An attempt was made (by someone on another forum) to take me to task about the upcoming "war" with Iraq. Most of his comments centered around complaints that most American's don't know "our closest neighbor" (he alleges 25 years of asking Americans to name half of Canada's "10 provinces", and seems to imply that he is more aware of world events because he can name 25 of the States) and the "fact" that all Americans have a habit of bulldozing over anything or anyone who gets in their way.
For the record, I managed to recall nine of the Canadian provinces without resorting to any of my reference sources. (And, by the way, dimwit, there are thirteen, not ten. Ten provinces, and three territories, but they are usually grouped together, just like there are actually only 46 states and four "commonwealths" - Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - in the United States. But I'll bet you didn't know that about your "closest neighbor", didja?)
However, since we were originally discussing Iraq and the violations of UNSC Resolutions, I have a few extra questions for him: How many of Iraq's provinces can you name? For that matter, how many provinces does Iraq have
? And no fair looking it up, either.
I'm not going to reproduce the whole rant he made (nor am I going to identify him in this forum for various reasons), but I'm going to try and explain this a little at a time.
First, an apparent non sequitor
: I was watching the news this weekend, and scanning the various websites that reported on the various anti-war protests around the world, and I saw lots and lots
of signs that were comparing Bush to Hitler, and calling him an "International Terrorist", and bleating such intellectual nuggets as "It's All About The Oooiiiiilllllll!", while celebrating Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, and Josef Stalin, who have collectively murdered almost as many people as currently reside in Canada.
Hell, Hitler killed 25 million Russians, 6 million Jews, almost a million Gypsies, and countless French, Polish, Czech, etc. "dissidents" not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers. Click here for more information
of those people protesting this last weekend were calling on Saddam to follow through on his obligations to obey the UN Security Council Resolutions that he has been violating for more than a dozen years. Not one! They all seem to think that any aggressive moves are being made on the part of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, et al.
. They accuse all of these nations of unilateral action (completely missing the fact that when you have more than one nation in a "coalition", it is no longer "unilateral"), and of being willing to sacrifice "millions of Iraqi children" to avenge the attempted assassination of President George H.W. Bush, and the successful assassination of one of our ambassadors (both of which are
a casus belli
in any nation you care to name).
Have any of these people taken a look at how the Security Council passes these resolutions? Briefly, thus: There are 15 members of the Security Council, 5 "Permanent Members" (PM) (The U.S., the U.K., France, China, and Russia, who inherited the seat held by the U.S.S.R.), and 10 non-Permanent Members (nPM), who are elected to 2-year terms, 5 every year. Every (non-procedural) resolution must be approved by a 3/5 majority with the affirmative vote of all five PMs (the so-called "Veto" power).
So when the Security Council passes a resolution having to do with a member nation of the UN (such as Iraq or North Korea), you can safely conclude that all five
of the PMs agree that the resolved action is necessary for the peace and stability of the region. In the case of Resolution 1441 (which passed unanimously, 15-0), it states explicitly that Iraq remains in material breach of Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and it gives him a "final opportunity" to unconditionally comply with his obligations.
A paragraph from 1441 reads, "...that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991)..." and in the very next paragraph
, it goes on to read, "Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein...". What this means is that the cease-fire (NOT
a truce, but a cease-fire) put into place at the "end" of the previous Gulf War is explicitly conditional upon Iraq following through on that original Resolution 687, which was passed almost a dozen years ago. So let's get it clear. Legally and technically, as far as the United Nations Security Council is concerned, that war has never actually been settled, but has only had a cease-fire in place. The upholding of that cease-fire is dependent upon Iraq obeying the resolutions of the Security Council.
Has Iraq obeyed this resolution? Read it for yourself
and then tell me whether Iraq has "unconditionally accept[ed] the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:
(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;
(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities;"
Iraq has only accepted the destruction of those items it got caught hiding. Hans Blix has already reported the numerous violations of this resolution, including the discovery of missiles in violation of this paragraph. Does the Security Council actually mean anything it says? Not if France has anything to say about it...
The UNSCOM and UNMOVIC inspectors are not in Iraq to play detective, but (rather) to supervise the destruction of the items that Iraq is supposed to freely and willingly give up. Not a single person who has actually looked into the facts has agreed that Iraq is cooperating. Not even Saddam's son-in-law, who defected from Iraq to reveal Iraq bio-weapons program, and was lured back into Iraq, and killed for it! Nice guy, but it's Bush
that is most like Hitler, right?
I'm not even going to harp on paragraph 16, which was violated even before the Republican Guard had finished leaving Kuwait. (That is the one that holds Iraq "liable under international law for any direct loss, damage, including environmental damage and the depletion of natural resources ... as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait". Iraq destroyed countless oil wells and set hundreds of others on fire on their way back into Iraq, causing the largest oil spill in history. No one said bupkis
, not even the environmentalist whackos.)
But let's set that one aside for a moment. Let's recall UNSC Resolution 1060, where Iraq was called to task for refusing access to sites designated by inspectors. Why would they refuse access to these sites? What would they have to hide? This was just the first step on the road to non-compliance. Resolution 1115 mentions further obstructions, as does Resolution 1134.
