Iraq, the US, and International Law

Bob Rogers brogers at
Sat Aug 31 07:48:44 MDT 2002

[ URL substituted for text. Les]

Iraq, the United States, and International Law: Beyond the Sanctions

By Richard Falk, Visiting Distinguished Professor, Global Studies,
University of California, Santa Barbara and Milbank Professor of
International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

August 27, 2002

What accounts for the obsessiveness of American policy toward Iraq over the
course of more than a decade? Is it another Vietnam in the sense that the
US Government cannot bring itself to acknowledge the failure of its
approach to regime change in Baghdad since the end of the Gulf War, Saddam
Hussein having withstood comprehensive sanctions, a variety of covert
assaults, and repeated American harassment from the air without flinching?

Is it the pique at the White House and Pentagon associated with the
electoral removal from the scene of Bush, Sr. contrasting with the
persistence of Saddam Hussein, posing a filial challenge to Bush, Jr.?

Is it the long deferred payback to Israel for staying on the sidelines
during the Gulf War, despite the Scud missiles being fired from Iraq?

Is it a matter of securing US control of the oil reserves being linked to
periodic displays of regional dominance, especially through the denial of
weaponry of mass destruction to those states in the Middle East that might
seek at some point to deter or challenge the US in some future crisis?

Or is it part of the American empire-building strategy that views Iraq as
both an obstacle, but also as an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of
military dominance possessed by the US Government and its political will to
deal harshly with states that stand in the way?

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