Iraq War, The Truth

Bush, God, Fox and the International Criminal Court
Jan. 14, 2005
Here’s an interesting theory for why Bush attacked Iraq. He did so in order to violate international law. This is what Eric Zuesse argues in “Iraq War, the Truth,” a 188-page book from Delphic Press.

The book is better than its title or its preface. Zuesse makes a case that Bush’s central motivation in launching this war was to render the United Nations and the International Criminal Court powerless. Bush didn’t attack and occupy Iraq in order to eliminate weapons that he already knew didn’t exist. And looting the oil and other resources (and the US Treasury) for corporate cronies was a side benefit. Attacking in violation of international law, and using napalm and depleted uranium in the attack, was not a regrettable circumstance to Bush. He would not have preferred to have UN backing, because his primary enemy was never Saddam Hussein; it was the United Nations. What about “liberating the Iraqis”? Bush believed that one. He didn’t expect the Iraqis to continue resisting. But that wasn’t why he started the war.

All right, but why would someone waste tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars getting into a predictable mess merely for the thrill of violating a law? Because this was no ordinary thrill for our born again White House occupant. This was a holy thrill. This was paying Jesus back for saving W from alcohol and drugs. This was the culmination of a fundamentalist Christian crusade on behalf of God’s law in opposition to merely human law. This war has been building steadily since the founding of the John Birch Society. This is a war with God on Bush’s side, fought for a righteous and holy American empire. God’s law, the law of the conqueror, the Almighty, must be proclaimed sovereign over the blasphemous pretenses of men who would seek to write their own laws, international or national. But the international laws must be destroyed first.

The last 50 pages or so of Zuesse’s book make the case that this is how Bush thinks. But first, Zuesse lays out the clearest and most honest summary I have seen of how this war was begun, how the U.S. media promoted it, and how the U.S. public was deceived. There’s a detailed analysis here of some of Bush’s most patent lies and the case that can be made out of them for impeachment.

There’s also a critique of the opposition to the war. Zuesse believes that the US antiwar movement failed to pick up on international boycotts of US brand products because these were “crass commercial concerns.” I don’t think so. I think opponents of the war were too eager to be “patriotic.” My analysis parallels Zuesse’s own of why, in his words, “religious liberals don’t understand what they are up against, because they’re up against religion; they are up against something that’s within themselves.”

According to Zuesse, the US attack on Afghanistan was too widely viewed in the world as justified. “Not so the invasion of Iraq. Invading that country would be sufficiently illegal to establish the necessary precedent that the United States stands above (merely Man-made) international law, and yet it was still sufficiently arguable within the prevailing WMD context so that it might be able to pass the legal ‘smell test’ of the international community. It was therefore uniquely qualified to serve this bigger strategic purpose of establishing a precedent that would destroy Man-made international Law and establish the global reign of ‘God’s Law.'”

Zuesse believes that if the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not act quickly to try Bush as a war criminal, then Bush will have successfully destroyed the court before it could get started. A trial of Bush, in absentia, without seizing or punishing him, and even failing to convict him, would be enough to save the court, Zuesse thinks. It’s not clear to me, however, how much of such a trial the US media would report. Zuesse’s plan, in fact, would be to try them next:

“People such as Rupert Murdoch (all 175 of whose newspapers editorially supported this illegal invasion and followed through with pro-invasion news reporting on it) can be tried for propagandizing war crimes and the internationally recognized ‘crime of aggression’ (i.e. illegal invasion), upon the same grounds for which Herr Goebbels is now universally detested, and for which the leading Nazi industrialists were likewise imprisoned.” Now that’s a strategy for Fox-bashing that I can get behind!

Zuesse concludes his book with this tip: “The public information officer of the ICC can be reached at

David Swanson served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich for President and now serves as media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association.