El País, Spain
The Cesspool of Iraq
The most unjustified war in recent history was carried out using methods that taint any cause that could be invoked in its favor.
Translated By David Brodsky
26 October 2010
Edited by Patricia Simoni
Spain - El País - Original Article (Spanish)
Both the United States and the United Nations should respond to the horrors of the Iraq war revealed by WikiLeaks.
The new leaks from WikiLeaks furnish conclusive proof concerning the cesspool of a war like Iraq, undertaken for motives increasingly seen to have been foolish in the extreme and carried out with a brutality that was in complete contradiction to the propagation of democracy invoked by Bush and his Azorean colleagues* as a justification for war. If the strongest argument against the invasion was that democracy could not be imposed on another country by force of arms, the new leaks from WikiLeaks make it necessary to add a corollary which, until now, might have seemed obvious: even less by means of torture, rape or indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. An end, such as democracy, does not justify such execrable means.
Not all the outrages cataloged in the documents published by WikiLeaks — up to this point, not denied by any source — were carried out by American troops. But this doesn't offer even a small consolation in the face of such barbarism, inasmuch as the perverse mechanism installed after the invasion consisted of leaving the dirty, if not to say directly criminal, work to the Iraqi forces, who were guaranteed impunity against any possible investigation. Even more: The American command menaced Iraqi prisoners with the threat of being turned over to the police and army of their own country as a means of exerting pressure.
Beyond the political fallout from the leaks, which will be seen in the upcoming American elections and in the struggle against terrorism, the problem arises of the legal issues posed by the documented facts. Virtually all of these contravene the Geneva Conventions, both in terms of the required treatment of prisoners and the behavior toward the civilian population. Although the U.N. did not authorize the invasion, it did legalize the occupation a posteriori. And it was during the occupation that the facts brought to light by WikiLeaks took place, some of them possibly representing war crimes. As should the U.S., the U.N. must also respond.
The most unjustified war in recent history was carried out using methods that taint any cause that could be invoked in its favor. This is the dreadful balance of an adventure, which, even today, those who bore the primary responsibility remain proud of having undertaken.
(* Translators note: This is a reference to the meeting that took place in the Portuguese Azores on the eve of the Iraq war, attended by Bush, British prime minister Tony Blair, Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and Portuguese prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso.)
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