Can Bullets and Bombs Establish Justice in Iraq?
President George W. Bush has said on many occasions that he seeks to "bring to justice" those responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. On September 20, 2001, he told a joint session of Congress: "Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." Later, he associated the U.S. invasion of Iraq with that same quest for justice. Today, however, as violent resistance to the U.S. occupation increases throughout Iraq and as the Shiites as well as the Sunnis fight pitched battles with the occupation forces, the Bush administration's devotion to justice stands clearly revealed as declaration without substance.
Although convincing evidence of alleged cooperation between the Iraqi government and the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks was never adduced, nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein's regime reeked of injustice, and so the U.S. overthrow of that regime might appear to have been at least consistent with the establishment of justice. The trouble that arose at the very outset, however, reflected the choice of military means to attain the desired end. Notwithstanding all the claims made on behalf of precision weapons, modern warfare always spills over from the guilty to the innocent. Certainly it did so in Iraq, where tens of thousands of men, including many noncombatants, as well as thousands of women and children suffered death or injury as a result of U.S. military actions. Thus were new injustices committed in the process of overthrowing those responsible for old injustices. A net gain for justice?
For U.S. authorities the question never seemed to arise. On the rare occasions when they recognized that their invasion had entailed any evils at all, they always insisted that those evils amounted to only a small cost relative to the great benefits to be enjoyed by the liberated Iraqi people once the immediate turmoil of the fighting had ceased. All along, however, it was plain that many Iraqis held a different view. Indeed, many were so opposed to the U.S. presence in their country that they tossed not the ballyhooed welcoming flowers but rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells at their self-anointed liberators. Saddam Hussein's regime was quickly dispatched, thereby accomplishing the declared U.S. goal, yet the U.S. forces then settled down for an indefinite stay, and many Iraqis continued to fight them tooth and nail at great risk to themselves and their places of residence. What had become of justice?
Listening to U.S. proconsul L. Paul Bremer tell the story, we might never suspect that anything deserves notice in Iraq besides the sweetness and light of the American "reconstruction" of the country's shattered infrastructure and undemocratic institutions. Responding to questions about the recent widespread violence, Bremer declared: "I know if you just report on those few places, it does look chaotic. But if you travel around the country . . . what you find is a bustling economy, people opening businesses right and left, unemployment has dropped." Maybe so, just as after September 11, 2001, almost everything in the United States (except the airlines) continued to operate much as it had before--a few buildings knocked down here and there and four airliners lost out of a fleet of thousands didn't amount, so to speak, to a hill of beans. One suspects, however, that Bremer and other leaders of the Bush administration would vehemently reject this analogous way of putting things into perspective. After all, they have steadfastly insisted that the events of 9/11 "changed everything."
Speaking of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose followers have recently joined the fray in several cities, Bremer described the preacher as "a guy who has a fundamentally inappropriate view of the new Iraq." This statement demands close examination. Here is the resident chief of a conquering power seemingly speaking as though he were entitled to say what is appropriate for Iraq. What has happened to government by the consent of the governed? Clearly, although al-Sadr may have little authority to speak for the Iraqi people, Bremer has none at all. Al-Sadr, declared Bremer, "believes that in the new Iraq, like in the old Iraq, power should be to the guy with guns. That is an unacceptable vision for Iraq." It required a great deal of chutzpah for Bremer, who presides over Iraq solely by virtue of the massive firepower of U.S. forces there, to call into question the validity of power that flows from the barrel of a gun. Bremer has utterly no legitimacy as the kingpin of Iraq, and it would be far more becoming if he confined his declarations to topics such as repairs to the water and sewer systems.
In an April 7 press briefing, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld described the Iraqi resistance fighters as a few "thugs, gangs, and terrorists." Minimizing the scope of the resistance, he characterized it as consisting of "a small number of terrorists and militias coupled with some protests." (Rumsfeld routinely speaks of all Iraqis who oppose the U.S. occupation as terrorists.) Moreover, in the briefing, he and General Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referred repeatedly to al-Sadr as a murderer. Yet no legitimate court has convicted al-Sadr of murder. To be sure, a certain Iraqi court is said to have indicted him. What should we make of such an indictment? Who composes that court, and how did those persons gain their positions? Clearly, the court has no power to enforce any decision except with the approval and cooperation of U.S. occupation forces. One might have thought that the world had seen enough kangaroo courts during the days of Stalin and Hitler to have acquired some suspicion of judicial integrity in extraordinary circumstances. Yet U.S. authorities display no appreciation of what genuine justice requires for either its determination or its enforcement. There is absolutely no rule of law in Iraq; U.S. forces simply do as they please.
