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Wider War Watch -- January 2002

News - 31 January 2002
"No New Military Action 'Imminent' : U.S. to Continue Other Approaches to 3 Nations Cited, Bush Aides Say"
Alan Sipress and Thomas E. Ricks. Washington Post, 31 January 2002.

[excerpt]   By singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea, Bush elevated concerns about weapons of mass destruction to the same level as terrorism. While all three are on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, Iraq and North Korea have played at most a minimal role in backing terrorist groups in recent years, officials said. Heightened U.S. concerns about weapons proliferation after Sept. 11, and especially after the anthrax attacks, have given Bush wider latitude to extend his campaign to countries accused of trying to acquire biological and other weapons, analysts said. "This was a pretty clear signal that the overlap between the campaign against terrorism and opposition to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is nearly complete," said a senior administration official.

News - 31 January 2002
"Nobody wants to be in the 'axis of evil' "
Nicholas Kralev. Washington Times, 31 January 2002.

[excerpt]   South Korea, meanwhile, expressed dismay with Mr. Bush's remarks in his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, arguing that the North didn't support terrorism and that the threat it posed was different from the harm Iran and Iraq could inflict on the United States. In Seoul, [South Korean President] Kim said it was "important to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in North-South relations." South Korean diplomats in Washington, however, urged the Bush administration to "resume dialogue" with the North, rather than make "unhelpful" statements.

Commentary - 31 January 2002
"As Captor, U.S. Risks Dehumanizing Itself"
William Pfaff. The International Herald Tribune, 31 January 2002.

[excerpt]   The rest of the world has had to live with terrorism, accommodating its shocks and demands. No other country has ever believed itself invulnerable. Only the United States possessed a conviction of invulnerability, which it lost on Sept. 11. At the same time, an American sense of impunity was reinforced, which lies behind its unilateralist policies today. The international controversy over the prisoners at GuantYnamo Bay has posed important legal and human rights issues, but it also is contributing to the definition - or redefinition - of the moral identity of America, not only in the eyes of the world, but for Americans themselves.
Common sense would say that if there is indeed a war against terrorism, then the prisoners are prisoners of that war, unless Washington is prepared to assert that its war against terrorism is in some way not a war. The administration's position is that the combatants of Al Qaeda are outside the law because they carry out, or defend, terrorism. However, the combatant who places himself outside the law nonetheless falls under the jurisdiction of law when he is captured and held by a nation of law.

Commentary - 31 January 2002
'Axis of Evil' Crumbles Under Scrutiny
Michael T. Klare. Pacific News Service, 31 January 2002.
Posted on the Website.

Commentary - 31 January 2002
"Taking the War Beyond Terrorism"
William Kristol. Washington Post, 31 January 2002.

[excerpt] the most significant sentence spoken by an American president in almost 20 years: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." It's worth noting that the word "terrorism" entirely disappeared from this, the climactic paragraph of the speech. Of course, it's true that the dangerous regimes that are developing weapons of mass destruction also support terrorism, so a nexus of terror and weapons of mass destruction exists. Still, this second aspect of the war on terror goes beyond terror. It is a war against dangerous tyrannies seeking weapons of mass destruction. And it will be a preemptive and unilateral war, if necessary.

Analysis - 30 January 2002
Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war
Carl Conetta. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, 30 January 2002.

[excerpt]   While US influence in Central Asia has been quietly growing for years, the post-OEF expansion of its military aspect will make it a more contentious issue for Russia and China -- not to mention for the region's Islamicist movements. There is an irony in this that will be lost on the bin Ladens of the world: their jihad against US military influence in Muslim areas has prompted an expansion of precisely the thing that aggravates them. But we should not expect this outcome to deter them from continuing as before. They are as immune to deterrence as they are to irony.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has signaled a willingness to deploy to another 15 countries in pursuit of terrorists. But the method and path charted by Enduring Freedom would lead the United States into a thicket of civil, ethnic, and interstate conflicts involving much more than the issue of terrorism (as is already the case in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Israel). In such complex circumstances, the single-minded exercise of US military power is bound to produce inadvertent and chaotic results. Moreover, it will implicate the United States as a partisan in local disputes in ways not originally intended.

Source - 29 January 2002
The President's State of the Union Address
George W. Bush. Washington, DC: The United States Capitol, 29 Janaury 2002.

[excerpt]   Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil...

News - 28 January 2002
"China Tells Iraq -- Opposed to Widening War on Terror"
Reuters, 28 Janaury 2002.

[excerpt]   "China does not support the expansion of anti-terror military action," Xinhua [official Chinese new agency] quoted [Chinese Vice Premier] Qian as saying. "At the same time it hopes that Iraq will cooperate with the U.N. to avoid new and complicated situations which might emerge."

Commentary - 22 January 2002
Caution: Moral Snares Ahead
We've sent GIs to the Philippines before -- with disastrous results
Andrew J. Bacevich. The Los Angeles Times, 22 January 2002.
Posted on the Website

[excerpt]   The disagreeable work that is the American soldier's lot at the beginning of the 21st century is by no means identical to what it was a hundred years ago. But as the ever-widening circle of U.S. military commitments suggests, it remains the business of empire: establishing order, maintaining stability and enforcing norms of behavior, the logic of which may be more self-evident to ourselves than to others.

