By Dr. Solomon Terfa

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations

Alcorn State University

From the outset, the winners of the war between the US-UK Vs Iraq were a given. The only question was the duration it would take and the casualty and damage each side would sustain.

However, even before the dust settles, time would allow to reflect and analysis the war objectively. The Bush doctrine is premised upon the right of the US government not only to go after Bin Laden's Al Qaeda and other terrorists but also against states that bank-roll their activities and provide them with sanctuary. The preemptive war against Saddam's Iraq was premised on two mutually supportive assumptions: one that Saddam has working relations with Al Qaeda and, two that his refusal to disarm and or account for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as demanded by the more that eighteen resolutions of the UN Security Council, is a clear testimony of his intention to use it and or to pass it to Al Qaeda, the sworn enemies of the United States. But the question is: Has the Bush administration provided incontrovertible evidences that such weapons exist and or that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda or even other terrorists ?

Since the end of the war in Iraq, on April 9, 2003, the various American weapons experts have been frantically searching to find WMD "the smoking gun". So far nothing has been found. How can this be, if what the administration has been saying is true? What were those video tapes, satellite pictures, and anonymous human informants actually providing evidence of? In his speech to the Security Council, on 5, February 2003 Secretary Powell said that " every statement he was making ...was backed by solid sources, not assertions, fact and conclusion based on solid intelligence".  

The administration has, so far, refused to allow the UN inspectors team to return and finish its inspection. It may be moot debate anyway because resolution 1441 calls for disarmament of Iraq and not for the overthrow of Saddam's government. Hence, by their unlawful action the US and UK have made the UN inspectors irrelevant. It is therefore extremely important that a legitimate, qualified and objective team of inspectors by, possibly, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency so that the international public opinion will not be suspicious of the motive of the US and UK. Unless that happens, there will always be room for doubt and suspicion the weapons of mass destruction are found.

The evidence that the US and UK need to prove their case should be strong and genuine enough to withstand legitimate scrutiny. No one document, however bona fide it might be, is sufficient to establish that a working relationship between Saddam's Iraq and Bin Laden's al Qaeda existed. The operative word here is working relationship between the two and hence, the burden of proof is high. It should be able to withstand the test of due process of the law in both the court as well as the court of public opinion. It has to link Iraq to either the atrocities committed in US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and or the vicious attack on September 11, 2001. Any other generic or general relationship won't do it.

As far as finding weapons of mass destruction is concerned, the burden of proof is similarly high. No discovery of any thing that potentially be used in a WMD will do it. The US and UK, by refusing to agree to the extension of deadline as requested by UN inspectors and by arguing that discovery of WMD was urgent had gone to war. This, therefore, elevated the burden of proof. Hence the alleged weapons of mass destruction will have to be found in a finished and ready-to-be-used configuration. I therefore contend that the administration waged a preemptive war against Iraq based on arguments whose assumptions have not been proven. Despite the fact that the administration had changed its objective from disarmament to liberation the people of Iraq from the clutches of Saddam, the criteria upon which Resolution 1441 was based remains valid because that is what precipitated the war.

As I have tried to show above, critical questions have been raised and contradictions have been exposed. Hence, the objective of this paper is to acknowledge the institutions and individuals that had lived up to their job descriptions and or expose them if they had fallen short. It goes without saying therefore that those who did are the winners and those who did not are the losers.

First the losers. In this category there are seven groups. They are institutions and or individuals that are not worthy of the position they occupy and the responsibility with which they are entrusted. Their motivation is self perpetuation in the office they hold. In this category are the members of the United States Congress; the Secretary General of the United Nations, members of the media, the Security Council, the Secretary of State of the US, the morality monitors, and the liberation imposters.

