Iraq's Real Weapon Of Mass DestructionNewsday December 17, 2003
Trinidad and Tobago
Saddam Hussein's surrender to coalition forces on Sunday should catapult into focus the need not only for the establishment of a properly structured system of War Crimes Tribunals, but for all countries which today are not signatories to the International Criminal Court [ICC] to become members and accept the authority of this body. The principle of the jurisdiction of War Crimes Tribunals should not be seen as applying merely to vanquished and/or weak nations, but rather to all. In like manner the legal authority of the International Criminal Court should have relevance for the entire international community. Admittedly, this is untrodden ground, but as George Washington, first President of the United States of America, would write shortly after his inauguration on April 30, 1789: "I walk on untrodden ground... There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent." Washington would also advance in a letter to the man he had appointed his country's first Attorney General, Edmund Randolph: "The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of Government."
This is something on which the United States should ponder, with specific reference to its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. I offer this although I accept that purists will indulge in a bit of nit-picking. Hussein, undoubtedly, committed or must be held responsible for the committing of some of the worst atrocities of the past 200 years. Saddam Hussein, former iron-fisted ruler of Iraq, had led his country in the 1980s in a war against Iran in which the US had found to be convenient, and in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed, many of them through being gassed. Iraq's atrocities in that war must take their place alongside those of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany during World War 11; a Fascist Benito Mussolini-led Italy invasion and brutal occupation of Ethiopia; the German military campaign in Tanganyika [1880-1907] in which 120,000 Tanganyikans were killed and/or starved to death; the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Algerians by the French from 1830 to shortly before Algeria gained her Independence, and the explosively repulsive "wiping out" of some 100,000 Filipinos, who had dared to struggle for the freedom of their country - the Phillipines - from the United States.
The almost systematic killing off of the Filipinos, whose "crime" was their very human desire to be free men and women, would prompt the American author, Mark Twain, to say that the "stars" on the American flag should be replaced with the skull and crossbones! For the record, Frances Ghiles wrote an article on the Algerian War of Independence which was published in the Times Literary Supplement of February 6, 1998 [Page 36] under the heading, "Another Savage War." But the above references to cruelty against the people of the several countries mentioned do not absolve Saddam and he must be punished. What they have done, however, is present a case for the expansion of the number of countries accepting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and for the setting up of a system of War Crimes Tribunals. We must be careful not to view what Saddam, easily one of the cruellest tyrants of this and many other generations, did, in a vacuum. At the same time if we are not to simply pay lip service to respect for international law and the moral authority of the UN we must frown on the intervention in Iraq by the several nations led by the US, which launched an invasion of Iraq on the advanced spurious argument that they were searching for weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations should not have allowed itself to have been sidetracked over the years in a ridiculous effort to seek to verify whether Iraq was complying with its (UN's) resolutions. By pursuing this course rather than take firm action against the Saddam Hussein regime over reports of abuses of human rights, it tacitly allowed a barbaric government to pillage and to kill.
Meanwhile, the United States economy which had been in troubling decline since early 2000, but more rapidly from the last quarter of that year, is now improving and set to improve yet faster as a result of that country's real raison d'etre for its invasion and occupation of Iraq - the exploitation of Iraq's substantial reserves of crude oil and the gaining of multi-million dollar contracts for the reconstruction of that country. And although these are basically speaking to take place, the confidence in their being around the corner has already given a fillip to the US economy. There is a third factor in the invasion equation, that is the brake the George Bush Administration has put on Iraq having its crude supplied to the European Union (EU) paid for in Euros. Any spread of the EU's Euro manoeuvre would have led, as night follows day, to the displacing of the US dollar as the world's most favoured unit of exchange. This would have become an added factor in the weakening of the US economy. The payment in Euro strategy which was adopted in 1999 and saw even Trinidad and Tobago and Commonwealth Caribbean sugar to the EU, under the Convention of Lome, being paid for in Euros, again from 1999, no longer represents a threat to the US dollar. [Perhaps I should explain that the exchange rate with respect to the United States dollar can be applied vis a vis our sugar]. Had the United States and its coalition not cynically intervened militarily in Iraq, the Euro strategy so overwhelmingly embraced by Saddam Hussein and his advisers would have ultimately been Iraq's weapon of mass destruction, with its principal target being the US economy!
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