Further evidence of this disregard for justice comes from an anonymous source that the Wall Street Journal describes as a "senior Pentagon official." Speaking of previous U.S. deliberations about how to deal with al-Sadr, this official stated, "We've always been really conflicted on how to deal with Sadr. Do you capture or kill him and make him a martyr, or do you ignore him and hope that the Shiites move away from him?" Well, if one seeks to establish justice, one treats him as the rules of justice require. If he is reasonably suspected of having committed a crime, he should be arrested and given a fair trial. In no event, however, is someone who dislikes his sermons or his political views entitled to kill him peremptorily--evidently a live option in discussions among U.S. leaders, according to this nameless official. What sort of justice is it simply to kill an unpopular preacher? Indeed, such a killing would itself seem to be an act of murder that cries out for its perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, here in the tranquil confines of the United States, the dogs of war continue to howl in the mainstream media, and like the U.S. authorities in Iraq and Washington, D.C., they are howling for further bloodshed, not for justice. (As U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Ray Millen recently explained: "'Hearts and minds' is not applicable during a military campaign; that's a long-term solution.") Thus, the Wall Street Journal's editors opined on April 6 that "what's needed now is a reassertion of U.S. resolve. . . . Having let Mr. Sadr's militia grow, the coalition now has no choice but to break it up." Moreover, not content with prescribing bigger doses of U.S. violence in Iraq, the Journal's editors used the occasion to shake their fists at Iran, too. "Iran's mullahs fear a Muslim democracy in Iraq," they asserted, "because it is a direct threat to their own rule. If warnings to Tehran from Washington don't impress them, perhaps some cruise missiles aimed at the Bushehr nuclear site will concentrate their minds."
No one can deny, of course, that incoming cruise missiles do concentrate the mind--the airliners commandeered and turned into guided missiles on 9/11 certainly had that effect on leaders of the Bush administration. Cruise missiles, however, like the 500-pound bombs and M1-A1 tanks being employed to police Iraq today, are not effective instruments for the establishment of justice. There was no justice in the 9/11 attacks on New York City and precious little in the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq; nor is any in prospect should the Bush administration loose its firepower gratuitously on Iran. Such employment of indiscriminate force and violence can accomplish certain things--widespread death and destruction above all--but by its very nature it cannot establish justice. Indeed, its most visible effect is the encouragement of recurrent rounds of attack and counterattack. Does anyone really believe that the recent attacks in an arc that stretches from Bali to Istanbul to Madrid were anything but retaliation against people whose governments had cooperated with U.S. military actions in the Middle East? Until the leaders of the U.S. government come to recognize the distinction between waging war and establishing justice, the world will remain at risk of much unnecessary pain and grief.
Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute and editor of its scholarly quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He is also the author of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government and the editor of Arms, Politics and the Economy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Topics: 9/11, George W. Bush, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Terrorism
Nick Cameron, part of what you stated here:
"So just as I do not consider the slaughter of Hindus, Christians, and Jews to be a representation of Islam, so too do I consider the French experience in Algeria to be less about Christianity and more about France. So I reject your comments on this entirely."
is partly correct & yes French society is not a religious society but that does not mean that the Catholic Church was not influential in decision making outside the Western World & as far as French Algeria is concerned the Catholic Church was very influential in the sense that it made the French government believe in the need of "civilizing" the "barbarians" or "the Saracens" or "the Savage" and in their historical & unforgotten quest to Christianise the Muslims & the Animists since the times of the Crusades, the West realised that converting the Muslims to St-Paul's version of Christianity is doomed to fail again so they decided to try a new tactic manifest in the ideology of Orientalism, its influence worked to some degree as it manifested itself to be a better idea to colonise what they perceived to be the Oriental, or the Orientalised, control him, exploit him, manipulate him, assimilate him & most importantly represent him since the West believes that the East cannot represent itself. There is this strong belief still looming in the West that they can maintain their control & influence on the East under the disguise of humanism but the East is too smart to buy this lie. Some of the ideals of humanism are manifest in the belief of progress, liberty, fraternity, equality, rationalism, education, economic growth etc & the assimilated elites among the so called Oriental was subjugated to the West under seduction sometimes manifest in bribes, favors etc & wars, genocides threats & consecutive defeats at other times & they realised that the West is militarilly too strong to beat & decided to give the West a chance in modernising their
What a beautiful Arabic name Hudd, a prophet name derived from the word huda meaning straight path & Alhamd meaning praise. And praise be to Allah for having you in this pannel.