These are not laws passed by the United States Congress!!
These are Resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. So why do all of these anti-war people protest "American aggression"? The United States has been, if anything, too
lenient. Perhaps the reasons have to do with that coward who was too busy fondling the interns in the Oval Office at the time to notice.
To get back to that original complaint about "our closest neighbor", he mentions some case where Canadian businessmen who had been dealing with Cuban businesses (which doesn't violate Canadian law). He claims that this "businessman" who had been vacationing in Florida was arrested. He seems to imply that he was arrested for doing this business with Cuba. (He spells out that it was a Canadian corporation and the deals were done on Canadian soil, and that this businessman was "on vacation".) I fail to see what this has to do with the multiple violations of international law committed by Iraq, but whatever...
First, if he was going to have been arrested on American soil for violating the American embargo of Cuba, it would have happened the instant he set foot on American soil (when he crossed the border or landed at the airport). Next, if I were knowingly violating, or had been convicted in absentia
of violating, any
nation's laws (even though I might not have been violating my own country's laws), I sure as hell
wouldn't go there on a vacation! (Ask Roman Polanski why he won't show up in Hollywood for this year's Oscar ceremonies...)
I also have difficulty believing that anyone who would have been arrested just for violating American policies (if it ever actually happened) would have been given a visa in the first place. Oh, that's right, we have enough freedom between Canada and the United States that he probably didn't even have to ask for one! Oh, you mean he did have to ask for one for an extended stay? (I'd need citations and links to comment further, because I'm defending a situation on which I have no other data. It could have been that he actually met with the Cubans on American soil, or that he was speeding (the problems with thinking in kilometers versus miles per hour), and got nailed on a Federal "wants and warrants" for those violations of American law, or anything. Hell, maybe he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. I don't know, and he doesn't say...)
Going on, he further accuses me of having my opinion's shaped by the spin added to whatever media stories to which I may have been exposed. No, I prefer to make up my own mind, and I read news stories for the facts presented, not for the attitudes conveyed. I admit that many people (not just Americans, by the way) have the attention spans of tree squirrels, and prefer to let other people make up their minds for them. Hell, some people do that for a living
He wants to know if we are aware of who the leader of Canada is. (Certainly. Queen Elizabeth II
. Duh.) But if you're asking about the head of government, then I would reply that it is Prime Minister Chretien. He (my interlocutor, not PM Chretien) seems to think that most Americans would rely "President Trudeau". Despite the fact that Canada doesn't have a President, but a Prime Minister, if I were to ask the average person on the street who Pierre Trudeau was, I'd be willing to bet most of them would guess, "I dunno... The guy who draws Doonesbury
?" That doesn't mean that Canada is any less important on the world stage, but that most people are concerned with their own little piece of the globe, rather than a leader of a nation other than their own. Most people in the United States wouldn't be able to tell you who their own mayor was, if they lived in a medium-sized city. (Most large cities' residents would know because of the local media coverage of that mayor, and most small towns' resident would know because he/she is a familiar face.)
He also accuses the US of being responsible for "tens of thousands of dead women and children" (I would demand that he provide verifiable proof of that accusation) and says "more are dying all the time, although now it is due to starvation rather than bombs and bullets." One question immediately springs to mind. How much money has Saddam siphoed from his "oil-for-food" programs and sent off to pay the families of the Paliswinean homicide bombers? (It was about US$25,000 per payment, as I recall, almost ten years salary for most Iraqis.)
How much money has Saddam siphoned off to pay for his ongoing weapons programs that Blix and Al Baradei have confirmed still exist? (Such as re-cast missile firing chambers, the thousands of liters of anthrax growth medium, the thousands of liters of Sarin and VX nerve gas that Iraq admitted having but have since just "disappeared", the aluminum tubes that Saddam claims are to be used for artillery shells but have tolerances five times more exacting than what the US uses for its own nuclear weapons, just to mention a few examples.)
How much money of his "oil-for-food" programs did Saddam use to build those solid-gold-inlaid poems celebrating his existence in his newest Presidential Palace (mentioned in one of the most recent inspections, which wouldn't be taking place in the first place if it weren't for the continuing threat of force by the United States and Great Britain?)
According to the World Almanac, the per capita Gross Domestic Product in Iraq was only $2,700. I just spent that much on our newest car, and I am nowhere near what would be called "rich". Even in Canada. How much better will the average Iraqi's life be once they are out from under the Butcher of Baghdad's cruel thumb? Ask your average German or Japanese citizen whether they were better before or after WWII...
(Oh, one last thing, my Canadian acquaintance. The United States did not start the War of 1812 (it's purpose was not the invasion of Canada, and it was started by Great Britain, who was trying to reclaim its colonies), but we did
win it. Look up the Treaty of Ghent
(24 DEC 1814), and the Battle of New Orleans
. And if you want Detroit back, as far as I'm concerned, you can have it...)