The Case for Preemptive Attack


For more than a year, the Bush administration has been trying to justify a preemptive war against Iraq. They've said that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction, but so do many others countries, so by itself this is not a cause for war. If Iraq is a threat to Israel , as we're told, let Israel defend itself. There's no justification for a US attack here. We're told that Iraq might arm terrorists, but so might Pakistan, Israel, or France; and neither common sense nor evidence suggests that Saddam has any intention of doing so. Again, no justification for war. If Saddam is a brutal dictator, as they say, why aren't we about to attack Zimbabwe, for example, to bring freedom and democracy to that country. Until now, the argument for a preemptive strike has been an empty one.

But there is an historical precedent for preemptive war. Alan Bock has described these conditions on Alan writes:

'There's a well-accepted definition for preemptive war in international law,' Joseph Cirincione, Director of the Non-Proliferation Project of the Carnegie Endowment, told me on the telephone last week. 'Preemptive war is justified by an imminent threat of attack, a clear and present danger that the country in question is about to attack you. In such a case a preemptive attack is recognized as justifiable.'

Alan goes on to provide an example of a justified preemptive attack. 'During the 1967 Six Day War, Israel attacked first, but Egyptian and Syrian troops were massing on the border and airplanes were being mobilized.'

In the past few weeks, the conditions which justify a preemptive strike are again being met. After more than a year of verbal saber-rattling, the US attack force is massed on Iraq's border. Advance teams are right now operating inside Iraq, preparing for invasion, and our warplanes strike Iraqi targets daily. All the world knows that the American government has lied about its reasons for wanting this war from the start, and squelched any attempt to derail it.

The conditions for a justified preemptive attack have been met. Iraq would now be morally and legally justified in staging a massive chemical or biological attack on the surrounding US troops, and the world knows it, just as they know that what prevents such an attack is the consequent total nuclear annihilation of Iraq by the US government.

Look how far we've sunk. See what our government does in our name. Shame on America.

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