One Canadian's stance on the Iraq conflict.

I am Canadian.

I do not think that the United States and Britain should have acted outside of the UN, and I support my country’s decision not to assist for that reason.

I do think that Saddam Hussein needs to be removed from power, and I also think that it was inevitable that this could only be accomplished by force; however, I do not think that Saddam Hussein represented an immediate imminent threat to American security, and the pre-emptive nature of this action is unjustified at this point in time.

I have aquaintances within both the British and American armed forces. While the decision to initiate this conflict may be questionable, now that it has begun it would be ridiculous to cease until the objectives are met.

I can not condone any Canadian assistance to the agressive phases of this conflict, since such action would undermine the purpose of the United Nations, our relationship with the international community at large, and Canadian sovereignty as pertains to our foreign policy.

Having said that, I think the best outcome we can hope for now is for the coalition to achieve all of their objectives quickly, and with a minimum loss of life. Now that the war has started, I wish nothing but success upon the coalition forces to bring a quick end to this crisis. I hope that Canada will contribute to the humanitarian assistance effort following the fall of the current Iraqi government, but I also hope that this effort, as well as the establishment of a representative government in Iraq is done as part of a much larger undertaking by the UN, with the United States and Britain as willing participants.

Anti-war protesters annoy me. Not because they have a message to send (I fully support freedom of speech, and the right to peaceful protest), but because they do things like block traffic. Contrary to popular belief, life continues outside of the conflict in Iraq. Preventing me from getting to my office does not further your cause - it merely makes me want to shoot you. Incidentally, just for future reference, the mass protests would have been much more effective had they been made prior to the decision to act. Pulling out now before the objectives are achieved would only serve to create a credible imminent threat to coalition participants’ security, where it did not previously exist (The USA opened Pandora’s box - they now have a responsibility to control it).

Thank you for reading.


As an American…I can only say this.

I appreciate having allies, however I am uncomfortable with “allies” which have a government commited to supporting the American military effort, yet over 90% of their public is vehemently against the war. If the Canadian public is truly uncomfortable with this war, then by all means Canada shouldn’t take part. I worry that some of the countries that are officially allied with the USA will soon elect governments that will make Chirac and Schroeder look like our dear old buddies.

Who did you have in mind for this job, exactly? Home-grown Iraqi dissidents? Who would have gotten their weapons and training from–where, exactly?

Question to all pro-war people: If the coalition forces want to embark on such a great crusade against U.N. permission, why not topple the government through assassinations? Snipers, Biological Agents in the mail, <insert other ideas here.>

G.W.B seems to think Saddam poses a great threat, but what about those innocent people dying below the planes dropping the bombs? What about the personnel dying every day, on both sides of the conflict?

The militaries of the participant nations of the UN, including the United States and Britain.

AFAIK, the UN does not normally concern itself with removing specific dictators from power, which is why Bush couldn’t get his second resolution, and why he’s doing this on his own, without the UN’s imprimatur.

Exactly. The UN would never condone such an action on the basis that the leadership of Iraq needed to be displaced purely on the grounds of a percieved threat by one or two nations. It’s all about checks and balances. If, however, a majority of signatory parties to the UN decided collectively that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is an immediate imminent threat to their collective security, they DO concern themselves with their collective defense, and would initiate action in that case.

As stated in the OP, the action seems premature.


Were you away from the news for the weeks leading up to this military operation?

Frankly, I don’t recall any mass protests against a war before the first shot was fired. Except for this one!

Actually, yes. I have been holed up in my office for a few weeks working on a fairly demanding project. I did manage to catch bits and pieces of the coverage, though. My impression was that the protests that took place prior to the first strike were insignificant in comparison to the ones that occurred both domestically and worldwide, after bombing commenced.

The decision has been made, and one has to wonder if it would be a better course of action to start protesting the next one (i.e. to place the governmental rebuilding and humanitarian aid efforts back in the hands of the UN.)

The coalition is now commited. British and American troops are “in the shit”, so to speak, and pulling out before the objectives are reached would pose a huge threat to security now. The anti-war protesters are either protesting the US decision to engage after the fact, or are trying to get them to pull out now, which is tantamount to suicide. I don’t get it, but then, I guess that’s why I go to work instead of to peace rallies…


From an article entitled “U.S. policy on assassinations”:

Fuji Kitakyusho, I thought the pre invasion demonstrations were actually larger (but I could be wrong).