I read Nick comments, allegations, slander and defamation of my character. I decided to ignore him because I know many people will laugh at his allegations.
You claim to know French society more than I that is Moroccan, speak French fluently, know European French and worked with French Canadians.
You claim that you're full of love & don't hate Islam & Muslims is a big lie especially when you named yourself Nick "the Dajjal" Cameron.
Proud to be Moroccan Muslim, Greatful to Allah for being a Canadian citizen since 1994 & never visited the Beautiful Hore that is the United Snakes of America!!!
Jazaka Allahu Khairan for defending me!!!
My hope is that a civil war in Iraq would be averted. I happen to think, however, that Iraqis themselves must decide if such a war needs to be fought. In the meantime, in my opinion, Iraqis at the local level need to be calling the shots. In the absence of local leader's support for Coalition forces, let the local's choice of protectors see to their needs.
Rest assured, from wherever support for local hostilities (astaghfirullah) appears to be originating, hostilities (astaghfirullah) would appear to be destined - if Allah wills. After all, one of the lessons from Afghanistan would appear to be that "insurgency" sooner or later, in some way or another, tends to afflict the countrymen of those who conspired to support it.
Assalamo alaikum wa rahmatullahi.
As far as the subject of dialogue, true dialogue requires an allowance by both parties for at least some disagreement. This makes it possible for people with conflicting views to share ideas and hopefully reach an understanding in the spirit of mutual respect. Otherwise, it would be impossible for people in conflict to ever achieve peace except through coercion.
Most Muslims here seem to disagree with me, and that's fine. I disagree with most of them, and I'm fine with that too. But you and many other Muslims here just can't tolerate the fact that I have a different POV. You, like a number of Muslims here, probably believe that you can change the hearts of non-Muslims by continually browbeating and humiliating us.
Two reasons why your attitude hasn't worked with me. First, I consider all this verbal abuse to be nothing but words on my computer screen. No matter what you say, your insults are mere trifles compared to the suffering and dying of the victims of 9/11. You cannot hurt me with your words, because I know that your brethren have already hurt my people more than Internet flamewars ever could.
Second, whenever you and others like you resort to the same old "you idiot non-Muslim" pot shots at myself or other people here, you only reinforce my belief that bigotry is pervasive in the Muslim world and that many Muslims should indeed be feared by my countrymen. Put simply, your hate says much more about you than it will ever say abo
We must oppose terrorism in all its forms.
Briefly: I dont hate the American people but their Zionist controlled governments. Kerry will prove to be as bad as Bush just watch & mark my words. In America there is no way out of the Zionists grip on power except thru tax payers violent masse revolts otherwise your country is bound for destruction from within & from without. Again mark my words on this one too. You shall know governments by their fruits & looking at the US historical record one should not be a fool & surprised at the amount of anti-Americanism out there. Looking at your governments record since the end of WWII, you cannot deny that billions of dollars have been spent to establish or prop up dictatorships in other countries. When you encounter democracy not to your liking, you rush your CIA assets in to crush it as you did with the governments in the following developing democracies: Iran, Laos, Congo, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Indonesia, Bolivia, El Salvador, Chile, Guyana, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti & Venezuela. Mebrocky, don't forget what your cherished American democracy did to Chile in Sept 11, 1973. No comments on this one, just type Sept 11th 1973 & you will be horrified when you find out how your CIA staged coup d'ta where over 3000 Chileans died in vain. Allah forgives but does not forget but no lessons learned yet from Sep11,01 yet.
As per your statement concerning disrespect for the Bible please remember that the word Bible simply means book so don't confuse it with Injeel (the original &lost holy scripture that was revealed to prophet Jesus pbuh). The New Testaments 26 books were written by the father of Zionism "Saint" Paul. The so called 4 Gospels authors Mark, Luck, Matthew and John are not Jesus eye witnesses & are not the original authors of the 4 gospels. German Comparative Religions scholars & scholar Ahmed Deedat have shown clear evidence that the Bible has indeed been corrupted many times (i.e. King James Bible has been edited 25 times).
