Why an Humanitarian Intervention in Iraq Can't Be Justified Under International Law

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In March of 2003 the United States of America invaded the Middle Eastern nation of Iraq. Under many pretenses, the stage was being set for this invasion, one reason calling for the invasion was that Bush administration and its officials assured the world that the Hussein regime was producing weapons of mass destruction or WMD’s, which would pose a huge security threat to all the nations around the world. Another being the fact that Hussein supported the group responsible for the attacks on our country on September 11th 2001, which angered plenty of Americans and seemingly justified violence to be used. And also the fact that Hussein needed to be removed from power as he was a brutal dictator who was committing egregious acts of violence against his own people. Therefore a humanitarian intervention would be called for using militaristic means. The administration under President Bush pushed the idea on the American people and the world that Iraq would be a better place without Hussein in control, also making the world a safer place. This war has cost the lives of approximately 600,000 Iraqis and 3,163 American soldiers, not to mention other soldiers from other nations involved in the conflict. The actions leading up to the subsequent invasion and occupation affected Iraq negatively and caused consequences that harmed all of Iraqi society, mainly innocent people. The way the world dealt with Saddam Hussein wasn’t proper nor in the best interests going forward for the Iraqi people and the citizens of the world based on many factors. Years before boots were even on the ground in Iraq, the world had taken extreme steps to curb Iraqi aggression, most notably beginning in 1990 when Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait in August. There were many reasons why Iraq may have invaded Kuwait. Some say that it was because Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil and even the fact that Iraq owed Kuwait large sums of money after the Iran-Iraq war. But one of the very first steps that were taken was that the United Nations (UN) became heavily involved. The UN includes the UN Security Council (UNSC) which is the group that has control over UN military force and is in charge of implementing resolutions against regimes that may be breaking international law. The first resolution put in place against Iraq was UNSC 678, which was implemented just a few days after the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard invaded the country. UNSC 678 “authorized force against Iraq, to eject it from Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area.” This action was ordered through all necessary means including use of the military. This was known as the Gulf War, but UNSC 678 only applied to the actions taken in 1990 through 1993 and does not include the intervention in 2003 by American and coalition forces. Next was UNSC resolution 1154, passed in 1998 and which mandated that Iraq was not allowed to be in possession or manufacture chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry. This resolution also stated that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its inspectors were required to inspect Iraq’s suspected nuclear and weapons manufacturing facilities. Iraq did not completely comply with the resolution because they did not allow unrestricted access with what the IAEA inspectors wanted to see. This was seen as a shady move to much of the world and as if the Hussein regime had something to hide. A final warning to Iraq was issued in 2002 in UNSC resolution 1441, which was the last warning to the Hussein regime to comply with the demands of the previous UNSC resolutions and limit their weapons capabilities. In Alex Conte’s book, Operation Iraqi Freedom he states that, “Resolutions 678, 687, 1441, and 1154 do not legitimize use of force in Iraq” (Conte 139-162). There are only a select few instances in which the UNSC authorizes the use of force, one being if the expression “all necessary means and measures” is used in the resolution or if a member state of the UN is granted a mandate...
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