Written by U Ne Oo on 2003-04-16
There has been a headline commentary in the Apr-2003 New Era Journal, the view points by some Burmese democracy activists regarding United States led invasion of Iraq and subsequent overthrow of Saddam Hussein regime. Interestingly, of 7 activists interviewed, two of them considered the US action as justified whilst other have shown reservation about the way in which the war has been conducted. Following is my contribution to this discussion.
In my view, the US led war on Iraq is unjustified. This is not simply because the fact that war, or use of violence, is wrong. The United States Government's underlying motive regarding the war seems to be dis-honourable. As well, the tactic on which it deployed to remove Saddam Hussein regime, as best described, is mediocre: particularly reflective on the political incompetence of the US leaderships.
Firstly, the motive of US administration removing Saddam Hussein appears not within the great American cause of promoting liberty and delivering democracy to the rest of the wrold. If United States has anything in such noble cause, the Burma case must come in as an example. In fact, the American administrations have more precedence for securing seemingly their own national or economic interests. Case in example is Panama and General Noreiga, on which Americans impose a regime friendly to US so as to secure America's vital economic/strategic interest.
The case of Iraq and an urgency that compelled Americans to hastly disposed Saddam Hussein seems to be two fold. One in which it must be taken into account is the political rivalery. The fact American administrations, especially George Bush Jr presidency, inevitably look at the survival of Saddam as their failure. This kind of "political rivalery" is personal in nature, which in no doubt, will be greatly influenced in decision makings of normally politically mediocre president.
The other factor that driven Americans to move on Saddam is, as everyone can guess, to secure oil resources from Iraq. Iraq has one of the world largest oil reserve, i.e 10.7%, second only to Saudi Arabia which has 24.9%. For some years, Americans have been dependent upon the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. As it turns out, the 19 of the plane hijackers of September 11, 2001 are the Saudi Nationals (so too is the Terrorist Chief Osama Bin Ladin). This indicates Saudi politics' serious opposition to American oil monopoly. The invasion of Iraq may have been indicative of underlying American thinking that it's about time the US gets out of Saudi Arabia (or atleast, being prepare to not rely upon Saudi oils).
THE INVASION AND CONSEQUENCES
Some says war is a necessary evil. Such stance could make a point when the use of force is legitimate, and accorded within international laws. Current invasion of Iraq by United States is not. It violates United Nations Charter and this will induce several undesirable consequences.
- Firstly, there is likelihood of States such as China and Russia (or India perhaps) will advance their own nationalistic interest ignoring UN Charter. For example, we have seen Russian government has exploited global "war on [muslim] terror" atmosphere to suppress the human rights of the Chechens. In fact, what will, if any, be consequence if China decide to invade Taiwan ? These are the kind of political repercussions which we can expect at the global level.
- Secondly, terrorists at the global level will regain ground because of the unjust war on Iraq. In this case, the normal rules of "Injustice will be met with resistance(desirable)" and "Injustice breeds terrorism(undesirable)" will apply.
- Thirdly, conducting a war is not the same as a political campaign in the city square. Nor will it be considered by other powers as "drunkens' brawl in the pub" which you can forget the next morning. In international politics, conducting a war is ultimate and the US can expect increase mistrust by even among normal allies. Increase of hostility by its foes, of course, will be in many years to come.
- There is precedent in serious difficulties that will be encountered replacing a legitimate government at the United Nations. For example, during 80s in Cambodia, the Pol Pot regime was toppled by Hun San led forces backed by foreign powers. This has resulted a long and agonising debate of who is legitimate government at the UN. Unfortunately, Saddam regime may be out or Iraq, but still carry Iraqi flag at the UN. The US agenda on Iraq seems to be placing a puppet-democratic regime friendly to the US. The recognition of any government at the UN, in this case, will not be straight forward.
- Human rights have significantly suffered already by war on terrorism. Even America, where for more than two century aspiring democracy of the world, have sought to detain about 600 individuals without charges for more than 15 months in offshore Cuban camps (Two Australian nationals, David Hicks and Mumdouh Habib, are among the detained).
The Australian government has been involved in unlawful invasion of Iraq. Unlike US or Britain, the reason for Australian support to war seems to be peculiar. The Australian Government conduct leading up to war on Iraq can at best be described as reckless. This particular behaviour by Australian leaders deserve thorough analysis.
AS for our friend activists in America, there is one quote and one comment remains: JF Kennedy's famous speech of 1961:
"... remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside......
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. ......
.....My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man....." (end quote.)
As this point of time in our world history though, let alone speaking for the freedom of mankind, as the world's concern citizens, there doesn't seems to be any common ground to begin with to be doing anything with the American administration.
-- Regards, U Ne Oo.