America’s foremost ally, Tony Blair’s Britain, has asked the United States for more time to convince the members of the United Nations Security Council of the need for war against Iraq. Blair is worried because his supporters in the Labour Party do not support a war to liberate Iraq, and hopes that the endorsement of the United Nations will win their support. Blair’s concerns are legitimate–the leader of a free country should always be reluctant to commit his country to a war without popular support. However, his strategy and his logic are deeply flawed. Many honest Britons are concerned that the war is not a just one, and the endorsement of the corrupt potentates of the United Nations will do nothing to change this.
Blair hopes that a United Nations Resolution will neutralize the doubters and create popular support for the war. But the goal of this war has nothing to do with the goals of the United Nations. The goal of the war is not only the destruction of Iraq’s weapons capabilities, but the end of a Stalinist reign of terror and the liberation of the Iraqi people, creating a free, secular, peaceful and democratic Iraq. This goal cannot be justified by reference to the United Nations, which is founded on the doctrine of state sovereignty.
“Sovereignty” derives from the monarchist doctrine that a prince’s people and territory are his property, to be disposed of as he saw fit, the identification of a state with its king, its “sovereign”. This doctrine means the preservation of every dictatorship on earth from outside intervention, no matter how odious the dictator. This doctrine was the source of the original George Bush’s great mistake, leaving Saddam Hussein in power in 1991. The member dictators of the United Nations feared the precedent that removing a dictator would set, and prevailed upon President Bush Sr. to leave Saddam Hussein in power in “his” original borders.
Not long ago, the free nations of the West rejected the notion that a war of liberation required the consent of despots and their collaborators on the United Nations Security Council, and launched wars to liberate the people of first Bosnia and then Kosovo from the murderous brutality of the Yugoslavian and Serbian armies and armed gangs. The Labour Party of Britain, and the people of Britain, supported both of these wars, without UN endorsement, because they were wars of good against evil.
If Blair makes his case for war by appealing to the U.N. Security Council, then he will fail to win the support of his people. By asking his people to respect the judgment of the United Nations, he tells them that war is not moral until the corrupt potentates of the Security Council say it is. But when those potentates are bought or bullied, then their moral status will be exposed and their ability to sanction the war ruined. Or, if those potentates are not successfully bought or bullied, then their verdict will stand against the war–Blair’s chosen tribunal will have rejected his case.
Basing the morality of war on “the dignity of the United Nations” is a farce. The United Nations has no dignity and no morality. It is conceivable that, through a combination of bullying and bribery, the United States and Britain will secure a United Nations Security Council resolution backing the invasion of Iraq. The French, leading opponents of such a resolution, are not noted for standing on principle, and neither Russia nor China seeks a confrontation with the United States. But this will not win the support of honest skeptics–the conscience of a free person cannot be bought or bullied, it must be persuaded with evidence that the war is just.
The real case for war has nothing to do with the United Nations. The case for war is the benefits of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, the evil of Iraq’s regime, and the threat it poses to both the free world and to the citizens of Iraq. He is a brutal Stalinist tyrant who controls his country through wholesale torture and massacre, he has invaded his neighbors, he has used chemical weapons, he harbors and supports terrorists, he breaks his agreements, he thumbs his nose at the civilized world, his state television celebrated the attacks of September 11. If we do not remove this dictator now, we will never remove any dictator–ever.