Members of the US Congress are irresponsible egoists because sometime in October 2002, a large majority of them chose to abdicated the responsibility given them by the Constitution, that is, the authority to declare war. This power was reasserted in 1973, after having lost it to the Executive branch for long time, when Congress itself took it back in War Power Resolution over President Nixon's veto. The founders of the Republic entrusted this awesome responsibility of declaring war to Congress because they understood that it was too sensitive an issue to be left to one individual. They knew that an individual could be manipulative and malicious and could take the country to ar for any and all kinds of reasons. They wanted the war that their country was to fight would be one that is imposed upon it, as a last resort in defense of the security of the people and territorial integrity of the country. It goes without saying, therefore, that they wanted members of the Congress to debate it and see the merit and demerits of it. But in the recent case, most of the members of both houses chose only to cursorily pay lip-service to why the country had to go to war. They did so oblivious to the fact that neither the president nor his Secretary of State had been able to establish a clear and unambiguous link between those who perpetrated the despicable and cowardly act of September 11, 2001 and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. They also chose to ignore not only CIA's doubt of whether genuine working relationship exist between the two, but also they chose to disregard the unsubstantiated and forged claim made by the administration that Iraq has purchased high strength aluminum tubes for its nuclear weapons production and also was shopping for uranium in Africa which were both debunked by Dr. El Baradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.). To my knowledge, only Congressman Henry Waxman, D-California, took the initiative to write a letter to President Bush, as reported by, asking him what he thinks of El Baradei contradicting his allegation. The president chose to remain silent.

This did not intrigue Waxman's colleagues. They could have joined him in the search for the truth. Instead, they chose to ignore it motivated either by partisan politics and self-interest. The Republicans, the majority in both houses, did it out of loyalty to the Republican president and the Democrats did it out of fear of public backlash during the Mid-term election scheduled to take place just a month later. I need to point out that History will always remember Senator Bird of WV and Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio not only for justifiably questioning the constitutionality of the President's decision to take the nation to war without Congress debating it but also the spurious and apocryphal nature of the reasons upon which the war is hatched and concocted. It behooves me to remind members of the US Congress that Thomas Jefferson had once said that "....Free government is founded on jealousy, and not in confidence. In question of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief but the chains of the Constitution".

These same congressmen were not only derelict in their obligation and duty, but were also drum-beaters for the war. Most of the arch conservative Republicans in both chambers were questioning the role that was being played by the Security Council, i.e., finding a peaceful resolution to the problem. America's right to preemptive war, definitely a sovereign right, they claimed, should not be decided by a supranational organization. That was the chorus that was reverberating in the Congress. It is clear that this position is a result of one or two important points. First, these conservatives are either ignorant of Article Six of the US Constitution that binds the country to all treaties including the UN Charter or, second, they are manifesting arrogance of power. America can not have it both ways. It can not be a leading member of the UN and at the same time refuse to be governed by its laws, that is, international laws. It is this same problem which compelled Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and his Republicans colleagues in US Senate to refuse to ratify the League of Nations Covenant in 1919, because they felt, unless it was modified and or amended it would compromise US sovereignty. Hence the US did not become a member of the League of Nations.

It is true that most of the wars that the country had fought, very few of them were by formal declaration of Congress and the Viet Nam War which was responsible for the death of over 55,000 US soldiers was one of these wars. The death toll compelled the people and the Congress to do some soul searching. Cognizant of its responsibility under the Constitution, it decided to regain its prerogative and be the branch of government to declare war as the fathers intended. Hence the War Powers Act of 1973. But still, Congress through its action or inaction, and most importantly dictated by partisan politics, seems to have chosen to allow the Executive branch to continue taking the country to war. Presidents from Ford to the current President Bush have done so. It appears that the  actions and reactions of Congress are dictated by the casualty the US forces suffer. When it is more than what the people are willing to accept it hastens to remember its responsibilities. But if the casualty is found to be acceptable and tolerable by the people, it chooses to remain silent. But what, for God's sake, happened to principle? What ever happened to the question of whether or not the war is legitimate or not? How about international law which could be undermined by US disregard thereby setting precedent? What about the UN Charter to which the US has pledged respect? What about the the casualty and destruction caused to the "enemy"? Iraq not only suffered casualty and destruction but it is forced to foot the bill for its reconstruction. What a mockery of justice? None of these seems to matter to the irresponsible egoists.

