Richard Perle: War was illegal

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by SLClemens, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. SLClemens
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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1089158,00.html

    War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal

    Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger in Washington
    Thursday November 20, 2003
    The Guardian

    International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.
    In a startling break with the official White House and Downing Street lines, Mr Perle told an audience in London: "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing."

    President George Bush has consistently argued that the war was legal either because of existing UN security council resolutions on Iraq - also the British government's publicly stated view - or as an act of self-defence permitted by international law.

    But Mr Perle, a key member of the defence policy board, which advises the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said that "international law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone", and this would have been morally unacceptable.

    French intransigence, he added, meant there had been "no practical mechanism consistent with the rules of the UN for dealing with Saddam Hussein".

    Mr Perle, who was speaking at an event organised by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, had argued loudly for the toppling of the Iraqi dictator since the end of the 1991 Gulf war.

    "They're just not interested in international law, are they?" said Linda Hugl, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which launched a high court challenge to the war's legality last year. "It's only when the law suits them that they want to use it."

    Mr Perle's remarks bear little resemblance to official justifications for war, according to Rabinder Singh QC, who represented CND and also participated in Tuesday's event.

    Certainly the British government, he said, "has never advanced the suggestion that it is entitled to act, or right to act, contrary to international law in relation to Iraq".

    The Pentagon adviser's views, he added, underlined "a divergence of view between the British govern ment and some senior voices in American public life [who] have expressed the view that, well, if it's the case that international law doesn't permit unilateral pre-emptive action without the authority of the UN, then the defect is in international law".

    Mr Perle's view is not the official one put forward by the White House. Its main argument has been that the invasion was justified under the UN charter, which guarantees the right of each state to self-defence, including pre-emptive self-defence. On the night bombing began, in March, Mr Bush reiterated America's "sovereign authority to use force" to defeat the threat from Baghdad.

    The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has questioned that justification, arguing that the security council would have to rule on whether the US and its allies were under imminent threat.

    Coalition officials countered that the security council had already approved the use of force in resolution 1441, passed a year ago, warning of "serious consequences" if Iraq failed to give a complete ac counting of its weapons programmes.

    Other council members disagreed, but American and British lawyers argued that the threat of force had been implicit since the first Gulf war, which was ended only by a ceasefire.

    "I think Perle's statement has the virtue of honesty," said Michael Dorf, a law professor at Columbia University who opposed the war, arguing that it was illegal.

    "And, interestingly, I suspect a majority of the American public would have supported the invasion almost exactly to the same degree that they in fact did, had the administration said that all along."

    The controversy-prone Mr Perle resigned his chairmanship of the defence policy board earlier this year but remained a member of the advisory board.

    Meanwhile, there was a hint that the US was trying to find a way to release the Britons held at Guantanamo Bay.

    The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, said Mr Bush was "very sensitive" to British sentiment. "We also expect to be resolving this in the near future," he told the BBC.
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Yawn :rolleyes:

    Nobody, other than liberals, are trying to charge the administration with a "crime". And if they had, the democrats would be equally responsible. This is all just propoganda and spins. There will be zero charges brought forth, so calling it illegal is simply political maneuvering.
     
  3. janeeng
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    Clemens Clemens, Jim is right! I thought maybe after the other day, you might have put some thought about being a SILLY LIB!!! :p:
     
  4. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    Gotta have a couple of Libs around to keep to rest of us on our toes:D Life as we know it would be awful boring without them
     
  5. dijetlo
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    They have the added advantage of a carefuly constructed logical argument backed up with a significant number of facts. The counter arguments have never addressed the core assertion of the "liberal" argument, prefering instead to dwell on the political leanings of the poster. It is a common tactic for those who have no effective rebuttal, but I feel its' effectiveness is over-rated.
    Hey, btw, welcome to the board...
     
  6. jimnyc
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    You mean a carefuly constructed logical argument like George Bush reinstating the draft, when it was actually introduced by a real pair of winner democrats, and dismissed as quickly as it came in? :laugh:
     
  7. jimnyc
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    Or how about a carefuly constructed logical argument in replying to a speech you thought was written by Bush when it was actually Clinton's ?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself! :D
     
  8. rtm
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    No like as in 20 year olds getting shot up and having their throats cut when they're not supposed to be there as recognized by the civilized world's international law.
     
  9. jimnyc
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    Speaking of someone who can't formulate a logical argument.

    So, please enlighten us to what "civilized world's international law" is and why no one from the USA has been prosecuted or brought up on any charges for breaking this law?
     
  10. Annie
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    International law, if by which you mean UN sanctioned, well then Kosovo also was illegal, although the original interveners were different, and ineffectual. The US though, came to the aid of their allies and turned things around, now you think we should abandon that locale?

    What has been happening in the UN or the EU regarding a Israeli/Palestinian solution? Gee, I mean they are the world's decision makers, right? They certainly are superior at compulsive criticism, but when did they solve a problem such as al Queda-there certainly were enough opportunities prior to 9/11? Actually what are they doing for Turkey now that there are these 'illegal' attacks, at least I'm assuming they would be considered illegal.

    What alternative to the dreaded wall, other than to stop existing, have they offered to Israel for its security?

    I deplore what is happening to our troops in Iraq, I would like to see things improve even more quickly than they are, and YES, they are improving. There are some ideas, beliefs, and problems that can only be defended by those that think of others or country above self. That is why they are called heroes.
     

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