Ultimately, I'm a pragmatist too, and I see what you're getting at. Are you telling me here though, that the reason the US wants to topple Saddam is because he is threatening and killing the Kurds in Iraq? You have a great sense of humor.
Not quite. I'm saying that you can't use sovereignty as an excuse to avoid intervention.
The US wants to topple Saddam because they've finally had enough of him. Saddam's breaking of the ceasefire gives them a legitimate casus belli, and 9/11 gives them a favorable political climate in the US, which makes things easier. It's a fortuitous convergence of circumstance and political will, nothing more. I'm pretty sure the US government doesn't care about the Kurds at all - but if they can use the excuse of helping the Kurds to justify intervention in Iraq, then more power to them. Unlikely, though, as it'll make Turkey unhappy... and Turkey will be key for any action against Saddam. Again with the realpolitik, I'm afraid.
The US probably knew exactly what Saddam would use the chemical and biological weapons for, when they supplied him with them. Regardless, they have tolerated, or even supported, far worse persecutions than this.
It wasn't the US government that supplied Iraq with the gas. Anyone with a chemistry degree and a decent lab can make the stuff. VX and Sarin, for example, are organo-phosphates. Insecticides. They're *really easy* to make, if you know how. Anthrax occurs naturally. Mustard gas is nothing more than Chlorine. Iraq brought off-the-shelf chemical lab components from US (and other Western) companies. That's not the same as the US government handing over a few thousand flasks of VX.
Also, the fact that the US has tolerated far worse transgressions than this does not mean that they are obliged to overlook every transgression. They get to pick and choose which ones are worth fighting over. The argument of "You can't do X because you previously ignored Y" holds no water at all in international relations. Probably not logical, maybe not fair, but that's the way things are.
The US is an interventionist true, but never for humanitarian reasons, only to further its own interests.
Well, duh. All states are selfish. Every. Single. One. It's one of the things that makes a state. Your *primary* goal is self-preservation, and most states are willing to do anything, up to and including war, to ensure their survival. Sometimes self-interest combines with humanitarianism (re: Somalia). Most democracies, for example, do humanitarian missions in the hopes of a second term. But not every intervention needs a humanitarian justification.
Remember this: the US declared war on Japan because of Pearl Harbor before it went to war with Germany because of the Jews.
Indeed it did. Perhaps you'll also recall that Roosevelt was doing everything he could to facilitate a war with Germany prior to Dec 7th, 1941? Heck, we had US warships attacking U-boats off the Atlantic coast, but Hitler didn't bite. Unfortunately, those pesky voters didn't want to save those German jews, so he couldn't act. Damn voters and their selfish isolationism, eh? Funny behaviour for a state you claim isn't a democracy.
[ Parent ]