Analysis and Commentary - 21 January 2002
The Nuclear Posture Review: Reading Between the Lines
Michelle Ciarrocca. Common Dreams, 21 January 2002.

[excerpt]   The Nuclear Posture Review is the road map to a unilateralist U.S. nuclear policy. The review makes no mention of the U.S. commitment under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to take concrete steps toward eliminating its nuclear arsenal, a commitment that was reaffirmed at the 2000 NPT review conference. The U.S. and 186 other countries came to a global consensus on nuclear disarmament, declaring it the "only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons."

Source - 16 January 2002
DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers
Arlington, VA: Department of Defense, 16 Janaury 2002.

[excerpt]  Q: Can you bring us up to date on the deployment of U.S. troops to the Philippines, as to where that stands today? And also describe the significance of addressing the Abu Sayyaf problem regarding the global terrorism problem?
Rumsfeld:  Yes. We have said from the outset that the threat that terrorists pose is a serious one, that it's global, that it involves networks well beyond al Qaeda, and certainly areas of the world well beyond the Central Command's area of responsibility, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and well beyond Muslim countries. It doesn't have to do with a religion, it doesn't have to do with a certain part of the country or a region; it has to do with terrorists and terrorism.
Rumsfeld:  The United States is leaning forward, period. Certainly when there's a situation where American hostages are being held, that adds a dimension to our interest. What we do is we work with countries that are not friendly, like the Taliban in Afghanistan, in one way, and we work with countries that are friendly, like the Philippines, in a different way. And it's a different part of the world, it's a different set of circumstances, and the short answer is you bet your life we're leaning forward.
 ...we're interested in terrorism quite apart from whether or not there is a direct linkage to September 11th. That -- that is not the litmus test for whether or not the United States of America is interested.
I've said that one of the really truly important things that struck me is if you go back to World War II, in the post-World War II period, how relationships shifted in the world dramatically and institutions changed in various ways. And I have said that I believe that will be the case as a result of this significant worldwide effort to deal with terrorism. If that's true, I think one can expect that there will be different relationships going forward, and I suspect that some of them will be in Central Asia, and to the benefit of those countries and to the benefit of other countries.
 ...if we have to go into 15 more countries, we ought to do it...

News - 16 January 2002
"U.N.'s Robinson: Cuba Detainees Are Prisoners of War"
Reuters, 16 January 2002.

[excerpt]   U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson said Wednesday the 50 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters being held at a U.S. Navy base in Cuba were prisoners of war and entitled to the protection of international law. Robinson said most legal experts disagreed with Washington's view that the fighters were ``illegal combatants'' and therefore not protected by the Geneva Conventions on prisoners rights. "The situation is complex (but) ... the overwhelming view of legal opinion is that they were combatants in an international armed conflict," the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights told reporters. "Their status is defined and protected by the Geneva conventions of 1949 -- they are prisoners of war," she said. Robinson added that if there was any doubt about their status, the Geneva protocols -- which the United States has signed -- called for the question to be decided by a tribunal.

Commentary - 15 January 2002
US Moves Fuel Bellicosity Elsewhere
James Carroll. The Boston Globe, 15 January 2002.
Posted on the Website

[excerpt]   Even before we have accomplished the single most important war aim - ''decapitating Al Qaeda'' - our war has transformed the meaning of conflict elsewhere and has forced other nations, in imitating us, to previously unimagined levels of bellicosity.
Because a unilateral war formed the core of America's response to Sept. 11, the single greatest moral shift to have occurred among nations in the 20th century has been undercut - the fragile, but precious idea of institutionalized international mutuality. Nations owe each other minimal levels of cooperation, respect, and even deference.

News - 14 January 2002
"Sen. Lieberman Says Saddam Must Go"
Thomas Ferraro. Reuters, 14 January 2002.

[excerpt]   U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, back from a tour of Central Asia and Afghanistan, said on Monday the battle against terrorism will not be won until Iraq's Saddam Hussein is removed from power, and the United States must be ready to topple him on its own. "The unique threat to American security by Saddam Hussein's regime is so real, grave and imminent that, even if no other nation were to stand with us, we must be prepared to act alone," said Lieberman, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and a potential 2004 White House contender.

Commentary - 10 January 2002
The Politics of Terrorism, or Civilians vs. Civilians
William Pfaff. International Herald Tribune, 10 January 2002.
Posted on the Common Dreams Website

[excerpt]   Politicians and governments worldwide have expanded the war against terrorism by redesignating their own enemies as terrorists. This has been easy because Washington's definition is elastic and arbitrary. Terrorism is what bad people do.

Source - 08 January 2002
Nuclear Posture Review [Excerpts]
DoD, 08 January 2002.
Posted on the Website

News and Commentary - 07 January 2002
Security brass: Targeted killings don't work; no military solution to terror
Amos Harel. Ha'aretz, 07 January 2002.

