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Make Wars History is an association of peace activists working to end war. Horrified at the casual way in which the US and UK Governments violated international law by waging war on Iraq and Afghanistan killing thousands of innocent people, peace activists set up an international civil obedience campaign to force Coalition Governments and leaders to obey the laws of war.
Politicians who start wars break the law and breach their oaths of office. To be effective the laws of war require politicians to obey them, police to enforce them, the public to uphold them and offenders to answer to them in court.
The White House Legal Brief
On March 13th 2002 at a Press Briefing in the White House, Ari Fleischer, then but now, ex- Presidential spokesman, was asked about the legality of a war on Iraq.
He read, from an obviously prepared statement,
“The UN Security Council Resolution 678 authorised use of all means to uphold UN Security Council resolution 660 and subsequent resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area.”
In fact 678 authorised the use of force only to remove Iraqi military forces from Kuwait, not to invade Iraq.
“Thereafter,” Fleischer stridently continued, “687 declared a cease fire …. And provides then legal grounds for the use of force.”
The UN Charter The 1945 UN Charter Article 2 , states,
“must refrain..from the use of force against or the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”…except under certain narrowly defined circumstances.”
“Member states must seek a solution to disputes through the Security Council (Art 33) and the Security Council, which will determine what action to take” (Art 39)
It is only the Security Council that can decide upon the use of force :
“Plans for the application of force shall be made by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee..” (Art 48)
“Member states may use force but only the Security Council is empowered to provide the authority to use force.” (Art 48)
An exception is the attack by another state (Art 51), this includes an imminent attack. There is no suggestion either before, during or after the invasion that there was any prospect of such an attack on any member state. Although of course the Murdoch press had given a lot of the people who look at the headlines on the front page before the tits on Page 3, the idea that Cyprus was under imminent threat from missiles, and remotely controlled planes spraying God knows what. So when the Bush / Blair gang invaded Iraq, it was not simply “by-passing” the Security Council, it was flagrantly ignoring it.
That's what criminals do.
Collateral Damage from Illegal Iraq - Afghanistan Wars
The mayhem at Fort Hood in Texas, which has left 13 men and women dead and 30 injured, is a byproduct of the brutal wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a form of “collateral damage” for which the American political and military establishment is ultimately responsible.
The US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have now lasted a combined 14 and a half years. Not only is there no end in sight in either case, there is the prospect of the wars’ expansion into Pakistan, with bloodier and more disastrous consequences. The invasions have already led to the devastation of Iraqi and Afghan society, the deaths of as many as a million Iraqis alone, and thousands of Americans killed, or maimed.
The wars are not about democracy, overthrowing tyrants, or protecting the American people from terrorism. The US ruling elite is waging these interventions to seize control of critical energy supplies, to strengthen its position vis à vis its rivals in Europe and Asia, to gain global hegemony through its military superiority.
The impact of these neo-colonial wars, including the moral impact of the enormous gulf between the “official story” and harsh reality, must find expression within sections of the US military itself. To fight an unpopular war against a hostile population is a demoralizing and inevitably brutalizing experience.
Lord Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice, has said that the legal advice given by the attorney-general to the Blair government was fatally flawed. This is because there was no proof that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) actually existed, nor that Saddam Hussein had failed to comply with the United Nations’s inspection requirements. He said also that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, should have made it clear that it was the secretary-general of the United Nations who would decide whether there had been compliance and whether further action was necessary. If Lord Bingham is correct, Lord Goldsmith shares responsibility for a serious breach of international law – as serious as it is possible to be.
Lord Goldsmith’s response to this was, more or less, that this was merely Lord Bingham’ opinion and a lot of other countries went into Iraq with the UK anyway. That does not wash. Lord Bingham is the most senior law figure to have come to this view and it has never been a legal justification to say “everyone else did it”.
The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.
He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally.