"We nonviolently oppose the
reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative
Statement on Iraq, the United Nations, and Security Council Resolution 1546
June 10, 2004
On Tuesday, June 8, 2004, the United Nations Security Council passed unanimously, by a vote of 15-0, the long-awaited resolution on Iraq. This hopeful resolution, the international cooperation required to pass it, and the unanimous support it has received combine to cast a brief ray of sunshine on a world beset by violent storms and ominous clouds.
Resolution 1546 has serious flaws, but it also has virtues. First, it provides unambiguously that the mandate of the multinational force in which U.S. soldiers will be the major component “shall expire upon the completion of the political process set out in paragraph four” – that is, “by 31 December 2005.” This provision was included only grudgingly by the Bush administration, which, as all the world knows, contemplates maintaining large number of U.S. troops in Iraq for years.
Second, Paragraph 2 of Resolution 1546 unambiguously affirms that “by 30 June 2004, the occupation will end and the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist, and that Iraq will reassert its full sovereignty.” Paragraph 3 “reaffirms the right of the Iraqi people freely to determine their own political future and to exercise full authority and control over their financial and natural resources.”
Third, Resolution 1546 also endorses the goal of “a federal, democratic, pluralist, and unified Iraq, in which there is full respect for political and human rights, stressing the need for all parties to respect and protect Iraq’s archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage, affirming the importance of the rule of law, national reconciliation, respect for human rights including the rights of women, fundamental freedoms, and democracy including free and fair elections.”
These are goals that the members of United for Peace of Pierce County fully endorse and support. The passage of a unanimous resolution by the United Nations Security Council on June 8, 2004, affirming these goals, is therefore a hopeful moment, despite the dire situation in Iraq, where the violence of war continues to be endemic and progress in reconstruction is stalled. Furthermore, we see the passage of Resolution 1546, at the initiative of the United States and the United Kingdom, as an implicit recognition by those nations that the decision to make war on Iraq without the approval of the United Nations Security Council was an error.
We therefore support Resolution 1546. In accordance with our mission statement, we welcome the reaffirmation of the importance of the United Nations and of the need for multilateral diplomacy in the settlement of international disputes.
However, great obstacles stand in the way of realizing these goals. Resolution 1546 affirms that through the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the United Nations “should play a leading role in assisting the Iraqi people and government in the formation of institutions for representative government.” But those who have to try to execute this intention wonder how they can accomplish it. Today’s Washington Post quotes a well-connected U.N. worker, who said: “There is enormous trepidation at every level. We’re not even at a point where we have secure facilities for Iraqi staff. There’s a real question about how fast the U.N. can respond.”
The principal reason that the situation is grim is that as an institution, the U.N. has allowed itself to be so complicit in U.S. designs that the enemies of American plans for Iraq regard the U.N. as an American agency. As such, U.N. personnel are certain to be attacked. A year ago, the U.N. tried to keep its distance from the forces of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. But that left it vulnerable to the Aug. 19, 2003, bombing of U.N. offices in Baghdad, in which the U.N. Special Representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, lost his life, along with twenty-one others. A few days later, the U.N. decided to pull out of Iraq.
To those who consider the current political machinations to be little more than a charade to maintain U.S. control over Iraq and its natural resources – and given the U.N.’s past complicity in U.S. designs and the CIA-MI6 background of Iyad Allawi, the man chosen by U.S. Administrator L. Paul Bremer III and U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to be the prime minister of Iraq during the six or seven months of the interim period, their name will be Legion – the U.N. will seem a legitimate target. The appointment of John Negroponte as the first U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, given his unsavory past, only deepens the suspicions about American intentions in Iraq.
This time, the U.N. mission will not keep its distance from military forces as a way to foster security, as it did in the period from June to August 2003. Paragraph 13 – unpropitiously numbered – of Resolution 1546 “notes the intention . . . to create a distinct entity under unified command of the multinational force with a dedicated mission to provide security for the United Nations presence in Iraq.” The danger, though, is that by implementing the proposal to create a force of 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers to protect U.N. employees, the “multinational force” – in which five out of six soldiers are Americans – will only increase the number of people who regard U.N. staff as allies of occupying forces, regardless of the nationality of the troops composing this “entity” and notwithstanding the fiction that Iraq now enjoys “full sovereignty.”
