Contemporary Critical Theory
In early 2002, the United States Government identiﬁ ed Iraq, along with North Korea and Iran, as part of an ‘axis of evil’. The argument put was that Iraq, under President Saddam Hussein, was a threat to America speciﬁ cally and the world in general because of its stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the United States argued that Hussein had tyrannized his own population and politically unsettled the Middle East. At a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in late 2002, United States President George Bush urged the body to deal with the ‘grave and gathering danger’ of Iraq. A period of intensive political debate throughout the world about Iraq and the imminent threat it posed to global peace followed. The UN Security Council imposed new arms inspections on Iraq. Many observers argued that Hussein’s regime was cooperating with the demands imposed by international law. But countries such as the United States, Great Britain and Spain remained unconvinced, warning that military action against Iraq may become inevitable. The political debate and dialogue continued throughout early 2003, whilst massive peace demonstrations were held in cities throughout the world. Eventually, however, the process of political debate and diplomatic dialogue came to an end – at which point talk transmuted into violence, dialogue into destruction. On 19 March 2003, the United States launched ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, an ongoing round of coordinated air strikes against Baghdad, coupled with the invasion of troops into the country. In its invasion of Iraq, the United States had, in one stroke, embraced unilateral militarism and brought unstuck the structure of international law.