Friday, 30 September 2011

Can We Trust Democracies?: September 11th, the War on Terror and “Humanitarian Intervention”

Dr Aidan Hehir, Security and International Relations Programme

‘It used to be said that facts speak for themselves. This is of course untrue.
The facts speak only when the historian calls on them; it is he who decides to which facts to give the floor, and in what order or context’. [1]
E.H. Carr

‘Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth’.[2]
Jean Baudrillard

“September 11th 2001” or “9/11”?

The magnitude of current events are rarely as obvious as was the case on September 11th 2001. Millions around the world watching as the World Trade Center collapsed immediately sensed that this was the terrible dawn of a new era. September 11th 2001, like all seminal dates in history, has come to denote far more than the terrorist attacks. The date itself has become popularly represented as “9/11”; this may seem like an innocuous abbreviation but while “September 11th 2001” is a date, “9/11” is arguably a symbol, and symbols are by definition designed to convey a message. As Richard Jackson

asserts, the effect of changing “September 11th 2001” to “9/11”, ‘ to erase the history and context of the events and turn their representation into a cultural-political icon where the meaning of the date becomes both assumed and open to manipulation’.[3] The “manipulation” of the terrorist attacks by the Bush administration began almost immediately; Richard Clark, chief counter-terrorism adviser on the US National Security Council, recalled Bush’s determination, immediately after the attacks, to blame Saddam Saddam’s regime and find some evidence that, ‘Iraq did this’.[4] Likewise, soon after Condoleezza Rice, then US National Security Adviser asked her staff to consider, ‘how [to] capitalize on these opportunities’.[5]

As the earlier quote from Carr attests, “historical facts” are not necessarily neutral and “history” is perhaps better conceived as a subjective story. The story constructed by the Bush administration to both explain the attacks and legitimise the US’s response to them constituted a determined effort to seize the initiative in the struggle to control the dominant narrative. This involved reducing the complexities of the world to a Hollywood-like “good versus evil” struggle. The apocalyptic and irrational nature of the “evil” menacing, not just the US, but the entire world, necessitated, we were continually told, a robust military response and the subversion of both domestic and international law for the greater good. To do otherwise was appeasement or unpatriotic. The narrative used to explain the past, therefore, facilitated the reduction of the future to a simple choice; ‘you are either with us or against us’.[6] As George Orwell wrote in his dystopian novel 1984, ‘He who controls the past controls the future’.

Events in history, are therefore, sites of contestation rather than neutral facts and as we pass the ten year anniversary of September 11th 2001 the struggle to determine the “lessons” and “meaning” of this catastrophic event continues. This article reflects on but one of the many issues that have provoked debate in the last ten years, namely humanitarian intervention with a particular emphasis on the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Diplomatic Miscalculations”

Following the attacks a spirit of solidarity swept across the globe epitomised by the headline in the French newspaper Le Monde, “we are all Americans now”. The multicultural nature of New York, its

popularity as a tourist destination and centre for international commerce and culture further ensured that millions could readily emphasise on some level with the human tragedy. This moment of solidarity, which enabled the UN-sanctioned multi-national intervention in Afghanistan, was relatively short lived. The “war on terror” soon turned global sympathy to outrage and resentment. Indicatively, today the more iconic images of the attacks has become not the terror of innocents fleeing but the

picture taken by Thomas Hoepker showing New Yorkers reclining as the Towers burn, which is considered ‘an allegory of America’s failure to learn any deep lessons from that tragic day’.[7] The

apparent “decadence and arrogance of the West” ostensibly on show in the image appeared to confirm that view, exemplified by Baurillard’s earlier quote about the vacuous nature modern American culture and the aggressive exceptionalism of US foreign policy.

By early 2002 Iraq had curiously emerged as the main focus in the “war on terror”. The subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 generated unprecedented controversy and caused a deep division within the international community. After the invasion the US was cast as a global pariah in stark contrast to the international solidarity shown after September 11th 2001.[8] In protest at the looming invasion of Iraq former UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook stated in his resignation speech to the House of Commons;

Only a year ago, we and the United States were part of a coalition against terrorism that was wider and more diverse than I would ever have imagined possible. History will be astonished at the diplomatic miscalculations that led so quickly to the disintegration of that powerful coalition.[9]

Indeed, by 2006 a poll found that 69% of British respondents believed US policies since 2001 had made the world less safe, 75% considered President Bush a threat to world peace and 71% stated that the war in Iraq was unjustified.[10]  

