Differences between the Neoconservative and Realists Perspective
When President Bush decided to take military action against the Arab state of Iraq, there emerged a controversy on the approach to use in confronting the so-referred ‘evil nation’ which claims had suggested that it posed threat to international peace and security. In the previous years, Iraq had been condemned by several nations due to military attacks against its neighboring states of Iran (1985) and Kuwait (1991/1992). The latter triggered the 1991 Gulf war between Iraq and United States. It was not until after September 11, 2001, US attacks that the US resolved to overthrow Saddam and his government over the claims of being linked to the Al-Qaida terrorist group, which attacked the US in 2001. It was after these attacks in 2002 the then US president George W. Bush was planning on how and when to take retaliatory attacks against Iraq. Under the Bush administration, there laid two camps of advisers with different views on the approach to be used by the US president. Though both differed at one or two points, they had only one objective, to give the president the most appropriate advice to execute his mission more successfully (Martin 2). On one side of the camp, we had the neoconservatives who believed that the US should take immediate action against Iraq and there was no need of waiting for the UN Security Council’s approval or authorization. They believed in unilateralism. The camp of realists and liberals however advocated for the involvement of the international community in handling Iraq’s problem. In their view, though there was a need to disarm Iraq, there was the possibility of a successful mission in the short run but it might end up leaving irreparable damage to the US in the end. They believed in multilateralism (Martin 2).
Why Constructive Realists were opposed to Military Action against Iraq
All along, the constructive realists were against immediate military action against Iraq. Though this group was in support of Iraq’s disarmament, it was calling for the US to wait for a time until when it would receive international support from other nations. They predicted the war would be more difficult, costly and the consequences more problematic. Despite their rationality in their opinion, this group of people consisted of the minority of the Bush inner circle and therefore they would have limited say in influencing the final decision. They were mainly officials who shared service in the George H. W. Bush administration. They believed in the spirit of solidarity and that security could be best achieved through “sober statecraft” policies. Through the State Department, the director of policy planning in 2002 stated very clearly that the US could not win the war on terrorism alone so sending its forces all over was meaningless and what was required was a cooperative endeavor (Martin 4). Therefore, there was no need for urgent action, and enough time was needed since the matter called for international consultations.
Reasons for UN’s Involvement in Iraq after Saddam’s overthrow
One of the reasons cited by the US for Iraq’s disarmament was the allegations that it produced weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and possessed so many chemical and biological plants responsible for the production of both chemical and biological weapons. Before the authorization, the UN Security Council had to send its inspectors to Iraq and establish whether it was true, the country was in possession of WMD. Earlier before in 1990s the inspectors had been to Iraq on a similar mission and no proof had been prevailed. During this time, US had already expressed its doubt on these inspectors since they had earlier failed in their mission. They however accepted reluctantly so as not to raise global queries on their decision. On March 27, 2003, the UN’s nuclear agency reported that they had found no tangible evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction against the Iraq after thorough inspections. The US was furious with the inspectors and accused them of incompetence. The US claimed they not only knew the existence of nuclear, biological and chemical plants but they knew their exact locations. On March 20, 2003, United States, Britain and other 14 smaller powers launched war on Iraq. Six weeks later President Bush declared that the first victory in his mission had been successfully accomplished (Martin 11). After successfully ousting Saddam Hussein’s regime the results were however unbearable. Massive destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure had already taken the place and rebuilding the nation again was not an easy task. Billions of dollars were required to restore the country’s economic and political structures that the US could not do without the support of UN. That is why the US needed UN in this more than ever. However, the UN was unwilling to offer any assistance since the US had earlier defied UN orders (Bob 19). There was an increasing need for the UN intervention in Iraq to save the lives of so many perishing innocent Iraqis in order to combat the situation. Among the tasks, UN was required to fulfill were provision of security, financial aid, social amenities including building up of medical facilities and schools among others.
Bush’s Justification for Attacks against Iraq
United States had launched attacks against the Iraq on allegations that the country had in material breach of UN resolutions (Security Council resolution1441) of illegal possession of weapons of mass destruction. It described the attacks as timing because any further delays by allowing the UN inspectors more time posed severe threat since the more the time granted the more the stronger the regime was becoming and strengthening its nuclear base. President Bush had warned that if Saddam failed to cooperate with the inspectors or the WMD were discovered at the end of the exercise, he would then disarm the country by force (Todd 11). That is exactly what he did afterwards without any further hesitation and ignoring the United Nation’s plea.
Positions held by five Permanent UN Security Council Members against attacks on Iraq
The UN Security Council comprises of five permanent members, which are United States, Britain, Russia, France and China. Of the five members, only the Britain through its then prime minister Tony Blair seemed to be in full support of the US’ action against the Iraq. Britain’s support can be well confirmed when in the wake of September 11 US attacks echoed that it was not a battle between the Americans and terrorism but rather a battle between free and democratic world and terrorism (Martin 5). Even after the attacks, criticisms were pointed out at Bush and Blair for building support for war through “forgery, falsification and distortion of truth”. France, China and Russia on the other hand had demanded that US provide a justification on the possible threats posed by the Iraq before the commencement of the attacks. As quoted out France was afraid of weakening trade and economic relations with Iraq once the country had been destroyed economically. These only three member countries were supportive to the United Nation’s Position.
Bob, Woodward. Plan of Attack, New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2003.
Todd, Purdum. A Time Our Choosing: America’s war in Iraq. New York, NY: Times Books, 2003.