I regard Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, as loser and an irresponsible egoist because, unlike member countries of the United Nations Organization who join the Organization motivated by their nation's self interest, he chose to serve the Organization motivated by the ideals, values, and principles enshrined in the Charter of the Organization. According to Article 100, he is expected to execute his duties independent of any foreign influence or allegiance. As he is recommended by the Security Council and appointed by the General Assembly he has the confidence of most countries. They therefore expect him to be a good and worthy custodian, protector, promoter and defender of the Organization and the Charter. If member states do not live up to the Charter, we can explain it by rationalizing their action as motivated by national interest. How would one explain Mr. Annan's motivation for staying on unless it is an irresponsible egoism. Had he resigned condemning the act of war, which was a clear violation of the Charter and international law, he would have been honored as a man of principle. He would have exposed the hypocrisy of the Security Council which is only willing to take action against small and medium countries. He would also have been consistent with his incessant calling for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and for his support of extending the duration as was asked by the UN inspectors team.

I consider the media to be losers and irresponsible egoists because they ignored their primary purpose which is to inform. This is mostly true for television. Americans since the 1960s have been getting their news primarily from television. The Media are regarded as the fourth branch of government because they serve not only as sources of information but also, by policing and investigating the functions and behaviors of the members of Congress and other public officials, guard and protect the constitution. It is appropriately named watch dog. It goes with out saying therefore that Mr. Walter Cronkite personified authenticity and trust. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post demonstrated professionalism by uncovering the Watergate conspiracy. Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek discharged their obligation by breaking the sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas and President Bill Clinton's alleged perjury of his sexual escapade with intern Monica Lewinisky respectively. These personalities had some what established the benchmark for professionalism.

One would assume that the others would want to emulate them and thereby be true to their profession. But that is not the case. And this became glaringly evident during the U.S.-U.K.Vs Iraq war.

When one compares the exorbitant amount of time the media allotted and the effort it expended to investigate, uncover and report the murders of Jon Benet Ramsey, the disappearance and murder of Chandra Levi, the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart and the disappearance and murder of Laci Peterson, all private and State issues, with that of the minuscule amount of time they gingerly gave to cover the phony linkages made by the administration between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, and worst still, the debunking of the important element upon which the argument of the administration was based upon, i.e., Iraq had tried to purchase high strength aluminum tubes to use for uranium enrichment and that it was shopping for uranium from Africa, by Dr. Elbaradei, one can not help but question the integrity, priority and most importantly their professionalism. Some in fact began to drum-beat for the war. A very distinguished journalist, Mr. Tim Russert of NBC, said that the President has galvanized the public behind him. What a mockery of journalism. After having created the condition to rally the public round the flag, the media gets mesmerized by it al. No wonder they chose to be "embedded". This was the most sanitized, blood-free, and casualty free war ever fought on television. The motive behind this should be not to sensitize the American people and make them question the purpose of the war all-together. Hence, what more reason does one need to consider the media a conglomeration of irresponsible egoists. The cut-throat competition between the various corporations and reporters for ratings have made them abandon the most basic ethic of their profession. News coverage have come to depend upon its marketability. It is no longer regarded as information or knowledge but commodity. It has to "hook" its listener. Therefore, sensationalizing the news has become their trademark.  Hence the question of existentialism plays predominant role in what the media cover. It is my firm conviction that the American public was hoodwinked in to supporting the war, because the media purposely refused to inform them. It refused to expose the lies perpetrated against them. I remember when the Watergate scandal just broke public opinion was solidly, about seventy plus percent, behind President Nixon. They gave him the benefit of the doubt. But as the story began to unfold and his involvement began not only be clear but also he was the master-mind behind it all, support for and confidence in him started to plummet forcing him to resign. Americans are fair minded people. They are also decisive people. Had the media challenged the authenticity of those documents questioned by Doctors El Baredei and Hans Blix or exposed the dubious link made by the administration between Saddam and Ben Laden, one will doubt if the American people would support the war even a preemptive war at that. It can also be argued that the domination of the news media by conservative Rupert Murdoch, the founder and owner of Fox network and 22 television stations including Family Channel, 20th Century Fox, Harper Collins and TV Guide magazine, (James M. Burns and et al Government by the People) has enabled the conservative political spectrum to hold the key not only to the agenda of what news is covered but also how it is covered. Conservatism is now the trend in news coverage in America. It may, therefore, be out of this frustration that Mr. Ted Turner, founder of CNN, called Mr. Rupert Murdoch a "warmonger" for the latter's alleged "promotion of the war in Iraq". I believe it is disingenuous of him to call Mr. Murdoch that when his own CNN, and the others, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC have all started to march in-lock-step with FOX. It is exactly because of this that BBC Chief gave them verbal spanking when he said " ... U.S. broadcasters coverage of the Iraq was so unquestioningly patriotic and so lacking in impartiality that it threatened the credibility of America's electronic media..."(Merissa Marr, London, Reuters, April 26, 2003).

