IS THE United States-led war against Iraq a just war? The answer is at best tentative since all the requirements of the just-war doctrine appear not present in this case. For example, is the war sanctioned by legitimate authority? If one considers the United Nations as the authorizing agent, then the war is not justified. But is the UN a legitimate authority? Can a bureaucracy that has exercised a totalitarian streak by insinuating itself in all areas of human concern, including fertility and other matters that are otherwise private and should be beyond the pale of statist interference, even to the extent of insisting that nations adopt abortion policies in their own charters and laws, be considered a lawful and moral authority? And can the UN impinge on a country’s right to protect itself against threats?

Granted the war does not fulfill the requirements of the just-war theory, can one automatically say it is not justified? Again, there is no straight answer. Any right-thinking person will not deny that the US, its allies and the world have reason to be insecure about a despot with a mercurial temperament, a record of hate and nagging dreams of expansionism, and an arsenal of weapons that he has refused to destroy in defiance of UN resolutions.

But what is damning about the attitude of the UN and the critics of the war is its denial that there are reasons to be concerned about Saddam Hussein and that, after refusing to disarm for a decade, he should be left untouched. What is damning is that pacifists and anti-war critics who did not condemn the Kuwaiti invasion, the Twin Towers incident, the Bali bombings, North Korea’s jingoist bluster, and even the Davao bombings have been quick to tag the US war as terrorism and hegemonic swagger.

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Even in other international forums like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), there seems not much appreciation of the dangers posed by Iraq, North Korea and terrorism. Many of these member-states are anti-West, anti-American. In the NAM, only the Philippines and Singapore criticized North Korea’s growing aggressiveness.

In the current crisis, the significance of the United Nations is placed in question. The UN seems to have evolved into a mere “debate club,” unable to mediate and to some extent, provide solution to the problem. It has, as it has always been, dependent on the commitment of other nations to resolve a conflict, a duty which it was supposed to perform. Its spotty record particularly in enforcing the disarmament protocol against Iraq shows it is nothing more than a bureaucracy, ceremonious but costly and ineffective.

More so, inside the same international body, the pacifists, the anti-West, the anti-war, and the so-called non-aligned exist side by side, dominating the debate, each one opposing war at all cost.

Between the predictable democracy—and hegemony, yes—of the US and the unpredictable extremism of Saddam and his allies, which would you choose?

What has made the world uncertain in the first place? Surely the world would be a more predictable and peaceful world with one unpredictable and war-freak despot out of the picture.

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