Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Did we Get Here From There? The Afghanistan Call to Arms

International law, as set out in the United Nations Charter, is very specific in defining scenarios under which war can legally be waged .... There are basically only two scenarios that legitimize war.

First, if a country is directly attacked, and there is no non-violent remedy, it can respond with military force in self-defence. The only other scenario—when the collective interest of international peace and security is at stake—requires the authorization of the UN Security Council. [Michael] Mandel, author of How America Gets Away with Murder, notes that self-defence does not apply in the case of the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, since the U.S. launched wars against both Iraq and Afghanistan, even though it was not attacked by either country.

Washington also failed to secure UN Security Council authorization. In the case of Iraq, Washington tried to get such authorization but failed, and so decided to proceed with its invasion anyway. In the case of Afghanistan, Washington never even tried for Security Council authorization.' Thus, says Mandel, both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions were illegal under international law.

The illegality of the invasion of Iraq was more clear-cut and obvious, since no connection has ever been established between the 9/11 attack and Iraq ... But the war in Afghanistan has long been considered more complicated and nuanced, since the ruling Taliban apparently allowed the al Qaeda terrorists who carried out 9/11 to use Afghanistan as a base. It might seem then, that the U.S. could reasonably argue that it was attacking Afghanistan in self-defence, since Afghanistan had harboured a group that had attacked America.

No matter how compelling the U.S. case against bin Laden was, Washington did not have the right under international law to invade Afghanistan in order to pursue him. "One is not allowed to invade a country to effect an arrest," notes Mandel.' (HOLDING THE BULLY'S COAT, Canada and the U.S. Empire, Linda McQuaig, Doubleday Canada, ISBN 978-0-385-66012-9, Pg. 89-90)

Once the Karzai government was elected, the war did become legitimized, but that still leaves the question, was it legitimate to invade a country without actual proof that they were behind the terrorist attacks? Recent videos apparently from Bin Laden with an admission of guilt, are believed to be forgeries, and it's seems more plausible that he has been dead for several years.

He was suffering from acute kidney failure and could not have roamed around in the mountains for long undetected.

But this isn't about conspiracy theories, or who was behind the attacks, but our own involvement in the Afghan war. I'm using this page as a starting point for postings to show the chronology of 'the mission' and why I think we need to get out now. We can go back when the fighting stops and help rebuild, since we helped to destroy, but no more killing.

Former Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien announced on October 7, 2001; that 'Canada would contribute forces to the international force being formed to conduct a campaign against terrorism', but the original commitment was only to last to October 2003.

So why are we still there and what are we doing exactly? We're not fighting for democracy. Hell, we don't even have that here.



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