[excerpt]   [Senior Israeli security officer]: "It is clear to all of us that there is no military solution to terror. Nowhere in the world have such situations been solved via military action. You can reduce terror; but you certainly can't eliminate it."

News - 07 January 2002
"Turkey Grudgingly Supports Anti-Saddam Action"
Umit Enginsoy and Burak Ege Bekdil. Defense News, 07-13 January 2002.

[excerpt]   Although Ankara has supported Washington in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, Turkey's top civilian and military leaders publicly have opposed military moves aimed at toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. They fear that post-regime instability could foster an independent Kurdish state... Iraq is expected to be a main agenda item when [Prime Minister] Ecevit meets with U.S. President George Bush at the White House Jan. 6.

Analysis - 07 January 2002
"Bush's South Asia Strategy: Keep Terrorism as the Villain"
David E. Sanger. The New York Times, 07 January 2002.

[excerpt]   Mr. Bush's team ... saw an opportunity to build on Mr. Clinton's courting of Indian leaders, and the strengthening of economic ties. In contrast, they saw little potential in building a relationship with Pakistan: its support of the Taliban, its proliferation of missile technology and its constant dalliance with economic default made it seem, in the words of one American diplomat, "only a few shades better than North Korea." Hard-liners in the Pentagon, moreover, thought a tilt toward India would help in the containment of China, India's other great rival. Sept. 11 changed all those calculations. Now Washington finds itself, to India's distress, with an equal interest in both countries. But it does not yet have a strategy to meet that new reality.

Commentary - 06 January 2002
"The Rule of Law: Indispensable to a Wider War"
Peter Charles Choharis. The Washington Post, 06 January 2002.

[excerpt]   [T]he United States will have to show that its war effort continues to be not just moral, but legal -- in other words, that it is fighting to uphold the rule of law against terrorists who are trying to destroy it. How well America can convince the international community that it is acting within the law will be crucial to the level of allied support it can command worldwide.
Opposition to an expanded war has also started. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has issued a statement warning against any strikes outside Afghanistan. More recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against attacking Iraq. And as the IHT-Pew poll revealed, it is unclear whether U.S. allies -- be they Islamic countries or European ones -- will tolerate, let alone support,America's attacking sovereign countries merely because they host terrorists. Toppling foreign governments would presumably meet with even greater resistance.
Making the legal case for a wider war will not be easy. There is a strong presumption in international law against attacking another country. One of the most widely accepted principlesis the respect nations accord each other's sovereignty. Indeed, Article 2 of the U.N. Charter commits member states to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity . . . of any state." A U.S. military strike against a terrorist group within another nation's borders -- especially if that country's citizens are killed or injured during the strike -- would arguably violate that nation's "territorial integrity" and might be considered an act of aggressive war (one that lacks legal justification) and therefore a war crime. Some have maintained that America's inherent right of self-defense justifies expanding the war. But that doctrine is not a hunting license that will vindicate an attack on any perceived enemy or hypothetical threat. Rather, the right of self-defense applies to instances where "an armed attack occurs," in the words of Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, or, most legal experts would add, where such an attack is imminent. Although self-defense will certainly be part of the equation, we must be careful not to expand the doctrine too far beyond its traditional scope lest aggressor nations abuse it to justify their own invasions.
It would be disastrous to U.S. interests if our war efforts created both the legal basis and strategic catalyst for a wave of regional armed conflicts, all in the name of stopping terrorism.

News - 3 January 2002
"Israel asks America to strike western Iraq first, if it decides to fight Saddam"
Amir Oren. Ha`aretz, 3 January 2002.

[excerpt]   The defense establishment here believes that the Bush administration has given up trying to find an Iraqi version of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, so Washington is busy studying intelligence profiles of top Iraqi army commanders who could take control in Baghdad concurrent with or immediately after the start of an American campaign.

News - 2 January 2002
"U.N. Fears Abuses of Terror Mandate"
William Orme. The Los Angles Times, 2 January 2002.

[excerpt]   Demands by the Security Council that U.N. members act against global terrorism are being used by some regimes to justify repression of domestic dissent, U.N. officials and independent human rights advocates say. The anti-terrorism campaign has been used by authoritarian governments to justify moves to clamp down on moderate opponents, outlaw criticism of rulers and expand the use of capital punishment.

Commentary - 2 January 2002
"Wielding a Solomonic sword"
Tony Blankley. The Washington Times, 2 January 2002.

[excerpt]   The recent Israeli-Palestinian and Indian-Pakistani incidents have revealed that the U.S. war on terrorism -- while absolutely necessary -- has legitimized military anti-terrorism for other nations. We have unleashed powerful sovereign urges to decisively suppress ethnic self-determination. Moreover, we have converted what were regional and inconclusive events that had little impact on the larger world to the global level with serious implications for world stability.

Analysis - 2 January 2002
Allied Views on Widening the War on Terrorism
Tomas Valasek. Washington, DC: Center for Defense Information Terrorism Project, 2 January 2002.

[excerpt]   ...all major U.S. allies have warned, privately or publicly, against attacking the regime of Saddam Hussein.

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