FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Baby Bush Crosses the Rubicon

When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, he wrote, in his Gallic Wars: “Alea iacta est [The die is cast].”

Just after 5pm yesterday, when the United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 to disarm Iraq, the US President George Bush crossed the Rubicon. “The world must insist that judgment must be enforced,” he told us.

The Rubicon is a wide river. It was deep for Caesar’s legions. The Tigris river will be more shallow–my guess is that the first American tanks will be across it within one week of war–but what lies beyond?

For Rome, civil war followed. And, be assured, civil war will follow any American invasion of Iraq. “Cheat and retreat will no longer be tolerated,” Mr Bush told us –forgetting, of course, UN Security Council
resolutions 242 and 338 which call for Israel to withdraw from the Arab territories occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

And after eight weeks of debate in the Security Council, no one mentioned the crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, because–of course–Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 11 September. If the United States invades Iraq, we should remember that.

And what do we get from Mr Bush? Absolutely no gesture towards the Arab world. The joy of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, can be imagined. “Should we have to use troops,” Mr Bush tells us, “the US, with friends, will move swiftly–with force–to do the job.” In other words, he will invade Iraq, the “friends”, presumably, being British. The United Nations can debate any Iraqi non-compliance with weapons inspectors, but the United States will decide whether Iraq has breached UN resolutions. In other words, America can declare war without UN
permission.

So how many of the American tanks entering Baghdad will be flying UN pennants? None, I suspect.

The BBC, with CNN and all the other television networks, was billing Resolution 1441 as “the last chance” for Saddam Hussein. In fact, it is the “last chance” for the United Nations. As the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said, the road ahead will be “difficult and dangerous”. He
can say that again.

It’s easy to see the traps. America’s UN ambassador, John Negroponte, insisted that the Security Council resolution “contains no hidden triggers”. But of course it does. It allows the United States to decide if Iraq has opposed the resolution. It allows the Security Council to discuss non-compliance without restraining the United States from attacking Baghdad.

“One way or another,” Mr Negroponte said, “Iraq will be disarmed”. It’s the “another” way that the UN should be worried about. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s nightmare headmaster at the UN, performed appropriately. “Crystal clear”, “unequivocal choice”, “serious consequences”, “ambiguous modalities”. You could almost feel the cane. No mention, of course, of the CIA’s manipulation of the last team of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq.

Iraqis want peace and an end to sanctions–let’s forget President Saddam for a moment–and President Bush seems to want war. So Mr Bush must be praying that the Iraqi President does something to obstruct the UN arms inspectors. In which case–I quote Mr Bush–“we will act in the interest of the world”. Thanks George. And thanks Saddam if this feckless, vicious dictator chooses to defy the UN.

Washington wants a UN fig leaf for a war on Iraq and is willing to go through an inspection process in the hope that Iraq obstructs it. Mr Annan was talking yesterday about the “unique legitimacy of the UN”. But the cruel dictator of Baghdad cares as much about that as President Bush.

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: Usa Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail