Mar 172013

War is not the solution[1]


Francisco Nemenzo

President, University of the Philippines

The President of the United States has shown utter contempt for democratic procedures.  Having failed to cajole and bully the Security Council, he is going to war without the consent of the United Nations.  For him, the majority rule is good only if the majority yields to his wishes.

“The Security Council has not lived up to its responsibility,” he arrogantly declares, “so we must rise up to ours.”  The clear implication here is that the Security Council’s “responsibility” is to obey the US.  If it fails to do so, the US will act unilaterally.


With his arrogance and willfulness, Bush has isolated the US.  The majority in the Security Council is against attacking Iraq without waiting for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to complete its work.  More overwhelming and unequivocal is the opposition to the war in the UN General Assembly.  Yet Bush has the temerity to speak for “the international community.”


His own father has reproached him for antagonizing the traditional US allies.  Not only has Bush Junior scorned the UN, he has also split NATO and the European Union.


But the fundamental issue is not the legality of the war.  The issue is whether the US has the right to decide who should rule Iraq, whether the US has the moral authority to apply overwhelming force to change a regime in another sovereign state.


I have no sympathy for Saddam Hussein.  I know he is a corrupt and cruel dictator.  But is not for us, or for George W. Bush to decide who should rule Iraq.  That is the prerogative of the Iraqi people alone.

If Bush really wants to free the world of weapons of mass destruction he should set an example.  The US maintains the biggest stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.   And he should also disarm the only country in the Middle East that admittedly possesses these weapons:  Israel, America’s foremost ally in the region.


We are all against terrorism, but not other nation surpasses the US record of terrorist acts.  The CIA tried to assassinate President Fidel Castro eight times and provided the logistics for bombing hotels and burning sugarcane fields in Cuba.  The US is the only country to actually use nuclear weapons, against Japan in 1945.  It was also the first to make extensive use of chemical weapons in the Vietnam War.


America’s commitment to democracy is plain hypocrisy.  America has supported tyrants for as long as they serve its purpose.  Saddam Hussein himself was once an American protégé.  The US helped build his war machine to make Iraq a counterforce to Iran.  It was President Reagan, with Donald Rumsfeld as emissary, who provided Saddam with military and financial aid in the early 1980s.


If, indeed, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein is as crazy and heartless as bush says he is, he might unleash those weapons when pushed into a desperate situation.  And if he has an international network of terrorists, he might have already deployed the chemical and biological weapons to the United States! War will not solve the problem of terrorism; quite the contrary, it will provoke terrorism everywhere.


Far from easing the global economic crisis, the war will make our lives more miserable.  Saddam Hussein may order the destruction of the Iraqi oil fields, one of the main sources of oil in the world.  That will cause the price of oil and other petroleum products to shoot up.


Neither will the fall of Saddam Hussein bring peace.  The Iraqi people are now a people in arms.  They will continue to harass the American occupation forces, as they did to the British before.  Worse, the Islamic militants in other countries – including those who detest Saddam – will strike retaliatory blows at American establishments and destabilize countries like the Philippines whose governments foolishly support Bush’s modern day crusade.


If the peoples of the world applaud him as our government does, Bush will be encouraged to attack the other countries where US power is challenged.  North Korea, Iran and Cuba may be next in line.  Peace is the unlikely outcome of such adventures.


I join the Presidents of Miriam and Ateneo in condemning the impending war on Iraq.

[1] Press statement, 20 March 2001.


The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on Mar 22nd 2003




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