            Had the US-led coalition justified their actions solely on the basis of the threat posed by Saddam’s regime to the US and its allies then Operation Iraqi Freedom would have little importance for the humanitarian intervention debate. The fact is, however, that in tandem with the security rationale, a robust humanitarian justification was proffered particularly when the weapons of mass destruction failed to materialise. As a consequence the invasion of Iraq, Fernando Tesón notes, ‘reignited the passionate humanitarian intervention debate’.[11]

Democratic Exceptionalism and Humanitarian Intervention After Kosovo

In 1999 NATO intervened in Kosovo, then part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The justification advanced was that the majority ethnic Albanian population was being oppressed by Milosevic’s forces and action was required to save lives. This was Tony Blair claimed, ‘…a just war in a just cause…[fought] for the values of civilization.’[12]

Following the intervention many observers advanced optimistic prescriptions predicated on the assumption that Western states had demonstrated a willingness to transcend narrow national interests. In this vein, Chris Brown, writing about the Blair government, noted,

The present government clearly believes in the importance of international law and international cooperation….It is in terms of this kind of international civility as an expression of a willingness to reconcile the national interest with the norms of international society that the true ethical dimension of foreign policy is to be found – and on its record in this area the new government passes, if not with flying colours, then at least with some merit.[13]

The optimism as to the evolving trajectory of international politics was sustained by the conviction that the world’s most powerful group of states was committed to acting beyond their borders for the cause of humanity. According to Nicholas Wheeler,

…a new norm has developed that supports the use of force to protect civilians from genocide, mass murder, and ethnic cleansing. This norm is strongest in Western states, which were the key players throughout the 1990s in establishing this new principle in international society.[14]

In explaining why Western states came to adopt this disposition, when previously it was lacking, Mervyn Frost suggested that the meeting of ethical convictions held by global civil society and those held by ‘the society of democratic and democratising states’ had created the scope for this new disposition.[15] Frost argued that the new right to intervention extended to all democracies while the traditional right of sovereign inviolability could now only be enjoyed by democratic states.[16]

Democracy thus became increasingly portrayed as a prerequisite for sovereignty and essential for the realization of human rights and the broader normative agenda. Mary Kaldor argued that democracy is ‘…the necessary condition for political emancipation.’[17], while according to Thomas Weiss ‘Human rights can only be defended by democratic states with the authority and the monopoly of force to sustain such norms’.[18] Allen Buchanan and Robert Keohane suggested that a coalition of democratic states should be created as an institutional arbitrator on human rights issues.[19] Existing democratic states thus, unsurprisingly, were portrayed as more legitimate actors than states with different system and inherently more receptive to humanitarian advocacy. Western states should be afforded unique rights of intervention, it was argued, so that operations such as Operation Allied Force could be facilitated but reserved for a privileged few.[20] The foundational tenet of international law – all states are equal – was thus profoundly challenged by a new movement which sought to extricate democratic states from the ostensibly anachronistic laws governing the use of force.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Following the September 11th attacks there was some logic in focusing on Afghanistan as a means to combat Al Qaeda and the intervention – Operation Enduring Freedom – was widely supported as both a strategic necessity and also as humanitarian given the nature of the Taliban’s internal repression. The invasion of Iraq, however was neither logical nor widely supported. Following the conclusion of Operation Enduring Freedom Wheeler noted, with significant prescience for the subsequent invasion of Iraq, ‘…the danger is that US policy makers will come to believe that they can use force without legal or moral censure as long as they couple force with token humanitarianism that will nullify dissent’.[21]

The path that led the United States and its ‘coalition of the willing’ to war against Iraq in 2003 is well documented elsewhere and is not the subject of this article.[22] The importance of the invasion for the argument presented here relates to the justifications offered before and after the military action occurred. The following sections look at two aspects of Operation Iraqi Freedom; first the humanitarian rationale espoused by the architects of the invasion; second the extent to which the intervening coalition manipulated information prior to the invasion to garner popular and international support.

The Humanitarian Dimension

The primary rationale proffered for invading Iraq centered on the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction Iraq was said to posses, the regime’s purported links with al-Qaeda and its attempt to import nuclear material from Niger. However, while greatest emphasis was placed on the security-orientated rationale the extent to which a humanitarian rationale was additionally proffered cannot be ignored. Indeed, in clarifying the US’s goals shortly after the invasion had begun President Bush stated, ‘…our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people’.[23] Of course, the very name of the military operation – Iraqi Freedom – attests to the emphasis sought for this aspect of the proffered rationale.