The fourth group in the losers category is the Security Council which I regard as the insecurity council. Let us remember that they are the ones who arrogated to themselves the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security when the United Nations Organization was established in 1945. The small and medium nations that were present during the drafting and debating of the Charter decided to join mainly because they saw some merit in a version of Collective Security that was radically different from that of the League of Nations. They were not oblivious to what happened to Austria, China, and Ethiopia on the eve Second World War. The big powers of the time, UK and France motivated by their self interest chose to appease Germany and Italy in Europe, thereby sacrificing these countries. ( U.S.A. was not a member and Russia had just been expelled for invading Finland). Thus, the insecurity of the security of small and medium countries predates the establishment of the UNO. This, however, did not discourage small and medium countries from joining the UNO. This time, the Charter clearly delineates and specifies the role to be played by the Council when and if an invasion occurs. Under Article 39 of the Charter the Council would be the one "to determine the existence of any threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to "make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Article 41 and 42 to maintain and restore international peace and security". Article 41 obliges the Council to take measures such as economic sanctions and severance of diplomatic relations. If Article 41 fails to change the situation then it will trigger Article 42 compelling the Council to "take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security". I am not unmindful of the fact that Saddam's Iraq had been a menace and a threat to regional and global peace for a long time. I am also aware of the fact that the Security Council has adopted about eighteen resolutions demanding that his regime, inter alia, disarm of its weapons of mass destructions. Resolution 1441 was passed to expedite and realize that objective. Dr. Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) which was established by Council's resolution 1284 of 1999, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were then given this difficult task. They were also given the right to report any obstacles they might encounter from the Iraqi government. The first two reports given by the two, even though they chided Iraq for its failure to be "proactive" in its cooperation, did not express frustration and or obstruction as was expected by the US and the UK. In fact they both challenged the United States and British allegations that Iraq had been cheating and or it had secret nuclear ambitions. As the pressure on the two to find the "smoking gun" continued to mount, they chose to ask for more time but the US and UK were not willing to give it to them. Instead both the US and UK decided to end the inspection because they argued that Saddam is back to his old self, i.e., cheating. On the other hand, the three remaining permanent Security Council members (China, France, and Russia) and most of the non-permanent members expressed their support for extending the duration as was asked by the inspectors. France and Russia began to threaten to veto any other resolution that was being contemplated by the US and UK. However the US and UK could have changed the forum by invoking the uniting for peace resolution passed in 1950. The motive behind passing this resolution was that if the Security Council is incapacitated as a result of Veto, then the issue could be taken to the General Assembly for deliberation and decision. But in this case both the US and UK were fully aware of where the sympathy of majority the members of the General Assembly was; It was to support the extension of the duration as was asked by the UN inspectors. Thus the US and UK decided to end the inspection all together.

Had the members of the Security Council been true to their responsibility, the Charter and international law, they would and should have challenged the aggressors. Both France and Russia have characterized the war as an aggression. That is the first step required by Article 39 of the Charter. Once the aggressor or aggressors are identified then actions under Articles 41 and 42 should have followed. This could of course have provoked a Third World War. Regardless of what it would have caused, the remaining Council members should have stayed true to the Charter of the Organization. If collective security was not appropriate now, when will it ever be? The world does not need the selective employment of collective security which has always been against small and medium states. That is not why Iraq, the countries of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and others joined the UNO. They joined it hoping that they would be treated as equals and be free from the bullying and aggression of big powers. Yes, this is not the first time that big, powerful countries have gotten away with aggressive acts. The US did it in Panama in 1989 and the former Soviet Union did it in Afghanistan in 1979. And in both instances, the Council had chosen to keep silent. But what is outrageous this time is that France and Russia are negotiating with the aggressors to be allowed to play a role thereby in effect relegating the Council to a Department of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. It seems to me that they are frantically fighting not to be irrelevant when in fact they should be the ones making the aggressors irrelevant for transgressing the Charter. They are giving the impression that they are fighting for the Charter and the Organization when in fact they are fighting for three reasons: the first is to get their respective interest in Iraq accommodated, and the second is to perpetuate the status quo in the Security Council, that had failed ignominiously, and the third is to perpetuate Europe's hegemony of international relations.

