Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Saddam is dead, long live Saddam!

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – we’ve done it again. The King is dead, long live the King.

So we’ve liberated Iraq from a brutal dictator who was heading a sectarian government, imprisoning and torturing dissidents, intent on producing illegal weapons and even allegedly using chemical weapons against his own population, killing innocent civilians in large numbers.

Today, Iraq is a better place. It is headed by a sectarian government, imprisoning and torturing dissidents, using illegal weapons including chemical weapons (white phosphorus) on their own people, and innocent civilians die in large numbers.

The last Iraqi despot, Saddam, was groomed and installed by the CIA and remained an American puppet until he fell out of favour. Today’s Iraqi government, too, was installed by the CIA, but this time under the mantle of democracy. Democracy is a way of legitimising the usurpation of power. The public accounting office in the US has just upheld the claims that Bush came to power fraudulently. So why get upset when he installs his stooge in Iraq. It’s democracy, stupid.

And what about international law, you might ask. The old Iraqi regime was chastised for not cooperating with weapons inspectors and obfuscating the work of the UN. The new regime refuses to let the UN in to investigate allegations of torture. And changing the constitution of a country under occupation and install a new government is, of course, also illegal under international law.

Under international law the occupier retains responsibility for everything that happens in the country under occupation. The US and UK governments cannot wash their hands of the human rights abuses in Iraq blaming the Iraqi government they installed. As long as their armed forces have overall control, they are charged with maintaining law and order. But who cares about laws. After all, might is right. As a precautionary measure the United States is not a signatory to any international treaty that could harm her at some point in time and vehemently opposes an international court of justice.

The only time they really need to worry about the will of the people, legality and moral responsibility is when they start losing power. Then again, the way it is going, that prospect doesn’t seem too far off. Regime change in Washington?

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