Very powerful 1998 letter to the UN by former Attorney General Ramsey Clarke, demanding that the US never again attack Iraq. Quoted:
U.S. contempt for U.N. authority is shown by its defiance of the recent General Assembly vote of 157 nations versus 2 nations protesting the U.S. criminal blockade of Cuba, its refusal to pay dues to the U.N. year after year and its selective defiance, …
U.S. arms expenditures are approximately 25 times the gross national product of Iraq. The U.S. has in its stockpiles more nuclear bombs, chemical and biological weapons, more aircraft, rockets and delivery systems in number and sophistication than the rest of the world combined.
My mother seemed always to remember whenever talk of US’ international responsibility came up: “We don’t even pay our UN dues,” she would say. But according to a Sept. 2001 article at Global Policy, we did start ponying up right after 9/11, i.e. as soon as we realized we might need to be on good terms with the UN after all. Which is itself a reminder of how quickly we turned the post 9/11 atmosphere of international sympathy into one of global frustration and contempt.
We had a good thing going there. Trashed it.
Another thought that’s been rolling around lately, and this one kind of leans the other way. As Clarke says in the letter, a million and a half deaths had been caused by sanctions on Iraq as of ’98. But sanctions are supposedly the diplomatic, non-violent way to exert international pressure. As the administration says, 12 years of diplomacy hasn’t worked, which is why we ostensibly turn to war (by the way, this is also the key difference between Iraq and North Korea – we’ve done 12 years of “diplomatic” work with Iraq, while the blow-up with North Korea has just come on the radar). Anyway, it seems likely to me that war will result in significantly fewer than 1.5 million civilian casualties. If so, this would give the administration the ability to claim that war can result in fewer civilian deaths than diplomacy. Which is, of course, totally inside out and totally messed up.
I feel so conflicted about everything.