            While the most vociferous statesmen supportive of the invasion issued many apocalyptic warnings about the threat posed by Saddam’s regime they each additionally emphasized, in often graphic detail, the human rights abuses perpetrated by Saddam and the overwhelming moral case for overthrowing him. In a speech to the UN in late 2002 President Bush stated,

Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents – and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.[24]

Tony Blair similarly declared, ‘Riding the world of Saddam will be an act of humanity. It is leaving him there that is in truth inhumane’.[25] Wheeler and Morris in fact suggest that Blair’s moral instincts, more than his security concerns, pushed him towards the decision to invade. They note, with respect to his interventionist outlook, ‘…there is ample evidence that Blair saw himself as acting pursuant to this world view…[the security concerns only] served to reinforce his powerful humanitarian instincts’.[26] They in fact suggest that the security concerns were articulated because Blair knew the humanitarian argument was illegal.[27]

John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, adopted a similar mixture of security and humanitarianism in his justifications for the invasion. Prior to the invasion he stated, ‘…the end of Saddam’s regime would provide an opportunity to lessen the suffering of the Iraqi people’ and he warned of, ‘…the enormous humanitarian cost…to the people of Iraq, of Saddam Hussein remaining in charge’. Howard described in explicit detail the abuses carried out by Iraq, such as the mutilation of children and the systematic amputation of tongues and noted, ‘…is undeniable that if all the humanitarian considerations are put into the balance there is a very powerful case to the effect that the removal of Saddam Saddam’s regime would produce a better life and less suffering for the people of Iraq than its continuation’.[28]

Bush had similarly stated, in an address directed at Iraqi citizens, ‘…the day [Saddam Hussein] and his regime are removed from your country will be the day of your liberation’.[29] On the 17th March 2003 Bush, in a televised address, gave Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or be bombed. Bush, in addition to highlighting the threat Iraq’s (non-existent) arsenal of WMDs posed to the US and Iraq’s neighbors, emphasized the humanitarian aspect of the looming intervention;

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near. [30]

As Alex Bellamy observes, when it became clear that the Security Council was not going to sanction the invasion the emphasis shifted markedly from the security-orientated rationale to the humanitarian justifications. Blair in particular advanced this redirection focusing on the negatives that would accrue from pursuing either of the two alternatives to invasion, namely first the continuation of the sanctions regime, which he argued, ‘…leads to thousands of people dying needlessly in Iraq every year’ and secondly inaction, which he deemed morally unacceptable given Saddam’s personal record of human rights abuse as documented in a 2002 report by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This report stated, ‘Saddam Hussein has been ruthless in his treatment of any opposition to him…A cruel and callous disregard for suffering remain the hallmarks of his regime’.[31] Bellamy thus concludes ‘…it appears that humanitarian justifications were abused to justify a war that could not be justified by either positive international law or reasons of the state (the defense of the state and its allies)’.[32]

            In a move similar to the policies previously carried out during Operation Enduring Freedom the use of humanitarian aid provision became intertwined with the intervention itself. The US made its funding of humanitarian aid agencies conditional on their agreement to display the US flag.[33] Throughout the five week conflict with the Iraqi army the US-led coalition emphasized the humanitarian dimension to their operations describing various operations as ‘humanitarian’. The discrepancy between the actions of the coalition and the rhetoric surrounding them led Rony Brauman and Pierre Salignon of MSF to warn, ‘It is high time we realized that the term “humanitarian”, when employed in such conditions, is purely propaganda’.[34]

The actual military campaign against the Iraqi army was relatively short and hugely successful. While Bush’s ‘mission accomplished’ declaration aboard the USS Lincoln on May 1 2003 now appears embarrassingly premature, at the time the intervening coalition had grounds for such self-congratulation.

The scale of the ensuing insurgency and the exposé of the enormous intelligence failure regarding the non-existent WMDs and the lack of any link between Saddam and al-Qaeda soon undermined support for the invasion. At this point, great emphasis was again placed on the moral aspect of the intervention which, it was claimed, meant that even though the security-orientated rationale proved largely false, the invasion was still justifiable on humanitarian grounds. As Blair stated,

I can apologise for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can’t, sincerely at least, apologise for removing Saddam. The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power…success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.[35]

In an earlier speech to his constituency party, as the credibility of the security rationale was slipping away, Blair declared, ‘…we surely have a responsibility to act when a nation’s people are subjected to a regime such as Saddam’s’.[36] This speech explicitly drew parallels between Kosovo and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Blair emphatically reiterated his belief in the ‘Doctrine of the International Community’ speech he made during the intervention in Kosovo.

