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The Rule of Law loses twice: in Iraq and at the Cole Royal Commission

By Peter Lewis - posted Wednesday, 2 April 2003

Shock and Awe

And so it has begun, the cartoon caricatures are locked in: the cowboy and the tyrant his father created, locked in an endgame that will trash more than the infrastructure of Iraq.

As we get our nightly fix of the war, more like a video game if you can get past the fact that people die when the fireworks hit their target, an overwhelmingly sense of doom descends.

It comes from the witnessing of the juggernaut in action: all the divisions of the US Empire combined - the military, the media, the government - to smash the rogue tyrant and give the world a taste of The Way Things Will Be From Now On.


The doctrine of pre-emption, risk assessed and addressed by one nation's leaders, will take our world into a new era of domination and subjugation.

There are two scenarios that can now unfold and neither of them is very pretty.

In the first, the USA and its conscripts do not have the quick and decisive victory they expect. Ground fighting leads to casualties among the soldiers and the civilian Iraqis they purport to liberate. Refugees starve on the Iraqi borders; those that remain are cannon fodder.

In the second, the war does go according to the Pentagon's script, Saddam's army is overwhelmed, casualties are kept to minimum and Iraq is "liberated". A US regent is put in place and American companies flood in to rebuild the nation's infrastructure.

For those who detest bloodshed this is probably the preferred outcome - but the long-term consequences could be just as damaging.

A quick victory would leave George Dubya vindicated and ready to spread his doctrine of pre-emption to promote American interests everywhere.


In the long run, this scenario scares me more than the current war. A world with one power exerting its will is a recipe for excess.

The United Nations is compromised, perhaps fatally, trampled over by its strongest member,leaving a void in mediating the differences based on culture, affluence and creed that all global conflicts boil down to.

In its absence, it will be American values and American interests that will define what is right and wrong; power will become its own morality. Who will then be the next target: North Korea? Iran? Pakistan? The only certainty is that it will be for Bush's advisers to decide.

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This article was first published as the editorial in Workers Online, published by Labornet, which is a member of The National Forum.

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About the Author

Peter Lewis is the director of Essential Media Communications, a company that runs strategic campaigns for unions, environmental groups and other “progressive” organisations.

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