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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Foreign reaction to invasion chilling

The effects of the war against Iraq are becoming clear. The most manifest effect is the political schism that has occurred. The reasons that have been cited for this have been anything from the oil industry and international trade with Iraq to national allegiances and feelings over the threat.

Some say that “illegal” trade contracts with Iraq are the reason some nations have refused to support the administration’s war. However, such trade agreements are not illegal. On May 14, 2002, the United Nations Security Council brought an end to economic sanctions on Iraq.

In fact, approximately half of all Iraqi oil exports for the last two years?an average of 440,000 barrels per day?have been to the United States, amounting to about nine percent of all American oil imports.

In 1999 and 2000, the Haliburton Oil Company, under then-CEO and now vice president Richard Cheney, worked on developing a number of Iraqi oil fields, in violation of then-standing sanctions.

It appears that this war has not caused Middle Eastern nations to abandon Iraq, as some had hoped.

In a March 24 meeting of the 22-member Arab League, an ultimatum against the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was approved by all members except Kuwait, who abstained from the vote.

In it they declared the invasion a violation of the United Nations charter. Secretary-General of the league Amr Moussa is quoted as saying, “I salute the Iraqis and wish them victory.”

China has also declared the strike a violation of the charter. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, previously calling the attack a violation of international law, also said, “they ignored the opposition of most countries and peoples of the world and went around the UN Security Council?[for] military action against Iraq.”

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is quoted: “Can one state resolve the crisis in the Middle East?” He also said, “No country can set itself up as the world’s guardian,” pointing to the international idea that a nation that does this is guilty of imperialism; his answer is that the United States has “no choice” but to consult the United Nations, globally seen as the acceptable guardian of the world.

Russia’s view is not much different. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian ambassador to the UN, called the American invasion of Iraq an “unprovoked military action?undertaken in violation of international law.”

President Vladimir Putin called the attack unjustifiable, “an attack which questions a basic principle of world order.” He also said, “If we install the rule of force in place of international security measures, no country in the world will feel secure.”

Recently in Belgium, a court case was filed against President Bush, stating that in this invasion he has committed crimes against humanity by causing a great number of civilian causalties. In Belgium such a “crimes against humanity” law exists.

The White House report on the affair appears to have the form of an opinion rather than an actual report, citing only three facts, yet the bulk of the argument given is conjecture?examples from other nations, which in this case is more or less irrelevant, since those nations were building their own weapons programs, which were ended more than a decade ago.

The report also makes use of scare tactics, implying Iraq was involved in terrorist attacks completely unrelated to the Middle East.

An integral part of the puzzle it fails to mention is the responsibility of the United States in the matter?the 1984-88 arrangements of the sale and development of biological and chemical agents to Iraq for the specific purpose of using against Iran in order that western oil interests would not be threatened.

Seeing that in the last six months the United States has given three different reasons for going to war, the first seen internationally as unfounded and almost ridiculous, the second hypocritical and paranoid.

The third, the “liberation of Iraq” from Saddam Hussein, given to a solely American audience on March 17 in the American President’s announcement of the ultimatum sent to Iraq, would have been the only completely sensible one in the global community, but was not even addressed to it. It is not difficult to see why so much dissent is occurring.

To the world, it is either a “preemptive” attack or an “imperialist” attack, to America, a “crusade” or an “act of liberation”. The nations united against abusive governments in Serbia and Afghanistan.

They united for the Persian Gulf War in 1991. If the President’s original intention was to liberate Iraq, why did he not use such reasons in the debate at the United Nations?

Obviously, the call to arms against despotic abuse has served well many times before. Instead, the course taken appears to have severed a great historical friendship within NATO, and prospective friendships with past enemies.

Now there is clearly newly formed enmity in the world. Leaving friends behind and turning them into enemies because they do not agree, as Congress did with its unnecessary “patriotic” renaming of French fries to “freedom fries”, will inevitably lead to struggle in later times.

China and Saudi Arabia spoke of “severe repercussions”. At least diplomatically, we may soon see what that means.

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