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Iraq War and Iran's Nuclear Challenge

The Iraq war has had a corrosive effect on the capacity of the international community to fashion a robust collective response to the Iranian challenge. Simply put, Iraq has tilted the balance of financial, political and diplomatic advantage towards Tehran. Fidelity to international regimes, laws and institutions must be required of and demonstrated by all countries. For legality and legitimacy to come together in the United Nations Security Council, its composition and procedures must be changed urgently to reflect today's military and ideational realities.


Iraq War and Iran’s Nuclear Challenge

The Iraq war has had a corrosive effect on the capacity of the international community to fashion a robust collective response to the Iranian challenge. Simply put, Iraq has tilted the balance of financial, political and diplomatic advantage towards Tehran. Fidelity to international regimes, laws and institutions must be required of and demonstrated by all countries. For legality and legitimacy to come together in the United Nations Security Council, its composition and procedures must be changed urgently to reflect today’s military and ideational realities.


We’re an empire now, and when we actwe create our own reality.1 …truth can be created by assertion,principle can be established by deceptionand democracy can be imposed throughaggression.2

aking a country to war is the most solemn international responsibility of government. It puts one’s soldiers at risk of death and injury, asks them to kill strangers on government orders, kills many civilians caught in the crossfire, and has immediate and long-term consequences that are grave and unpredictable.

My intention in this paper is neither to rake over the passions of the Iraq war nor analyse the challenge posed by Iranian moves towards uranium enrichment, but to examine how the war has had a corrosive effect on the capacity of the international community to fashion a robust collective response to the Iranian challenge. Put simply, Iraq has tilted the balance of financial, political and diplomatic advantage towards Tehran. But first some scene setting.

United Nations and Iraq

Iraq shows that it is easier to win a war without UN blessing than win the peace afterwards – but victory in war is pointless without a resulting secure peace. The war’s legality and legitimacy will be debated for years to come. This matters because the fabric of orderly relations between nations, the health of the human rights norm and the struggle for a better world are built on respect for international law. The belligerent countries insisted that the war was both legal and legitimate, based on a series of prior UN resolutions and the long and frustrating history of combativecum-deceitful defiance of the UN by Saddam Hussein. Others conceded that it may have been illegal but, like Kosovo in 1999, it was nevertheless legitimate in its largely humanitarian outcome. For a third group the war was both illegal and illegitimate.3

Similarly, there were three views on the significance of the war for the UN-US relationship: that it demonstrated the irrelevance, centrality or potential complicity of the UN.4 For some American neo-conservatives, because it exists, the UN should be disinvented: “Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him… As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions”.5

The second point of view acknowledged the need to confront Saddam but ruled out acting without UN authorisation. From a test of UN relevance, the agenda shifted to being a test of the legitimacy of US action and whether we wish to live by rules and laws or by the force of arms. Little evidence linked Saddam Hussein either to September 11 or Osama bin Laden. Iraq, successfully contained and disarmed, did not pose a clear and present danger to regional, world or US security.6 Washington’s real agenda was regime change. Two conclusions were drawn from its contrasting policies on Iraq and North Korea: Iraq lacked nuclear weapons, North Korea lacks oil.

The third argument accepted UN authorisation as necessary but not sufficient, preferring irrelevance to complicity. Arguably, the UN had already allowed itself to become complicit in the Anglo-US strategy to try to provoke Iraqi defiance as a pretext for war. Because it was necessary to create the conditions that would make an invasion legal, “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”.7 Imagine if the government insisted that someone was guilty and must be hanged. The evidence of guilt will be produced only after his execution, and the nature of his offence (murder, rape, treason) identified after the evidence has been collected posthumously. In the same way, Washington reversed the usual sequence of trial, conviction and punishment. The justification (WMD, involvement with international terrorism, humanitarian atrocities) came after the fact and was changed from WMD to liberation theology. As for the UN, it is “now more than ever reduced to the servile function of aftersales service provider for the US, on permanent call as the mop-up brigade”.8

II Goals Contradicted by Means

Washington had six great claims for the war on Iraq; each was badly undermined by the means chosen. Their collective damage to the Empire Lite enterprise is fatal. Iraq’s WMD ambition had been checked by UN inspectors and it had little ability to revive the weapons programmes. As acknowledged by senator Byrd, “we may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible pre-emptive strike from a newly belligerent US which claims the right to hit where it wants”.9

