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Statement by the President of the Malaysian Social Science Association on the Us-led War of Aggression Against Iraq
|20 March 2003|
1. This morning at the break of dawn in Baghdad (about 10.25 am Malaysian time), the Bush Administration launched massive air and missile strikes against Iraq . This was followed by subsequent waves of bombings on Baghdad and air and ground assaults into southern Iraq by both American and British forces, signalling the initial phase of a war promised by the US Defence Secretary, to be of a scale “that has never before been seen”. By so doing, the US and Britain – two of the most powerful nations on earth -- are unleashing hell-fire on a small country whose population is less than one-tenth that of the US, and whose people have already suffered 12 years of sanctions imposed by the United Nations following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
2. Many principles are at stake in this war. First, this war will result in unnecessary killing and suffering of innocent Iraqi lives dismissed away by the US war-mongers as ‘collateral damage'. The United States, which has won world wide sympathy following the September 11 terrorist attack, has done itself a great disservice, and lost the moral authority necessary to leadership, by launching a war of aggression, whose magnitude in terms of material, human and psychological damage makes the carnage at the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon pale into insignificance. While the September 11 incident represents the height of terrorism of non-state actors, the maiming, murder and dispossession of the Iraqi people that will result from a war using the most sophisticated missiles and the ‘mother of all bombs' (MOAB) rained down by the US and Britain, represents the height of tyranny and state terrorism in pursuit of oil and other strategic interests. Nevertheless, this unjust war is camouflaged in the name of “defending world peace, freedom, and democracy”, and “in defence of” what Bush and Blair claim as “our way of life” against “rogue states” and “extreme terrorism”.
3. Second, the war has been launched without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and is a flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter that aspires to resolve international conflicts through peaceful means. It has been launched despite the fact that the UN weapons inspection team was achieving positive results in its authorised mission to disarm Iraq through the inspection process. The US and British action thus makes a mockery of the United Nations and violates the very principles which the US , Britain and the rest of the UN-member states stand for. Diplomacy and peaceful means have failed not because the Iraqi regime refused to cooperate, but because the US as the sole superpower in this unipolar world chooses ‘the barrel of the gun' rather than diplomacy as well as political and moral persuasion to resolve the impasse. This war signals the beginning of a new kind of lawlessness in international relations with the US and Britain as the principal perpetrators of illegality.
4. Third, this war is also against the common desire of the overwhelming majority of the UN-member states and of the world's people including the American and the British people who want a peaceful settlement of the Iraqi issue as well as a lasting peace following the end of the Cold War. If the unilateralism shown by the US Administration in its handling of this issue is the cornerstone of the new Pax Americana, then the whole world particularly the small and medium nations have a lot of rethinking and re-strategising to do to ensure their national security and survival in the New World (Dis)Order. Whatever one's position regarding the Saddam regime, it does not warrant nor does it justify any external power to invade the country to achieve regime change as the matter is an internal affair to be settled by the Iraqi people themselves.
5. Fourth, the Bush-Blair argument that this war has been launched because of the Iraqi regime's non-compliance of a series of UN resolutions demanding the destruction of its weapons of mass destruction reeks of double standards. The question to ask is: Which states in the world have large stocks of weapons of mass murder and which ones stubbornly refuse to comply with the UN resolutions? Apart from the US which has the largest arsenal of such weapons, it is Israel , US closest ally in the Middle East , that is armed to the teeth with lethal weapons of mass murder. And it is Israel too which has violated with impunity a series of UN resolutions over the Palestine issue including its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory. Why don't the US and British forces act against the Israeli regime for such non-compliance? The US-led aggression against Iraq while protecting Israel shows the gross double standards practiced by the sole superpower in pursuing its agenda to subjugate Iraq , prop up a pro-US regime, secure its rich oilfields and occupy a strategic position in the region.
6. This invasion marks a new twist in the US global hegemonic design of pursuing the ‘Project for the New American Century' (PNAC) following its emergence as the sole superpower. The war will have devastating consequences not only on Iraq , but also on world peace and stability. It will generate further chaos and instability especially in the Middle East , throwing fuel into the fiery cauldron of anti-Americanism throughout the world, particularly in the Muslim world. The US-led war of aggression deals a lethal blow to the campaign against terrorism as it will promote a new wave of terrorism and deep-seated hatred among those who perceive themselves as victims of aggression and injustices perpetrated by the US and its allies.
7. Together with all peace-loving people in Malaysia and the world over, we unreservedly condemn this unjust war and urge the Bush Administration and its allies to immediately cease all military hostilities. The US-led aggression has once again put to the test the UN as an international institution to maintain world peace and international law and order. It will be failing in its responsibility if it allows this intransigence by the US and its allies to go unchecked and if it does not effectively put an immediate end to this senseless war.
8. The UN should convene an emergency session of the General Assembly to deliberate on this issue, put a swift end to the war, resume weapons inspection, expedite humanitarian assistance and participate in rebuilding Iraq as the victim of aggression. The UN should also urgently take up the task of working out with member-states the structure of the New International Order for the twenty first century, and give substance to the principles of peaceful co-existence, respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other's affairs, equality, and mutual benefit for all nations, big and small, on this earth.
Professor Dato' Abdul Rahman Embong
Malaysian Social Science Association