To most observers of international politics, the question is not who rebuilds and rehabilitates Iraq but why was the territorial integrity of Iraq violated in the first place. Now that the Council has, by its inaction, established a norm in international law, who or what will deter future preemptive strikers? Chapter I of the UN Charter, Purposes and Principles declared that its purpose was :

It is a very sad moment for the United Nations. It failed to live up to its declared intention.

It is said that crisis creates opportunities. This is true. It is time that the small and medium countries exploit the situation and call for revamping the Security Council. It has become an anachronism. It needs to reflect the changing environment of the international system. As it is, it is dominated by Europeans, France, United Kingdom, and Russia which are also Christians, and the United States of America. It goes without saying, therefore, that the Muslim world which has a total population of well over a billion people needs representation. In addition, small and medium countries that constitute at least two-third of the world's population also need representation. This may sound quixotic to those who are already represented in the Security Council. But why not? What have the hitherto members done to question or doubt the legitimate grievances of the majority of the people of the world? At least, it would give the Organization a semblance of democratic nature. The interests of the small and medium countries need to be accommodated.

Fifth in the losers category is the paradoxical apostate who seemed to have a well though-out and strongly held position but ends up abandoning it for a position that is diametrically opposed to his. In this connection Mr. Colin Powell is a very good example where he surrendered his multilateralist approach to resolving the Iraqi problem and adopted the unilateralist position propounded by his ideological opposites, the extreme right in the administration. It is paradoxical because his new position and the role he played during and after the debate in the Security Council does not comport with his personality. My working assumption here is Dr. William Bennet's characterization of General Colin Powell as a person with "rock-solid" character. The character he displayed during the national cum international crisis was anything but rock-solid.

Bob Woodward in Bush at War contends that Secretary Powell did not have an input in the "sweeping Bush Doctrine". The doctrine is directed not only against terrorists but also those who harbor them and provide them with financial assistance, technical advice, and logistical support. The doctrine therefore made it abundantly clear that states like Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, the last three already categorized as part of the "Axis of Evil" were going to be legitimate targets. Again according to Mr. Woodward, going to Iraq was an idea that was initially entertained by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Mr. Powell was opposed to the idea for two reasons. One, he felt that the American public wanted the government to go against Al Qaeda, and two that the international coalition would want them too. It was obvious to the Secretary of State that he was outnumbered and outgunned by the hard right who clearly were pushing Bush to go against Saddam's Iraq even though there was no genuine and bona fide link between Bin Laden and Saddam. The arch conservatives within the administration were being assisted by the war mongers like Adelman, Woolsey, Perle, and others who made TV talk-shows their vehicle to bombard and bamboozle the public with propaganda. All of a sudden in the first week of February Mr. Powell began to manifest an unexpected change of heart and position. under the title Can Colin Powell Sway a Skeptical World? Quoting Howard LaFrachi and Ann Scott Tyson of the Christian Science Monitor said "to a great extent, what makes Powell's appearance so compelling is that the Bush administration's *reluctant warrior* the man who persuaded President Bush to take the Iraq conflict to the international community when other, more personally close advisers were counseling a UN-free approach-is now squarely behind the tough line." He became not only a supporter and advocate of the war but also a prosecutor. A transformation from a multilaterlist principled dove to a hawk. In the eloquent statement he made to his UN Security Council colleagues, on February 5, 2003, Mr. Powell argued that the administration's case was supported by materials obtained from various sources, i.e., intercepted telephone conversations, photos taken by satellites, and people who were willing to risk their lives. He talked about how the government of Saddam had always been unwilling to disarm its weapons of mass destruction. He tried to convince them that since Iraq was in material breach and also a threat to peace and security they had an obligation to their citizens not to shrink from whatever was ahead of them.

