The problem with pre-emptive strikes

Written in 2003

George Bush justifies his attack on Iraq as necessary to:

  • prevent Iraq attacking another country,
  • get rid of weapons of mass destruction, and
  • disarm that country.

Well Mr Bush you are the leader of the United States of America. Should the US attack Iraq this would constitute an attack on another country.

The United States has more weapons of mass destruction than any other country on earth. It will use depleted uranium, long distance missiles, cluster bombs, electro-magnetic bombs, chemical weapons and other mass killing weapons in its attack on Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people will be killed in the event of a war against that country.

I suppose that the United States military can claim that its launching its Cruise missiles at Iraq is one way to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. But it does not explain why it is ok for a super power to use weapons of mass destruction but totally illegitimate for other countries to even have them.

On the 22nd of January 2003 George Bush said he was tired of Saddam Hussein stalling for eleven years on disarmament. It is possible that the Iraqi people are tired of 11 years of sanctions and blockades which the United Nations calculates have resulted in the malnourishment of the majority of the population and the deaths of more that half a million Iraqi children under the age of five. The Iraqi people might just be growing a little tired of having their air defence systems bombed by British and American planes on a daily basis.

For most of my life the cold war between Russia and the West was a testimony to failure of both the West and Russia to disarm. We somehow managed to get through that period without the Americans or Russians obliterating the world with their nuclear weapons. Someone should tell Bush that stalling on disarmament may not be peace but it sure is a lot more peaceful than invading another country. This “stalling” actually means that Iraq has not invaded another country for 11 years. It is probably useful to remember the second last time that Iraq went to war the US was their ally.

Most independent observers are suggesting that the planned US invasion of Iraq has more to do with controlling Iraq’s oil than disarming Iraq. If this is so, then the Howard Government, by agreeing to supply troops to assist with Bush’s attack on Iraq without United Nations authorisation, is making our troops firstly guilty of murder and secondly complicit in the theft of Iraq’s resources.

If we, as a nation, go along with this pre-emptive invasion of Iraq in breach of agreed international conventions and United Nations protocols, then to whom do we turn should some other country decide that we should be disarmed because we present a threat in the region? Australians once foolishly believed that our great “friend” the United States would come to our aid if we are attacked or need military assistance. We saw that when it came to the liberation of East Timor that our American friends did not come to our assistance because it did not suit their wider geo-political interests at that time. A wise public will remember the lessons of Timor.

If we feel we can ignore the opinion of the rest of the world and invade other countries when it suits the US, then we should not be surprised if we become the target of increased military operations by either formal or informal agencies.