Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bush, Bush, Bush, oh Lordy my Bush, my Bush 

During a press conference just earlier this month, Bush still tried to claim UNSCR 1441 justified the invasion of Iraq.

The international community was convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- not just the United States, but the international community -- and had passed some 16 resolutions. In other words, diplomacy had -- they tried diplomacy over and over and over and over again. John was at the United Nations during this period. And finally, the world, in 1441 -- U.N. Resolution 1441 -- said, disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. This was not a declaration by the United States of America, it was a declaration by the United Nations Security Council -- and a 15-to-nothing vote, as I recall.

Bush, Bush, Bush. For point number zero, Iraq didn't have any weapons of mass destruction or factories to build them. Capiche?

But for one, the "international community" was not convinced that Iraq had WMD - they were very concerned but uncertain during the formulation of UNSCR 1441, and after the inspectors gained access, still concerned but skeptical.

For another, Bush invaded Iraq to change the regime - something the UNSC not only didn't approve, but did not even discuss.

But in case he meant to be making the argument that UNSC authorized the disarming Iraq through military force, here is an explanation of why that understanding is not correct.

  1. UN Resolutions gain their authority through the member states who agree to it, of course. France, Russia, and China - all of whom hold veto power - attached a provisio to UNSCR 1441 stating that the resolution did not call for the "automaticity in the use of force." A provisio is something you attach to a document upon your agreement to it stating "I am agreeing to this upon the condition that it means ____."

    The text of the Proviso. Mexico, although not a signer to the proviso also joined in this understanding.

    This point is all Bush needs to understand, however I'll continue, only to explain why the understanding expressed in the proviso is correct.

  2. When an authorization of force is made, the language of the authorization is addressed to those to use force, not the belligerent. UNSCR 1441 is addressed to Iraq. Had it been been an address to the member states, it would have "called upon" those states to provide resources to enforce the resolution.

    The only language which could remotely be construed to refer to military force would be,

  3. "[The Security Council,] 13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;"

    "Facing" is something that Iraq does, not something the member states do. The "serious consequences" refer to the next action of the Security Council - which Iraq faces.

  4. If for some reason the above explanations don't sink into Bush's brain, I will allow someone else to finish out the explanation that the Resolution did not implicitly - far less explicitly - authorize use of force. March 6, 2003:

    Q: Thank you, Mr. President. As you said, the Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren't sure you have the vote?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, first, I don't think -- it [the resolution the UK was circulating at the time] basically says that he's in defiance of 1441. That's what the resolution says. And it's hard to believe anybody is saying he isn't in defiance of 1441, because 1441 said he must disarm. And, yes, we'll call for a vote.

    Q No matter what?

    THE PRESIDENT: No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.


And of course, the US never called for the vote, because we knew an authorization of force would not pass. Contrary to Bush's 2004 campaign talking point, I suppose one doesn't always know where he stands based on were he says he stands.

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