I realize this is his job. And he is doing it marvelously, efficiently as his government expects him to do. But the problem is when a person of "strong character" joins in prosecuting a war of aggression concocted by his ideological opposites, one can not help but question the strength of that character. His integrity also becomes a suspect. Let us face it. Mr Powell was initially opposed to war against Iraq and was also reluctant to accept the dubious linkage which his administration was trying to make between Saddam and Bin Laden. It was evident to him from the outset that, according to Mr. Woodward, the trio, Messrs. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were the proponents of the war against Saddam. What makes it worse is that it is a preemptive war a part and parcel of the Bush Doctrine which neither he nor his Office had anything to do with. What is to be Secretary of State if one is not consulted or is asked to have an input in an issue as sensitive as peace and war is? What is character and integrity if he does not stand for his core principles values? Mr. Powell should know that his effectiveness internationally is inextricably linked to his fidelity, steadfastness and trustworthiness. But to continue to argue a case and present supporting evidences that have proven to be fraudulent will erode his effectiveness and undermine his credibility. Come to think about it, it is possible that those who designated him for Secretary of State, before the 2000 presidential election was concluded, were interested in exploiting his personality to their advantage. As popular as he was, who wouldn't want to have him in his/her corner? It is also clear that once that goal has been attained, that same popularity could be a threat to those who had used it in the first place. They wouldn't want to be upstaged or eclipsed by it. And to prevent this from happening they had to devise Machivellian measures. Mr. Woodward succinctly put it as follows:

If Mr. Powell's code of conduct is governed and dictated by "a soldier obeys", as he told Mr. Woodward, he should have thought a lot about the implication, the pros and cons of accepting and becoming the secretary of state. But because he chose to accept the post, history will remember him as one who has compromised not only his integrity, character and conscience but also as one who relegated the department to an appendage of the defense department. That is why Mr. J. Brady Kiesling resigned from his post in Athens, Greece, expressing his disapproval of the war against Iraq.

Sixth in the losers category are the morality monitors. They are those self appointed custodians of morality whose guru is the didactic Dr. William J. Bennett. He is the ideological and theoretical leader of the morality monitors who has written many books on morality including The Death of Outrage. In this book Dr. Bennett takes former President Clinton and his supporters to task. It is the book where he lamented over peoples tolerance and or indifference towards lying by a president who should be role model for the children of America. He was so outraged he supported the partisan prosecution and impeachment of the president by the House Republicans. They argued that the president's lying about consensual sex rises to the level of impeachable offenses as specified under Article II, Section 4, "...treason, bribery, or other high crime and misdemeanors." He seems to justify his support for the impeachment not only because he contend that the president had lied under oath but also because he is not above the law. He reminded us thus:

I agree with him wholeheartedly. But where was he and whatever happened to the outrage when the current administration took the country to war on trumped-up and spurious charge? Or does the fact that the enemy is Saddam and the prosecutor of the war is a Republican administration negate and neutralize the rhetoric he pompously promulgate to the rest of us. This is why the morality monitors are loser in the war. They have been exposed to the hilt. It is my contention that morality monitors suffer from what personality psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Their action does not compliment their belief. That is, their belief is betrayed by their selective use of their action.

The liberation imposters are the seventh group in the losers* category. They are not sincere and genuine supporters of liberation in the true sense of the word. When it is convenient to them and or seems to serve their interest, they give lip service to the idea. In actuality, however, they do not support it. This is also the case with the Republican Party. In fact I argue that "liberation and the Republican party" are two mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed concepts. I am hard pressed to remember, from recent memory of the political history of the world, when the Party had ever stood in support of people who had struggled for their freedom, liberation and self-determination except during the 1991 UN led war against Iraqi invading forces in Kuwait. In fact the Party's congressmen who served in the United State Congress, in1970s and 1980s, not only opposed the effort to expedite the liberation of South Africa but also the release of Mandela from prison. Mr. Dick Cheney, the current Vice President of the United States was, then, one of these Congressmen who voted against the release of Mandela.

