| Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 04:55 pm |
Well, I did not expect to provoke such a strong reaction with my post! I've looked into it in greater detail now.
First off, it is not the responsibility of the Prime Minister OR the President to consult with thier nation before going to war. THEY are the leaders and THEY make the decision, not us. [...] OUR decision is wether or not to support them later by re-electing them or even recalling them.
Perhaps they do not need to consult the nation, but in the UK there is, I believe, an obligation to consult the Cabinet. Don't forget that we do not choose our Prime Minister. We pick our local representative (Member of Parliament, MP) and the leader of the party with the most representatives becomes PM. Thus we can't vote out the PM whilst simultaneously re-electing our local MP even if our MP was against the war. Lord Hailsham referred to this system in 1976 as "elective dictatorship".
Strangely, only the Queen is able to declare war. In practice, however, she is only able to do so with the assent of the Prime Minister AND his Cabinet, collectively the Government. In other words, it is the government that declares war with Royal Assent following immediately afterwards (I don't think they'd bother to wake HRH to sign at 2am if that is when the declaration is issued). There was a bid in 1999 to require a Parliamentary vote prior to any war with Iraq but the Queen refused to give her assent to the bill (on the advice of the PM). Gordon Brown is apparently investigating the transfer of the power to declare war from the Queen to Parliament (no action taken yet).
Whilst in theory the PM can declare war without notifying the Cabinet, in practice this isn't supposed to happen. This is exactly what did happen with the Iraq war - since 1911 the power of the PM has steadily grown at the expense of the Cabinet leading to an almost Presidential style of government. Lord Butler condemned Tony Blair's style of government in the Butler Review of 2004 following the invasion. The report also concluded that the intelligence justifying the Iraq War was unsound and that the 45-minute claim in the 2002 dossier (the so-called "dodgy dossier") was unsubstantiated. It was this dossier which was the basis of British involvement in the invasion. Controversially, it did NOT appear in the submission from the British intelligence services to the government.
This led to allegations that the dossier had been "sexed-up" by the government in order to garner support for an otherwise unpopular war. Given that the actions of Ministers were omitted from the remit of the Butler Review, the truth of this allegation was never investigated.
Given that the reason given to the British Parliament and the British people for going to war in Iraq was the supposed existence of WMD, and that subsequent reviews have suggested that the intelligence this was based on was faulty, and that there are serious allegations of changes made to the report by the government in order to garner support for the war, then this calls into question the legality of British involvement in the war (NOTE: British involvement. This is separate from the American decision to invade. I make no suggestion about the legality of the war as a whole, and I agree that Saddam was an evil dictator who should have been confronted).
There was no debate on going to war? TOUGH SHIT. It was obviously Tony Blair's decision to make and he made it. He was ELECTED to do so. THAT is how REPRESENTATIVE democracy works. [...] Sure, it sucks there was no real debate, but that doesn't make it wrong or less moral.
I hope I have made the case that in this instance, our representative democracy failed. I am insulted that you consider me a "spoiled little brat", but frankly, a "spoiled little brat" would not have bothered to educate himself about whether our involvement was both justified and legal.
Oh, and by the way, the coalition was ENFORCING UN sanctions on Iraq along the way.
I never claimed that we weren't enforcing UN sanctions. However, we did NOT have a UN resolution sanctioning military action (UN Resolution 1441 authorised sanctions and inspections, but not military action). I admit that this does not necessarily make the actions illegal, but certainly puts them in a legal grey area. I echo Nix's suggestion that perhaps you should enforce UN resolutions regarding Israel before proposing that argument.
Your ACTIONS, your blind hatefulness, your close-minded rejection of anything positive or constructive simply because of your POLITICAL idealogy hurts the troops. Your sophistry in saying 'I am helping the troops by bringing them home' hurts the troops.
Firstly, I have NOT said that I want to bring the troops home now (as soon as possible, yes, but not an immediate withdrawal). I fail to see how you can accuse me of blind hatefulness - I have kept myself as well-informed as I can and come to the conclusion that our part in the invasion was not justified. Perhaps you could inform me what positive or constructive things I have close-mindedly rejected?