155. Military action serves no purpose

Unlike the three editorials you carried on November 1, 5 and 6 in which you favored a military action against Iraq, Tony Newman rightfully said in his November 7 letter that "We need a nonviolent solution to the problem with Iraq."
The reason that is being given for a military action against Iraq is that it is violating UN resolutions which represent the international law and express the will of the international community. Big deal. Hundreds of resolutions were taken against Israel, in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Israel, however, consistently refused to implement them. Why is it that nothing is done to enforce them while no options are ruled out to enforce those taken against Iraq? So much for the double standard.

In your first editorial you said that Iraq is "blocking UN arms-inspection teams." This is incorrect. The inspection can go ahead, Iraq said, but without US inspectors. You also said that Iraq "is again challenging the United Nations over compliance with the cease-fire terms." A breach of cease-fire means a military action is warranted. But when Richard Butler, chairman of the United Nations Special Commission, made a similar statement in the Security Council, he was reminded by the French ambassador that only the Council can declare a breach.

More importantly, the question that needs to be asked is what will a military action achieve, especially if it is unilaterally taken by the United States? Nothing substantive. An ineffectual military action like the two previous ones will further weaken this option and sap respect for America; it will certainly split the coalition, if it still exists; and it will expose the rift between the Security Council's members.

November 16, 1997

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