**Please provide a cite for when a majority of UN members have ever decided that one particular dictator was an imminent threat to their collective security and took action. Otherwise, I think you need to rephrase that to put it as “they might concern themselves”, rather than “they DO concern themselves”.

Because they don’t.

A. They don’t do that kind of work. Removing individual dictators through force of arms is not part of their mandate.

Here’s their charter.

Nothing in there about removing individual dictators. Lots in there about how “armed force is bad”. How can an organization that’s set up to oppose “armed force” use armed force against a member nation (Iraq is still a member of the UN, remember) Answer–by calling it a “peacekeeping force”. Bosnia, etc. But UN troops weren’t sent to Bosnia to effect a regime change and to specifically remove certain officials from power. They were sent there to act as cops, to keep the various factions from shooting at each other, and to provide a stabilizing influence.

So the UN could conceiveably have sent in some kind of “peacekeeping force” to Iraq, to protect the Kurds, say, but not to oust Saddam Hussein.

And–the “peacekeeping force” has to be used “in the common interest”, which brings me to Point B.

B. There are 191 member states. A simple majority would be 96 votes. What would be the chances of getting any given 96 members to agree that it was “in the common interest” that one particular dictator be removed? Never happen (and, my point is, that it never has happened). For one thing, it would be perceived as a pileon, a gang-bang, the formation of a clique to pick on outsiders. Many members would refuse to participate for fear that they might be next on the “clique’s” list (“Where does it stop?” etc.), and the whole project would go down the tubes.

Take Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Why doesn’t the UN draw up a resolution and muster their forces to get rid of him? Because they don’t want to. It’s not their job to get rid of individual dictators. Why didn’t they send armed forces to get rid of Pol Pot or Idi Amin? Because they didn’t want to.

And they didn’t perceive it as their job to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

DDG, I mostly accept your assessment of the UN (although I think the UNSC is a more specific and appropriate organ to assess).

Much of the activity to which you refer occurred during the Cold War, where the US and USSR routinely stalemated each other on the UNSC. The potential of the UN (and UNSC) was never realized.

It should go without needing to be noted, but I see no problem with the fact that the UN is predisposed to try and find peaceful solutions. I find that entirely appropriate.

Here, in 2003, GWB trashed whatever remained of the power of the UNSC. But worse, he trashed the potential of what it could be.

While it is arguably true that the UNSC would NEVER have authorized a regime change (and perhaps appropriately so), it is quite clear that they were prepared to authorize force to occupy Iraq and disarm the regime.

With 1441, Bush took a gamble that the UN inspectors, fed with US intelligence, could turn up proof of WoMD, and the UNSC would then authorize force to disarm Saddam.

But Bush never relied on the UN, in fact, he negotiated with them in bad faith. They resisted. Bush decided to topple Saddam and invade Iraq prior to 1441. Bush lost the bet.

While I recognize that he, and many pro-war supporters, are comfortable with the decision, it is also a process that obliterated any potential the UNSC had, both now and in the future. And we will continue to pay those costs for decades to come.

Well, see, I don’t see where you get this:

I thought at the time that they were probably all just going along with 1441 (after a good deal of arm-twisting and politicking, remember) because they didn’t really believe that Saddam actually had the WOMD that Bush said he did, or if he did, they didn’t really care, so Hans Blix would just do his job and make his report on whatever he found, blah blah blah, etc., and then it would be business as usual, more negotiations, more speeches, more politicking, but nothing would really happen, or change. I don’t think anybody on the SC ever dreamed that things would get this far. America was supposed to be putting all that Cold war Cowboy stuff behind them and learning to live in harmony with the rest of the world, and especially a reshaped Yurp, in the 21st century.

Bush, and especially Colin Powell, had shown themselves amenable to diplomacy, and I think the SC thought that whatever happened subsequent to the renewed round of inspections would be handled through diplomatic channels. Not a shooting war.

So I never had the sense that the SC was ever really prepared to authorize an actual armed force to go into Iraq and deal with the regime if the inspections failed. And I think that’s what Saddam thought, too, which is why all the foot-dragging, “Missiles? What missiles?” He thought he could get away with it, never really expected anyone to come after him.

And I’m not writing off the UNSC as a spent force just yet. It’s possible that this may slowly but surely make them collectively mad as hell and not going to put up with it any longer, and the U.S. may find the UN going its own way without consulting them in future. I think especially France, Russia, and China are discovering they have actual muscles, which from the U.S.'s standpoint is probably not a Good Thing, but from a World standpoint, it’s probably good that some other players get into the UN game.