Iraq became a hotbed of terrorism as a result of the war: “There was no Al Qaida in Iraq before the arrival of US and British troops. Now fundamentalists are descending like spores of anthrax on the gaping wounds torn open by the war.”10 The occupation of Iraq has played into the hands of US enemies ideologically, tactically and strategically.11

The whole enterprise of liberal imperialism rests on nostalgia for the lost world of western empires that kept the peace among warring natives and provided sustenance to their starving peoples. This is at variance with the former colonies’ own memory and narrative of their encounter with the west. The neo-conservatives believe that US power can be exercised assertively to project and promote American values as well as protect US interests. But democracy cannot be imposed by bombers, helicopter gunships and tanks. Can it be promoted by punishing democratic friends and allies who exercised their right to dissent from a war whose justification remains contentious, while rewarding dictators who lent ready support?12 The global expansion of democracy has not been a pillar of American foreign policy; the rhetoric of democracy is an expedient justification in support of other more traditional goals. What is the answer to those who claim that aggression abroad was matched by repression at home, with serious cutbacks to many liberties affecting citizens, residents and visitors? The role of business cronies in shaping public policy had a corrosive impact on public faith in the government: “The Russians were mocked for protecting their economic self-interest, while Halliburton positioned itself at the centre of Iraqi reconstruction”.13 This too failed to inspire confidence in US-style democracy. Madeleine Albright sadly concluded that “democracy is getting a bad name because it is identified with imposition and occupation”.14 And in the UK, the war laid bare the democratic deficit that failed to check a policy of belligerence despite the expressed preference of the majority of people.

The legal basis for going to war continues to haunt the three belligerent governments. In her resignation letter submitted on the eve of the war, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, described military action in Iraq as “an unlawful use of force” that “amounts to the crime of aggression”.15One cannot promote the rule of law and the role of international law in world affairs, nor act as the world’s policeman, by hollowing out some of the most important parts of international law that restrict the right to go to war to selfdefence or when authorised by the UN.

Against the backdrop of US rejection of the International Criminal Court and active efforts to undermine it, the denial of basic justice to prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the history of supporting and arming repressive regimes, justice dispensed by such an occupying power, including Saddam’s trial, will be “of dubious legality and questionable legitimacy”.16 Finally, it is difficult to see how one country can enforce UN resolutions by questioning the authority of the world body, denigrating it as irrelevant and belittling its role in reconstruction efforts after the war.

III Liberation as Collateral Benefit

The removal of a tyrant is an undoubted public good, but it cannot trump all other considerations. Saddam’s removal is a collateral benefit amid the carnage of destruction and damage to the established principles and institutions of world order. Domestically, the death and disappearance squads are back on the streets as the country spirals downwards into civil war. Globally, it is difficult to be joyous at the descent from the ideal of a world based on the rule of law to that of the law of the jungle – though the lion might welcome such a change.

Victory in Iraq came at the price of relegitimising wars of choice (itself a euphemism for wars of aggression) as an instrument of state policy. How are we going to prevent the proliferation of the unlawful and unjustified use of force by other countries? To argue that military victory and humanitarian outcome bestow legitimacy is to say that might is right and ends justify the means: two long-standing western taboos. Will others politely accept the new US imperial order – the doctrine that the administration of the day in Washington can decide who is to be which country’s leader and who is to be toppled? Nor has Washington championed the abolition of the veto as an obstacle to effective decisionmaking by the UN Security Council. Since the end of the cold war, Washington has wielded the veto most frequently.

The balance sheet must also include the many and substantial damaging effects of the war, starting with the 2,500 US soldiers killed in action. In May 2006, 1,400 Iraqis died in Baghdad alone from targeted killings (that is, not counting those killed in indiscriminate blasts).17 What precautions should be taken to ensure that a coalition of the willing does not become the coalition of the killing? Is the total civilianmilitary fatality toll 1,00,000, 2,00,000, fewer, or more? Because Iraqis donot count, we do not know the true figure.

The United Nations stands doubly damaged. Many say it failed the test of confronting a tyrant who had brutalised his own people, terrorised his neighbours and defied the UN for 12 years. Many more say it failed to stand up to the superpower in defence of a country that posed no imminent threat to any outsider.