But as I said before, it's not so much a problem with Zinedine as it is a problem that pervades the Muslim world. As I stated previously, many in the Muslim world believe that it is much more important to win rhetorical victories in the War of Words than it is to engage in genuine dialogue. Zinedine is merely the most recent demonstration of this, for anyone who paid close attention to the comments by several Muslims during these past few weeks realizes that Zinedine is not the only one.
Regarding your "one-sided" comment in reference to Jeffrey O'neil, you just called me out for being "completely stupid and rude" on certain things. Obviously I disagree, but that's not my point. Clearly there have been a number of Muslims here who have made a number of rude, arrogant, and bigotted comments towards myself, my race, my our, and even our country.
If you believe that people here are too "one-sided", then why have you singled me out as opposed including at least some of the Muslims on this site? Furthermore, if you think that I'm "rude", then how do you view your own remarks that refer to my comments as "completely stupid"?
May the peace of our Almighty God be with you.
More often than not, his comments not only have blatant disregard to the realities of situations but complete bias towards even things that any sane person would consider to be atrocious. Any person who has even a semblance of rationality in his thinking and ideas and has read his comments would easily conclude how biased he is and how he loses no opportunity to demonstrate his Blind Patriotism for USA, his 'Christian Love', and his 'No Lost Love' for Muslims. No person can reason with him without getting infuriated. I would say, if someone is interested in testing one's patience let him discuss with Mr.Nick Cameron. That's my sincere advise to everyone.
As I said before, the War on Terror, for us, is not primarily about establishing justice for others, although this is a worthy secondary goal. From our POV, the War on Terror is first and foremost a struggle to secure safety and justice for Americans. It is only logical, since well-ordered nation-states must act in the interests of their own populaces before all else.
I believe that it's not for America to reshape the world in our image. As such, we should spend less time and energy trying make everyone else become like us and more of our efforts to furthering our national interests through globalization, strategically allocated aid to other countries, and military prestige.
I disagreed with the decision to go to war in Iraq because it was not the best course to securing our interests. It annoyed many of our allies in the Muslim world and brought the Israel-Palestine issue, a problem that should otherwise not be our country's concern, back to the forefront. Additionally, it damaged our relations with non-Muslim countries because of their fears (justified or not) of an increase in terrorism. Regardless, the War in Iraq has done nothing to prevent the most imminent security threats posed by our enemies like OBL and his ilk. If anything, it has emboldened our enemies because the continuous stream of U.S. casualties give them the wrong impression that we're weak. Anyone familiar with OBL's 1998 interview would realize why the appearance of weakness is so dangerous. Add to all this the hefty pricetag accompanying the reconstruction and occupation of Iraq, and I'm fairly convinced that the negatives outweighed the positives on this one.
Once our military's tasks in Iraq are complete, we need to reasses our policies so that we'll be more effective in neutralizing the threats posed by Muslim extremists.
Peace to you all!
You know, if you don't want me to speak about Christian love, then you really shouldn't have commented about it. In any event, why do you believe that a short statement of my belief would "invite retaliation"? I did not say what I said to make people angry; I said it because it's what I truly believe that Christian love is a better approach to how we should handle in Iraq things than the current one. Moreover, it was an offhand comment and should be treated as such. Should we presume that Muslims are so intolerant towards Christianity that even a one-line, off-the-cuff remark about my faith would incite ire?
Yes love should be universal, but we should keep in mind that love is generally *not* universally given. (And if you're a Christian, then you know why I think that's a problem.) Furthermore, I do believe that there's a difference between Christian love and other kinds of love. I won't explain further to prevent this becoming a debate on Christian doctrine, so I refer you to Jesus's two Commandments and invite you to read on your own. Try quoting the passage in the Bible containing these in another religion's discussion forum, and you'll see that there's probably no analogue to the Commandment about "neighbors".
As Christians, we should avoid assuming the worst of people, dismissing them as "stupid and rude", accusing each other of "thinking that we are so perfect and the other guy is an idiot", etc.
May the peace of our Lord be with you!
Brother Dear Hudd D'Alhamd, Abdul Azeez, Irfat & Owen,
Check out the Bible's unconditional Christian love that Nick Cameron is talking about. You will be litterally disgusted. Please read Matt. 3:7; 10:28; Luke 12:5; 21:23; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; 2:5-13; 3:5-6; 9:22; 12:19; Eph. 5:6; 1 Thess. 2:16; Heb. 3:7-4:13; 10:26-31; Rev. 2:23)(Num. 21:35; 31:17; 1 Sam. 15:3; 2 Sam. 22:19).1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:35; 33:6; Ezek. 16:20-21).
