Iraq: War and Occupation
I'm going to make this fairly brief because I've been working on some things for the second draft of my thesis all day, and both my hands and brain hurt. There's a lot of people out there who still cling to the view that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were and are illegal because they lack the blessing of the United Nations. These people are wrong, and in any event, as Dean Acheson once said, the survival of states is not a matter of international law. Frankly, I don't have much use for the UN Security Council and a lot of its other bodies. There are those which do good work in protecting and feeding children, and taking care of human rights, but these are largely overshadowed by "high security" matters that fall to the Security Council. The Council is outdated, outmoded, and irreflective of current global realities, and the concept that a democracy can't do what is an international public good because non-democratic China wants to protect its economic interests is repugnant to any good Wilsonian. That's my view, some people agree with it, but many do not, and believe Kofi Annan when he says that the UN is the sole entity that can confer international legitimacy on the use of force and other international actions.
For them, I present this. People who continue to harp about the supposed illegality of the war and subsequent occupation need to look at Security Council Resolution 1637, which affirms the legitimacy of the occupation because the multinational force is there on the request of the legitimately-elected government of Iraq. I'll even bold it below so that there can be absolutely no mistaking what the UN has said on this matter. Because I'm nice, here are the operative clauses of the resolution (the preamble is lengthy and I don't want it to clutter my page, though it is helpful too, so I'll give a link):
Determining that the situation in Iraq continues to constitute a threat to
international peace and security,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Notes that the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at the request of the Government of Iraq and, having regard to the letters annexed to this resolution, reaffirms the authorization for the multinational force as set forth in resolution 1546 (2004) and decides to extend the mandate of the multinational force as set forth in that resolution until 31 December 2006;
2. Decides further that the mandate for the multinational force shall be
reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or no later than 15 June 2006, and declares that it will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the Government of Iraq;
3. Decides to extend until 31 December 2006 the arrangements established
in paragraph 20 of resolution 1483 (2003) for the depositing into the Development Fund for Iraq of proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas and the arrangements referred to in paragraph 12 of resolution 1483 (2003) and paragraph 24 of resolution 1546 (2004) for the monitoring of the Development Fund for Iraq by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board;
4. Decides further that the provisions in the above paragraph for the deposit
of proceeds into the Development Fund for Iraq and for the role of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board shall be reviewed at the request of the Government of Iraq or no later than 15 June 2006;
5. Requests that the Secretary-General continue to report to the Council on
UNAMI’s operations in Iraq on a quarterly basis;
6. Requests that the United States, on behalf of the multinational force,
continue to report to the Council on the efforts and progress of this force on a
7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
And there you have it, kids. The UN has given its approval and support for the occupation of Iraq. The occupation would not have occurred without the invasion and regime change. Ex post facto legitimacy will do nicely. I'm more than a trifle disappointed that this bit of news never made it on television (guess the media don't like to give up on one of their top talking points), but knowing the truth is more than enough to overcome that bit of sadness in my Wilsonian heart.