Justifications for the US-Iraq 2003 war: "preemption" or "preemptive war"
The US built its case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the basis that it was a preemptive strike in the face of the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction. Since the United Nations did not sanction the war, the repeated suggestions that the war was "preemptive" were simply propagandistic attempts to justify the war and to suggest that it was legal. For a proper understanding of the misapplication of the term "preventive war" when referring to the US-Iraq 2003 war, Prof. Chomsky has a succint explanation:
- The grand strategy authorises the US to carry out preventive war: preventive, not pre-emptive. Whatever the justifications for pre-emptive war might be, they do not hold for preventive war, particularly as that concept is interpreted by its current enthusiasts: the use of military force to eliminate an invented or imagined threat, so that even the term "preventive" is too charitable. Preventive war is, very simply, the supreme crime that was condemned at Nuremberg.
—Noam Chomsky, "Preventive War 'The Supreme Crime': Iraq: invasion that will live in infamy", August, 11, 2003.
- 2003 invasion of Iraq
- Bush doctrine
- clear and present danger
- Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996
- forward strategy of freedom
- Iraq as an imminent threat
- Iraq the road to war
- just war doctrine
- National Security State
- National Security Strategy of September 2002
- National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Proactive Preemptive Operations Group
- Transitional Iraqi Government
- Truman doctrine
- U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century / Hart-Rudman Commission
- preemptive war
- preventive war
- war on terrorism
The 2001 John C. "Yoo Memo"
- "The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them. Memorandum Opinion for the Deputy Counsel to the President," Department of Justice, September 25, 2001.
Preemptive War Against Iraq
- Paul W. Schroeder, Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War. The administration's claim of a right to overthrow regimes it considers hostile is extraordinary - and one the world will soon find intolerable, The American Conservative, no date.
- Alan Bock, Preventive or Preemptive War?, Eye on the Empire, September 10, 2002.
- William Galston, Perils of Preemptive War. Why America's place in the world will shift -- for the worse -- if we attack Iraq, The American Prospect, September 23, 2002.
- Stephen Murdock, Preemptive War: Is It Legal?, DCBar, January 2003.
- Todd Gitlin, America's Age of Empire: The Bush Doctrine, MotherJones, January/February 2003.
- Michael E. Salla, An Exopolitical Perspective on the Preemptive War against Iraq, Exopolitics, February 3, 2003.
- Eliot Katz, To Declare Pre-emptive War is to Declare a Bankruptcy of the Imagination, CounterPunch, February 28, 2003.
- Robert Schneer, Preemptive war crimes. Driven by a coterie of neoconservative ideologues -- and the accidental president in their sway -- we are hours away from becoming international outlaws, Salon.com, March 12, 2003.
- Jeffrey Donovan,Iraq: 'Preemptive' Or Otherwise, U.S. Interventionism Has A Long History, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 14, 2003.
- Steven R. Weisman, Doctrine of preemptive war has its roots in early 1990s, International Herald Tribune, March 24, 2003.
- Bob Zimmerman, The truth behind the American invasion of Iraq: The Bush administration's evolving global nightmare, impeach-bush-now.org, April 7, 2003: "When did 'democracy' become an American export; a commodity installed wherever we see fit by means of overwhelming force?"
- Howard Dean, Bush: It's Not Just His Doctrine That's Wrong, CommonDreams, April 17, 2003.
- Joel S. Beinin, Ivan Eland, and Edward A. Olsen, Preemptive War Strategy: A New U.S. Empire? (Transcript), The Independent Institute, June 25, 2003.
- Ulrich Arnswald, Preventive War or Preemptive War, IndyMedia, September 3, 2003.
- Stan Crock, Preemptive War Is the Wrong Weapon, BusinessWeek Online, October 22, 2003: "the electronic newsletter sent out by Chuck Spinney, a retired Pentagon analyst ... starts out with a quote from the late journalist H. L. Mencken: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed [and hence clamorous to be led to safety] by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- Jalal Ghazi, Wolfowitz Doctrine Sinks in the Iraqi Quagmire, Pacific News Service, November 25, 2003: "The pre-emption doctrine of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Dundes Wolfowitz helped fuel the war in Iraq. Wolfowitz argued that the United States should 'shape,' not just react, to the world, acting alone when necessary and using its military and economic hegemony to foster American values and protect U.S. interests. But the outcome of the Iraq war has brought about the opposite: the quagmire has stymied aggressive U.S. unilateral action and forced Washington to work with European allies and even an old foe, Iran."
Future Preemptive Actions
- David Morgan, Pentagon Weighs Contentious Peacekeeping Plans, Reuters, December 5, 2003.
- US Plans Spring Offensive in Pakistan, Reuters, January 28, 2004: "The U.S. military is making plans for an offensive that would reach inside Pakistan in coming months to try to destroy operations of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. ... The newspaper, in a report from Washington citing military sources, said the plans involved thousands of U.S. troops, some of them already in neighboring Afghanistan. ... The Pakistani government denied to Reuters that it would allow such an operation and the Pentagon declined to confirm that such a plan was being worked on."