President Bush similarly focused more on the humanitarian side of the invasion as Saddam’s lack of WMD’s came to light. In an April 2004 address Bush, spoke of ‘America’s commitment to freedom in Iraq’ and outlined why his administration was so committed,

 A free Iraq is vital because 25 million Iraqis have as much right to live in freedom as we do. A free Iraq will stand as an example to reformers across the Middle East. A free Iraq will show that America is on the side of Muslims who wish to live in peace, as we have already shown in Kuwait and Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan. A free Iraq will confirm to a watching world that America's word, once given, can be relied upon, even in the toughest times.[37]

On the 10 April 2006 Bush declared the day ‘…marked the third anniversary of a great moment in the history of freedom – it was the liberation of Iraq’.[38] 

The post-invasion inflation of the humanitarian aspect of the intervention did initially work according to Richard Melanson who notes that the American public seemed willing to forgive the Bush administration’s mistakes, or lies, about WMD because the invasion seemed to have brought such rich humanitarian benefits.[39] This popular endorsement of the invasion as a worthy humanitarian intervention was short-lived, of course. The combination of the revelations of extensive atrocities perpetrated by coalition forces in Iraq, most particularly at Abu-Ghraib, the rising death toll and the obvious resistance amongst the citizens of Iraq to the ‘liberators’ clearly undermined the purported ‘humanitarian’ inclinations and effects.

Selling the Invasion

That the intervening coalition, and the Bush administration in particular, manipulated intelligence to support their determination to go to war with Iraq today appears largely incontrovertible. Certainly by July 2002 the UK government were convinced that the US was committed to invading Iraq regardless of what the weapons inspectors found. Jack Straw, then UK Foreign Secretary, stated that following a meeting with US officials ‘It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided’.[40] According to Paul Wolfowitz, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Bush administration chose to focus primarily on WMD’s because it offered the greatest potential for garnering support, rather than because it was an accurate assessment of Iraq’s military capability. He stated ‘The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with US government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason’.[41] Malone thus concludes that the US had decided to go to war in by at least July 2002 and subsequently determined to ‘fix’ intelligence to that end.[42] The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), established in 1997, had called for regime change in Iraq long before 9/11[43] and many of the PNAC’s members - such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and John Bolton - went on to hold key positions in the Bush administration. Their determination, as they saw it, to ‘finish the job’ begun in 1991 with Operation Desert Storm appears to have led them to utilize the fear of international terrorism, rife following 9/11, to sell the invasion. Within months of 9/11 the Bush administration began to contradict many earlier declarations which suggested Saddam’s military capability had been crippled by the sanctions regime in favor of issuing dire warnings about the threat his regime ostensibly posed such as Condoleezza Rice’s now infamous statement ‘…we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud’.[44]

            As is now abundantly clear Saddam’s Iraq did not constitute the threat alleged prior to the invasion. As stated by Hans Blix Iraq was ‘….not an imminent or even a remote threat to the United States or to Iraq’s neighbors’.[45] Few could dispute Saddam’s hostility towards the US and it allies or his resistance to weapons inspections yet his ability to attack the US, Europe or even Israel was clearly exaggerated. The ‘intelligence failure’ argument has been regularly offered as an excuse for the reality uncovered in Iraq yet it is difficult to accept that the WMD debacle was merely a function of faulty intelligence given the manner in which the intelligence supportive of intervention so suddenly appeared in ever increasing volume and scale immediately after 9/11 when previously Iraq had not been considered a major threat. The obvious determination among the so-called ‘neo-cons’ to attack Iraq was long-held and according to David Malone ‘In retrospect the fear of WMD seems to have been instrumentalized to sell a decision to go to war that had already been made in Washington’.[46]


The invasion of Iraq has major implications for humanitarian intervention and particularly the idea that Western democratic states can be trusted with exceptional rights of intervention. While the security rationale was the primary justification offered, the centrality of the humanitarian justifications cannot be overlooked particularly since they have come to dominate in the period since the WMD’s failed to materialize. As Mary Kaldor notes Bush and Blair’s rhetoric since the invasion have stressed ‘…that their concern in Iraq is humanitarian rather than national’.[47] Whether the intervention was prompted by genuine humanitarian concerns[48] or nefarious capitalistic impulses[49], does not alter the implications of this episode; the intervention is and was presented by its proponents as, to some significant degree, a humanitarian intervention. The fact that this humanitarianism is rejected by arguably the majority of analysts demonstrates that the creation of a ‘humanitarian exception’ and the endorsement of ‘illegal but legitimate’ interventionism is not an objectively observable phenomena and is open to abuse.

