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Bush justifies war, saying "war is peace"

Updated: 2004-09-22 09:37

U.S. President George W. Bush delivered his campaign stump speech in yet another venue Tuesday, the United Nations, as he again attempted to defend the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- this time to the international body he'd said would become little more than a debating society if it failed to follow his call to war in Iraq.

Bush repeated his theme that salvation and stability for the Middle East could be accomplished by outside powers imposing democracy at the point of a gun. He said Afghanistan and Iraq "will be a model for the broader Middle East."

In a familiar effort to justify the U.S.-led war against Iraq, the president tried to have it both ways on the role of the United Nations. "The Security Council promised serious consequences for his (Saddam Hussein's) defiance. And the commitments we make must have meaning," he said. "When we say serious consequences, for the sake of peace there must be serious consequences."

At issue, of course, is not the legitimacy of the Security Council's promise of serious consequences for Iraq's non-compliance but the United States' usurpation of the decision to impose those consequences.

As U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said prior to Bush's address, "Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it."

Despite Bush's invasion of Iraq in what Annan now calls an illegal war, the president said Tuesday that U.N. members must "do more" to help in Iraq.

"Each of us alone can only do so much," Bush said. "Together we can accomplish so much more."

For a president who waged pre-emptive war in Iraq in defiance of the United Nations, citing now disproved weapons threats and now discredited terrorist connections, it seems a lesson learned too late.

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