Re: MD Understanding Quality And Power

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Fri Dec 17 2004 - 16:45:44 GMT

  • Next message: Mark Steven Heyman: "Re: MD Understanding Quality And Power"

    Hi Sam,

    More quick comments...

    Will await your response re last quick comments :-)

    On 17 Dec 2004 at 12:40, Sam Norton wrote:

    > An excellent analysis of the legality of the USG-UKG unilateral
    > action against Iraq is available here, at the Lawyers' Committee on
    > Nuclear Policy website:
    > This legal brief was performed by objective third party analysts,
    > which is to say that it was not performed by US-UK lawyers
    > advocating in favor of the attack.

    Some side (snide?) comments: not sure that a) it is true that Matrix
    chambers are 'objective', they are seen as left-wing and, ironically
    enough, Mrs Tony Blair, aka Cherie Booth, is one of their members;
    b) why are we using 'objective' as a form of praise?; c) you've come
    dangerously close to defining 'objective' as those who disagree with
    US/UK, which makes it a bit circular.

    msh says:
    Objective in that their first concern is not advocacy for war; also,
    in that they appear to address all the arguments proposed by the
    advocates for war. Is there one they missed? If not, then there's
    no circularity.

    We were agreed on steps 1 - 4 of the argument as presented.

    > sam:
    > 5. Those sanctions a) were breaking down (largely thanks to French
    > and Russian oil interests), and b) were causing huge human
    > within Iraq
    > msh says:
    > Actually, the WORKING sanctions caused far more human suffering
    > anything done by Hussein, but I digress.

    I don't think this is a digression. I think this is absolutely
    central to the argument. Can we agree that the sanctions system in
    place was monstrous, leading to the death of some 500,000 children,
    for example?

    msh says:
    Yep. And let's not forget that such sanctions would not have been
    implemented without US support.

    > Even if it could be proved that France and Russia were somehow
    > corrupt in their participation in the UN process, which is highly
    > doubtful,

    I don't think it is doubtful, that is, I think it no more or less
    doubtful than that the US/UK were corrupt in their participation. As
    your argument seems to be that the US/UK were so corrupt, are you
    saying that France/Russia are more moral than US/UK? I would think
    that a difficult argument to sustain.

    msh says:
    I think this is off-point. All states have their own "dealings" with
    other states. The fact is, that France and Russia were working
    within IL in promising to veto the US proposed resolution for the use
    of force. The US, seeing that such a veto would work against their
    PR "image" of IL lovers when they proceeded with their invasion,
    pulled their proposal rather than let the veto enter the public
    record. This IS NOT working within the system of International Law.

    <snip info about who's doing the most business with iraq>
    sam: the benefits flowing from the (corrupted) oil-for-food
    program going to French firms to US/UK firms.

    msh says:
    Regardless of who was profiting from business with Iraq, prior to the
    invasion, there is no doubt about who is profiting AFTER it. This
    too is a red herring. If there was an IL case to be made against
    Russia and France, regarding their business dealings with Iraq, then
    the case should have been made.

    If your position is that the UN is so hopelessly corrupted that
    International Law is meaningless, and therefore the most powerful
    countries should go ahead and do whatever they like, then you are
    simply reverting to a system of might-makes-right.

    If this is your position, then our argument is over. I mean, what am
    I going to the say, it's not nice to rule by force? I would say,
    however, that people who think it's OK to rule by force always
    believe they hold the winning hand when it comes to the use of

    > this would not legitimize unilateral rogue action on the
    > part of any member state.

    Agreed, but irrelevant to this step of the argument (as with previous
    steps - we're coming to the crux later on)

    msh says:
    More to come....

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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