Gerald J. Bender and et al in their book African Crisis Areas and US Foreign Policy noted that the Reagan administration early in 1980s overturned the policy of curtailment of exports to apartheid South Africa imposed by the Carter administration and began to export equipments for its military, and Piper aircraft and Beech craft that could be used for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering for its air force. More stunning and dismaying is its cooperation to expand South Africa's nuclear program despite the fact that the later had refused to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty. Some of these had been used against the liberation and freedom fighters.

The Republicans may consider this to be a chip shot. They may argue that they opposed the liberation of South Africa and Mandela because his party, the Africa National Congress, was dominated by communists which then would have meant that independent South Africa will have become communist thereby joining the Soviet sphere-of-influence. They could further argue that would also have changed the alliance of forces and the balance of power in the region tilting it in favor of the Soviets. Already, they would say, there were socialists Mozambique, Angola, and Zimbabwe in the region with Namibia waging a war of liberation against apartheid South Africa. Hence, they could claim that their opposition was motivated by fear of Soviet domination which would have threatened US strategic interest. I will say yes to all of their concerns. They are all legitimate concerns. And that is exactly my point. As the opposition to the independence of South Africa and the freeing of Mandela from prison was motivated by US national interest, so also was the so called the liberation of Iraq. In fact what is worse in the Iraqi case is that the motive was not national interest but according to the "Center for Responsive Politics", are the interest of those who had contributed the most to the Republican Party. The Center on April 7, 2003, under the heading Rebuilding Iraq - The Contractors reported thus:

In addition to this foreign policy, most of the Party's national policies have been to undermine and erode the domestic social and political gains that have been attained since the 1950s. In this connection the so-called Contract with America was nothing but a jihad against entitlements and the downtrodden. Contract with America ? Whose America. As pointed out by George C. Edwards and et al in their book Government In America "Shortly before the 1994 congressional elections, the New York Times/CBS News poll found that 71 percent of the public had not heard of the Republicans highly touted "Contact With America." Just 7 percent of the population said they had heard of the contract and would be more likely to vote for a candidate who had signed it; ....Nevertheless, these polling results, and others like them, did not stop the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives from asserting that the people had clearly endorsed the contract in the 1994 elections". (emphasis mine)

On December 7, 2002 the Republican Senate Majority leader, at a birthday party given for Senator Storm Thurmond, emphatically and unambiguously stated that "when Storm Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either." Mr. Lott was resoundingly condemned for this past nostalgia which was nothing but remembrance of the pitiful era of segregation. Later he was forced to resign his leadership position. Another senior and high-ranking Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania offended gays and lesbians by his insensitive remark. He contended that "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you the have right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything". Hence, I would say that the claim of liberating Iraq is gainsaid by the Party's political history.

However, when everything is said and done, I would say, in my humble opinion, there are at least two winners. The first winner is the manipulating strategist. This is a guileful person that has a well thought out goals and objective and works tirelessly and indomitably to achieve them. This person will explore every avenue, exploit every opportunity, employ every trick in the book, and manipulate every one and every issue, with utter disregard for morality, to attain those objectives and goals. And in this connection, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister of Israel is a very good example. As early as 1995, Mr. Netanyahu had linked the fight against terrorism with the fight against those states that harbor or give them sanctuary as well. He has convinced many people in the United States, especially amongst the Christian right, that Israel's war against terrorism, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is inextricably linked with that of the US war against international terrorism. In his July 10, 1996, address to the US House of Representatives, he said:

