:: Sunday, 9 February 2003 ::
Here it is in all its glory
Robert Manne's determination that the life of an Iraqi person is not worth a pinch of shit.
This man is just appalling.
Saddam is the leader of a militarily weak and now extremely impoverished Third World country. Although he is a vicious and ruthless tyrant, there is nothing in his biography which suggests he is either suicidal or insane. Under present circumstances the only genuine threat he poses is to the people of Iraq. Because this threat is very real, the most plausible justification for war against him is the one which is based on democratic or humanitarian grounds.
Such an argument is also almost impossible to sustain. The democratic-humanitarian case for war injects into the conduct of international affairs a revolutionary, in many ways attractive but also potentially destabilising new idea. As claims about humanitarian intervention could be used as a fig-leaf for old-style aggression or imperialism, the introduction of such a principle into international law would only be possible after the cession by all major nation states - including the US - of a considerable part of their sovereignty to the UN. Such a prospect evidently does not exist.
Nor is this the only weakness of the argument for war against Iraq on democratic and humanitarian grounds. Because over the past decade the Americans and the British have watched coldly as Saddam Hussein has allowed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to die as a result of the impact of the sanctions policy they have imposed, a humanitarian justification is simply not open to them.
Allow me to paraphrase.
Saddam is badbadbad to the people of his country. Going to war for the reason that Saddam is badbadbad and warring to rid that country of Saddam so those people can be liberated could be a good thing. Except it is not. Because the badbadbad argument, valid or not, might be used by others in future. (No mention that if invalidly used in future agruments against such a war could go on, rather like now. Urgh.) Oh, and by the way, Saddam's been doing it for years, so war now is no more valid than war later. Or never. So better that the Iraqis rot. And everyone else.
And he is offended when people like me call him an appeaser. He is an appeaser. He has utterly failed to grasp the concept of NOT appeasing Saddam.
I dunno 'bout this Franco German thingy but what I like about it instinctively is the use of UN troops - troops - a big ol' US contingent and an Oz presence and a US presence (cos we are virtually ready to go) - troops that will roll that fucker in Baghad.
If the UN grows some balls then bravo. If it doesn't then bravo to the US, Oz and the UK.
:: WB 3:49 pm [link+] ::