From Charles I to Charles Taylor
18 Regime Change and the Trial of Saddam Hussein
Unlike the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, the Anglo-American attack on Iraq in 2003 was one of the most hotly contested political decisions of modern times. Inspired by the Manichaean, millenarian,1 and neo-Jacobin ideology of the neo-conservatives,2 some of whom demanded that the US pursue ‘an end to evil’ on the basis that ‘there is no middle way for Americans – it is victory or Holocaust,’3 and by the neo-Trotskyite dogma of ‘global democratic revolution’ which President George W. Bush often said was the centrepiece of his foreign policy4 (for instance, ‘The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a crushing defeat to the forces of tyranny and terror, and a watershed event in the global democratic revolution’5), the invasion of Iraq was attacked by opponents as illegal because, like the Kosovo war, it was never authorized by the United Nations Security Council. Supporters of the war, London and Washington in first place, replied that the attack was covered by existing UN Security Council resolutions. The question of the legality of the war cannot be dissociated from the question of the legality of the subsequent trial and execution of the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein.
The international system ratified after World War II in the charter of the United Nations bans the use of force in international relations (war) except when a state is acting in self-defence or when authorized by the Security Council voting under its...
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