He meant Humanist Christians of the Enlightnement Era (L'age des Lumieres) that helped kill one million Algerian Shaheed (martyr) during the French colonialism. All in the name of liberty, fraternity and equality. Isn't it just talk and dreams if not deceit. To be honest, I still don't know if Nick C will ever wake up from his deep slumber!
Fi amani Allah
I think it is no more apparent, and clear than ever before now, that the artist formerly known as Nick Cameron should come about, and realize that his claims are wrong.
In the name of Allah,the Benificient, the Merciful
9:67 The Hypocrites, men and women, (have an understanding) with each other: They enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and are close with their hands. They have forgotten Allah. so He hath forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse.
33:60 Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time:
In any event, this article is not about me. So I request that all here stop targetting me because it distracts from the discussion.
Let me tell you a little secret about me. The reason why you've never been able to rile me up, despite all the bigotted hatred that you spew daily, is that I know that love is much stronger than the strongest extremist hate. Even if OBL himself found a way to nuke one of our cities and install a Taliban-esque tyrannny in America, he would never be able to conquer the power of love. Similarly, no matter how many Muslims move towards militancy and hatred, and no matter how many countries they take over, they will never be stronger than God. That's cos God is pretty strong.
Kinda reminds me of one time when I walked into a bar in an expat (or tourist, I'm not sure) section of Jakarta. There were people from all over the world in the joint ranting and cursing about America for everything from globalization to human rights issues. Some of the discussions I heard were fairly vile and loathsome. So what was my response? I turned my head to one particularly boisterous table and sflashed the patrons seated there patrons a wink and a smile, for I knew that no matter how much hatred these folks could muster, the power of love in America would always cancel it out.
And that, my dear friend, is who I am. So peace, love, and understanding to ya! ;)
I will not comment on the rest of your crap. It would be worthless, both your crap & my comment. One thing though, just not you to believe that you blew us all off our feet with your last opinion: "It is through Christian love that all people can conquer the inequities of Man." Let me start there that Christian love is an oxymoron. Christian sex? Oh yeah, buddy, on that I agree, in no culture(including that of Kama Sutra) a woman would perform on her partner(male or female) what a Christian woman was brought to! In the whole history of mankind there wasn't a religion shared in any nation on the globe, that allowed the cruel, heartless, inhumane and barbaric practices of the Christians, up to date! Allow me a refresher. REMEMBER. The Christianity at her peak established the Inquisition, the institutionalization of Christian love. When, they exhuberantly enfatuated with old women and cats burnt them alive at the stake; all this out of tremendous Christian love that conquered the inequities of old women and cats. Oh boy, how could I forget this ardent and very flammable love was extended to scientists and free-thinkers, like Galileo Galilei that sheared in the love for old women & cats! Oh, this immense Christian love exterminated entire native American tribes; out of love, of course for the purpose of conquering the inequity of man! Let's not forget the great love for the black man of Africa! Out of pure Christian love, the blackman was made a slave, a comodity for trade.
I said, "I suppose the recent war in Iraq changed things all over that country as well, and we can acknowledge that they have been for the better."
That should read, "I suppose the recent war in Iraq changed things all over that country as well, and we can acknowledge that SOME have been for the better."
We should also acknowledge that some things have been worse, and will continue to be so in the short term. However, I think the future is more positive than negative.
What do you mean by "Christian Love"? The Love you guys are showing in Iraq and Palestine?
Nevertheless, the War on Terror, for us, is not primarily about establishing justice for others, although this is a worthy secondary goal. From our POV, the War on Terror is first and foremost a struggle to secure safety and justice for Americans. It is only logical, since well-ordered nation-states must act in the interests of their own populaces before all else. And if people in Muslim countries don't like it, then they need to appoint competent leaders to secure their own interests. Otherwise, they should not complain to us.
That being said, there is a way to bring justice for the Iraqi people. It is through Christian love that all people can conquer the inequities of Man. But that is for another discussion.
Strongest nation in the middle east has every right to defend herself. They can use their might against un-armed civilians. We shouldn't ask why?.
You have no right to ask anything or say anything. If you dare then you will be labelled as TERRORIST. Beware.
This is what freedom of speech and this is democrocy that we want to establish around the world.
We are crying about bringing peace everywhere. Sadly this is how we want to achieve PIECE.