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Colin Powell's UN Speech « Previous | |Next »
February 8, 2003

Did Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations convince doubting US liberals about the need to go to war wth Iraq even though there was no "smoking gun"?

One indication is given by the posting of disgusted liberal called Colin Powell lays out the evidence. They say that:

"The Secretary's evidence on Iraq's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons wasn't as convincing as the material on chemical and bioweapons, but in our view Powell's presentation was more than enough to place the burden of persuasion firmly on those -- including the French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese -- who claim that Saddam Hussein can be contained without military action. That proposition -- which in the DisgustedLiberals' view has long been dubious -- is now looking entirely unsustainable."

The New York Times appears to be shifting ground judging from Endgame and The Case Against Iraq

For a point by point analysis of the claims in Colin Powell's speech, see href=",2763,889846,00.html">Powell's evidence against Saddam: does it add up?

February 14th now becomes a key date. That is when Blix and EL Baradei are due to report back to the Security Council on their work as inspectors. In the meantime expect more concessions from Iraq to buy time; more pressure on the United Nations to both back diplomacy with the use of force and to use force when Iraq fails to comply; and more neo-con criticism from journalists such as Charles Krauthammer of the UN for being captive to small nation states wanting to thumb their nose at Washington's power.

And hopefully more material like this that discredits the standard Bush, Blair Howard claim that here are substantial current links betweenIraqi President Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda.

For the sounds of media silence on congressional oppositional voices, see Lisa English's posting "WE DECIDED NOT TO RUN IT..." And courtesy of Lisa there is a good analysis of the different positions on the Iraq war in Douglas McGill's A GLOBAL CITIZEN THINKS ABOUT WAR; in a weblog--- McGill Report structured around the cosmopolitan ideals of global citizenship.

Douglas says that there ' are four basic perspectives on this possible war. Two of them are held by supporters of the U.S. president’s efforts to forcibly oust Saddam, and two are held by those who are opposed to his plans."

He says that: "The war’s supporters define the goal of the war as:

A. To liberate the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule in order to establish a beachhead of liberal democracy in the Middle East;

B. To ensure the long-term stability of the global economy in order to protect the long-term prospects of the U.S. economy;

The war’s detractors meanwhile define its purpose as:

C. Foreign adventurism in the affairs of a brutal regime which nevertheless controls only a small portion of the world’s oil and poses no immediate threat to U.S. national interests;

D. An imperial land grab orchestrated by a handful of scheming oligarchs and fat cats whose goal is to preserve their grip on power, boost their oil company stocks, and protect their lavish lifestyles.

Douglas concurs with the judgement of public opinion that the U.S. Bush administration is pursuing the war to maintain global economic stability (B) whilst publicly justifying the aggression in terms of traditional American ideals (A). He also concurs with out judgement that George Bush has changed his vision of America’s role in the world in the world of nations form; being an isolationist when he was candidate to being aggressively internationalist under the banner of the war on terror as a President. The Republicans are walking the US down the path to being an empire.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the ALP has clearly defined its position: it is standing for something---it will only support a military attack if the UN Security Council votes for it. This has been widely welcomed in Labor ranks.and received the seal of approval from the liberal media commentators. This is the ALP differentiating itself from John Howard's Government, but does so by mining a latent anti-US sentiment and a popular dislike of George Bush, rather than a defence of the role of the UN.

The ALP disappoints. It should be mounting a strong case to see that the UN inspection system works, and that it work in a way that represents a triumph for the UN. Why don't they argue to support a UN war to enforce inspection in opposition to Howard's support for a U. S. led-war for "regime change", for a US-style US "National Security Strategy" and for its doctrine of preemptive war? The ALP could then argue that the Iraqi regime needs changing and so differentiate those on their left who are part of a peace movement and unwilling to acknowledge the brutality of the Iraqi regime or the dangers posed by its weapons of mass destruction.

While the ALP appears to be losing its way, our national newspaper continues to thunder about the appeasers of tyranny and how Saddam cannot save Crean. Its depressing the way public debate in Australia is conducted in cartoon images.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:24 PM | | Comments (2)


Gary, once again a well-explained position. I wonder if Mr Crean would favour a Franco-German proposal that emerged this weekend. Would the ALP get behind a plan to place 1000 U.N. troops in Iraq to oversee not only the forceable disarmament of Iraq of any weapons of mass destruction with the active support of the world's intelligence community, but also to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections in Iraq. In return, Saddam would probably have to agree to step down and accept exile in a third country (probably Russia) to satisfy the U.S. If Saddam rejects this plan, then he would indeed have the approbation of the entire security council and the U.S. dogs of war would be let off their leash to make short work of the regime with a surgical decapitation of its leadership.

I wish France and Germany had come up with this earlier. Yes I go along with this proposal. It is a plan that has an eye on a political solution, which is what is missing from the purely military response of Bush, Howard and Blair.

Afghanistan stays in my mind. The US turned its back on that country in 1992 after the Soviet defeat, allowed Pakistan to fulfill its regional ambitions and viewed the Taliban regime as benefical to its intersts.

It simply failed to see, or paid no attention to the medium and long-term consequences of all this.

My interpretation of this? They are doing the same with Iraq. Quick military action without much consideration of the medium to long consequences.

At least with the UN you get to get hear the different voices and views of what the consequences ae likely to be.