Sunday, August 21, 2005

Who's Justice are we talking?

I’m loath to name names, for fear of giving further attention to the unworthy. Besides you’ll know who I mean. THEY have spent the last few weeks asserting that this is an unjust war, as if by saying the phrase, the proposition thus becomes true. But one wonders on what grounds they are claiming this. Legally unjust? Morally unjust? To whom? Saddam Hussein? Baath party members?

If by unjust they mean Illegal, they have some explaining to do. The war was certainly legal under US law, Congress authorized the use of force. While Kofi Annan chooses to classify the war as illegal under international law, this is a not only a dubious and untested proposition, it is simply wrong.

Under a series of UN Security Council resolutions dating back to number 661 in 1990, through 1441 in 2002 force was “legally” authorized by the UN to enforce Iraqi compliance. In 2003 Sophists on the Security Council sought to appease the sensibilities of the French party. Though not including specific language on use of force in 1441, the document offered a last chance for Iraqi compliance. When Iraq failed to meet that window of compliance by early 2003, use of force became legal under terms implicit in resolution 1441, and explicit in many of the earlier documents.

Additionally, under conventions of international law, armed forceful intervention is not only legal, but required when it can prevent various crimes against humanity such as genocide. These certainly occurred in Iraq. I personally patrolled the streets of Ad Dujail, site of the 1982 revenge murders of 150 men, which stand as the initial indictment against Saddam Hussein in his coming trial.

I’ve met many surviving victims of this local holocaust, which was hardly limited to those 150 easily documented homicides. Retributions against this Shiite city lasted for years. They included economic warfare; farms were razed and property re-assigned to loyal Sunni Baathists and the crossroads city was removed from official maps. Revenge rapes, murders and mutilations continued well into the 1990s.

This single instance in the pattern of regime crimes crushes the argument that this war is unjust on moral grounds, unless one can somehow stretches ones mind around the idea that Saddam’s crimes were justified. His crimes include the Ad Dujail murders, the gassing of the Kurds, the Iraqi parliament murders of 1979, the suppression of the Southern Shiites in 1991, and the dispossession of the Marsh Arabs to name just a few. How was it unjust to dismantle this regime and bring its leaders to trial for these acts? The injustice was the long, perhaps at times necessary, toleration of this regime.

Some of those who call this an unjust war have taken to expressing support for our enemies, the insurgents. Having had personal experiences in which some of these insurgents tried to kill me I am stunned by this. It is amazing that our homegrown radicals can stand by a grieving mother, blaming our president for that son’s death while expressing support for the very men who murdered him.

Like their Vietnam era antecedents, their heroes, these desperately mis-guided Americans see our enemies as some kind of freedom fighters. Look at all the freedom Ho Chi Minh and General Giap brought to Vietnam. But believe me, there are real Iraqi freedom fighters. They are just on our side.

Lt Quays Wadi Hussein was accidentally killed in a friendly fire incident, February of this year. Lt Quays was a young professional officer in the commandos under Saddam, but he saw the opportunity for liberty in the new Iraq. He volunteered for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corp as a jundi or private. By the time of the Transfer of Sovereignty he was a company leader in the renamed Iraqi National Guard. He died in the service of his nation, while trying to defeat the reactionary forces of oppression.

Haji Ali al Kazrahji was the retired commandant of Saddam Hussein’s police academy and an important tribal leader in the Sunni Trinagle when the war began. Despite his rank under Saddam he was an eloquent and committed advocate of democracy. He served as the first post-war police chief of Ad Dujail and then as the city’s representative in the provincial government. While on his way to Tikrit in January, he was assassinated by insurgents, for his continued support of coalition efforts in building a working Iraqi democracy.

The left seems to be basing its assertion of unjust on the mere existence of insurgency. All insurgencies are not legitimate expressions of popular national will however. This one consists of less then a single percentage point of Iraq's populace, a far cry from the 33% who voted in Januaries elections. And the mere existence of resistance does not negate the rightness of a democratic cause.

Were we initially welcomed in post war Germany or Japan? Were Union soldiers seen as liberators by southerners? Sometimes a political culture is so corrupt, or to use the president’s word, evil, that a change is required, and only the most absurd application of relativism can make it seem otherwise.

The problem with our left wing critics, is that they can’t see anything worth fighting or dying for, therefore they have no rational way to pick sides in a fight between good and evil.


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