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Re: Earn your Peace Prize, Mr Annan

To Siddhath Varadarajan
Deputy Chief of Bureau
The Times of India

Dear Sir,

You make some quite good points about Uncle Sam - but have you forgotten his 
little brother?

Yours sincerely,
Bert Gedin (Birmingham, U.K).

>From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: Earn your Peace Prize, Mr Annan
>Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 00:42:31 +0200
>Hello all,
>here's an interesting article on the recent war.
>Dirk Adriaensens.
>An Ignoble War
>Earn your Peace Prize, Mr Annan
>       HE gentle Norwegians who decide on the Nobel peace prize have been 
>accused of many things in the past - poor judgment, political correctness 
>and regional bias - but no one ever suspected that behind their Nordic 
>inscrutability lies an exquisite sense of irony.
>       To bestow their award on the UN and its secretary-general at a time 
>when the world body's most powerful member is attacking its weakest is to 
>either mock the impotency of Kofi Annan and his colleagues or spur them 
>into seeking an end to this senseless and cowardly war.
>       Unequal adversaries have often fought wars but never has such a 
>formidable superpower attacked a people so miserable and defenceless as the 
>       No matter how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the US drops 
>along with less edible humanitarian material like cluster bombs, this is a 
>war in which civilians are go! ing to be killed in large numbers. Already, 
>more than 300 innocents have perished. No one is arguing that the US has 
>deliberately set out to kill civilians like the monsters who attacked the 
>World Trade Center did. But it is bombing Afghanistan with lethal ordnance 
>in the knowledge that noncombatants will die even without missiles going 
>       In 1999, NATO bombed Yugoslavia for making refugees out of the 
>Kosovars. Today, forcing Afghans to become refugees under the threat of 
>bombardment is considered the apogee of humanitarianism.
>       It is difficult to sustain the claim made by US ambassador to the UN 
>John Negroponte that the attack on Afghanistan is in conformity with 
>Article 51 of the UN Charter allowing the use of force in self-defence. 
>Apologists for Washington have gone further, arguing dishonestly that the 
>attack has been authorised by UN Security Council resolution 1368, passed 
>unanimously on September 12.
>       This when 10 days before the bom! bing began, National Security 
>Adviser Condoleeza Rice herself declared the US did not need UN permission.
>       Resolution 1368 is a text whose clever imprecision was presumably 
>crafted by the US to allow the Security Council to avoid taking a stand on 
>its desire to avenge the September 11 attacks. It correctly calls terrorism 
>a threat to international peace and security but does not invoke Chapter 
>VII of the UN Charter under which punitive measures are envisaged. It makes 
>no reference to Afghanistan or to earlier UN resolutions (1267 and 1333) 
>asking the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden. Far from authorising the 
>use of force, it states the Security Council's ''readiness to take all 
>necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks in accordance with its 
>responsibilities under the UN Charter''.
>       The language makes it clear that Security Council members consider 
>the UN (acting through its highest organ) to be the appropriate body to a! 
>ct against terrorism. The right of self-defence is affirmed but in 
>accordance with the Charter. To contend - as the European Council did at 
>its meeting on September 21 - that ''SC Resolution 1368 (means) a riposte 
>by the US is legitimate'' against any country is to argue that the right of 
>self-defence is not subject to the legal constraints envisaged by the 
>       Now that the US says it reserves the right to take military action 
>in 'self-defence' against other countries as well, some European states are 
>finally getting cold feet at the thought that Iraq, Syria, Libya or Iran 
>might be the targets of a ''riposte''.
>       Though the US has the right to defend itself against an armed attack 
>from another country or an armed group, the International Court of Justice 
>ruled in the landmark Nicaragua case of 1986 that this does not confer on 
>an aggrieved state a blank cheque to use force against anothe! r. The US 
>would have to prove that the terrorists who struck on September 11 were 
>sent ''by or on behalf of'' Afghanistan in order to fulfil the ICJ's 
>criterion for exercising the right of self-defence against that country. So 
>far, the US has provided no such evidence.
>       Moreover, self-defence must respect the principles of necessity and 
>propor- tionality: Washington has to demonstrate that the bombing is needed 
>to stop an imminent attack from Afghanistan and not merely from terrorists 
>who may already be in the US.
>       Elaborating on the ICJ's ruling, Prof Louis Henkin wrote: The right 
>of self-defence is ''limited to cases of armed attack that are generally 
>beyond doubt; a state's responsibility for acts of terrorism is rarely 
>beyond doubt and difficult to prove... Article 51 gives a defend 
>against an armed attack. This right does not allow for retaliation for 
>armed attacks...or (force) to deter future atta! cks''. That is why the 
>international community has repeatedly condemned Israeli attacks on Lebanon 
>and would surely criticise India for any strikes on militant bases across 
>the Line of Control in Pakistan.
>       Even if the US can prove the complicity of the Taliban in the 
>September 11 atrocities, international law stresses force should be 
>resorted to after all avenues for a peaceful solution are exhausted. As it 
>seeks to bring the conspirators to justice, the US could have sought a 
>tightening of UN sanctions against the Taliban pending further action. The 
>speedy implementation of UN Conventions against terrorism could also have 
>been made a priority. Instead, the US has rushed headlong into a unilateral 
>war that will not reduce the threat of terrorism by one iota.
>       While the UN has been paralysed, India, China and Russia have 
>appeased the US violation of international law on the assumption that 
>terrorism is being fought. When Washington speaks of widening t! he war 
>against terrorism, it does not mean Pakistan, Xinjiang or Chechnya but 
>Iraq, Iran and other opponents of US power. The US aim is to maintain its 
>domination over the oil resources of the Gulf region and extend its 
>military influence into the heart of Central Asia.
>       The only countries to take an honourable stand on the US attack are 
>Iran and Cuba, both victims of international terrorism and critics of the 
>Taliban and the September 11 atrocities. Iran and Cuba are proof of the 
>Manichean absurdity of President Bush's fatwa that ''you are either with us 
>or with the terrorists''. More countries must join their ranks. Nobel 
>winner Kofi Annan should issue an immediate call for the US to stop its war 
>and return to the UN for discussions on how the scourge of terrorism can be 
>fought. This month's General Assembly debate saw many countries make 
>proposals - legal, political and economic. These should be seriously 
>       An! ill-defined and unilateral war that undermines international law 
>and the UN Charter can only lead to the perpetuation of terrorism, not its 
>Siddharth Varadarajan
>Deputy Chief of Bureau, The Times of India
>7 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110 002 INDIA
>Tel: 91-11-371 7159 / Fax: 91-11-335 1606

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