The UN-US relationship is badly frayed. Yet they need each other, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and elsewhere. A completely pliant UN would become irrelevant, even to the US. In a speech in New York on June 6, UN deputy secretary general Mark Malloch Brown observed that Washington tolerates too much UN bashing and stereotyping and fails to keep Americans informed of the extent to which the UN is useful to US goals, preferring instead to make use of the UN “almost by stealth”. As a result, “Much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has largely been abandoned to its loudest detractors”. An incensed John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN, described this as “the worst mistake by a senior UN official” in his UN experience since 1989, and “a very, very grave” breach of civil service neutrality. He found it condescending and patronising towards the American people and called on Kofi Annan to repudiate his deputy “personally and publicly”. Instead Annan’s spokesman said that he stood by his deputy “and agrees with the thrust of the speech”. Bolton replied that although the target of the speech was the US, the victim would be the UN. Senator Christopher J Todd, a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement saying that “Mr Bolton falls back on bullying and threats rather than constructively engaging other delegates”.18

Trans-Atlantic relations have been damaged. When the major European nations objected that the case for war had not been proven, instead of dialogue they got badtempered insults. The neo-conservative ideologues “regard allies not as proof of diplomatic strength but as evidence of military weakness”.19 If friends and allies are to be useful, they must avoid both slavish obedience and instinctive opposition; be prepared to support Washington when right despite intense international unpopularity; but be willing to say no to

Economic and Political Weekly July 29, 2006

Washington when wrong despite intense American irritation.

European unity itself was shattered. The characterisation of old and new Europe was quite mistaken. France and Germany standing together in resisting war is the new Europe of secular democracies and welfare states built on peaceful relations and embedded in continental institutions. The former Soviet satellites that sided with the US represent the continuity from the old Europe built on balance of power policies that had led to two world wars.

The US has been deeply divided from world opinion. Its soft power has been eroded. The problem of US credibility with the Islamic world is still more acute. Outgoing deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage noted poignantly that his biggest regrets were that they did not stop September 11 and afterwards, “instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world”.20

US credibility suffered a calamitous collapse with the publication of abuse photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison. Washington is yet to regain the moral high ground lost with this pornography of torture by a brutalised US military. When three prisoners at Guantánamo Bay committed suicide in June 2006, Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy (sic), told the BBC that “Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move”. Rear admiral Harry Harris described it as “an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us”. Massoud Shadjareh, a member of the UK Islamic Human Rights Commission, remarked: “this is the sort of statement that SS officers in Nazi Germany would have been envious of”.21

The military has been damaged and its relationship with the civilian leadership strained. Greg Newbold, one of the retired generals in revolt against defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the decision to invade Iraq “was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions – or bury the results”. A “fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war…while pursuing the real enemy, Al Qaida, became a secondary effort”.22 In 2005, one-third of West Point’s class of 2000 left active duty at the earliest possible moment, after completing the initial five-year obligation.23

Americans are domestically divided with an edge to their opinions that is disheartening for all well-wishers who recognise that the US role in world affairs as a great and virtuous power has been historically unique, essentially beneficial, generous to a fault, and both vital and necessary. One consequence of the loss of faith in US generosity of spirit with regard to its international military actions is efforts at balancing coalitions by others. The renewed Russian confidence is based in part on riches earned from higher oil prices resulting from the drawn out Iraq conflict, while China’s courting of Iran also results in part from its energy dependence.

The credibility of the British and US media suffered a slow but steady erosion in their coverage and analyses of Iraq. Media critics were held accountable for minor flaws and gaps in stories, but officials whose spin, dissembling and incompetence caused large-scale deaths and killings in an unnecessary war got medals of freedom. “Embedded journalists” and “Judith Millered” will be among the memorable journalistic legacies of this war. Iraq contributed to a dramatic narrowing of the humanitarian space for non-governmental actors.24

The net result of all this has been a distraction from the war on terror. Washington’s fixation with Saddam Hussein let many of the real culprits behind September 11 get away. For months, with the focus sharply and almost solely on Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden in effect became Osama bin Forgotten. “When it comes to going after the men who were behind 9/11 and who continue to wage a jihad against the US, Bush has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the forces behind terrorism, shielded the people who funded Al Qaida, obstructed investigations and diverted resources from the battle against it”.25 Al Qaida and their fellow fundamentalists were on the run, badly demoralised and universally stigmatised after September 11. Iraq fragmented their enemies’ military and political efforts, ensnared the US in a military and diplomatic quagmire, regained sympathy to their cause and fresh recruits to their ranks, renewed their sense of mission and purpose, and turned a strategic setback into a fresh opportunity.

