George V. Reilly

Casus Belli

(Originally posted to Politics at EraBlog on Fri, 07 Feb 2003 07:13:08 GMT)

Tomorrow [Wed Feb 5th, 2003], Colin Powell goes to the UN to make his case against Iraq. Reportedly, he has "no smoking gun".

To my mind, the Bush Ad­min­is­tra­tion has not yet made a compelling case for going to war.

Yes, Saddam Hussein is a murderous tyrant. Yes, he has not come clean with the UN and appears to be in "material breach" of Resolution 1441. Yes, he almost certainly has chemical and biological weapons, though probably not nuclear weapons.

But, to my mind, this is not a case for war. Con­tain­ment has worked for the last twelve years. Why should it not continue to work? It worked against the Soviet Union for forty years of Cold War. And Saddam must surely know that if he tries anything, he will be bombed back into the Stone Age.

Many sug­ges­tions are mooted for the Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s yearning for war. Oil is the most prominent one. Unproven links to Al Qaida. Finishing what was started in Gulf War I. Strategic control of the Middle East. "Weapons of mass dis­trac­tion" to divert the US public’s attention from the failing economy and the Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s war on the poor and the economy.

Or some com­bi­na­tion of all of these. I don’t know. If there is a good reason, now is the time to tell us. Excuses about needing to protect in­tel­li­gence sources don’t cut it. Hard evidence is required.

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