Revolutionary Worker #1170, October 13, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
Some people romanticize the UN--they envision its actions as the will of the "world community." This is a mistake. The UN is a body that brings together the governments of the world-- they rule over the people, but they certainly don't represent the interests or the will of the people.
The UN itself is governed by its Security Council--which represents a small circle of the largest and most powerful governments. This means that UN resolutions are basically agreements among the imperialists--over how to best carve up, police and rob the world.
History shows that many great crimes in the world have been carried out with UN sanctions-- including the Korean war and the 1991 Gulf war. The fact that the UN is sending inspectors into Iraq does not make those inspections just. And if the UN Security Council endorses Bush's war, that won't make that war any less aggressive and unjust either.
First, UN arms inspections were always unjust--they were designed to impose and maintain imperialist control over the Persian Gulf after the Gulf war.
Looking at those inspections in the context of the surrounding events makes this clear:
In the 1991 war, Iraq, a third world country of only 23 million people, the size of California, that just happens to sit on massive oil reserves, was defeated by a coalition of the U.S. and its most powerful imperialist allies. They injected massive weapons of mass destruction into this strategic oil-rich region, and (as General Schwartzkopf recently described on TV) directly threatened Iraq with nuclear attack (even as U.S. planes unleashed massive bombings). Huge, permanent U.S. bases have been built, for the first time, right in the Persian Gulf, capable of threatening all the states there.
In the decade since that war, the U.S. and Britain have attacked Iraq at will, over and over. They have imposed a vicious embargo that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. And the U.S. and Britain have continued to bomb Iraq for over ten years! All of this madness has been carried out with UN approval.
The argument by the U.S. (and other imperialists like Britain and France and Russia) that only they may have "weapons of mass destruction" is mind-boggling hypocrisy. The U.S. and its allies swagger into the Persian Gulf packing nukes, missiles, and whole armadas--and then insist that it is Iraq that must submit to weapons inspections. This is cold colonialist logic, that rejects even the basic notion that nations have a right to sovereignty and the means of self defense. The simple fact is, the imperialists think Iraqi oil reserves are too strategic to be out of their control.
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