IV Line in the Sand from Iraq to Iran

The biggest external political victor of the Iraq war, riding on the coat-tails of the Iraqi Shia majority, is Iran.26 The political cost of a military option against yet another Islamic country will be much higher because of Iraq. Washington has eliminated Iran’s two big regional rivals, the Taliban government in Kabul and the Saddam regime in Baghdad. With an enemy like that, does Iran want for friends? Given its strategic location between Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran could make life vastly more interesting for foreigners in both.

The justification for the Iraq war was the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Having been caught crying wolf, should leaders complain of the ho-hum response to the newest dire warnings of the same threat? In a recent 15-nation poll of 17,000 people, more people in more countries considered the US to be a greater danger to world peace than Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. The Washington-based Pew Research Centre attributed this to the continuing fallout from Iraq.27In a complementary poll, of 5,000 respondents in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, 36 per cent of the Europeans identified the US as the greatest threat to world stability, while 30 and 18 per cent chose Iran and China respectively.28

With nuclear neighbours to Iran’s west, north and east, and large numbers of American military forces all around it, what is a prudent national security planner to recommend to the government – to abandon or accelerate the nuclear programme (if one exists)? One columnist writes of “belligerent machismo” as “the default mode” of US engagement with the world.29Tehran too could cloak its actions in arguments since the Kosovo war that legitimacy is different from and on a higher plane than legality. Advocates of robust national postures argue that global regimes are unreliable instruments of security, international law is a fiction and the UN an irrelevant nuisance. Countries have to rely on their own military might to avoid becoming the victims of others. The NPT was negotiated for another time and another world. In the harsh world of today’s international jungle, the only reliable route to ensuring national security is through national military might, including nuclear weapons.

Perhaps Iran has taken this lesson to heart? It was attacked by chemical weapons – a WMD – by Saddam during a war in which Baghdad’s aggression remained unpunished by the west, but a commercial Iranian airliner was shot down with no penalty for the officers and country responsible. How different would have been the region’s and world history if the west had supported Iran in fighting and defeating Iraqi aggression in the early 1980s? Given the spread and deployment of nuclear powers and hostile military forces all around it, and the history of belligerent statements directed at it, purely on security calculations, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as the ultimate deterrent is not beyond comprehension.

Tehran portrays its actions as consistent with its NPT right to acquire nuclear technology and materials for peaceful purposes. The NPT requirements reflect the technical and political world of 1968. One of its core bargains is assistance with nuclear energy for peaceful use in return for giving up nuclear weapons. Today it is possible to stockpile material and acquire the technology and skills to cross the threshold from peaceful to weaponised capability with relative ease and in short time. More and more countries are bumping against the nuclear weapons ceiling as the world energy crisis encourages a move to nuclear power. Meanwhile the escalating price of oil, fuelled by the ongoing Iraq insurgency and resulting interruptions of production and supply with fears of further shortages, has swelled Iranian coffers and strengthened their bargaining position against threats of international sanctions.

What if president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed to seek an advisory opinion from the World Court on Iranian and US compliance with NPT obligations, on condition that both undertook to abide by the court’s legal conclusion? The NPT assumes that nuclear weapons themselves are illegitimate. Those who had them promised to give them up while others promised not to get them. The five NPT-licit nuclear powers regard their Article 6 promise as rhetorical but treat non-proliferation as a binding and enforceable obligation.

But if any one country can justify nuclear weapons on grounds of national security, so can others. If we are serious about putting a stop to the developing nuclear threats, then either the nuclear powers must dismantle their nuclear stockpiles and so convert the NPT from a non-proliferation into a prohibition treaty.30 There is an urgent need for a universal, verifiable and enforceable nuclear weapons convention to join the biological and chemical weapons conventions. Or they must articulate a post-NPT world view that discriminates between responsible and criminal regimes, showing why some are less nuclear-equal than others. The nuclear cooperation deal between India and the US begins to do just this. This transcends an anachronistic NPT and bases the threat on a series of inflammatory statements and incendiary steps by Ahmadinejad since he became president.


Iraq confirms that, as with terrorism, a war of choice is an unacceptable tactic no matter how just the cause. The administration’s agenda amounts to a revolutionary attempt to overthrow the post-1945 order painstakingly constructed by the US.31 The fall from grace of an America that was the object of everyone’s sympathy and support after September 11 has been astonishing. That support understood and backed the Afghanistan war but fractured when attention turned to Iraq whose links to September 11 were tenuous.