Central to the optimistic predictions about the future of humanitarian intervention which followed NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was the assumption that global civil society is a powerful force for good capable of shaping and regulating the foreign policy of Western democratic states through the application of moral pressure. The Western state was conceived of as receptive to moral pressure by virtue of its inherent humanitarian concerns, its transparency and accountability, and the strong links between civil society and the democratically elected government.[50]

The invasion of Iraq, however, suggests that massive domestic and international pressure can be resisted by Western democratic states. The scale of the opposition to the invasion was unprecedented; up to one million people marched in London, Rome and Madrid on February 15th 2003 in what David Cortright described as ‘…the largest-scale single day of anti-war protest in human history’ when, in classic global civil society rhetoric, ‘Demonstrators believed themselves to be part of a truly global struggle’.[51] Patrick Tyler wrote that the demonstrations highlighted that the US now faced a ‘rival superpower’ – namely world public opinion. 

President Bush appears to be eyeball to eyeball with a tenacious new adversary: millions of people who flooded the streets of New York and dozens of other world cities to say they are against war based on the evidence at hand…an exceptional phenomenon has appeared on the streets of world cities…politicians and leaders are unlikely to ignore it.[52]

Of course, the global movement against the war and the massive demonstrations were ignored when a month later the US led the invasion of Iraq. This highlights, at the very least, a breakdown in communication between the government and the public within these democracies. At worst it suggests that governments – even democratic ones – determined to pursue what they believe to be a necessary foreign policy will do so regardless of whether there is support for this policy within their domestic constituency. Cortright, however, rejects this negative diagnosis; ‘Although the movement was unable to stop the march to war, and did not prevent the re-election of pro-war administrations a year and a half later in the United States and Australia, it nonetheless exerted considerable international influence’.[53] In terms of identifying where this ‘considerable international influence’ manifest he suggests, ‘…the strength of worldwide anti-war sentiment prevented the Bush administration from gaining UN support for its planned invasion and forced the administration to abandon efforts to win UN endorsement’. The suggestion is, therefore, that while global civil society was unable to prevent the US and the UK from going to war the anti-war movement was able to compel the Security Council to oppose the war. France, Russia and China’s opposition to the invasion was thus it seems a function of the anti-war demonstrations. While it is difficult to determine exactly why these countries refused to support the invasion a number of potential explanations stand out; the impact of the anti-war movement is not one of them.[54] Indeed, it is difficult to believe that government officials in Moscow and Beijing were influenced in their deliberations over their respective policies on the impending invasion of Iraq by images of anti-war demonstrations in Western cities.

Additionally, the extent to which the intervening coalition were at best creative with the truth, at worst complicit in a massive international deception, must undermine any notions of Western democracies being necessarily open, honest and ethical and thus somehow to be trusted with an exceptional interventionist capacity. Western states have themselves systematically violated human rights domestically and humanitarian law internationally. The detention centre at Guantanamo Bay and the many violations of the laws of war which occurred during the invasion of Iraq – in particular the horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib – certainly undermine notions of the Western state as inherently concerned with human rights and morally virtuous. It is also clear that Western states have no compunction about cultivating alliances with states with poor human rights records as was routinely the case after September 11th. The US’s ongoing alliances with, for example, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel – each noted as systematic violators of human rights – implies that key strategic considerations are given preference over humanitarian concerns. Evidence certainly suggests that the relationship a state has with the West will determine the extent to which its record on human rights becomes an issue.[55]


The means by which the “war on terror” was pursued clearly contrasts with the West’s own opinion of itself; according to the 2006 US National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, ‘[Democratic states]…exercise effective sovereignty and maintain order within their own borders, address causes of conflict peacefully, protect independent and impartial systems of justice, punish crime, embrace the rule of law, and resist corruption’.[56] This assessment of how democracies behave is clearly an exaggeration.

