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November 11, 2003
ANDREW SULLIVAN IS FISKING WESLEY CLARK, who rather incoherently says that the war in Kosovo was "technically illegal" because the Security Council didn't approve it, but that it was still okay, while the war in Iraq wasn't:
Let's go back here. Clark essentially concedes that the war in Kosovo was, under international law, indistinguishable from the war in Iraq. Actually, even that's not entirely true. It should be recalled that the United States and its allies, particularly Great Britain, secured a 15-0 Security Council Resolution demanding complete and unfettered access to potential sites of WMD development--or else--in Iraq. The "else" was subject to debate, but the notion that it ruled out any military action is one only Dominique de Villepin would argue with a straight face. No such 15-0 vote occurred at any time before the Kosovo war. So, if anything, the war against Iraq had more international legitimacy than the war in Kosovo. If viewed as a continuation of the 1991 war--the terms of which cease-fire Saddam had grotesquely and systematically violated--it was impeccably legitimate. The 1991 war, after all, was one of very few post-World War II conflicts that had unimpeachable U.N. credentials.
The real problem with the Iraq war is that it's (1) waged by a Republican President; and (2) obviously in the United States' national interest. To some people, those characteristics are enough to brand it evil.
Sullivan goes on to call Clark's latest claims about Bush "Ross-Perot crazy." Read the whole thing.