Two weeks ago UFPPC urged that the U.N. not lend itself to U.S. demands for the present resolution, which were, like so many Bush administration proposals, part of a politics of deceit that aims to extend American hegemony. Resolution 1546 appears to many to be, to a significant degree, an implement in such a policy. Ominously, the very day that the world’s front pages announced that Resolution 1546 had passed, the New York Times reported – also on the front page – that Iraqi National Accord, run by Iyad Allawi, had conducted a terrorist bombing campaign in Baghdad in the 1990s for the CIA. Such is the man who has emerged as the interim leader of Iraq. And the day before installing this man, who will inevitably be regarded by many Iraqis as a CIA agent, Paul Bremer signed a decree banning an important Iraqi political figure from participating in elections for a three-year period. Iraq is to be a sovereign nation. By what right does the U.S. exclude individuals from Iraq’s political process?
UFPPC continues to believe that the massive presence of U.S. troops exacerbates the very ills that the administration cites to justify their mission. Large numbers of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil lead to instability, not stability – to war, not to peace – to danger, not to safety – and, ultimately, to death, not to life. The fiction “welcomed” by Paragraph 11 of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546 – “a security partnership between the sovereign Government of Iraq and the multinational force” – is an evident contradiction in terms that will not incline Iraqi or Arab nationalists to do what is called for by Paragraph 6 of the same resolution – “to implement these arrangements peaceably and in full.”
The chances that democracy will flourish, in these circumstances – that the ray of sunshine will contend successfully against the storm winds that are gathering – seem slim.
A policy conducive to peace, prosperity, and rights for Iraqis requires that the United States embrace four points that are still anathema to the Bush administration. We believe that until they are embraced, the chance of progress in Iraq toward the goals outlined in Resolution 1546 will remain small. We therefore urge once more that this or some future administration embrace the following four points:
1. The government of the United States should acknowledge that the Iraq war was an ill-conceived venture that ought not to have taken place.
2. Two of the central doctrines that characterize U.S. foreign policy at present – the doctrine of pre-emptive or preventive war and the doctrine of suspending our historic respect for human rights so as to wage the so-called “Global War on Terrorism” with the “gloves off ” – are destabilizing policy doctrines that undermine fundamental American values, subvert international institutions, and endanger security for all nations of the world, including the United States, and for all the world’s citizens, including Americans. These policies are wrong. They should be abandoned and publicly renounced, regardless of whether they have been openly proclaimed to the world, like “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America” that was promulgated by the White House on September 17, 2002, or devised in secret and hidden from public view, like the many legal memos written in late 2002 and early 2003 that are now finally seeing the light of day as they are leaked to the press by patriotic Americans appalled by the direction the U.S. has taken. These are specious doctrines that shame the nation with the claim that the president of the United States constitutes a law unto himself and is not bound to refrain from aggressive war and to respect the human rights of all human beings. They are doctrines that lead to the legitimization and use of torture.
3. Leadership by the United Nations is the world’s best hope for world peace. After a frank acknowledgement, with contrition, that the United States has erred in deed and doctrine, the United Nations would have a fair chance of successfully stewarding Iraq toward a sovereign government with a form of its own choosing. In the absence of such an acknowledgement, it is hard to be optimistic about the current undertaking as outlined in Resolution 1546, however much one may wish for its success.
4. Finally, we reiterate that the war in Iraq and other features of our national life show that our federal government yields too readily to pressures from groups that do not represent the will or the interests of the American people, democratically expressed. In this election year, we state once more the importance of a revitalization of democracy in our nation. We urge the citizens of Pierce County to be active in this movement.
UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE
"We nonviolently oppose
the reliance on unilateral military actions