            The use of humanitarian rhetoric to justify intervention is not a new phenomenon; following the annexation of 50% of the territory of Mexico in 1848 US President James Polk argued that had these territories remained part of Mexico they would have been ‘…little value to her or any nation, while as part of our Union they will be productive of vast benefits to the United States, to the commercial world, and the general interests of mankind’. Likewise, President William McKinley stated on ordering the intervention in the Philippines in 1899, ‘We intervene not for conquest. We intervene for humanity’s sake [and to] earn the praises of every lover of freedom the world over’.[57] Such dubious justifications are certainly not unique to the US or the West more generally but it is clearly significant that democratic states are evidently willing to cynically invoke humanitarianism and ignore domestic and international opinion in the pursuit of their foreign policy objectives.

            Having examined the invasion of Iraq many have concluded that whenever a state advances a humanitarian justification for the use of military force it is simply a lie. In the case of Iraq such an assessment may be reasonable but it is perhaps an exaggeration to claim this is universally applicable. At times states do spuriously invoke humanitarianism to justify intervention but there have been occasions when there has arguably been a mix of national interest and humanitarianism with the intervention in Libya earlier this year seemingly a case in point. States, I contend, do not undertake military interventions without some degree of national interest but this mixed motivation need not mean that the intervention cannot be deemed humanitarian. It is surely unreasonable onerous to demand that an intervention can only count as humanitarian if the motive is pure.

            Nonetheless, the case of Iraq, and the broader “war on terror”, does surely undermine the notion that the international laws and norms governing the use of force should be recast in a way which imbues democratic states with exceptional rights to intervene for humanitarian purposes. It also calls into question the democratic credentials of ostensibly democratic states such as the US and the UK if elected leaders can both willfully deceive their publics and resist popular opposition to their policies.

