exhausted all peaceful options. And those clowns need to be rebutted.
As Iâ€™ve “said,”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/index.php?id=439 there has been ample evidence – even leaving aside some good postwar reporting – that the administration was using the inspections process as a pretext for war.
Exhibit A: the persistent US complaints that Iraq was shooting at US planes enforcing the No-FlyZones over Iraq.
Michael Smith “recently wrote”:http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0623-25.htm that “the Downing Street Memo”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607_2,00.html
quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that “the U.S. had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime.”
Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.
British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.
Smith adds that the US and UK then “dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war” after Iraq didn’t take the bait.
That November, the US argued that Iraq was in material breach of “UNSCR 1441”:http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement because Iraqi soldiers were firing on the US planes.
At the time, I “wrote”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_12/iraq_dec02.asp
The no-fly zones enforced by the United States and United Kingdom over Iraq could also provide a trigger for war.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan said November 18 that firing on coalition aircraft is a â€œmaterial breach” of the resolution. McClellan said that Washington reserves the right to take such incidents to the Security Council but had no immediate plans to do so. [UNSG Kofi] Annan stated that it was unlikely that the Security Council would consider shooting at U.S. planes a material breach of the resolution…
Remember, this was _before_ the inspectors even returned to Iraq.
The US, shockingly, was on pretty shaky legal ground:
The United States argues that paragraph 8 of Resolution 1441 supports the U.S. case. That paragraph reads: â€œIraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnelâ€¦of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” Resolution 1441 does not specifically mention no-fly zones, however.
Washington argues that the no-fly zones implement Security Council resolutions because they protect Iraqâ€™s minority populations, prevent Iraq from threatening its neighbors, and monitor cease-fire conditions on Iraq. Specifically, the United States cites Resolutions 678, 687, 688, and 949. This position is controversial; none of the resolutions mention no-fly zones, and Annan stated July 5 after a meeting with Iraqi officials that the no-fly zones are not Security Council policy. Iraq has long opposed the zones, saying they violate its sovereignty and the UN Charter.
Other Security Council membersâ€™ views on the matter are mixed. Russia argued in a November 19 statement from the Foreign Ministry that the zones are not covered by any Security Council resolutions and that Washingtonâ€™s arguments with respect to Resolution 1441 â€œhave no international-legal foundation.” A spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry would not take a position on the zonesâ€™ legality or Washingtonâ€™s contention that Iraqi threats to coalition aircraft constitute a material breach of the resolution, according to a November 19 statement. China had no comment on Washingtonâ€™s interpretation of the resolution….
According to a “different UK memo”:http://thinkprogress.org/wp-images/upload/iraqlegalbackground.pdf , London also disagreed with the US position. The UK argued that the zones monitored compliance with “UNSCR 688”:http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0688.htm and specifically disagreed with the US position that the NFZs also enforced “UNSCR 687”:http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0687.htm.
This distinction is, I think, important because 1441
set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council.
But 688 had f*ck-all to do with disarmament. Seems to weaken the US legal case, no?
Anyway, please mock apologists for Bush _et al’s_ goat rodeo mercilessly…