Bush Crosses Rubicon - But What Lies Beyond?
to Alternative Reader Index
Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, he wrote, in his Gallic Wars: "Alea
iacta est [The die is cast]."
after 5 p.m. yesterday, when the United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 to
disarm Iraq, US President George Bush crossed the Rubicon. "The world must
insist that judgment must be enforced," he
Rubicon is a wide river. It was deep for Caesar's legions. The Tigris river will
be more shallow – my guess is that the first American tanks will be across it
within one week of war – but what lies beyond?
Rome, civil war followed. And, be assured, civil war will follow any American
invasion of Iraq. "Cheat and retreat will no longer be tolerated," Mr
Bush told us yesterday – forgetting, of course, UN Security Council
resolutions 242 and 338 which call for Israel to withdraw from the Arab
territories occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
after eight weeks of debate in the Security Council, no one mentioned the crimes
against humanity of 11 September 2001, because – of course – Iraq had
absolutely nothing to do with 11 September. If the United States invades Iraq,
we should remember that.
what do we get from Mr Bush? Absolutely no gesture towards the Arab world. The
joy of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, can be imagined. "Should
we have to use troops," Mr Bush tells us, "the US,
with friends, will move swiftly – with force – to do the job." In other
words, he will invade Iraq, the "friends", presumably, being British.
The United Nations can debate any Iraqi non-compliance with
inspectors, but the United States will decide whether Iraq has breached UN
resolutions. In other words, America can declare war without UN permission.
how many of the American tanks entering Baghdad will be flying UN pennants?
None, I suspect.
BBC, with CNN and all the other television networks, was last night billing
Resolution 1441 as "the last chance" for Saddam Hussein. In fact, it
is the "last chance" for the United Nations. As the UN secretary
general, Kofi Annan, said, the road ahead will be "difficult and
dangerous". He can say that again.
easy to see the traps. America's UN ambassador, John Negroponte, insisted that
the Security Council resolution "contains no hidden triggers". But of
course it does. It allows the United States to decide if Iraq has opposed the
resolution. It allows the Security Council to discuss non-compliance without
restraining the United States from attacking Baghdad.
way or another," Mr Negroponte said, "Iraq will be disarmed".
It's the "another" way that the UN should be worried about. Sir Jeremy
Greenstock, Britain's nightmare headmaster at the UN, performed appropriately.
"Crystal clear", "unequivocal choice", "serious
consequences", "ambiguous modalities". You could almost feel the
cane. No mention, of course, of the CIA's manipulation of the last team of UN
weapons inspectors in Iraq.
want peace and an end to sanctions – let's forget President Saddam for a
moment – and President Bush seems to want war. So Mr. Bush must be praying
that the Iraqi President does something to
the UN arms inspectors. In which case – I quote Mr Bush – "we will act
in the interest of the world". Thanks George. And thanks Saddam if this
feckless, vicious dictator chooses to defy the UN.
wants a UN fig leaf for a war on Iraq and is willing to go through an inspection
process in the hope that Iraq obstructs it. Mr Annan was talking yesterday about
the "unique legitimacy of the UN".
the cruel dictator of Baghdad cares as much about that as President Bush.
2002 lndependent Digital (UK) Ltd
9, 2002 Bulatlat.com
want to know what you think of this article.