In the 2001 edition of his book he wrote "These regimes, like all terrorist states, must be given a forthright demand: stop terrorism, permanently, or you will face the wrath of the free world...through harsh and sustained political, economic, and military sanctions". To Iraq and Iran one needs to add Syria for not only is there bad blood between them but also there is the Golan Height, Syrian occupied territory, since 1967. Hence these three countries are the sworn enemies of the state of Israel. These are states that not only have refused to accept its existence but also its creation all together. Hence it seems that Mr. Netanyahu is reminding and or warning the US that its enemies are US enemies and that US's enemies are Israeli's enemies as well. Mr. Netanyahu tried to spin the commonsensical argument that the people in the Islamic world hate the US and the West because of their unqualified and uncritical support to the oppressive Israeli government and its myopic policies towards the Palestinians. He argues "Thus, the soldiers of militant Islam do not hate the West because of Israel, they hate Israel because of the West...because they see it is an island of Western democratic values in a Moslem ...Arab sea of despotism. That is why they call Israel the Little Satan, to distinguish it clearly from the country that has always been and will always be the Great Satan...the United States of America". This is the mother of all manipulations. As a former Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Netanyahu is fully aware of the fact that the people and governments of the countries of Europe are very critical of the policies of Israel and the atrocities it is committing against the Palestinians. And because of that he is aware that in the struggle against terrorism, Europeans will not enthusiastically support or acknowledge the linkages he is making between terrorists and his three target countries. He thus warned the US as follows:

Mr. Netanyahu, clear and committed to his objective, has been able to sell the idea of a dialectical linkage between terrorism in the Israeli occupied territories and states that support, bank-roll and harbor them to the Bush administration. It is in this light that we have to see the beginning of the fulfillment of Netanyahu's strategic objective, the step-by-step process of the eradication of Israel's enemies in the region. And he has not an iota of doubt that this will happen. In his book Fighting Terrorism he said: "I have absolute confidence that if we, the citizens of the free world, led by President Bush, marshal the enormous reserves of power at our disposal , harness the steely resolve of a free people, and mobilize our collective will, we shall eradicate this evil from the face of the earth". We should not therefore be surprised to see Mr. Powell's going around the Middle East and warning countries to take their lesson from Saddam. After his May 2, 2003, meeting with President Bashar Assad of Syria Mr. Powell said "...he and Syrian president had discussed 'all of the outstanding issues' including weapons of mass destruction, turning wanted Iraqis over to the United States, Syria's support for the militant Islamic organizations and sealing the border with Iraq". In this connection it is important to note that Syria's primary concern, freeing and declaring the Middle East nuclear free zone, a proposal aimed at Israel, did not get the support of the United States a tribute, of course, to Mr. Natanyahu, the manipulative strategist.

Finally, the second winner, the responsible egoist. This is a person who is true and loyal to the responsibilities that is entrusted to him by the office he is in and the people he serves. Mr. Scott Ritter has, during this crisis, been guided by his indomitable spirit and uncompromising principle. He is the former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq who served from 1991 to 1998 when he resigned by protesting US obstruction the completion of the UNSCOM mission. Mr. Ritter, insisting that in the seven years of UNSCOM's inspection of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it has been able to destroy 90 to 95 percent of the weapons. He noted that "figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq....with the exception of mustard agent, all chemical agent produced by Iraq prior to 1990 would have degraded within five years (the jury is out regarding Iraq's VX nerve agent program....The same holds true for biological agent, which would have been neutralized through natural process within three years of manufacture..."

And because he has first-hand knowledge of Iraq's military capability, strongly objected to the idea that Iraq poses threat to the United States security. By appearing in the various TV talk shows, until of course they were ordered not to provide him with the forum to inform the public for fear of undermining the administration's war objective, he tried to give the true picture thereby, hopefully, allaying the fear of concerned Americans. As was indicated above, he is former marine who had fought in Operation Desert Storm and therefore his loyalty and love of his country can not be impugned. According to him, his opposition to the war is motivated by the desire to defend the US Constitution, which was ignored by members of United States Congress when they abdicated their responsibility as per the constitution to be the institution to declare war when and if necessary. He said:

As a responsible egoist, he has discharged his responsibility even though his position is not a popular one especially amongst the Republican Party to which he is a member. That is the point. He has been able to transcend not only party loyalty but also has subordinated his party's interest to the interest of the nation. And by so doing, hopefully, he has become role model to those who aspire to serve their nation. America needs and deserves to have principled and dedicated persons like Scott Ritter. People who are not afraid to challenge their government, who do not kowtow under pressure and who resist political correctness. Democracy and liberty need them.   

[Opinions in this article are solely that of the writer.] Copyright MediaETHIOPIA and S. Terfa 2003.