As a great power, the US has strategic imperatives, not moral ones. To accuse it of double standards and hypocrisy thus misses the point. The state department and pentagon are not branches of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Washington is motivated to act internationally not because it cares about foreign people, but because it cares about its own interests. The US is consistent in its foreign policy, remarkably so: but strategically consistent, not morally so.32

The three optimistic assumptions behind Washington’s Iraq folly were: the Iraqi people will welcome and love us as liberators with the ouster of Saddam; the UN will fall flat on its face and the countries of the world will flock to join the coalition as soon as we find and display Iraq’s WMD; and Iraq will rebuild itself with petrodollars. All three were proven wrong. What was meant to have been an awesome demonstration of limitless American firepower and will power turned out to prove the limits of American power in defeating even a small band of insurgents fighting urban warfare with their own bodies as the primary weapon-delivery system. An Iraq that was meant to showcase the birthplace of the democratic crusade in west Asia became its graveyard instead. The electoral triumphs of Hamas and Islamists have cooled US ardour for democratising west Asia.

Should foreign forces withdraw and risk an immediate descent into chaos, anarchy and civil war, or will their continued presence ensure a slow but steady slide into an insurgency-fuelled chaos and anarchy?33 The coalition allies cannot stay

Economic and Political Weekly July 29, 2006

enemy, Al Qaida, became a secondary

put, taking casualties to no apparent purpose; nor go forward militarily in an unwinnable war; nor turn back politically for fear of the fallout for their militarypolitical credibility.

All of which might put the ball back in the UN’s court. But its authority too has been diminished by the war. What is to stop other leaders from mimicking the bumper sticker argument about not needing a permission slip from the United Nations to defend one’s country? Tehran could lay a substantial legal challenge to the five nuclear powers-cum-permanent members of the Security Council sitting in judgment on it when their own nuclear stockpiles are in defiance of the World Court’s advisory opinion in 1996. The idea that the five should concentrate legislative, executive and judicial powers to themselves violates elementary notions of due process. Imagine if abuser regimes, and only they, had permanent membership and veto powers in the new Human Rights Council.

Fidelity to international regimes, laws and institutions must be required of and demonstrated by all countries. Trashing global institutions and cherry-picking norms and laws is incompatible with using them to compel compliance by others. To those who uphold the law themselves shall be given the right to enforce it on others. For legality and legitimacy to come together again in the Security Council, its composition and procedures must be changed urgently to reflect today’s military and ideational realities.

Built to preserve peace, the UN is not a pacifist organisation. It was created on the fundamental if paradoxical premise that sometimes force will indeed have to be used to defend world peace. But if force is used unwisely, prematurely or recklessly, the possibility of its use plummets when it is both necessary and fully justified. The United Nations cannot contemptuously be brushed aside as irrelevant and disposable in one crisis, only to be lifted out of the rubbish bin of history, dusted off and put to use in another.

The world is a better and safer place for all of us because (1) the cold war was fought, of how it was fought, and who won

– US power prevailing in defence of American values; and (2) the United Nations exists, of what it does, and what it symbolises – the ideal of an international society based in human solidarity, grounded in law and ruled by reason. Therefore the world will be a better and safer place for all of us if the indispensable superpower and the indispensable international organisation work in tandem, not at cross-purposes, with force put to the service of law.




1 Unnamed Bush administration official, quoted in Bob Herbert, ‘Bush’s Blinkers’, New York Times, October 22, 2004.

2 Gary Younge, ‘In a Warped Reality’, Guardian, March 21, 2005, London.

3 For the three arguments, see David Kreiger, ‘The War in Iraq as Illegal and Illegitimate’; Charlotte Ku, ‘Legitimacy as an Assessment of Existing Legal Standards: The Case of the 2003 Iraq War’; and Ruth Wedgwood, ‘The Multinational Action in Iraq and International Law’ in Ramesh Thakur and Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu (eds), The Iraq Crisis and World Order: Structural, Institutional and Normative Challenges, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2006, pp 379-425.

4 This is developed in Ramesh Thakur, ‘Iraq, UN and Changing Bases of World Order’,Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 38, No 23, June 713, 2003, pp 2261-66.

5 Richard Perle, ‘Thank God for the Death of the UN’, Guardian, March 21, 2003.

6 Not only did the coalition forces fail to find any WMD after the invasion, they managed to lose almost 350 tonnes of high explosives stored under IAEA seal at Iraq’s Al-Qaqaa military installation, and this despite IAEA warnings to the US; (‘IAEA Says It Warned US about Explosives’, USA Today, October 29, 2004).