[1] E.H. Carr (1961) What is History? (London Penguin), p. 11
[2] Masticator Website ‘Jean Baudrillard and The Desert of the Real’, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, 4, 4, October 2007
[3] Richard Jackson (2005) Writing the War on Terrorism (Manchester: Manchester University Press), p. 7
[4] Richard Clarke, quoted in David Malone (2006) The International Struggle over Iraq (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 187.
[5] Quoted in Gary Younge (2011) ‘Can the United States Move Beyond the Narcissism of 9/11?’, The Guardian, 4th September, Available online,
[6] George Bush (2001) ‘You are either with us or against us’,, November 6,
[7] Jonathan Jones (2011) ‘The Meaning of 9/11’s Most Controversial Photo’, The Guardian, 2nd September,
[8] Robert Singh (2006) ‘The Bush Doctrine’, in Mary Buckley and Robert Singh (ed.s) The Bush Doctrine and the War on Terrorism (London, Routledge), p. 14
[9] BBC News (2003) ‘Cooks Resignation Speech’, 18 March,
[10] Julian Glover (2006) ‘British believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il’, The Guardian, November 3,
[11] Fernando Tesón (2005) ‘Ending Tyranny in Iraq’, Ethics and International Affairs, 19:2, p. 1
[12] Tony Blair quoted in Wesley Clark (2001) Waging Modern War (Oxford: Public Affairs), p. xx.
[13] Chris Brown, (2001) ‘Ethics and Foreign Policy’, in Margot Light and Karen Smith (eds.) Ethics and Foreign Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 32.
[14] Nicholas Wheeler (2003) ‘Humanitarian Intervention After September 11, 2001’, in Anthony Lang (ed.), Just Intervention, (Washington: Georgetown University Press), p. 207.
[15] Mervyn Frost (2001) ‘The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention’, in Margot Light and Karen Smith (eds.) Ethics and Foreign Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 42.
[16] Ibid, p. 51
[17] Mary Kaldor (2003) Global Civil Society: An Answer to War (London: Polity), p. 12.
[18] Thomas Weiss (2007) Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge: Polity), p. 100.
[19] Allen Buchanan and Robert O. Keohane (2004)  ‘The Preventive Use of Force: A Cosmopolitan Institutional Proposal’, Ethics and International Affairs, 18, 1.
[20] Alex Bellamy (2002) Kosovo and International Society (Hampshire: Palgrave), p. 212.
[21] Wheeler, ‘Humanitarian Intervention After September 11, 2001’, p. 208.
[22] For such a study see David Malone (2006) The International Struggle Over Iraq (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
[23] George Bush, ‘President Discusses Beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom’, White House Press Release, March 22, (2003),
[24] ‘Transcript: Bush’s Speech to the UN on Iraq’, The New York Times, 12 September 2002.
[25] Quoted in G. Hinsliff (2003) ‘Blair stakes his political future on beating Iraq’, The Observer, February 16.
[26] Nicholas Wheeler and Justin Morris (2006) ‘The Iraq War as a Humanitarian Intervention’, in Ramesh Thakur and Wahegura Pal Singh Sidhu (eds.) The Iraq Crisis and World Order: Structural, Institutional and Normative Challenges (New York: United Nations University), p. 453.
[27] Ibid, p. 454
[28] John Howard, ‘Transcript of the Prime Minister’s Address to the National Press Club’, 14 March, 2003, [accessed October 4th 2007].
[29] George Bush, ‘State of the Union Address’, 28 January, 2003., [accessed October 4 2007].
[30] “President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours: Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation”, 17 March 2003,, [accessed July 2007].
[31] See Alex Bellamy (2004) ‘Ethics and Intervention in Iraq’, Journal of Peace Research, 41, 2, pp. 136- 137.
[32] Ibid, p. 145.
[33] See Catherine Lu (2006) Just and Unjust Interventions in World Politics (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan), p. 145.
[34] Rory Brauman and Pierre Salignon (2004) ‘Iraq: In Search of a “Humanitarian Crisis”’, in, Weissman (ed.), In the Shadow of “Just Wars (London: Hurst & Co.), p. 278.
[35] Tony Blair ‘Speech to the Labour Party Conference’, 28 September, 2004.
[36] Tony Blair, ‘Blair Terror Speech in Full’, BBC News, 5 March, 2004.
[37] George Bush, ‘President Addresses the Nation in Prime Time Press Conference’, 13 April, 2004.
[38] George Bush, ‘President Bush Discusses Global War on Terror’, April 10, 2006.
[39] Richard Melanson (2007) ‘Unravelling the Domestic Foreign Policy Consensus’, in John Dumbrell and David Ryan (eds.) Vietnam in Iraq (London: Routledge), p. 59.
[40] Jack Straw, quoted in Malone, The International Struggle over Iraq, p. 191.
[41] Quoted in David Cortright (2006) ‘The World Says No: The Global Movement Against War in Iraq’ in Ramesh Thakur and Wahegura Pal Singh Sidhu (eds.) The Iraq Crisis and World Order: Structural, Institutional and Normative Challenges (New York: United Nations University) p. 89.
[42] Malone, The International Struggle over Iraq, p. 191.
[43] In early 1998 the group wrote an open letter to President Clinton calling for ‘the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power’ arguing that further weapon inspections would be futile and military action was therefore required. Project for a New American Century, ‘Open Letter to President William J. Clinton’,  26 January, 1998.
[44] Quoted in Lloyd Gardner, ‘The Final Chapter?’, in Vietnam in Iraq, Dumbrell and Ryan (eds.), p. 19.
[45] Hans Blix, (2004) ‘The Importance of Inspections’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Proliferation Brief, 7, No. 11.
[46] Malone, The International Struggle over Iraq, p. 212.
[47] Mary Kaldor (2007) ‘From Just War to Just Peace’, in Charles Reed and David Ryall (eds.) The Price of Peace, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 263.
[48] See Michael Wheeler (2006) ‘A US Political Perspective’, in The Price of Peace, Reed and Ryall (eds.), pp. 277-285.
[49] See J. Tyner, The Business of War (Aldershot: Ashgate).
[50] See Kaldor, Global Civil Society: An Answer to War; M. Keck and K. Sikkink (1998) Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithacea: Cornell University Press).
[51] David Cortright, ‘The World Says No: The Global Movement Against War in The Iraq Crisis and World Order Iraq’, Thakur and Sidhu (eds.), p. 75.
[52] Patrick Tyler (2003) ‘Threats and Responses: News Analysis; A New Power in the Streets’, New York Times, February 17.
[53] Cortright, ‘The World Says No: The Global Movement Against War in Iraq’, p. 75.
[54] Malone, The International Struggle Over Iraq,  pp. 185-221.
[55] See David Chandler (2002) From Kosovo to Kabul (London: Pluto), p. 85.
[56] The White House, ‘National Strategy for Combating Terrorism’, September 2006.
[57] James Tyner (2003) The Business of War (Aldershot: Ashgate), pp. 35-36

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