7 ‘The secret Downing Street Memo’, Sunday Times, May 1, 2005, London. See also Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting It Right, Times Books, New York, 2005.

8 Alexander Cockburn, ‘It Should Be Late, It Was Never Great’, The Nation, December 22, 2003, p 9.

9 Robert C Byrd, ‘The Truth Will Emerge’, May 21, 2003, available at 10 George Galloway, ‘These Are Blair’s Last

Days’, Guardian, May 3, 2005.

11 See Benjamin and Simon, The Next Attack.

12 After general Pervez Musharraf reneged on his promise to give up the post of army chief, the Washington Post commented that “the general has become a classic example of the sort of US ally Mr Bush has repeatedly vowed to repudiate: an authoritarian ruler who offers tactical security cooperation with the United States while storing up trouble for the future”; ‘Another Pass for Pakistan’, December 31, 2004. See also the trenchant analysis by leading Pakistani journalist Farhan Bokhari, ‘Musharraf’s Penchant to Stay in Charge’, Japan Times, January 7, 2005.

13 Paul Heinbecker (Canada’s ambassador to the UN at the time of the Iraq war), ‘Washington’s Exceptionalism and the United Nations’,Global Governance, 10:3, July-September 2004, p 277.

14 Deborah Solomon, ‘Questions for Madeleine Albright: State of the Secretary’, New York Times, April 23, 2006.

15 ‘Iraq War “Crime of Aggression” ’, BBC News, March 24, 2005 ( uk_news/politics/4377469.stm).

16 Hanny Megally and Paul van Zyl, ‘US Justice with an Iraqi Face? International Herald Tribune, December 4, 2003.

17 Julian Borger and Michael Howard, ‘Baghdad has Bloodiest Month as 1,400 Targeted Killings Add to Toll’, Guardian, June 7, 2006.

18 See Ramesh Thakur, ‘UN Is Still the World’s Best Hope for Peace’, Canberra Times, June 7, 2006.

19 Robin Cook, ‘Bush Will Now Celebrate by Putting Falluja to the Torch’, Guardian, November 5, 2004.

20 Greg Sheridan, ‘Reflections of a Straight Shooter’, Australian, January 20, 2005.

21 All three quoted in Suzanne Goldberg and Hugh Muir, ‘Killing Themselves Was Unnecessary: But It Certainly Is a Good PR Move’, Guardian, June 12, 2006.

22 Lt gen (ret’d) Greg Newbold, ‘Why Iraq Was a Mistake’, Time (Asia edition), April 17, 2006, pp 30-31.

23 Thom Shanker, ‘More Army Officers Bailing Out’, International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2006.

24 See John S Burnett, ‘In the Line of Fire’, New York Times, August 4, 2004; Isabel Hilton, ‘When Does Aid become a Weapon of War?’ Age, reprinted from the Guardian, Melbourne July 14, 2004.

25 Craig Unger, ‘ “War president” Bush Has Always Been Soft on Terror’, Guardian, September 11, 2004.

26 As indeed was predicted by those with knowledge of the region. Thus Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, in an interview just weeks before the invasion of Iraq, warned that US and British troops would be bogged down in Iraq for years, there would be civil war between Sunnis and Shias, and the real beneficiary would be the Iranian regime – but the Americans were in no mood to listen. John Simpson, ‘How Predictions for Iraq Came True’, BBC News, April 10, 2006; middle_east/4894148.stm.

27 Ewen MacAskill, ‘US Seen as Bigger Threat to Peace Than Iran, Worldwide Poll Suggests’, Guardian, June 15, 2006.

28 John Thornhill, Daniel Dombey and Edward Alden, ‘Europeans See US as Threat to Global Security, Says Poll’, Financial Times, June 19, 2006.

29 Simon Jenkins, ‘If This Is Ahmadinejad’s Bluff, It Is Bluff Worth Calling’, Guardian, May 10, 2006.

30 The linkage has been strongly reinforced by the Blix Commission. Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms. Report of the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, WMDC Secretariat, Stockholm, 2006.

31 See Robert W Tucker and David C Hendrickson, ‘Iraq and US Legitimacy’, Foreign Affairs, 83:6, November-December 2004, pp 18-32.

32 George Monbiot, ‘The Moral Myth’, Guardian, November 25, 2003.

33 See Ahmed S Hashim, Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2006.

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